179: From End Dump to Pneumatic with John Gray

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with John Gray, one of our Owner-Operators at Oakley Trucking. This is the second conversation we’ve had with John on the podcast with the first being after he first stepped out of orientation at Oakley. During this episode, John shares his personal journey in the trucking industry, discussing the challenges and rewards of his career, the importance of safety on the road, the financial stability his job provides, advice for owner-operators looking to come to Oakley, and more. 

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Oakley Update: Truck Titles (4:41)
  • John’s background in trucking and his joining Oakley (7:36)
  • Trucking provides a good living (11:37)
  • Getting Started at Oakley (12:49)
  • Financial Stability and Family Support (20:39)
  • Preparing for Winter in the Trucking Industry (21:50)
  • Transitioning from End Dump to Pneumatic Division (23:27)
  • The challenge of traffic safety (29:20)
  • The challenge of finding healthy food on the road (32:24)
  • Final thoughts and takeaways (39:51)

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.


John Gray  00:12

I know you spoke up when you started the podcast about you know, you know watching some of the older videos you know, I went and watched all those. I’ve never watched a podcast yet here that wasn’t educational, of some sort. I knew pretty much by watching what I was getting into prior to coming and besides talking to other people and different things, but everything that I was told, has been 100% Ready.

Jeremy Kellett  00:38

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 for 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. There’s Jeremy kellett director of recruiting here at Oakley trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. Once again, we bring you a new episode every Wednesday that we put out on YouTube and all the other platforms that you can get podcast and we try to come up with good stuff for you every week. One thing I wanted to mention is, you know, before we get started on this episode, is go back and some of the episodes we’ve done in the past, I was actually having a conversation with some guys at lunch and they were asking me, what kind of episodes have you done, they hadn’t heard of the Oakley podcast. I know. It’s a shocker. But I was going back and I was telling him you know about someone. I was looking at him. I thought you know, we really we’ve had some really good ones in the past whether it was oh, da da on, we had them on. That was a real good one. We talked to Debbie at the St. Louis terminal. That was a really cool history about that port. And that’s there in St. Louis. I mean, we had an AR T medic, bunch of good ones from the Mid America truck show that we did a Casey Phillips, you know, a friend of mine, we got to hear, you know, his side of his life that’s going on, that was pretty good, too. So I just encourage you to go back and listen to some of the episodes that we’ve done in the past. And it’ll help you kind of learn a little bit more about Oakley trucking and what we’re doing here for the purpose of this podcast. So appreciate that. I also appreciate everybody’s course, subscribing, and locking, and listening and comment. And that really helps. You know, the algorithms that get us out there in that internet world and on YouTube. So please do all you can with that, and that’ll help us out a lot. So today’s episode is a really good one because we’re actually doing what we said we were gonna do. I don’t know if you guys remember, I don’t remember the episode. Annabelle gotta put it up on screen or whatever. So we had John Gray on but we had John Gray and Josh Cochran on straight out of the way orientation they didn’t even haul a load. Drugged him up here, got him on the podcast and we talked about, we talked about their career, they’re going through the recruiting process, we talked about orientation, and all the stuff that went with it. That was a great episode to go back and watch. But now I’ve got John back in here, five, probably the lower five months later, we were gonna do it. We said we’re gonna get them back in here and talk about it six months down the road and hear what you’ve done for the last six months. Well, he just happened to be in here this week. So it’s about five, five and a half months. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna sit down and talk with John Gray about his experience. What he’s done since he started here, some of the good, the bad and the ugly. And what he’s actually in the office doing this week and what he’s, he’s about to change up here at Oakley. So, y’all tuning in to this one? This is gonna be a good one we’re gonna get to sit down and get started with John Gray. So Oakley update is always sponsored by Arrow Truck Sales.

Arrow Truck Sales Commercial  04:11

Arrow Truck Sales has been in business for over 60 years and a longtime partner of Oakley trucking and the Oakley podcast, trade visor and Keith Wilson do a great job at putting you in the right truck to fit your needs and our needs here at Oakley. They all make some models to choose from with on site financing through transport funding. So whether you’re a seasoned owner operator or a first time buyer, be sure to contact Keith Wilson Arrow Truck Sales at 573-216-6047 and tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

