175: What’s It Like as a New Dispatcher at Oakley Trucking?

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Lawson Tallie and Brandon Stone, some of the new Dispatchers at Oakley Trucking. During the episode, Lawson and Brandon discuss their backgrounds, experiences working at Oakley, and their hobbies. They also talk about their first week as dispatchers, the challenges they face in learning about trucking and dispatching, and the importance of organization and managing stress. The conversation also touches on the role of dispatchers in onboarding new drivers, the importance of building positive relationships with customers, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Oakley Update: Parking lot paving at the office (1:40)
  • Introducing Lawson and Brandon (3:35)
  • Learning to dispatch by starting in the shop (7:55)
  • Learning the ropes and operations (10:21)
  • The importance of the orientation experience from dispatch side (12:23)
  • Handling the stress of dispatching (15:00)
  • Overcoming the challenges of dispatching and the industry (19:39)
  • Dispatch’s role in customer interactions (21:42)
  • Setting expectations with drivers and dispatchers (22:23)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Brandon Stone  00:12

This is very different from anything I’ve ever done. And, you know, coming here not knowing anything about trucking or dispatching trucks are, you know, you get in here and you’re answering 1000 calls and everyone’s asking, you know, where’s man? Well, or was Manuel leaving, like, now I’m just trying to learn, you know? Instead, you’re gonna remember a lot of things, you know, gotta be on top of it all the time.

Jeremy Kellett  00:33

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley trucking headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner operators and their families by giving them up to date information concerning Oakley trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an insight to outside truck drivers who might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Jeremy kellett director of recruiting here at Oakley trucking. I’m your host for this podcast. This is the one podcast about trucking business and family. On today’s episode, we got a couple of new dispatchers to sit down with me and we’re going to talk to them kind of introduce them to the family out there listeners that are listening in every week. And we’re going to talk to them about you know, maybe how they got here their background some of the things that they’ve encountered since they’ve started working at Oakley and what it’s like to to work with owner operators so we’ll get started with that here in just a minute of the first one I need to do an Oakley update sponsored by Arrow Truck Sales.

Arrow Truck Sales Commercial  01:40

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Jeremy Kellett  02:11

so on Oakley update today I was talking to Toby about the shop all ago because I wanted to get it right. Two different things going on here at the yard. One is we are paving the rest of the parking lot, everything from we had a little section over here behind the office by those silos, but the main thing is the east parking everything by the fuel islands, or we had some rec trailers for the clean out over there, all that stuff is going to be paved. So you’re gonna have to kind of watch what you’re doing when you’re coming in. A lot of it’ll be done but not all of it. So just pay attention as you’re coming through here because it’s gonna take a little while to get everything done and just be mindful of where you’re going and if it’s prepped or not and ready to be asphalt the next day. Don’t mess it up if you can. So the other thing that goes along with that is the parking out here. So parking is really why I’m talking about parking, it’s really to talk about the loaded pad. So we’ve got two concrete strips that we call a loaded by it to drop loaded trailers on and there’s one here behind the office, the new office that’s you know, a lot of people park back here but it’s the loaded pad is only from about where the drivers lounge starts a little ways towards the new office. It’s not the whole thing. I don’t know exactly how many feet it is but I actually walked out there a while ago and looked at it just to make sure to be mindful of that. If you don’t have to park on the Lodi pad, leave that for somebody that needs it, please because we run into issues sometimes where we need to drop a loaded trailer. A guy needs to drop a loaded trailer. And again, even if it’s here on a weekend, sometimes they drop a loaded trailer so he can run Walmart and get truck parts, things like that. And he didn’t have a place to do it. So we also have the loaded pad, the strip on the east side oh by the cleanout. And typically we park port pneumatic tanks in that area. So just be mindful of whether you’re loaded by it or not. And try to stay off of it also, especially if you’re Bobtail and I had a guy call today who actually was talking about he’d come in on the weekend and there were a lot of bobtail ports. Oh here taking up I mean you gotta park somewhere I get it but try not to do it. You know in a loaded bag, give guys room to be able to pull their truck in there and drop the trailer if needed. So all I got on was that. Appreciate everybody. Keeping that in mind. Okay, let’s meet Brandon stone and Lawson Talley hey guys what’s going on? Good man, a late last minute notice twisted your arms that I need the podcast So, you know, we used to do, we’ve done a lot of the dispatchers out there. I don’t know if y’all seen any you ever watch the podcast? Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen a couple episodes. We’ve had some of those guys in the past, several of them out there. Matter of fact, Manuela you weren’t nice to man. Well, we had him here. He was sweating badly.

