190: Hauling with Love: How Mike and Maleah Husinga Keep Trucking and Marriage on the Right Track

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Mike and Maleah Huisinga on the show. Mike is an owner-operator at Oakley and his wife Maleah is on the road with her husband in trucking. During this episode, Mike and Maleah share their story of becoming owner-operators. They discuss the challenges and rewards of working together on the road, their family life, and their move to Oakley Trucking. Maleah’s role in supporting Mike’s trucking business is also highlighted, alongside the importance of reliable trucks and the support systems provided by Oakley Trucking. The episode offers insights into the personal and professional lives of a couple navigating the trucking industry. You won’t want to miss it! 

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Upcoming Event: Serving the Folks at Port 33 (2:08)
  • Meeting Mike and Maleah (4:51)
  • Transition from Farming to Trucking (5:33)
  • How Mike and Maleah met and Got Married (6:11)
  • Mentorship and Trucking Success (10:26)
  • Transition to Oakley Trucking (11:55)
  • Truck Upgrade and Living in Florida (13:33)
  • Importance of Partner Support in Trucking (17:06)
  • Awareness and Safety in Trucking (18:32)
  • Focusing on Safe Driving and Customer Care (19:33)
  • Experience with Pulling a Dump Trailer (20:13)
  • Transition to Mileage Mentality and Dispatch System (22:17)
  • Benefits of Joining Oakley Trucking (23:50)
  • Mike and Maleah’s Personal Interests and Priorities (26:45)
  • Advice for Married Couples in Trucking (27:12)
  • Setting Goals and Achieving Financial Stability (28:40)
  • Friendship and Support in Trucking Community (30:36)
  • Final thoughts and takeaways (33:35)

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.


Maleah Huisinga  00:12

Michael watched pretty much every podcast and did a lot of research before we made the move to come here. And, you know, one of the things that I think we were talking about last night was the hometown versus the pay. You know, sometimes there’s a give and take, you know, at most companies, you get one or the other. And I feel like here, it’s been great both. I mean, to be able to say we can get the hometown that we need, but also make the most money that he’s ever made in trucking. It was a really good move. And

Mike Huisinga  00:42

Just the stability is steady, that’s been a good thing with Oakley. It’s always steady.

Jeremy Kellett  00:47

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 inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hi, this Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley Podcast: trucking, business and family. Once again, we are coming from North Little Rock, Arkansas, here in the studio. And we have a couple of guests with us today. And we’re going to talk a little bit about their story, their success story, how they got into trucking, what they’re doing now, you know, compared to what they were doing, I think it’s very interesting story to talk about going from my longtime farmer, to deciding to get into truck and be an owner operator. And then also meeting your wife and bringing her along with you. So we’re gonna talk about some of the things that they do every day to make their marriage work. Living in a truck for most of the part. Also, we’re going to talk about, you know, just the things that Oakley provides here, you know, for an owner operator and how people are successful. And just, it’s always good, you know, we can get one of our owner operators to sit down and visit with us and tell their story because, like I’ve said before they tell it like it is, they don’t sugarcoat and they tell you the good and the bad. And that’s what we lock here. But before we get started, I want to talk about one thing we’ve got coming up April the 16th, 17th and 18th. We’re going to be over port 33. I don’t know if you guys have watched the episode we did port 33. A few weeks ago, I got to talk to those guys over there and talk about everything that happens at that port 33 which is, if you don’t know, just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Highway forward oil there. It’s a huge port, with a lot of things going on. I run in, you know, three, four or 500 trucks a day come in and out of this place. We opened a trucking terminal up there about eight years ago. And it’s just been a great place for us, a great asset for us. And what we do is we go there once a year and we typically go over there in April because we just try to time it that’s where you know fertilizer is hot, and go on and grain is going on and there’s a lot of trucks coming in now that facility and what we do is we just go over there and cook for whoever it is you know some of its Oakley owner operators but most of its other owner operators coming in now they we also cook for the board employees there. So it’s a fun time. We do it three days in a row, typically from about 10am to 2pm. We’re cooking hamburgers, and we got a lot of giveaways we have over there and we set up a big tent so we invite everybody to come out and check us out for those three days. We’re usually doing it the first two days, we cook and then the third day we have somebody catered. So great time, what a big crowd over there so be sure and put that on your calendar for April 16 17th and 18th. And before we get started, let’s hear a word from Arrow Truck Sales.

