This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
So, how has what Pemberton learned at

UT compared with the nitty-gritty reality of the trucking industry over the years? Pretty well, it turns out. “A lot of the transportation classwork

was fairly accurate,” said Pemberton. “A lot of the training we received had more to do with LTL business.We learned about break bulk facilities and commodity codes and things like that, which really didn’t affect me too much because we’re strictly a truck- load business. But some of the modeling was useful.” Still, once he was on board with the

family business Pemberton found that, on an everyday basis, there was still a lot of seat-of-your-pants training that happens. “It’s always something different,” he

said. “You come in one day and a customer is going to call and tell you that you’ve real- ly saved their bacon today, you got this load delivered. The next day it’s a phone call where a driver can’t get to work because the bridge that leads to their house is flooded by the rain storm that came through and you’ve got to kind of scramble to make ends meet. I think you have to like working puzzles to work in the trucking business – a lot of times you have to take the pieces out and move them around because something doesn’t work out the way you planned it.” In fact, learning how to deal directly

with drivers was one thing you can’t get from school, he said. “Having to do some face-to-face talking with drivers and trying to get them to do

what you need to do, get them to take the load of freight from Point A to Point B, they really didn’t go into too much of that,” said Pemberton. “I told somebody that I don’t know if dealing with drivers prepared me to have children or if having children pre- pared me to deal with drivers. You have to convince them to want to do it.” Asked what’s kept him in the business

for 30 years, Pemberton chuckles. “Oh, it’s going to sound corny but it’s

the people,” he said. “It’s the people that you work with, the drivers, the customers. Really, it’s the competitors, as well. There’s just a good group of people that you can meet and work with.” Leading a family-held company,


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

•  • 

 

 

 

Pemberton has worked to maintain a family-style atmosphere. For instance, when drivers have an issue, they can come right to him or his brothers – John, who is vice president of operations, and David, who runs their cross-country arm Specialty Transport Inc. – to resolve issues or prob- lems, or even just “to come in and sit down and talk about the ball game.” In the same manner, they try to make sure they’re avail- able to customers who have problems. “They’ve all got our cell phone num-

bers,” he said. “I’ve gotten a phone call Friday night at a high school football game because they had an issue they needed some help with, and we were able to do that. I’ve always wondered if they could call the president or owner of a giant trucking company when he’s at home. I think that’s a reason that having a smaller family busi- ness is pretty neat.” Pemberton has served on the Tennes-

see Trucking Association board since 2002 and was chairman in 2008-09. He has re- mained involved and credits TTA President Dave Huneryager and the staff for doing a lot of “behind-the-scenes work that most people don’t know about.” “I’ve been on the board and have been

able to see some of the stuff they do, a lot of work with legislators to try to influence the political climate in Tennessee to be helpful for trucking companies,” he said. “That’s something I really appreciate those guys doing. It’s a very good organization, it does an awful lot of good.” Huneryager has a particular

appreciation for what Pemberton has contributed to the association. Before joining the staff, Huneryager was a member of the board and also served a term as chairman. And every new chairman, he


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36