OOIDA Board Member Doug Smith talks TV appearance and more

December 16, 2021

SJ Munoz

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On the latest “Live From Exit 24,” OOIDA Board Member Doug Smith joined host Mike Matousek and Land Line News Anchor Scott Thompson by phone to discuss his recent venture on reality television as well as his time in the industry.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh also called in for the conversation.

Trucking has been a family affair for Smith, whose connection to the industry goes back to his early years.

“Let’s go back to when I was 3 years old and under the truck with my dad – that’s how long I’ve been learning the craft,” Smith said. “He put me behind the wheel when I was 14, but I went out on my own when I was 16. So I’ve been at it quite a while.”

The Ralph Smith Co., a family business since 1952, focuses mostly on the construction industry but also hauls groceries and moves cranes and other heavy equipment, Smith said.

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’

While trucking had been in his life as long as he can remember, it wasn’t until his mid-20s that Smith decided it would be his life’s work.

“It was a part of my life, and became a very big part of my life when I flunked out of college because I couldn’t do the math,” Smith said. “I tried geology, pre-law and education, but I kept running into the math requirement. I was driving for my dad in the summer, and it turned permanent when he died when I was 25. I was left with a mother to feed and brothers who looked to me for leadership. We all pulled together and grew our business from there.”

Since that time, West Bountiful, Utah-based Ralph Smith Co. has grown from a three-truck operation to a fleet of approximately 120 trucks and 100 employees.

“The key to that is always giving the full measure,” Smith said. “Never cheat a customer. You can only do that once, and it’s not your customer anymore.”

Leverage can also be beneficial for truckers as is asking questions and negotiating.

“Don’t be afraid to negotiate rates or detention and try to negotiate some of that stuff before you even take the load,” Pugh said. “You have different leverages at different times. Not only be good to your customers, but be good to people in general.”

A&E ‘Shipping Wars’

Smith recently appeared on A&E’s “Shipping Wars.” Smith said his appearance on the show was actually 10 years in the making. He was interviewed by a friend’s daughter, who was in search of a truck driver she could speak with.

“It’s been 10 years and three months ago she called me and asked if I’m still interested,” Smith said. “So, here we are today.”

Hauling airplane parts was among the jobs Smith undertook for one of the show’s episodes.

“I feel much better about flying now that I’ve seen an airplane inside and out,” Smith said. “They are incredibly tough and now I can see why.”

To add to the already difficult job, Smith said he had no idea what he would be doing until he showed up to work.

“That’s part of the challenge,” Smith said. “It’s kind of like on the cooking shows, when they say you’ve got these ingredients here, now make something. You try to find out what you’ll be hauling so you have the right equipment. It’s not normal for us in the transportation industry, but it’s normal for the show. We’ve got to have some challenges to overcome.”

A lot of the show is very real, Smith said.

“If you need permits, you better get permits,” Smith said. “They are not going to tell you to get permits, because you’re the professional. You make it happen the way it supposed to happen.”

CVSA

The wide-ranging conversation also touched on the CVSA annual conference, which Smith was able to attend.

“I’ve always felt like at CVSA you’re going to find a bunch of guys who lay awake at night trying to find ways they can add their own personal touch to the out-of-service criteria,” Smith said. “It was a real eye opener … they do not want to add anything to the out-of-service criteria, which really fascinated me. They are not looking for new reasons. The point of view they had about their inspectors was a lot of them don’t have common sense.”

 OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the “Live From Exit 24” website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.