Arrow Truck Sales Commercial  04:00

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Jeremy Kellett  04:48

Alright, let’s get started and talk to Mike and Malia. They are from Calla Alabama Zahra McAuliffe. makalah Mark Malia makalah Yeah, that’s right. I got it. Appreciate you guys coming up here and sitting down with me. Yes, sir. How y’all making it today? Good,

Mike Huisinga  05:05

good, good and off work for a week or so. Yeah. Ready to get the driver fixed yesterday to get it done. I’ll have it done when we work through this. Okay, so really hit the road and get out of here. Yes, sir. You know, we

Jeremy Kellett  05:18

I talked a little bit yesterday, kind of preparing for this, but it was interesting. I thought the story was you being a sixth generation farmer, I believe in your family, something like that. from Illinois. Yep. Central Illinois. Tell me about that. Well, before we get into that story, listen, or do I want y’all to introduce yourself? Gore. So you have any kids? Where are you from? That kind of stuff. I’ll go and start my alright.

Mike Huisinga  05:45

My accusing guy. And like Jeremy said, from Alabama. We’ve got a daughter, Kylie, she’s 23. Action. Graduates were their masters here in April. And my wife Malia, Malia, now

Jeremy Kellett  06:03

Are you from Alabama? Right.

Maleah Huisinga  06:05

I’m from Alabama. He’s from Illinois. We met at the beach. And go,

Jeremy Kellett  06:11

Yeah, no kidding. I was gonna ask how y’all got together?

Mike Huisinga  06:14

Yeah, we was on vacation and ended up crossing paths there and

Jeremy Kellett  06:20

years ago now. Okay. So three years. How long? Y’all been married? About a year

Mike Huisinga  06:25

and a half? Yeah. Almost two years until June.

Jeremy Kellett  06:29

So when you met him down at the beach, and you discovered he was a truck driver? Yeah. Well, what did you think?

Maleah Huisinga  06:36

It was interesting. I didn’t know a lot about the trucking industry. So it was cool to talk to him about it. You could tell he was very passionate about it, which I did love. But since then, I’ve learned a lot. So what are you? What were you doing? I was working for a company out of Maine. Virtual.

Jeremy Kellett  06:56

Okay. Yeah. Okay. And now you’re not? I am. You still are? Yep. And you’re doing this? Yeah. Are you writing anything? Yep. Yeah,

Mike Huisinga  07:05

it works out. Well, she does that now. And then we have to stop for her to be on video for a call or something. But yeah, typically, she can just do it while we’re going down the road. Yeah, it works out very well. That is

Jeremy Kellett  07:17

pretty inner. Yeah. So y’all made on the beach, figured out? Oh, man, this might be the one. And how did you stay in touch? I mean, because he’s, I mean, vacation is over. And a few days. So you go your separate ways. And

Mike Huisinga  07:35

It was just because we both had unconventional type jobs, she could come up to Illinois, spend a week or two and visit and do her job there. And at that time, I was hauling freight on the load board. So I just got a load down to Alabama. And I’d run down there for a week or two and visit and vice versa,

Jeremy Kellett  07:54

worked out. And then finally got married. You decided Malia said, All right, I’m going in this truck. Yeah, for me. Yeah, we’re doing this, we’re doing this. Yeah. That had to be a big change. It

Maleah Huisinga  08:10

was a big change. But it’s been fun. I think, doing that very early on straight out of the gate, getting married. And, you know, I think we bonded probably a little bit differently than most newly married couples, you know, just rip the band aid or out of the gate together. together all the time. Yeah.

Mike Huisinga  08:28

For better or worse.

Jeremy Kellett  08:33

Yeah, well, that’s very interesting, though. And I want to get back to that at some point here, you know, to talk about spending time in the truck and, and how you manage that and all that kind of stuff. And your perspective from you know, now never know when a truck driver will be in a truck, kind of what that’s like, but first I want to get back to the farm and do it because I know that has to be a huge step. Tell me about your family and in the farm and that

Mike Huisinga  08:57

They have a big operation. corn and soybeans, they’re in central Illinois, and my dad and brother and granddad my late grandma passed away this summer. So it’s the was the three of them and then me and a cousin of mine we started there you know shortly after we got out of high school, and now it’s two of my cousins and my dad and his brother still farm there and so I help them from time to time when I can get big farm. Big farm Yeah, big operation. You used to do some livestock out of that and just corn and soybeans now so you grew up in this yep, that’s what I was gonna do. My whole life was farming. You know?