Brandon Stone  05:17

He told me. He was giving me bad advice.

Jeremy Kellett  05:22

But he did it. He did a good job. So we’ve had I mean, I don’t know a bunch of them. Come through here. So I think it’s good to, you know, for you to come out and be new here. People get to see you kind of know that you are a real person. You’re not just a dispatcher. Yeah, you do have a life, you know, outside of trucking and you do things other than this, but not much. But that’s kind of all what we do. But I think it’s good to do that. So we’ll get into some other questions here. But real quick, let’s just start with the self introduction. Lawson: You go first.

Lawson Tallie  05:57

So your name’s Lawson Tallie from Arkansas. 22, I’m young but 22 You’re just getting it done. Went up to Arkansas State University and then came down here to work on after college.

Jeremy Kellett  06:16

So really the main job you’ve had? I mean, he worked before that though.

Lawson Tallie  06:20

Yeah, he’s worked. Yeah, I worked up and my family’s got an automotive shop and Searcy and I worked there all throughout high school and did that for a while and did some farming on the side of some row crops on Okay, so I got hobbies. I can’t lie. Big Counter when I can obviously. Now that’s changed a little bit, but I say that real everybody that I’m working

Jeremy Kellett  06:49

with, that’ll get ya. No wife. No kids. No

Lawson Tallie  06:53

kids. No wife.

Jeremy Kellett  06:56

Minute free, man.

Lawson Tallie  06:57

I know. That’s awesome.

Brandon Stone  07:01

Oh, my name is Brandon Stone. I’m from right here in North Little Rock. Born and raised here my whole life. I went to North Rock High School. I am 23 years old. When I get time, I like to kayak. Anything really outdoors? Not a big hunter. You know, I might change that working here. You know, like to get out there

Jeremy Kellett  07:22

locking the doors. I mean, yeah, you’re in Arkansas. That’s the place to do it. Absolutely. That’s a good place to do it. So this is your first taste of trucking? Yeah, yeah. They never drove a truck ever really been associated in the trucking business still now? You right? Oh, man. So he came in wide -eyed. Course I guess start you know, we went through the interview process. Talk to you had everybody talked to a few times and you know my decision. Okay, let’s get him hired. Well, one key factor down I’ve said this before on episodes, as you guys had to start in the shop. I was at

Lawson Tallie  08:10

New one buyout. I mean, I was kind of used to it. You know, I worked as a parent. So all that kind of work was pretty much used to but as far as the big truck cars and all that I never really did a whole lot of it. And working on the trailers of course, but as far as mechanics I love them. I was out there for a

Jeremy Kellett  08:31

good while he read and did you learn a lot.

Brandon Stone  08:35

I learned a lot out there, you know, used to do stuff with my car working on vehicles and stuff and throwing the shop. It’s a little bit different with the big tractor tires, and I was out there for about a month. Thankfully, I was out there when it was kind of cool outside. I was very lucky. Very lucky. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But it’s a cool experience. Like you know, it kind of I think he kind of weeds through the people that would actually want to work here versus people who don’t you know,

Jeremy Kellett  09:00

because that goes when we told you you had to go through this work. Start out and shop with him.

Brandon Stone  09:04

I was like, Man, I really want this job. You know, I’ll do it. Yeah, some people probably go. Yeah, I’m not doing that.