Jeremy Kellett  04:41

Okay, on this week’s Oakley update, sponsored by Arrow Truck Sales. I was talking to Miss Wendy and she actually got to talk about titles because he’s had some issues here lately. And the big question comes up a couple things first, do you know where your title to your truck is? They used to before June of 2022. If we applied for your Oklahoma title here with us when you bought a truck, and you came in and had Miss Wendy do the title work, they sent it to your house to you whatever address you had on that before June of 2022. Well, now since June of 2022, they send it to the lien holder. And the reason we got to talking about this is there’s been some issues where some guys have gotten their trucks paid for, or their lease purchase paid for, and didn’t get the title, retitled in their name, then they go by, they try to trade trucks, well, they don’t have the title can’t find the title, or it’s not been put in their name yet. And that causes a delay is what she’s telling me she had a couple this past week, that is delayed them being able to trade trucks. And also the second thing with that is, if you have paid off your truck, we need to get the lien holder taken off of the physical damage insurance also. Because that way, you know, if the lien holder is still on there as a physical damage, sometimes they want to send the check to the lien holder. And if you don’t have a lien holder anymore, then we need to get that fee. So be sure and just if you have questions, come up here and talk to Wendy or Megan, let them know you get some questions about your title. And if you can’t find it, man, let’s get it in order, you know, get your last title applied for something. So let us know if you have any questions. And that’s the Oakley update. Okay, let’s get started and get caught up with John Gray. John, what’s going on, man? Hey, Jeremy, I appreciate you coming back.

John Gray  06:36

Glad to be here.

Jeremy Kellett  06:37

Give everybody a five month update. John Gray has been doing man when he said in here the first time. That was a really good episode for you and Josh. And it was you know, you hadn’t hauled it load. I thought it was cool. And now you’ve been pulling the trailer for five months? Correct. You’ve been learning all about Oakley the best you can five months into it. And I think it’s really good to get your input. Not only just for people that are thinking about coming to Oakley, or people that have just started out at Oakley. But I think just in general, you know, all of us need to know about what takes place in the first five months, some of the challenges that you have, some of the accomplishments that you’ve done, you know, little things like that, I think make a big difference. So first, let’s go back and introduce yourself if you would, sir, by nose, Dr.

John Gray  07:36

John Gray out of Christiansburg Virginia family for got two little kids, one young five year old son and a 14 year old daughter, super awesome wife that supports all of this that I do. Which matters a lot. So this is pretty basic, you know, just your standard? You know, working dad,

Jeremy Kellett  07:57

yeah. How long have you been trucking us? Us owner operator for you, Kenny

John Gray  08:02

This year will be 27 years. That’s awesome. So you’ve been an owner operator in the past? Pretty much all my life. My father obviously was a truck driver. He started in I think it was 1966. So he’d been around the block a time or two.

Jeremy Kellett  08:22

Did you look up to him? Or a kid? Did you ride with him?

John Gray  08:25

I did. And just in when I was young, you know, five, six years old, seven years old. In my younger years, you know, all the kids got out of school when they you know, they would go and do things and this and that. And I did too. But I wrote a truck. I spent a lot of time on a trip when I was little during the summers. Yeah, that’s pretty much what I did in my summers, I rode the truck. And then I’m grateful for that. Because I learned a lot. He taught me a lot. And what he did teach me along with a lot of the older guys that were trucking in the area has come a long way and made it real easy to do what I do today.

Jeremy Kellett  09:06

So you didn’t have a chance of getting out of trucking?

John Gray  09:10

No, it was one of those deals where this is when I got out of one I might have mentioned at the last podcast but when I got out of school, I had two options. I could go to college or go to work. So I chose to go to work. And I don’t regret that.


Do you start driving pretty well? I

John Gray  09:27

I bought a dump truck and then I had a Peterbilt, a cab with an end. Don’t try to be 18 years old. That’s pretty much where I started. And that’s, I guess I’ve come full circle on the end dump deal. Yeah. So because in between times I had bands and flatbeds and different things. So it definitely was born into it. And had been into it ever since it was funny and I tell the story sometimes but when we used to go on vacation, my old man we wouldn’t go on vacation let’s see took a load. So the first time when I was five or we went to Disney World We went into some model Cabo for Kenworth, but the whole family, the whole me and my mom and him. So we went to Disney World in the cab over and we got to Florida, unloaded, went to Disney World for a few days, reloaded and came home. And that’s just the way we did things. And I’m pretty smart. I’d say a lot of people do that. That was definitely the old man in his mentality. And that’s the way things work. You know, I mean, that was the old school as he’s still around. Now. He passed away three years ago. Okay. And that’s, you know, it’s definitely taken a little while to drive a truck up till then until the last few years. Okay. Yeah, he got dementia and, and then he, we had one truck that we had built to take to the truck shows a cab over Mack, and I’ll come in one day to move mom and dad’s yard. And she said, Well, your dad’s out back. I said, No, he’s not out back. And she said, Well, where is he? I said, I don’t know. But the cab was gone. And I called him. I set him up and they called him Dynomite. Duck. That was his hand. I said, duck, where are you? He said, Walmart. I said, What are you Walmart doing to me? Well, I needed a headlight for my pickup. So that was part of the dementia deal. But after that, we had to make some changes. Yeah, that was probably the most difficult. How do you tell somebody has been driving for 50 plus years? They can’t drive anymore? Yeah, yeah. So other than that, he definitely taught me a lot about the industry. And I’m obviously grateful for that.