Jeremy Kellett  09:40

So how did you end up in a truck just

Mike Huisinga  09:43

wanting to get out and do my own thing and at the time it worked out well I could help them in the spring in the fall and then on haul freight the rest of the year.

Jeremy Kellett  09:51

But when you when you brought up buying a truck What did your family yeah,

Mike Huisinga  09:56

They all thought I was crazy. Not that I was Crazy. Well, they tell you, well, they were pretty much supportive. For the most part except granddad. Yeah, he told me, I’ve never seen a truck driver that made much money. You know? You’ll feel it. You’ll figure it out and want to come back to the farm eventually. And what did they tell you? Made me want to work hard. Yep. He was good at it.

Jeremy Kellett  10:21

And then you went out and were successful? And

Mike Huisinga  10:26

Yes, sir. I bought my first truck at 22. And I had to be 23 to get on to insurance. I ended up leasing to a friend of mine there. He’s a very small farmer, and then a single truck owner operator. So at least on with him, and he taught me the ropes of everything. And was super crucial. And me being as successful as I am now. I was pleased to have him for a long time and kind of a mentor. I showed you big time. Yeah, really? Yep. So he taught me everything I needed to know, basically from work, and I’ve been working on trucks my whole life and tractors, you know, but just, I had a problem anytime. And I could call him and he knew how to Jerry Rig anything, or say, you know, get me down the road or get home. Right. So he just taught me about load boards and hauling freight. And that which was all totally foreign to me, you know, I’d heard a lot of grain growing up, and fertilizer, stuff like that, but not any freight. So I started in with that to get a driver or rephrase what I started out with. Yeah. And then we kind of morphed into Drive and and also did some local fertilizer hauling for local Co Op there. In the springtime,

Jeremy Kellett  11:48

What made you want to branch out and do more? I mean, how did you figure out about Oakley, I’d

Mike Huisinga  11:55

see in the trucks on the road, and just got to looking into them. And actually, we were Jenica. I was looking at coming over here. About a year ago, when we moved down south and ended up leasing on with an outfit that had their own load board. I thought that’d be a better deal. I could pick and choose where I wanted to go and when I wanted to go, but it didn’t take me long to figure out. If I was going to be on the road. I wanted to be making money and I wasn’t making much money at that outfit. And so it didn’t really matter where I went. If I’m away from home, you know, might as well be making money. Yeah.

Maleah Huisinga  12:33

Well, I think the big thing for you there too that’s been different at Oakley is the loaded and unloaded miles. Because we would pick a load and then you’d get somewhere and there’d be nothing coming out. And so it’d be on us. Yeah, you know,

Jeremy Kellett  12:49

Did you help me with some of this? As far as the freight look in and oh, yeah, gotta make money and

Mike Huisinga  12:54

In the last outfit, she was a load board. Oh, yeah. Board coordinator Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  13:03

Dispatcher exactly slash finance.

Mike Huisinga  13:06

That’s right. Yeah, I guess Yeah. And that’s what she does a lot of now is all my paperwork and send it in my trip envelopes and she takes care of all that for me. So that’s

Jeremy Kellett  13:18

very just to clarify for our listeners. You’ve been here since November Yeah,

Mike Huisinga  13:21

just started right after Thanksgiving. No, came down right after Thanksgiving and went out on the road the first day of December so I hadn’t been here too long.

Jeremy Kellett  13:30

And you bought a truck to come here? Do

Mike Huisinga  13:32

I already had a truck but I sold it and traded it in and upgraded to a newer truck when I came here.

Jeremy Kellett  13:38

So let’s talk about that for a minute. What kind of truck you get

Mike Huisinga  13:41

22 model w 900 Kenworth and it’s got the studio sleeper which is much bigger than our old bunk so it’s been a game changer for the both of us. I have a lot more room in there. And he

Jeremy Kellett  13:55

put in the window yesterday. Okay. White wise is the truck

Mike Huisinga  13:59

It’s right on the border out of the borderline figure. I run with half a tank of fuel all the time and I load it to 79 Five at least every time to get good enough. Good. So that makes it a little more of a challenge having that heavier truck but it’s worth it. Yeah having the boat that

Jeremy Kellett  14:17

We’ll have a nice truck. I mean it means a lot you know you feel good about it. Yeah. And feel good when you’re in it. Exactly. When you got it cleaned up shined up

Mike Huisinga  14:27

It’s a big orange truck. I wasn’t thrilled with the caller whenever I bought it but I bought it used and so it’s starting to grow on me.