Jeremy Kellett  09:11

One guy quit it knows

Brandon Stone  09:12

how to leave that.

Jeremy Kellett  09:14

He started out there one day and didn’t come back after lunch. No, not at all. Now, there’s some good guys out there. It’s your workers that take care of a lot of equipment for you. So I mean, you know, the point of it is for you to learn a little bit just being out there a month or two is you can learn a little bit about what the drivers are talking about. Yeah. Have you already seen some of that? No. Yeah. We do surprise some of them. Yeah. When few Oh,

Lawson Tallie  09:43

they do. How do you know that? Well, I’ve actually worked on them before. Yeah. So it did help

Jeremy Kellett  09:50

me that you know, good. I like it builds confidence with those. Yeah. So you kind of

Brandon Stone  09:56

know what you’re talking about and what they kind of deal with on a daily basis. As far as adjusting brakes and little stuff they have to do. Yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  10:05

they’re like, Well, you know that you need to know this stuff. Like, that’s good. We’re able to learn that out, you know, shot, bring it in here into the office. So now that you’re here in the office, we’re gonna throw a unification, we got one of you guys. Lawson. You’re doing Hopper division. Yes, sir. And you’re doing random division brand new, sir. So tell us about your first week or two at the office?

Lawson Tallie  10:34

Well, my first week, you’re a couple people actually, I don’t vacation, or also was out. So I was kind of helping chase me and he was answering calls, and I probably answered 1000 phone calls that week and Elon, but now just kind of threw me in the fire. And

Jeremy Kellett  10:54

it nobody wanted to talk to you


today. No.

Jeremy Kellett  10:57

Where’s another driver?

Lawson Tallie  10:58

Where’s my dispatcher? I want to talk to him. Now it’s okay.

Brandon Stone  11:04

I get it. Yeah, same experience, man. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done. And, you know, coming here not knowing anything about trucking or dispatching trucks or, you know, you get in here and you’re answering about 1000 calls. And everyone’s asking, you know, where’s Manuel or he was Manuel leaving, like, now I’m just trying to learn, you know, if you’re gonna remember a lot of things, you know, that’d be on top of it all the time.

Jeremy Kellett  11:30

You’re probably one of the biggest things is kind of trying to organize some chaos. Yeah.

Brandon Stone  11:35

organized and

Jeremy Kellett  11:39

track the keyboard variables. Yeah. So what do you have? What have you learned about end ups that he didn’t know? Right?

Brandon Stone  11:49

Well, I mean, this is, I don’t know, the coolest thing I think is, you know, when I was little, I never realized how high those trailers go in the air. And that was kind of a cool thing to learn. All the different kinds of commodities we haul on them, you know, there’s a lot. I learned a lot in the last five months I’ve been here. It’s hard to

Jeremy Kellett  12:12

I went through orientation. I did. Yeah.


I did. Okay.

Jeremy Kellett  12:17

So that is good. We try to get everybody to go through. What’s your thoughts on that?

Brandon Stone  12:23

I think it’s a kind of going back to the shop thing, being able to put the dispatchers in the shoes of the owner operators and kind of see, you know, how Oakley builds them to be the best they can. And I mean, the orientation was great, you learn a lot that, you know, I think as just a regular dispatcher, you just wouldn’t know. Safety

Lawson Tallie  12:44

as far as hazmat materials and all that, you know, can’t get this wet or versus sweeping out your trailer before you load this and things like that. If it gets out of the trailer, what do you do? Things like that? Yeah, yeah, you

Jeremy Kellett  12:59

don’t think about this stuff. No dumping procedure,

Brandon Stone  13:01

you know, avoiding power lines. And making sure the load is, you know, center in the trailer, so you don’t turn over a trailer? Or about all that kind of stuff. Very important. Yeah, planning

Jeremy Kellett  13:12

out the trailer, because we’ve spent our time in Reno spending all day 30 cars a lot of times, you know, hooking up guys, and going over all that stuff, raising drivers up, you’ve done that, you know, the first time you see that? I’m

Brandon Stone  13:25

like, because that was kind of recently and I was like, Man, I really, it’s scary. You know, being an owner operator for the first time doing that, you know, all to him, man. It’s a hard job sometimes.