Jeremy Kellett  11:26

Well, and you’re, I mean, you’re doing good. Evidently, trucking provided a good laugh. We

John Gray  11:31

never went hungry. Yeah. So yeah, that’s good. And mom, she fought tooth and nail. She didn’t want me in a truck. Did she not? She didn’t want me in a truck. And you know, he’s like Linda. He’s like, Have we ever gone hungry? She’s like, No, then you know, what is the border what he’s gonna do? And that’s what I did. And that’s what I’m still doing. That’s why we’re sitting here talking

Jeremy Kellett  11:54

like a lot of people don’t realize what a great living it is, a truck driver can provide. Trucking is trucking touches about every family, every

John Gray  12:04

family member. So always gonna be somebody that knows somebody in the trucking industry always. Whether it’s dispatcher, driver, shipper receiver.

Jeremy Kellett  12:15

It touches a lot of people that a lot of people don’t even know

John Gray  12:18

yet. They do. It does. So let’s talk about

Jeremy Kellett  12:22

you getting started Oakley. So, you know, I’ve talked to you a time or two in between this, but we really hadn’t sat down and talked about the job in itself. You got started pulling a dump trailer, which obviously, you just said you had some history of that long time ago, maybe not exactly what we do. But you had a little bit of correction. A bit of history of pulling a dump trailer. How’s it gone? Since you started, man? I mean, what is the overall consensus of pulling a dump trailer?

John Gray  12:49

Everything I expect? It’s, I guess what you said: the good, the bad and ugly. Yeah. And you know, and there’s no good and bad and ugly. There’s no bad and ugly in the Oakley community. But you know, a lot of the places obviously, on a dump trailer, you go in and out of you know, we’re not the most glamorous, yeah. You know, I mean, you’ll go anywhere. I mean, you go to scrap yards, you go to CoreOS. You go in, places it you know, a lot of granules, a lot of places you never thought you would go, you know we go and fiddle fit we ship it Yeah, type of deal. But to me, it’s all part of the job. And I don’t really complain, I don’t, wherever Peyton said DevOps where I go, Yeah, you know, whatever he said, Hall, that’s what we have. The dump is the bulk businesses interest, the bulk business is totally interesting, somebody’s never been in the bulk industry itself, is totally different from your standard van freight and your standard flatbed freight and from my perspective, there’s not a lot of wait time. So when I had to buy in, you know, lease with landstar, you might get to where you’re going, it might take two or three hours to unload, four or five hours to unload. Or you may do a drop and hook or you might do something else or you’re waiting to reload and then when you get to where you’re going in, you have to wait again, you know, here I can count on my one hand, how many times I’ve really had to wait. A lot of it’s, you know, if you roll in, you dump the product. And you move on with

Jeremy Kellett  14:19

Some of the responsibilities you had were a little overwhelming because I know orientations are a little overwhelming with information that you get out there. And you know, on Thursday, Randolph’s going over the trailer with everybody climbing in and out of a roll on a tarp trying to get used to the dump and procedure. But it’s a little bit different than when you get out there by yourself. Right? And or with a trainer sometimes or going into a place. I mean, how’s that?

John Gray  14:44

I mean, for me personally, because I had done this before. Basically it was kind of when I was kind of ready to be on my own, you know, because I had a great trainer, and he did an awesome job and base Typically, it was just kind of a refresher. But now if you’ve never done it, Oakley provides every avenue to make you successful at what you do, everything that Randolph did, everything matters. Pay attention, you know, because when you, even if you’ve never done this before, it’s gonna be nerve wracking, especially when you’re staying on the 40 foot trailer. But when you get to where you’re going, you know, there’s always help here. There’s somebody to talk to. And that was a big deal. For me, that’s really kind of where I worried I didn’t worry about the dumping. I didn’t worry about getting in the places I worried about the communication. And when I found out real quick communications back here, and you know, I could call and say, hey, you know, how do I get to this place? Or what do I do here? Or, you know, and or what are these people expecting? What time do I need to be here? What time do I need to be?