Jeremy Kellett  14:37

Nothing wrong with a warranty. No, I mean you know a little bit when the time you get your last me

Mike Huisinga  14:47

you tend to see fan and I’m like no, I guess I need to

Jeremy Kellett  14:50

put your alibi mistake or something. Yeah, something like that. So I also noticed now where you Have you been in Florida? Yeah,

Mike Huisinga  15:01

we lived there for just under a year I guess in the Panhandle there. Oh, recently I’ve been married. Yeah, we just moved back. Right, we rarely come here. Okay. We sold our place down there to a neighbor he had been, it was tough for me to get home. Especially hauling freight. Yeah, down there. And we’d spend our time off in Alabama visiting family or an Illinois visiting family and we wouldn’t normally go home now on their off and so like since we always had our home there in Alabama still, so we just moved back in there and our daughter was living there, Washington going to school, so we just moved back in there with our van a good move.

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Jeremy Kellett  16:30

You know, being an owner operator is not an easy gig. You know, for a lot of people, it takes a lot to do what you did, you know, to leave a family farm and go out on your own with people, you know, being supportive. But also, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if you came back. Right? You know, right. But it takes a lot to do that. And most people do it by themselves. Mike, you got Malia here helping you? I mean, can you tell me a difference in that because you weren’t doing it by yourself for a while? Right? Definitely here difference

Mike Huisinga  17:05

she just takes a lot of the business side off of it. For me, you know, while I’m on the road, I don’t have to worry about that. So that’s a big bonus there. Also, she does all the cooking. We do a lot of cooking in the truck. How do you do that? Oh,

Maleah Huisinga  17:23

gosh, we got everything. The microwave, the airfryer, the skillet airfryer? Is

Jeremy Kellett  17:28

that not a genius? Yeah,

Maleah Huisinga  17:29

it’s a game changer is a game changer we

Jeremy Kellett  17:32

I did it at home too. We’ve

Mike Huisinga  17:33

got a real small one. Save on space, since you’ll have to run two rounds in it sometimes. Yeah. Now, we could eat pretty well,

Maleah Huisinga  17:42

or you could do all kinds of stuff. I mean, we’ll do steak. We do pork chops. I mean, I try to do what we would normally do at home. I like for him not to have to eat at the truck stop more than he has to. So I do try to at least keep him fed and watered. You know, I like to take all that off. So he can just focus on the road. And so she doesn’t

Mike Huisinga  18:05

have to keep me alive going down the road. Yeah, yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  18:08

Well, it takes a lot to go down the road. Yeah, these days. I mean, just drive down the road. And

Mike Huisinga  18:14

It’s also nice having that extra set of eyes in the truck with me. Yeah, I’ve been lost several times where she spotted something somebody was gonna do in front of us before I did, you know, when I can make the adjustment. So have

Jeremy Kellett  18:26

you Malia? Have you learned a lot of how to drive up in that truck? Talk about that?

Maleah Huisinga  18:31

Oh, yeah. Well, you know, I think you know much about the trucking industry, I think you always just assume, you know, these seminars, like we’ve got to watch out for him, you know, and in some cases you do. But for me, it’s just been so eye opening to see how many people are just completely unaware of the way they drive the situation around them. I mean, and because I sit up so high, it’s just on their phones, putting on makeup, it’s insane. And so, and just not knowing just the normal courtesies of a truck driver. So you know, he’s not leaving that much space so that you can cut over in front, he’s leaving that much space because he needs it to stop in an emergency. And so just seeing how unaware a lot of people are, it’s scary. Yeah, for sure. So it’s definitely nice to be with him and help him do whatever I can do so that he can stay focused on driving because it definitely can be dangerous.

Jeremy Kellett  19:27

Yeah, yeah. I mean, just watching all around you. You got to watch all around you. Yeah. Then focusing on it. I can see where you know, you’re not so distracted with finances and where my next load doesn’t come from and you know, things like that where you can just focus on driving safely, taking care of customers, that’s a big enough area out there. And

Mike Huisinga  19:48

With Oakley, that’s something that I’ve enjoyed is not having to be on the load board. Looking for my next load or stress, I don’t have a load coming out of here and You know, I’ve got to stop and get on there and find one or I’m going to be sitting and waiting. It’s nice to not have that aspect. No, when I get there and get unloaded, I’m gonna have a load pretty quick. Be back.

