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Pemberton Truck Lines brings it all together for family, business and the trucking industry

Bob Pemberton of

BY ERIC FRANCIS Contributing Writer

Here’s the thing about Bob Pemberton.

He’s happy to talk with you about Pember- ton Truck Lines and how much it depends on his family members for its continued success. He’ll wax eloquent about the Ten- nessee Trucking Association and the work its staff has done on behalf of the industry. He’ll dive into the issues facing trucking to- day, like regulation and the driver shortage and the evolving image of the transporta- tion industry. And he’ll do it all without ever bringing

up the not insignificant role he’s played in any of this stuff.

The modesty becomes him. Pember-

ton has an easygoing attitude and friendly personality that make him approachable and, when it comes to running the family company or helping lead the TTA, effective. Pemberton’s work in the industry actu-

ally predates the founding of Pemberton Truck Lines, back when his family had a company that leased trucks and trailers. The young Pemberton spent his summers up there cutting weeds, delivering parts, and “whatever they could get a teenage kid to do.” Pemberton Truck Lines was started in

1982 by his father Gene Pemberton and a cousin, Jim Pemberton. Today it’s a truck-

load carrier that operates in 31 states east of the Mississippi River, covering almost 90 percent of the southeast region as well as a couple of lanes that extend up the north- eastern corridor. A lot of their custom is hook and drop, or as Bob Pemberton puts it, “If they’ve got a truckload and they’re will- ing to pay to have it moved, we’ll do it.” About the time his father started the

business, the younger Pemberton was a newly minted college graduate with a degree in transportation from the Univer- sity of Tennessee and the need for a job, so he came on board. In 1993, he was named company president. Gene passed away in 2000 and Jim is now retired.


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