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COVER STORY


the rates weren’t good and the pickups too far apart. In 1993, Bobby decided to pursue an


opportunity hauling bulk pneumatics, so the two of them along with RayHalsey created WHW Trucking. It grew to 18 trucks and 40 trailers. Bobby eventually bought out both partners and sold that company toWarren Transport inDecember 2012. Bobby bought out his dad’s ownership


stake in J.E.Williams Trucking in 2000. Today the company has about 35 refrigerated trucks hauling produce, meat, beer and other goods. About five years ago, the company returned to Canada. Many carriers had pulled out of that market because of the paperwork and licenses required, and rates had improved enough to make it profitable. Also, it was a chance for Bobby to lead the company back to its roots. “I kind of liked it because it was kind of sentimental to me because we used to do it so much,” he said. J.E.Williams Trucking has about 35 drivers,


all company employees, along with seven administrative employees and five in the shop. Like any successful carrier, the company is looking to cut costs. It has invested in side skirt fairings and aerodynamic mud flaps as well as APUs, all to save money on fuel. The company does all of its own maintenance and owns all the necessary diagnostic equipment, which isn’t cheap. Two technicians spent a week at a school learning how to maintain the new Paccar engines. According to Bobby, doing its own maintenance saves the company money and ensures that trucks can be fixed when the company needs them. “I’m out there every single day monitoring


work, what’s getting done, what needs to be done, making sure everything’s done to my specifications.We don’t run up and down the road with a bunch of junk,” he said. “We’ve always had the best stuff and always will.” That’s an attitude Bobby inherited from


his dad and perhaps learned scrubbing trailers with a can of Ajax. “He’s pretty anal about the way he keeps his equipment and everything he owns,” Bobby said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s his house, his cars, his lawn, whatever. Everything’s got to be like, perfect. So I’m a lot that way, too. All my stuff’s got to be nice.No junk. I don’t take shortcuts.” J.E. and Bobby also have this in common:


daughters. J.E. and Lottie have two while Bobby has three, and none of them have gotten involved in trucking. Bobby’s glad they are doing something else. “I don’t think I’d do that to them,” he said. “This is a pretty brutal business. Trucking is not


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an easy game. There can be rewards, but it’s super hard.” Now that he’s retired, J.E. has time to


pursue other kinds of driving – namely, the kind that occurs on a golf course. It’s a hobby, not an obsession, the 27-handicapper enjoys with friends.He calls it “a thinking man’s game.” When not driving golf balls, he’s likely to


be found driving on the highways, enjoying the scenery and the solitude, just as he dreamed of doing as a boy on a Helena hillside. The trucking industry is a never- ending challenge but there’s nothing like the


open road. “He still likes to drive,” Bobby said. “When


he goes on vacation, half the time, like if he goes to Arizona, half the time he drives. Certainly can afford an airplane ticket, I can tell you that, but he just has friends along the way, and he’ll stop inUtah and visit people wherever he goes, and he just likes to drive.” One thing I don’t want to forget is that it


takes good employees to build and maintain a company.We have spent five years training our organization and getting the best employees to keep this company moving forward. RW


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