Jeremy Kellett  20:13

I’ll talk about that for a minute about pulling a dump driver for Oakley. I mean, that’s something, I guess you have experienced it a little bit before. So that’s kind of why you gravitate towards. Yeah,

Mike Huisinga  20:24

and our trucks pull a big Hopper bottom too heavy for that. But I enjoy it. So far, for the most part, every place is good that we gave it to you. Couple of them are not ideal, especially for a big long truck. Like I don’t know how you get in and out of some of these places, take some maneuver. And now and then it’s a little bit of work, you know, sometimes you get up. There’s a place in Birmingham and we load coke out of and that’s two times I’ve been there, I was way overloaded on my drives and had them by hand move 2500 pounds, a big chunk cup, from the front to the back to just throw in it, you know, so days like that are a little frustrating button. Also, I don’t mind the physical work, you know, get out of the truck, do a little bit of work. Yeah, definitely get dirty. Which I’m just used to growing up on the farm and stuff. But I enjoy the in and out with the customers. There’s not a lot of waiting. You’re in and out pretty quick. Typically.

Jeremy Kellett  21:27

How about the customers? You know, because in the trucking world, in general, truck drivers and trucking companies have a bad reputation, you know, bad stigma. And I always tell a lot of the owner operators who come in here that, you know, our customers are different, though they’re for the most part. They’ll receive you. Well, is that the case? Yeah. Yes,

Mike Huisinga  21:50

sir. It ain’t like a grocery warehouse. Like I’m used to a lot of my career and the reefer. They all hate their jobs, and they hate you because you’re there and they don’t want to be there. And they don’t want you to be there. You know? Yeah. But it is different. Yeah. Most of them. They’re ready for what you got. They want it and it seems like they treat Oakley trucks pretty good. Yeah, they know we’re gonna come in there and do a good job.

Jeremy Kellett  22:15

How about the dispatch system here? Seems to work out very well.

Mike Huisinga  22:19

I haven’t had any kind of you had to get used to that, I

Jeremy Kellett  22:21

guess. Yeah, I’ve never and you had to go from I’m sorry to cut you off. But from percentage mentality to mileage

Mike Huisinga  22:29

morality. It’s nice not having to worry about it. Nice not having to worry about the deadhead. I’ve deadheaded over 600 Miles several times for a loan. You know, it doesn’t bother me like

Jeremy Kellett  22:41

that 2 million because I know you said you booked a lot of loads for wine before you came over here. Yep. How is the mileage loaded and empty? Sit with you. It’s

Maleah Huisinga  22:51

just been a game changer. Because, you know, the stress of the drive is enough. But to feel like you’re stuck somewhere. And you have to say I’ve got to get out of here to get a load but I’m not gonna get paid to get there. You know, that’s a lot on him. It’s stressful. It’s and so for us now just, it doesn’t matter where we go, we’re gonna get paid, loaded, or empty. And it’s been a game changer not having to worry about piecing trips together. So that’s been huge.

Jeremy Kellett  23:20

It takes a little while to get used to our system.

Mike Huisinga  23:24

It’s been pretty flawless. Yeah, good. Settlements.

Jeremy Kellett  23:27

Good. You’ve been able to read them and understand them. Yes, sir. Yeah, because everybody’s different. Yeah.

Mike Huisinga  23:33

I just got a new dispatcher. Oh, I’ve done a couple loads for him so far. That seems like we’re going to work together very well. Good. Good. So excited to get

Jeremy Kellett  23:43

going for it. You know, it’s bottom line is we want to make money while we’re out here doing this deal. That’s right. That’s right. Got a big W 900. You got to pay for

Maleah Huisinga  23:51

Yeah. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  23:56

Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic trailers. 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 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. What else is going on in the market? Malia From Ocala laughs.

Mike Huisinga  25:02

Well, we just bought a fishing boat. It actually just came in what is its center console, aluminum center console. 20 foot Express, bay boat mass, but we use it mainly crappy fish and all of our good Alabama lakes and rivers there. Okay,

Jeremy Kellett  25:21

Is that South Alabama or north? West Central? Central. So what lakes are you close to there?

