Alternate election for OOIDA Board approaches
Nov. 3 isn’t the only upcoming election. Ballots for OOIDA’s biennial Board of Directors alternate election will be sent out in December.
OOIDA’s members get the opportunity to vote for nominees to serve as alternates to the Association’s Board of Directors.
Alternates will be elected by the membership for two-year terms. Voting is open to life members, senior members, members and retired members who are current on their dues.
To help you with the election process, short biographies and comments from the nominees are featured below.
Linda Allen, 57, Spring Hill, Fla.
Linda Allen entered the trucking industry 12 years ago during the economic recession when both she and her husband lost their jobs. At the time, her husband knew how to drive a truck so they both got their CDLs, bought a truck and obtained their own authority. Linda says she knew virtually nothing about the industry or the business at that time, but then she learned about OOIDA. The staff at OOIDA provided her with guidance, support and advice to put her on the path to success. Linda has served as an alternate director on the OOIDA Board for the past two years and would love to continue to be part of the OOIDA Board to give back to the organization that gave much to her.
Linda believes that navigating trucking regulations is a difficult process for new drivers. The ELD mandate highlighted the inefficiencies in the hours-of-service regulations – inefficiencies that increased stress levels and created a ticking clock that drivers must beat to deliver the load. This can be difficult for experienced drivers but even more so for new drivers. This issue is one that Linda feels particularly passionate about, and she believes the ELD mandate only exacerbates another real issue in trucking: safe parking.
Another problem for new drivers is inadequate driver training.
Linda says that she got her CDL in two weeks and had never been in a truck prior to the training course. A week in the class, a couple days in the parking lot, and a couple more days on the road is not enough time to thoroughly train drivers. Linda was fortunate that her husband was experienced and could teach her the things a training course did not, but that isn’t the case for thousands of drivers entering the industry today. The current minimal training standards are not enough to produce safe drivers, and Linda fully supports OOIDA’s efforts to mandate meaningful training for new entrants.
As a board member, Linda brings with her a bachelor’s degree in political science. She worked and volunteered as a lobbyist previously in Georgia. She also worked as a state legislative director at a motorcycle organization. Linda says that she enjoys legislation and has extensive experience in grassroots mobilization. Linda is an engaged advocate. She has developed political contacts and relationships through her legislative and lobbying work, and she would love to bring those to OOIDA to help in the fight for truckers.
Linda and her husband haul refrigerated freight – ice cream, beef, frozen and dry goods. When not trucking, Linda loves riding motorcycles. In her free time, she enjoys lobbying trucking, veteran, disability and motorcycle issues on both state and federal levels.
Craig DeReu, 48, Mineral, Ill.
Craig DeReu is an OOIDA senior member. He comes from a family of truckers that include his grandfather, brother and nephew. Craig has his own authority and runs a one-truck, two-trailer operation and primarily hauls livestock. He has been in trucking for 25 years. He recently purchased a dry van and plans to haul seed corn over the winter when the livestock business slows down.
Craig would like to join the OOIDA Board in order to add his 2 cents to the industry and lend his voice to the issues he sees in trucking on an ongoing basis. He’s tired of complaining about all the problems in the trucking industry and is ready to take action. Craig believes he has a unique perspective, coming from the side of trucking that is responsible for feeding the nation. He is a self-taught and hands-on trucker that takes a lot of pride in what he does for a living.
Craig is very concerned with the amount of rules and regulations that are being implemented in the trucking industry.
He believes those excessive rules make it exceedingly difficult for many drivers to stay in business and do their job. Craig thinks this especially holds true in the specialized sectors of trucking. Being a livestock hauler, he can think of many examples of how current and proposed trucking regulations fail to work when applied with a blanket approach.
Another issue Craig views as a major problem is not enough safe parking places for truckers. He sees truck stops regularly being filled to capacity in the evening and not being cleared out until morning. Craig knows that forces many truckers to park somewhere unsafe more times than not, especially after the ELD mandate was put in place. He also worries about the rising costs of insurance and how that will affect many businesses in the industry.
Craig went to school to be a mechanical drafter. Craig is married, and his wife helps him stay in tune with new rules and regulations while also helping to run the business. When not trucking, he enjoys the peace and quiet the Illinois country life has to offer.
Rodney Morine, 52, Opelousas, La.
OOIDA senior member Rodney Morine comes from a trucking family. His grandfather, his father and his uncles were all truckers. Rodney says he knew from the time he was 5 years old that he wanted to join the family trucking ranks. His father had an old GMC Astro 250 cabover with straight pipes. When his dad left on a run and headed down the road, Rodney would sit up on the top bunk, grab the wooden post, and “shift” when he heard the truck shift.
Rodney joined the Association in 2001 and has served as an alternate director on the OOIDA Board for the past two years. He would like to continue as a member of the OOIDA Board to give back to trucking and OOIDA. Rodney has always been the kind of person willing to help his fellow trucker by being a mentor, lending advice or answering questions. He has used OOIDA as a resource on many occasions and would like to do his part by getting more involved in the Association.
As far as new drivers entering the industry, Rodney believes one of the biggest problems they face are the “unwritten rules and regulations” that go along with trucking.
Every industry has unwritten rules – things that people do that aren’t written down or known any other way than by word of mouth. As the older generation leaves the industry, the younger generation is missing out on that wisdom, knowledge and tradition. Trucking is like a fraternity. With any fraternity, there are traditions, stories and even rules that need to be preserved. Rodney strives to pass those kinds of things along to the next generation of truckers.
To be successful in this industry you must be versatile. You also have to keep your truck on the road. You have to know your equipment and be able to fix that equipment. Putting it in the shop for every little thing won’t get the job done and will eat up your time and money. Additionally, you have to have support at home. Even if your family isn’t in the business, they have to know enough about your business to understand the obstacles you will face.
Rodney believes he could provide some diversity to the board. OOIDA is the backbone or heartbeat of the trucking industry, but it is not reaching all the communities it needs to reach. Rodney believes he can help in that regard. He also has new and different ideas and believes he can bring a new perspective to the board.
Rodney is an owner-operator with his own authority and has been for the past 18 years. He was a company driver and a leased operator for seven years previous. He pulls a flatbed and dry van. When Rodney is not trucking, he trains dogs, spends time with his family, and helps individuals get started in the trucking business.
Kurt Plummer, 47, Somerset, Pa.
OOIDA senior member Kurt Plummer has been a trucker since 1996. He fell in love with trucking from the start. During a break in his trucking career, he earned his degree in agricultural education from Kent State University. Even after earning his degree, he couldn’t stay away from trucking for very long. Kurt also served in the Army for eight years from 1993 to his honorable discharge in 2001. He is the oldest of his seven siblings.
Kurt would like to join the OOIDA Board so he can give his best back to the trucking industry and, specifically, to OOIDA members. He feels like he has gained the experience to do just that. He has a very strong desire to do whatever it takes to help his fellow truck drivers. Kurt has an 18-year safe driving award and has been a new driver trainer for almost 10 years. He is a company driver for a carrier out of Wisconsin and sits on the company’s driver council. Kurt drives a Kenworth truck and primarily hauls beer in the eastern half of the country.
Kurt believes safety should be a top priority in the trucking industry.
He really pushes safe, accident-free driving when he is training new drivers. He believes quality truck driver training programs would be extraordinarily beneficial to the industry. Another important issue to Kurt is the physical health of drivers. He changed his diet, listens to health books on tape and has become more health conscious. In doing so, Kurt lost just shy of 100 pounds in the last couple of years. Kurt would also like to see more safe parking areas open to truckers.
Kurt has been very grateful for his experiences and knowledge gained throughout his years in trucking. He enjoys having the experience of putting chains on, of hooking up and pulling doubles and of hauling hazmat loads. He believes his experiences have helped him immensely in his career. Kurt also likes being able to share his knowledge with other drivers. He is a people person and enjoys meeting, conversing with and learning from other drivers when he makes his stops. Kurt says he is the kind of driver that is willing to do anything for anybody.
M. Carl Smith Sr., 59, Marysville, Ohio
Carl Smith first joined OOIDA in 1983 and has been in trucking most of his adult life. He knew he wanted to be a truck driver at age 12, so after high school he joined the Army and learned to drive as part of his training. Carl bought his first truck in 1983 through a lease-purchase program with Riss International in Kansas City, Mo. He paid off that truck and bought a new one in 1985. Carl has worn many hats in the trucking industry from trucker and fleet owner to dispatcher, terminal manager, truck and trailer sales, driver trainer, and truck mechanic. He is an owner-operator leased to a carrier pulling a chemical tanker.
Carl has served the Association in the role of alternate director for the past two years and would like to continue that journey for himself and the Association. He would like to use the knowledge he has learned over the past 40 years and give back to the industry that has given him so much. Carl said there is no one involved in trucking that has done the things OOIDA has and is doing for the small business trucker. He really wants to be an advocate for professional drivers, and OOIDA is the only place to do that.
Carl believes that when new drivers enter trucking they face the difficulty of living the life that is required of the job.
He says the easiest thing about being a truck driver is driving the truck. You can teach just about anyone to point the truck down the road. Everything else is the hard part – the hours you have to work, the time spent away from home and family and friends, the responsibility you must have to get that load delivered, the vigilance you must have on the road at all times. These things can be overwhelming to first-time drivers. If we can prepare new drivers for the lifestyle, we can retain more drivers for careers in trucking, he says.
To be successful in trucking, the most important and vital part of running a small business trucking company is being able to take control of the maintenance and repair of your vehicle. No matter the age of the truck, it’s going to need preventative, routine and emergency breakdown maintenance.
Carl took a course in vocational school on truck mechanics, which was just the beginning of his experience learning to work on trucks. That knowledge and experience has served him well and continues to help him daily. Being able to contain those costs and get your truck back on the road is imperative to running a good business.
When Carl is not running up and down the road for fun and profit, he is an active member in his church, a hobby farmer, and he enjoys repairing and restoring trucks and cars. LL