Jeremy Kellett  13:37

Yeah, I would think it would be nerve racking, you know, until you get used to it. Yeah, it just takes a little bit of getting used to some of these guys probably just, oh, you’re done, you know? Oh, yeah, they know what’s going on. So what’s going on over and a hopper division? Anything pressing over there? I mean, I know. It’s pretty busy. We’ve slowed down a little bit in August and September for use and like Elberton hopping it pretty good. Last couple of weeks.

Lawson Tallie  14:02

Yes, sir. And on a bunch of granules. Yeah. That’s always

Jeremy Kellett  14:08

a challenge. For sure. You got to learn something about owner operators. Pretty good.

Lawson Tallie  14:15

Yeah, I got it already now. Then this batching and a lot of them I know are pretty good. And then And how long have you been around? I started in the shop. The last week of May so Okay, Vermont’s

Jeremy Kellett  14:31

June, July, August, September, October. Okay. And y’all got 30 drills?

Lawson Tallie  14:36

Yeah, it’s been like six weeks. I was there and I got 25 and said, Here you go. Who’s Training you? Mainly Russell. You’ve been kind of my mentor.

Jeremy Kellett  14:50

Watching bread, man. Well, you got trucks a year?

Brandon Stone  14:53

Oh, no, not yet. I’ve been helping them well. There are 58 or so trucks at the moment so me. That’s between the two of us. Yeah, I mean, it’s crazy. I think one thing this job teaches you is how to manage stress. Because, I mean, talking to 15 different guys answer those phone calls, making sure their plan and all that stuff is, you know, it’ll stay focused.

Jeremy Kellett  15:17

Yeah, that’s a good point. Because, you know, I guess it’s been known. Dispatchers are dispatched into stressful jobs. I mean, that’s well known out in the trucking world. Dispatching can be one of the most stressful jobs there is. And handling it is. I mean, that’s a whole nother thing. You got to figure out the ways to handle it, which Manuel has been here for years. He probably if he’s got 58, he’s figured out. Yeah, yeah. And that’s probably one of the challenges you’re gonna have to figure out. I mean, is organization handling stress. I mean, the world shows biggest obstacles every day, when you come in,

Lawson Tallie  15:59

you know, first thing, it’s making sure everyone calls him by nine. And then, you know, sometimes you get lost in the chaos, and there’ll be like two or three and are like, Oh, crap, we might not make that low. But that and getting the workflow open and looking at all that getting that going, is very important.

Jeremy Kellett  16:21

Explain workflow to people, the

Lawson Tallie  16:23

workflows, just your, you know, your wash out tickets, your dryer sheets, and then on Wednesdays, we get to look at everybody’s settlements and make sure you know, every day, it’s like, every day, there’s just a lot going on there. And so y’all

Jeremy Kellett  16:41

just don’t dispatch them on a load. And that’s it.

Lawson Tallie  16:47

There’s a lot of stuff to be doing. And, you know, just trying to book some freight, you know, you’re gonna have a guy’s down in this area, and he has stuff moving down there. And that’s just the main challenge for me most of the time, literally,

Brandon Stone  17:00

I agree, man, I think it’s kind of juggling all the different responsibilities and still trying to get the guys needed and dispatched on stuff. I think that’s it right on the head there. Now. I think finding freight sometimes can be a little bit of a challenge. Right now. It’s,

Jeremy Kellett  17:19

you don’t know anybody to come? Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Yeah. Not being Yeah, me. But cheap out. You takes years to

Brandon Stone  17:26

get contacts and connections places. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  17:29