Mike Huisinga  25:27

Well, we’re about an hour and a half from Guntersville. Lake Martin Logan Martin, with a Coosa River. Tennessee River if about the Alabama River. We’re right on the Road Warrior River, which is also a really good fish there. Oh, yeah, her grandad’s got a place there on the Warrior River, boat ramp, boathouse, all that stuff. So we’ll be spending quite a few weekends there.

Jeremy Kellett  25:53

Yeah, learning at River. Yeah. John in the Groppi. Yeah,

Mike Huisinga  25:58

I grew up on a power plant lake in Illinois there. So river life is completely different. You know, you have a gate in the river.

Jeremy Kellett  26:05

Yeah, yeah. But I bet Joe got off subject but Joe did a bunch of deer hunting up here on yo, yo. Yeah, growing up. I did. Oh, no, but that’s people want to come from everywhere to go to Illinois to find and

Mike Huisinga  26:18

the county was County where I’m from. There’s very little timber at all. It’s pretty much flat, wide open ground. So we had one farm that had a little patch of timber, but it happened to be in a really good spot. And so I’ve killed some dandies. Haha, but you haven’t hunted deer much at all in the last 10 years. But back to get back into it. Well, you

Jeremy Kellett  26:40

priorities have changed like, yeah, you know? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. What would y’all tell? You know, other married couples out there? That, you know, that is, they’re involved in the trucking, whether their spouse is a driver and she stays home? Or whether they truck together? I mean, because it’s known to be hard to make a marriage work and be a truck driver? Definitely. You know, we all got a bass for the people that listen, I’d say

Mike Huisinga  27:13

for the wives at home, you know, just trust and support your husband while he’s on the road that needs any extra stress? Drama type stuff. There’s a

Jeremy Kellett  27:26

I think, I mean, really a support, it means a lot

Mike Huisinga  27:30

big time. Yeah, you know, there’s no one she’s gonna be there when you call and I was talking

Jeremy Kellett  27:34

to the guys that came through orientation yesterday. And I do it every, every week. And, you know, I asked them if they have support? Or do they have a bunch of naysayers that say, Why did you buy a truck, you know, you’re gonna go to a broken bomb truck, you should have never done that, you know, and because I want them to me I want to make sure that they have support. All right, I said, you know, it’s very important that you have it, whether it’s a friend or a spouse, or whatever, you got to have somebody encouraging you and supporting you. And I said, if you don’t call me, I’ll be glad to support you in this because I want you to be successful in this. So it is very important that they have that whether it’s in the truck with you, like Malia is doing or where it’s at the house, the right. One,

Maleah Huisinga  28:15

I think there’s something to be said about keeping your eye on the prize, you know, dream and making goals together. Because I think part of that is kind of pushing through the hard times, you know, you got something to focus on, and you’re working towards something together. And so I think that makes it easier in those tougher times to say, You know what, this is tough right now, the schedule is tough, but this is what we’re, this is what we’re working towards.

Jeremy Kellett  28:40

If you don’t mind me asking, What are you working towards?

Maleah Huisinga  28:42

Well, let’s say we, since we’ve been at Oakley, we bought a new pickup. And you know, financially joining Oakley has just been a game changer for us. And so again, when you think about the goals, you know, one of them was just being able to pay for our daughter’s tuition upfront for the semester, you know, that’s a big deal, and not something that a lot of people can just do. And so being able to support her in those types of ways, has been a big, you know, goal of ours. And I think for us running as hard as he does, it allows us to have home time with our family, you know, we’ve got my parents down the street, we’ve got a niece and a nephew and spending time with them. And this affords us that opportunity. So it’s not always easy, but

Jeremy Kellett  29:29

I think it’s a great point and it’s really good. You gotta have a goal. You know what you’re doing and ahead of you, you know, this is the plan here, right? You know, we’re moving on and something to shoot for. Yes, very important. in anything you do. That’s right. You might even be good friends out here at Oakley.

Mike Huisinga  29:46

Yeah, I have a guy that started with me and orientation, me and him to become real good friends and talk about every day and he had some struggles with his truck right out of the gate bought an older used truck and had a lot of struggles were there right out of the gate. And so I’ve been able to help them out in a few of those situations. Gannicus was Yeah, right. Yep. He was a company driver and just didn’t know a lot about working on trucks. But what I told him I didn’t really either, but, you know, over 10 years of Yeah. Just trial and tribulation.