Jeremy Kellett  15:49

That’s the biggest challenges I think of going learn in new places, you’ve never been in too

John Gray  15:54

short. It’s still because there’s places even today that deliver pickups I’ve never been to, and just kind of winging it, you know, a new kind of, you know, and you’re gonna make mistakes, you’re gonna make mistakes. And that’s just part of it. And you learn from those mistakes, and you move on. I always tell people, Google Earth is your best friend. Yeah, yeah. Especially when you can type that address in and actually look at where you’re going, you can look at the facility, look at the facility a lot of times. I use it 90% of the time, I’m not big on asking for help, I try to kind of do it myself. Because once I do it myself, then I never forget. So. But anybody that does need help, obviously, there’s people to ask, you know, everybody’s been helpful here, which is super awesome. But you can look at those places a lot of times and you can see the scale, you know, where you need to pull in, you know, it may, you know, the GPS may send you to this end of the lot, when you really need to be against the lot. And if you look, you know, you can find that that’s a good little tip. I

Jeremy Kellett  16:50

didn’t think about looking at good good wars, I

John Gray  16:52

use a lot to see that facility. And if I’ve never been there, I’ll look at it before I even leave. Yeah, I won’t even pull out. I’ll just pull it up. Look at it, see what I need to see and move on. Yeah, sometimes you can’t, you know, pick out the scale or pick out where you need to be. But a lot of these places are really good that I’ve noticed about I guess labeling where the truck needs to go or, you know, loading shipping, receiving type deals, or they’ll put signs up. So

Jeremy Kellett  17:17

It sounds to me like you don’t have a whole lot of confidence in Siri. No, I don’t know that. Whoever that whoever

John Gray  17:24

The lady on my telephone is never used here. Yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  17:28

I’ve done it a couple times. And I’m like, Ah, I don’t think that’s right, honey. Yeah. Different. Listen,

John Gray  17:34

Let me look at this myself. That’s right. It’s easier just to look at it yourself, figure it out and move on.

Jeremy Kellett  17:39

I’ll do better when I kind of get a visual.

John Gray  17:43

Because I know actually, okay, well, you pass these two trees. I know it sounds silly. But you’ll see it on Google Earth. And you’re like, Okay, well, there’s a build here. And then I gotta make it right. And, you know, once you get there, and you actually lay your eyes on it, you know where you’re at. So the north, south, east and west come in handy. They do come in handy. Yes, sir.

Jeremy Kellett  18:01

And a lot of people don’t know, north south. Right. You, you did actually go back and listened to the episode we did before but you had mentioned you did a lot of research when you came over here.

John Gray  18:12

I did. I did. Multi months. Yeah, about Oakley

Jeremy Kellett  18:15

and figured out, you know whether this was a place to be. So all that research that you found out and you made the decision to come now you’ve been here five months? The expectations you had before you started? Have those expectations been met?

John Gray  18:31

100%? Really? Yes. 100%. I know, you spoke off, you know, in the you know, when you start the podcast about you know, you know, watching some of the older videos, you know, I went and I watched all those. I’ve never watched a podcast yet here that wasn’t educational of some sort. I knew pretty much about watching what I was getting into prior to coming besides talking to other people and different things, but everything that I was told has been 100%. Right? You mean we haven’t lied? No. Come on. Who was your recruiter? Can’t don’t even get me started on your recruiting. Your recruiter can’t listen. I know I’ll give him a hard time but he’s a good guy. And like I said, when I came to orientation, you know, in everybody’s different every recruiter is gonna be different. And when I came, you know, Kent was spot on. I didn’t, I wasn’t missing anything. May not. He

Jeremy Kellett  19:30

was all done and what he’s told you his job and with the videos you’ve watched on research you did

John Gray  19:36

that I can honestly sit here and say 100% That’s awesome. Yeah. As far as coming here. And you know what I told my wife I was expecting. Based on my research it has been spot on. I’m interested to know what your father in law thinks. Now. Yeah, cause he did when we talked about the you mentioned to him that he said was out Sounds too good to be true. You said yes, it does. And because a lot of people paint that picture, and a lot of people fall short of that, yeah. And you get a vibe, you just seem to get a vibe and my Bibles are good about the place. And, you know, I didn’t want to spend that $250,000 on a truck coming to a place even though you’ve done the research, you know, so I spent a little less money because the truck does a great job. But now, yes, he’s all bored. Oh, yeah, he understands. He understands. Because, you know, obviously, my wife talked about the paychecks. That helps a lot. Yeah. So