Sure. And that’s something that we focused on for years was making sure the guy had a load, you know, the next day, we cannot let him, you know, hang out too long. We got to figure out something and try to figure out something that’s profitable for both of us. Yeah. You know, that’s, you know, but you talked about workflow. And I think a lot of people don’t realize what all you guys do in the dispatch, as far as you know, we see it because people, some are operators or have a question about settlement or something they call up here want to talk to payroll? And we’re like, No, he is your favorite. I mean, really? Yeah. I mean, you’re the one that has to make sure it’s paid, right. I mean, don’t get me wrong. We have a great payroll department that handles a lot of things that take a lot of pressure off of you. But you gotta make sure it’s right. And if they’ve got a question they need to ask you about any demerger. Any reimbursement for wash, daycares or any of that kind of stuff, right? Yeah, sure. I mean, then that’s a, that takes a lot of time now. So it’s, what would you tell an owner operator out there that would help make your job a little bit smoother?

Lawson Tallie  18:46

You know, sometimes we’ve been getting better at it. But you know, make sure you turn in your washroom seats. I hate having to charge guys for a wash out, you know, but it’s just like, you get a bill in the mail. You know, you want to know what you’re being charged for. Emergencies. Just make sure it’s legible. That’s the big thing, you know, gotta be able to read it and accuracy on it, too. You know, it’s tough having a, you got a million things going on, and you get this emergency, you’re like, Well, I gotta call him back and rescan it and things like that.


Yeah. Paperwork is a big deal. Yeah.

Brandon Stone  19:26

Owning and paperwork takes a portion of time and sometimes we don’t really have you know, what, and what do you tell you what, like, hunting paperwork now hunting? Yeah, kinda takes up time that we could use to plan a guy or you know,

Jeremy Kellett  19:39

yeah, and it’s got to be done because that’s where it’s as much as we would love to just load and deliver the load and everybody gets paid. There’s a lot of stuff in between. When you’re talking about customers and trying to get them to pay us, you know, especially when it comes to the market, it’s a whole nother episode we won’t get into but to wrap up legible being able to read it because that piece of paper is going to that customer and they got approved, whether they’re gonna pay us or not. So, I mean all paperwork, get out of our website on paperwork. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the job. And I think that’s, that’s great because, I mean, it’s part of your job that you do that we probably didn’t tell you when we interviewed. No, no, we gotta hear down. Yeah. Nope. tell you all the responsibilities that you get. So if you’re gonna hang, Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic drivers. We provide the trailer free of charge and you provide the truck. We have a large customer base that reaches the whole United States as well as parts of Canada. Our owner operators live anywhere from Texas to North Carolina to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and everywhere in between and we get them home weekends. We take it seriously when you join Oakley trucking because we need you to be successful. Oakley offers great benefits and a competitive mileage base. So you know that when your wheels are turning, you’re generating money. No matter if you’re loaded or empty. We understand that you want to make a good living and that you make our living. We only take on independent contractors and to be honest with you, we are very particular on who we lease on. You must have a good driving record, good work history, and a clean, dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just want some more information, you can go to Oakley trucking.com. Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel. You guys talk to customers too, don’t you? Every day. How’s it going? I mean, don’t you gotta get some confidence to be able to do that.

Brandon Stone  21:47

Yeah, you gotta be positive, friendly and enthusiastic. The customer’s man. I think what manly was talking about in one of the meetings is, uh, you know, make him feel like they’re our only customer. Make me feel special, you know? And you got to treat every customer like that.

Jeremy Kellett  22:04

Hey, because you constantly want to get more of Yeah, need more of them? For sure. How is it getting? I guess you started probably getting the new guys, you know, like, come into orientation. And then you start getting a new guy or two. Have you gotten any to sit down with some new guys with men? Yeah, absolutely. So that first conversation is pretty important. And it

Brandon Stone  22:28

set the boundaries right on citation the tone of how it’s gonna go. Yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  22:33

yep. Because they’re all they’ve listened to me. Or Ken or Cory Dustin, you know, coming through as a listener to the recruiter. And now they’re, we’re passing them off to you guys. Yeah. And it’s really like critical time. Yeah. Because as y’all know, we went through orientation, they’re nervous to get started, you know, and you’re getting them and you got to, like you said, set the tone and set boundaries and know what expectations you need to meet for them and they need to meet for us. It takes some time to do it, for sure.