Jeremy Kellett  30:24

I bet he’s got your number on speed. Oh, yeah.

Mike Huisinga  30:26

Yeah, we talk about every day. That’s good. Most of the time, just what’s going on? What loads are you on? You know,

Jeremy Kellett  30:35

things like that? Well, when I’ve always said, you can make some good friends here at Oakley. We got the best owner operators in the business. Yeah, I mean, it’s just amazes me that we over the years, we have gotten so many good people, when I

Mike Huisinga  30:49

I haven’t met a bad one yet. And not somebody that wasn’t friendly and willing to help. That’s great. My trainer I had. Jason, he was very great. He’s from the same area that we are in Alabama, and keep in contact with him frequently as well. Okay.

Jeremy Kellett  31:04

Good. Great conversation. Great story. You guys have gotten I think it’s encouraging to a lot of people out there a lot of our listeners, you know, it’s really encouraging. And Malia can go with you and see what you do. You know, I mean, I think it changes the game a lot of times to change your thinking, you know, if you can get everybody up in a truck for a little while. Oh, yeah, they would change the way they drove. Yes. Car.

Mike Huisinga  31:31

I would change all our truck drivers’ lives for the better. Yeah, my car days are easier.

Jeremy Kellett  31:36

Yeah, would there be anything else you’d like to add? Yeah, I

Maleah Huisinga  31:40

I think one of the main things we were talking about was, you know, Michael watched pretty much every podcast, and did a lot of research before we made the move to come here. And, you know, one of the things that I think we were really talking about last night was the hometown versus the pay, you know, sometimes there’s a give and take, you know, at most companies, you get one or the other. And I feel like here, it’s been great, both, I mean, to be able to say we can get the hometown that we need, but also make the most money that he’s ever made in trucking. It was a really good move. And so, and just

Mike Huisinga  32:16

as stability staff, that’s been a good thing with Oakley, it’s always steady. You know, obviously, some weeks pay more than others. But he can kind of figure out a line where at least I’m gonna make this much. And that’s kind of what I knew coming in, you know, it makes it easier to plan and buy this $200,000 truck, I’d have never done it if I didn’t think it was going to be stable. You know, flies can make this much every week. Any more than that to bonus, but I’ll miss as much I can keep the truck paid and keep everything at home paid. And that part’s been really good. Makes a

Jeremy Kellett  32:55

big difference. Oh, yeah. When you can make money. And you

Mike Huisinga  32:59

now, it’s gonna be staying. Yeah. Ever since I’ve started into the year there. Everyone keeps saying, Oh, we’re in a slow time right now. It’ll get better. And I’m like, Man is pretty good for slowness. I don’t know what it’s gonna be like. That’s really good. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  33:16

It goes typically, from when you started, you know, November to January. It’s typically slower than any other time. Right? Sure. But so you got to plug the podcasts. You’ve said he watched all the pot. Oh, yeah. How did that help you make a decision?

Mike Huisinga  33:35

I’ve just mainly liked watching the ones with the drivers, you know, getting their take on how Oakley has been since they started and about every one of them is that I wish I would have done this 10 years ago. Or I wish I did, you know, I would probably be retired now if I’d have done this 20 years ago. So that you know what I’m talking about, I’ve talked to a lot of guys here since I’ve been here who say the same thing.

Jeremy Kellett  34:01

Yeah, so you did your research. Yep. made a decision. Yep. Now you are glad you did. Yeah.

Mike Huisinga  34:08

No, looking back.

Jeremy Kellett  34:09

That’s the bottom line. I mean, that’s good. We’re glad he made a decision to have people like y’all, you know, to come on, and see the success, you know, that you’re gaining. And what you’re doing with your life. I mean, it just makes us feel good to, you know, goes I mean, it’s your truck pulling our trailer. We all got to make a living here. So it’s a great partnership. So appreciate y’all coming in sitting down with me. Yeah, like good conversation. Yeah. It’s been good. It is good, man. So hey, appreciate everybody watching the Oakley podcast every week, we bring you some new information as best we can. And of course, these are always the best, you know, good, unscripted testimonials from our owner operators telling their story and I think it’s always great, and how we do that. So less stuff is coming your way. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on 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, theoakleypodcast.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.