Jeremy Kellett  20:40

speaking of paychecks, financially, Brian, everything is

John Gray  20:44

100% on par. Awesome. Yeah. There’s been, you know, obviously, yours gonna be a slow week or this matter. I took off and went to the beach one week, and, you know, and holidays are, we’re gonna have bad weeks, and you’re gonna have bad weeks. And then that’s the trucking industry. You know, it’s always up and down. And anybody who’s been in industry will understand that. But as far as those weeks, my bad weeks have been good weeks, that I see any sense. That’s awesome. Compared to where you would have been, or what you would have done before. A happy wife is really happy. That’s good. Every time I come home, she gets something new somewhere. Yeah, I was in here this past weekend in which I’d been out three weeks prior, because I was out a week before the show. And then out a week after the show. So I literally just got home for a couple days. And then I’m back here. But I like to work. Yeah, I’ll stay out and do my thing. And when it’s time for me to go home and go home. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  21:44

How are you preparing for winter with a pull on the dump trailer? Any difference?

John Gray  21:49

I mean, I mean, as far as the things you carry, I mean, carry some rocks on or carry some different things. But yeah, when winter comes, you need to be pretty apparent on on, on how wet your load is. And if it’s does have moisture in it when it is loaded, and you probably need to pay attention to the weather and where you’re going. If it goes it might be 60 or 70 degrees where you load and it may be 30 or 20 or 10 degrees where you’re unloading. And when you get there, you know, it’s you might have issues. Stuff you gotta think about, it just caught a lot of common sense. And it’s a lot of basically just always be a step ahead. If you can stay a step ahead. And it’s because in the book industry itself, I think you’re gonna be, you know, well ahead of yourself in the things that you’re doing. But Winter Is coming. It is it’s got been places I got up the other morning, I was 20 some degrees, you know, yeah, thank you said, my common sense is really the biggest issue and you know, and as long as you stop, and don’t rush, and think about what you’re doing before you do it, you won’t have any problems. So

Jeremy Kellett  22:53

Tell me tell our listeners what you’re doing here this week. So

John Gray  22:56

This week, I came to Oakley, which is where I wanted to start when I came in the pneumatic division. And so I made a choice to swap over to the pneumatic division. Like I said, I wanted it when I came. And we don’t you know, and he told us and told me no, and I was fine with that. And you want to get some time in I just to figure out the person, you know how the work ethic and whatever you guys choose to do. So I came in, you know, and this is something I’ve been thinking about since I got here. So I do like him. I really do. But you know, obviously Maddox didn’t pay a little more money. And that’s the top dog here at Oakley is pneumatics. Everybody knows that. And that’s where I want to be. I want to be at the top, you will be top and they won’t be the top agent in the top division. I’m not here for a part time job. I don’t stay up two or three weeks, four weeks at a time sometimes for part time learning about pneumatics yet. Hi, um, I’m learning now or Yeah, yeah, they’re actually putting my we’re doing the podcast or installing the blower on the trailer or on the truck. And yeah, I’m learning a lot about it. I’ve had a lot of help from a couple different people, you know, on what to expect, because this is something that is new to me. But basically, it’s better we go back to common sense.

Jeremy Kellett  24:14

Well, putting the ball we’re on is something you got to check into with whether you got room on the truck, you know, whether it’s the transmission matches up, I mean, it’s got to be,

John Gray  24:26

I would suggest, I guess to any new hire that was thinking about coming in now you would think that they may switch divisions lighter. Try to base your purchase off of the needs of the company. Because if you do decide to swap like I did, I had to make some changes, which I had to. I had to shorten one of my fuel tanks. Because I didn’t have enough room. You slot it up or No, I actually mean a friend we cut the end off and took five inches out and re welded them back. And then I had to move a bracket Getting slotted up, so I had to do a little work. I mean, it was a whole day’s process. Yeah, I ended up preparing the truck to make enough room. That way they felt comfortable and they had enough room to work with. Now once we get it mounted, then I know I can move it back, you know, somewhat we’re unaided, because I haven’t slid a little far forward now. For more I really warm it. But as long as I had enough room we didn’t have to worry about that here. That was my biggest thing. So yeah, I made that change. You have to make sure your trucks don’t run 1100 rpms. Because those blowers will get hot. You don’t run them at 900 800 RPM, you gotta run them at 1100 . Are you gonna have problems? Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  25:38

Yeah, you’ll learn all kinds of,

John Gray  25:40

It’s definitely a learning curve. The pneumatic and it’s more to me, it’s more technical. From what I’m gathering from everybody I’ve talked to it’s more of a it’s not just putting your PTO and gear and dumps on the ground. It’s a little more precise when I tell