Lawson Tallie  23:11

I always enjoy, you know, getting to meet the guy and find out a lot about a person just in a little meeting like that.

Jeremy Kellett  23:20

Yeah. Yeah. Five minutes. Yeah, a whole lot.

Lawson Tallie  23:24

Shoot, man usually takes like 30 minutes.

Jeremy Kellett  23:28

I’m finding out a lot about you guys. Be honest with you. We’ve covered, you know, some of the challenges. Dispatching I think, you know, I mean, owner operators, is a whole lot different than company drivers. And I thought, you know, putting that in perspective, to where they are an independent contractor and have their own business. But pulling our trailer so we got a partnership going on. And we both gotta be pulling in the same direction. Makes a big difference if y’all realize that

Lawson Tallie  24:05

it kind of hit me when I started dispatching my own drugs, you know me

Jeremy Kellett  24:09

that they rely on you. Yeah, you make our

Lawson Tallie  24:13

living here are we We’re allowing them

Brandon Stone  24:15

I mean, like I said, it’s a mutual two way street.

Jeremy Kellett  24:19

Doesn’t it feel good, though, when you look at that, you talked about looking at their settlements every week. That feels good, makes you proud. When you can see that settlement, or That guy’s made a good chair. And you have to do that. You know, yeah, you know, it makes a big deal. And that’s what I want the owner operators out there listening to this podcast is, you know, they can see the sincerity with us if we want them to be successful, right? Absolutely. Why would we not? I mean, we need them to be successful and be able to stay here for a long time. That’s what helps make this company what it is today. Having you guys come on up. The come on up the ladder helps us make it to man. Appreciate Joe doing what you do and working out in the shop and going through orientation. And realizing I can do this by sitting down talking to you, you know, it means a lot to the user, you know, and that’s good, because we got a lot of responsibility here. Yeah, y’all got a lot of responsibility. It’s our first year. Anything else you’d like to add? No, thank you.

Brandon Stone  25:28

thankful to be here. It’s probably one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. Awesome. Amazing. You’re so proud of it.

Jeremy Kellett  25:35

Well, appreciate what you have to do every day. It goes a long way. You know, a lot of times dispatchers don’t get thanked. You know, that’s part of truck drivers don’t either, we’re in that world of the trucking world. We’re trucking companies don’t get thanked a whole lot, even a little bit. You know, that’s how we pat each other on the back. You know, that we know it’s, it’s getting down around here. So appreciate you guys sitting down with me. And talking about your journey over here and your story and you’ve been here for you said since May. Did I ask you how long you’ve been here, Brandon, since April? So bad design. Y’all started about the same. So that’s good. You can kind of gauge each other. Go through this career and talk about dogs and hoppers and stuff, sir. All right. Well, I appreciate everybody listening to the Oakley podcast. I mean, you guys are great listeners out there. And I appreciate the feedback I’m getting a little bit of feedback from you on things you want to hear about. This is something we need to do more of we started off you know, in the beginning doing some of this meeting some of the office people went you know, dispatchers and safety and recruiting, we need to do more of that because I think it really helps as a company to for you to see us and hear us and talk to these guys. And I mean, they kind of tell what’s going on here. So if you haven’t met him for sure, come in and meet him. Coming into the office I had and visited was a little bit of Sherlock to get to know as I always appreciate everybody listening. Whether it’s YouTube or Facebook or the email Annabelle sends out every Wednesday. I really appreciate your listening to it and commenting on it and locking in subscribing. Please do all that it helps us get the word out to everybody else out there. And as always appreciate y’all listening. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show in the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience. So if you’ve got a question, comment or just want to say hello, head over to our website, the Oakley podcast.com and click the leave a comment button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening!