OTA Dispatch Issue 1, 2022

22 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch equipment on hydraulic step-style trailers so they decided to start with that and then purchase lowboys as their revenue grew. They now own 12 of these trailers along with the same amount of multi-axle lowboys, flats, and step-decks. The siblings weren’t wrong, as can be seen by their growth as a company over the past nine years, as well as their example of how a to be an effective advocate for the industry. Kristine grew up with three younger siblings who she was responsible for while her parents worked full-time. When she started the company with Carson, she had also been a single mom of two daughters for over four years. That level of responsibility and ability to multi-task carried over into taking care of her drivers and other employees. “I have been told there is no such thing as multi-tasking; however, when I had one daughter in the tub, one singing into a karaoke machine, and I’m doing a permit on the laptop next to her while talking on the phone to a customer, I can tell you that’s not true.” Kristine already had experience when Highway Heavy Hauling (HWY) started out with dispatch and transportation management, but she also had a lot to learn on the business management side. “I had never reconciled a bank account or taken a finance class. I spent every evening and weekend learning the finance side of this business for over a year and still have a lot to learn,” she says. “Carson and I didn’t know everything or maybe even half of what we should have but we followed the Dwayne Johnson quote,” says Kristine, “‘Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room’.” Besides the Dwayne Johnson quote, Kristine said her family has been key to the growth of HWY. “Our dad, a timberfaller for almost 45 years, always said to ‘bloom where you’re planted,’ meaning make the best of what you have and become an expert at it. That is how we evolved into this. We were planted in the trucking industry and we are working every day to become the best at what we do.” That same guy now follows their trucks around as a pilot car and picks up drivers when they run out of hours, supporting Kristine and Carson however he can. OTA also played a role in Kristine’s career in the trucking industry and remains a consistent resource for her and HWY. She first became familiar with OTA through training classes and continues to use OTA for all new employee training. “For me, taking those classes with John Sallak in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s was inspirational,” continues Kristine, “I gained the knowledge and confidence to do things the right way and learned that, if I don’t have the answer, just keep asking questions and researching until I have it.” Kristine says she also appreciates OTA’s “Readers Digest version” of what is going on and looks to OTA for a vast amount of training within her business. Kristine enjoys the sense of community that is inherent to the trucking industry and is thankful that there is an organization out there that appreciates the hard work of truck drivers as much as she does. Safety is No Accident “Safety is no accident—everything is preventable” is a concept that drives much of HWY’s operations as they aim to integrate safety seamlessly with planning and logistics. Safety stays front-andcenter with drivers. Kristine says they try to look at and discuss the small stuff, so it doesn’t become big stuff. The company conducts thorough incident reviews, from beginning to end. Aside from the technical aspects, they also focus on the basics—what was the weather like, how was the driver feeling, etc. During the recent pandemic, holding the traditional safety meeting has become a challenge. Sitting in an office with 15 people watching a slideshow and eating pizza seems to be a thing of the past so Kristine went back to her original ideologies on safety. “Never underestimate the value of a pep talk,” Kristine states with a smile. “I will never devalue a safety meeting. Putting everyone in the room to discuss recent safety challenges is irreplaceable; however, sitting down with each driver a couple times a month and letting them discuss recent work or home-life challenges is one of the strongest things I think we can do to keep our drivers safe. I call those pep talks.” While heavy hauling certainly comes with its share of challenges, what makes it unique has also been part of HWY’s success—specialized trailers, including a steerable Cozad trailer (triple 16), stretch trailers, and heavy haul lowboys. The company also capitalizes on the versatility of their specialized equipment, operating with essentially two divisions. In addition to heavy hauling on RGN’s, the second division provides trucks, drivers, and trailers with hydraulic tails to local rental companies needing the total package. When asked what her largest load to date was, Kristine stated, “Our largest loads (150,000 lb excavators generally) can be the least amount of stress because they are planned so well with pilot cars, route surveys, and permits. Our smallest loads delivering to downtown Portland on a Friday afternoon are much more stressful.” Appreciating the Importance of Advocacy Long before she formed HWY, Kristine was already paying attention to mobility. In 2004, she got involved with the Motor Carrier Transportation Advisory and Mobility Advisory Committees and still sits on those committees today. “Trucking is too important to leave in the hands of people who may not understand its distinctive challenges or are not fully invested or even interested in how their decisions impact our real-world operations,” offers Kristine. Kristine Kennedy, cont.