Jeremy Kellett  25:57

people that want to do pneumatics I said you can dump trailers you can tear some stuff up. But a pneumatic tank can really cost Oakley a lot of money. Yes, sir. You know, because contaminating a load contaminates the silo. We have actually had his head explode a while while operating it. Too much pressure. Yep. I mean, it’s not something that because we’ll get calls and guys wanting to go I can do that. If anybody can do it. I can do all this stuff. And I’m like, I’m sure you can. But we’re gonna get to know you a little bit. Yeah. Before we put anybody because we do we communicate right? With Hey, company, you know, company wide email. Hey, John. Greg wants to go to pneumatics. Nobody has any issues with John Gray, Roy Nolan at safety, recruiting dispatch, you know, and I mean, we all can’t take a chance. Sure, you know, getting on pneumatics it’s a big deal. So you really got to take care of business and be able to handle the customers and handle the product and understand the product. And all of us are going to be different products. You’re going to hall gun load, you’re gonna figure all that stuff. Oh,

John Gray  27:12

yeah. And cleaning, you know, making sure that like you said, no cross contamination. Yes. Yeah, that’s a bigger issue than a dump trailer, obviously. You got to sweep and wash your trailer out, but it’s still a whole different process, especially food grade material.

Jeremy Kellett  27:26

Yeah, different process. And I think you’re right, I mean, I think it’s a good move for you.

John Gray  27:30

I do and I think it’s, it’s where I wanted to be and I understand the reasoning behind it now. Being here and not throwing somebody into it because you don’t know. But I think as far as you know, showing up here I think I’ve proved myself to I’ll definitely work so

Jeremy Kellett  27:47

so maybe six more months down the road with

John Gray  27:51

pneumatic journeys going because it’s probably gonna be a journey, you know, so it probably wasn’t but you know, not in all figured out and it’s definitely a like I said, I feel like it’s more of a fine tuning process than just raising the trailer and dumping something on the ground.

Jeremy Kellett  28:08

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 to 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 competitive mileage pay 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, and a clean, dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just want more information, you can go to Oakley trucking.com Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel just a couple general questions for you in trucking and then we’ll shut it down. You know what are some of the biggest challenges truck drivers face every day out there on the road? Safety

John Gray  29:21

Now traffic I guess that’s probably my biggest concern was the traffic and watching people around you and trying to look 10 seconds ahead to keep you know what’s this guy gonna do? What’s that guy gonna do? You know, is this guy making a turn or no signals, this guy making a turn, what do you know, to me that’s probably my biggest challenge you know? Is traffic you got to be on your game you got to be on your you got to be on 100% All the time, all the time. And my biggest gripe is the past people on their phone. And I see this daily and I know you know, they’re big with you know, not being on your phone obviously. So CDL but to me, it should be related to everybody because most of these cars I mean, it’s always and you can tell the ones coming here yesterday, I mean, there was a guy going right pretty much for you come into a little rock here for right in the middle line in a pickup 50 mile an hour 70 mile an hour zone, you know, you pull up beside him, what’s he doing? He’s on his phone. And you know, when it’s, to me, that’s the biggest, that’s my biggest hurdle every day is making it through that day as safe as possible without an accident. And that gets harder by the day. So it

Jeremy Kellett  30:36

does. We’ve talked about that before where some other rights, other drivers and the phone have really changed. It’s a problem. And you know, now that you say that, I think about everybody, really, they push this no texting and driving wrecked, but I’ve never seen anybody stopped. That seems like, you know, does anybody get pulled over for texting and driving? I wonder to myself? I really didn’t mean you see it on the signs. But you? I mean? Well, I mean, the cops are out there doing right?

John Gray  31:07

Right? I shouldn’t say that about all, not all of them. But you’ll have your selected View. And I’ve seen that. But you

Jeremy Kellett  31:13

Now, it’s just like it’s an epidemic. It is a

John Gray  31:17

problem. When you look at Annabelle over, almost look at her takes the

Jeremy Kellett  31:21

phone text, and at least he’s not driving, I just am driving the camera. Hey,

John Gray  31:27

you got to worry about those five wheels up under you over there. So they slip out from under you?

Jeremy Kellett  31:31

Well, I know those you know, that’s a challenge every day for sure. When you’re driving,

John Gray  31:35

I guess that’s my biggest deal. And another one, I guess really not related to the driving aspect is, you know, trying to find somewhere good to eat. Healthy eat. Because everything nowadays is based off of him. We had this conversation last night, me and Ben were talking, you know, and his sister was here, she’s least on here. And so we were talking and you know, and it’s a lot of the older truck stops That I was used to, you know, I could be going to learn to call them oh man, hey, we’re somewhere good to eat here. And you gotta get off this eggs and go over here and you go over here, the good places, they’re all going away. And they change them. And it runs into fast food and it runs into whatever’s quickest. And and that stuff gets gets old fast. And that’s, that’s another challenge, I guess is trying to eat healthy on the road? Because it’s almost impossible. Yeah. And they make it so they make it almost impossible to find anything halfway decent. So you take any food we sometimes do, you know, you gotta you gotta always have some, because you might get hung up. Yeah, definitely. And but now carry stuff, you know, I’ll try to carry, you know, snacks and different things with me and sometimes same old stuff and drink some water. But it’s still not. It’s not like home cooking. You

Jeremy Kellett  32:49

know, what advice would you give an owner operator that may be struggling? Or a new owner operator coming into the business or thinking about GM? And how what do they need to what needs to be a priority to them to be successful as an owner operator,

John Gray  33:07

a new owner operator that’s never been in the business. I guess it’s all based on the individual. But as a new owner operator, you have a lot of responsibility. It’s more than just buying a truck. It’s just you’re the boss of your company. Personally, it depends on a lot of people who like toys. Me personally, money wise, on Earth. And you mentioned I think when you were talking to Dean, you know, you need a cushion. You know, I came in here with a $20,000 cushion for that truck. And to me that, that’s a big, big deal. Peace of mind. It is a peace of mind because I don’t have to worry, it’s there. I know what’s there. And it stays there. And so basically, I would suggest probably you know, maybe liquidate some of the things you don’t need until you can get those things so you go because the biggest concern that you should have as owner operators, you’re number one because that truck provides the revenue and provides the revenue. And if you want that truck to provide you want to be successful in trucking, it’s in your best interest probably to liquidate some of the items in your life that you don’t need. And I have done that. I made motorcycles. I was gonna say police motorcycles I got I got a boat a mess every day. And you know, but to me, it was . I guess you looked at you like oh my god, I don’t want to get rid of my boat. But then until you get on your feet until you get that cushion because a lot of guys don’t start with that cushion. You know they gotta get it in if you have these extra things, liquidate them, get rid of them. And to always make it always bought back. Always. I’ve been looking at boats again. So my wife would kill me, but so it’s, to me it was getting rid of everything that I didn’t need to make sure that everything worked out like it was supposed to. That’s pretty smart. A lot of people can’t do that. And it’s all mindset, you know, and you get it in your head. That’s like somebody was talking because I used to smoke cigarettes. It was the fifth time I saw my little girls, 14. I quit a year before we had her. So it’s been 15 years since I smoked cigarettes. And but it’s on your hate. You know, if you want to sell, if you want to make money. Here’s the place to do it. Like we talked, you know, what I was told when I came here. And we talked in the last episode, I was on the numbers. You know, that was a big issue for me, because the numbers that we saw, then obviously, were the numbers that I’m seeing now. Yeah, yeah. So nothing changed. Even on slow days. Good. So you’re gonna have those but yeah, just common sense. Again, common sense, liquidate the things you don’t need, purchase the truck that’s affordable for you, that you feel comfortable with. And to get started. And you know, Don’t overextend yourself. That’s what a lot of people I find do here. They overextend themselves, and they end up making a lot of money. And when they make that money, then that’s all well, I can do this now. Well, cash is always King. Just remember that. Yeah. So if you can, you know, pay for those items that way, then, you know, life is a lot better. But go to

Jeremy Kellett  36:35

what’s the future look like? John

John Gray  36:36

Gray looks great.

Jeremy Kellett  36:38

What do you have planned in the next five to 10 years? Well,

John Gray  36:41

I’d say when the warranty runs out on this one, I’d say we’ll probably upgrade and get another truck. And 510 years I plan on being here mostly to fire me around me.

Jeremy Kellett  36:53

But kids gonna be grown kids

John Gray  36:56

I will be a little girl driving here in a couple of years. We already know that we’re at work. And little boy, he’s just he’s still got a while yet. But, things are good at the gray house. Yeah, life was good here. Life is. Because life is good here, is life better?

Jeremy Kellett  37:16

Well, I think a lot of mine has to do with your attitude. And when

John Gray  37:20

and I tell a lot of people this when you come here, you know, you got to keep an open mind. This company’s not for everybody. You know, there’s certain things you guys want done. And that’s what needs to be done. And that’s big for me, I’m big on customer service. And I always have been, because that’s who pretty much pays me, that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. And so where the money comes from, some people don’t like it, you know, and, and those people end up weeding themselves out. But customer service is key. And as long as somebody comes here with an open mind, and the you know, a great attitude, not a good attitude, a great attitude, then you’ll go far,

Jeremy Kellett  37:59

and what you mean, you do so much better in life. 100% I mean, just definitely wake up in a whole different mindset, you know, when you have a good outlook on things instead of waking up and poor pitiful me and I’m a victim and this miserable hating life, right?

John Gray  38:17

You know, blaming all your bad decisions on somebody else. Yeah. And that’s, that’s just a life lesson in general, because there’s a lot of people that do that, you know, and, but when I wake up here, and whatever state I’m in, in the morning, because, you know, we go to a lot of states, so life is good. You don’t have good days and bad days that’s trucking.

Jeremy Kellett  38:36

When you make that decision or that decision, you wake up. That’s right. You make that decision. What kind of day I’m on if I had it today, I’m gonna have

John Gray  38:45

and that sets the mood for the whole day. Whether it’s good or bad,

Jeremy Kellett  38:50

and good advice, John Gray. You’re a pretty smart man. And I’ve enjoyed visiting with you here.

John Gray  38:57

Just thanks for having me. I enjoyed the get-together. Like I said, I wasn’t here last year for the party and you know, I’d always heard it was a, you know, good deal. And I actually really enjoyed it because I got to see and talk to a lot of these people that you see online. You talk online, you make a lot of friends. You made a lot of friends. Oh, beanie, he was wondering, yeah, I tried to get Benny on the podcast, but he wouldn’t happen, man. It’s

Jeremy Kellett  39:21

in the works. Hey, I actually wanted to do it.

John Gray  39:25

I told him I said beanie. I said I’m gonna be on the podcast with Jeremy. I said maybe December might be here for a little while. I said get your butt up here. He said it ain’t happening. I said Danny. Anyway, so

Jeremy Kellett  39:37

he’s actually coming around now saying he’s going

John Gray  39:42

Well, he’s trying to get dentists to do it with him. Oh, yeah. So you know it’s probably either both or none are yeah that’s what’s gonna happen but we’re gonna work we still go now I enjoy I like said it was, I don’t know too many companies that do what you guys have done or due for the drivers, and that means probably more to me than anything. I mean, you can make money at a lot of companies. I mean, there’s companies out here that pay money every day. But are there companies that treat their owner operators like Oakley?

Jeremy Kellett  40:15

That’s good to know. Because I’ve been to a few companies, we don’t know, we’ve never been done. I’ve never been doing it. I don’t understand how a lot of the companies do it. You know, we, you

John Gray  40:26

I know there are some good companies. But I mean, if you look online, and you follow the trucking industry, you know, like, truck driver appreciation, there’s nobody posting more about truck driver appreciation week than ugly. Yeah. I mean, it’s just easier to do. So I mean, when you find something that’s good, or too good to be true. Yeah. Now that is too good to be true. Worked out to be exactly what I thought

Jeremy Kellett  40:48

it was gonna get your father

John Gray  40:49

and all in here. No, no, we’re gonna get him and get him down here. If I have to go over here and buy a plane ticket. Yeah. But no, I really enjoy it here. And I’ll just be thankful for the opportunity to be on the podcast. Yeah. So it’s the second time. I enjoy it. Yeah. It’s a good thing. And it’s informational. I mean, a lot of people. Hey,

Jeremy Kellett  41:11

man, we’re getting out to more and more people every day who said to Annabelle keeps us up to date on that every week. Good. We got some more subscribers and everything’s going good. So

John Gray  41:21

even though she did cut me short on my truck interview.

Jeremy Kellett  41:26

Now you’re getting some you get some more time a little

John Gray  41:28

more famous. That’s coming.

Jeremy Kellett  41:31

Right? Well, John, thanks for being here, buddy out there. Thanks for listening to the Opie podcast, I hope stuff like this, that information that you get from our owner operators, is for real, authentic information that we’re getting here. You know, it’s not something that’s rehearsed, it’s not something we go over ahead of time when we get in here, we get in here and talk and it comes from the heart. And, you know, I hope that goes a long way with the listeners out there, because that’s what we’re trying to bring, you know, we’re trying to bring you some good, honest information to help you become a successful owner operator, whether you’re already here or not here, I mean, if you’re at another company, some of this advice works for you, too. So take it and do something good with it. And I appreciate everybody listening to this podcast every week. Give me some feedback. If you want to hear something else. I’ll be glad to try it and do a little research and see what we can do. We got a lot of stuff coming up. Down the road. This is maybe a little bit early. We might have another couple episodes after this. But we’re pretty much I think we’re gonna take the month of December off from producing actually Aaron any new episodes, and crying back up on the first day here, but I’ll give you more details on that later. Thanks again to everybody who listened to the Oakley podcast and we’ll talk to you next week. 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.