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Most of the time, the pressure of running a busy trucking company will eventually force a driver turned company owner to hang up his keys and let his CDL lapse.
Most of the time.
Al Jones, the founder of North Salt Lake, Utah’s Redbone Trucking Inc., is something of an anomaly within the industry.
“I got my CDL when I was 22 because it just made the most sense for me. I never really liked school but I always liked anything with a motor, whether it was a motorcycle, race car or truck. Driving has always just appealed to me in whatever form it came in,” Jones said.
“So I got my first driving job with a FedEx contractor, Treadwell Brothers Trucking. The owner there became a bit of a mentor to me and I was able to see a bit of the ins-and-outs of operating a fleet. I eventually came to buy out his FedEx contracts, which sort of ignited the growth of Redbone,” Jones continued.
Jones was only 25 years old when he took a chance and founded Redbone Trucking with a single tractor back in 2005.
While many young drivers who dream of owning their own trucking operation fail due to lack of experience, Jones succeeded by focusing on steady and sustainable growth, delivering high levels of customer service, and creating a driver-first company culture to attract and keep safe drivers. From a single truck, Redbone Trucking has now expanded to a fleet of more than 160 trucks, employing more than 200 drivers.
To this day, Jones maintains his CDL and still regularly gets behind the wheel of a Redbone truck. A couple of times a month (usually when a driver is unable to get behind the wheel due to illness or another unforeseen circumstance), Jones takes matters into his own hands and delivers the load himself.
“I think being able to take a load every now and then not only helps our customers because their freight isn’t being delayed, but it helps me stay grounded as a driver myself and ensures that I’m on the same page with our drivers. I haven’t been a full-time driver in a decade, so it’s nice to get out and remind myself,” said Jones.
Regularly driving trucks allows Jones to get face time with his customers and maintain a good feel for the industry. More importantly, driving keeps him deeply attuned to the struggles and challenges that his own drivers face on a day-to-day basis.
“I was delivering a load from Grand Junction back to Salt Lake about a month ago and there was a nasty storm in Price Canyon that got my palms sweaty,” said Jones. “It was a nice reminder that, ten times out of ten, I’d rather tell a customer their load’s going to be late than ask someone on my team to put their safety at risk.”
“Al getting in a truck every few weeks really makes my job easier because it really shows drivers that we’re a solid team here, regardless of whether you’re a new driver, support staff, or the owner. We’re not working for someone that’s just out to profit off of drivers’ hard work; we’re working for someone that really just loves trucking and wants to make sure the company understands and respects what drivers deal with,” said Wyatt Berry, Redbone’s recruiting director.
Berry says Jones is so hands-on with the company’s operations that he often fields calls into dispatch himself. “I think it’s his way of just keeping dispatch in check and making sure drivers know that he’s always there and not a stereotypical aloof owner that doesn’t have time for the nitty gritty stuff,” Berry said.
Jones is not alone in keeping in touch with his roots as a driver — the company says that most members of the office staff maintain an active CDL.
Redbone Trucking works hard to provide drivers with the respect, benefits, and positive workplace that they deserve. Drivers enjoy regular home time, competitive compensation and bonuses, 401k match, and pet and rider policies. Drivers also benefit from the company’s open-door policy and from working with skilled office staff who can quickly resolve any issues that pop up.
Redbone Trucking provides reliable transportation and logistics services to customers in all 48 states. If you’re interested in joining the company’s team of skilled, safe, and respected professional drivers, please click here to get started.
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