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Wayne with his daughter Tonya and granddaughter Lauren


“AND THEN, ONE NIGHT, OVER THERE AT THE OLD PLACE, WE HAD FIVE TRUCKS LINED UP IN A ROW. AND YOU COULD TELL WHEN THEY GOT


OUT OF THE CAR… THEY UNLOADED THE SHOTGUN.”


of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, has been working in the shop as a mechanic for the last four years, and Wayne hopes he might one day run the shop. Not yet graduated from Morrilton


High, Mallory—another of his four granddaughters—recently stopped by the office to practice her dispatching skills. “She loved it,” he says. Wayne is quick to attribute his


company’s longevity to blessing and his band of loyal employees. “To me, it’s just like a dream. I look


back at the way things have all worked out, and it’s not what I’ve done, but what the Lord’s done. I don’t like to take credit for nothing. I just try to do my part.


“If I was successful in anything it


would be in finding the right people. Whatever success I got, it was caused by all these other folks. I might have picked them, but they are the ones who actually carried it out.” But Vicki assures that WST success


is not just luck; it’s Wayne. “The Lord has blessed Wayne just


like he said, and he won’t ever take the credit. I see though,” she says. When it comes to luck and risk,


he’s not much of a gambler. Instead, he likes to play it safe. You might be fooled by the racecar out front or the picture Vicki pulls up on her phone of Wayne sitting on a motorcycle, squinting into the sun. But he swears the kickstand was down and he never actually rode it, “I’m not much of a daredevil. Someone used to ask me if I go to Tunica and gamble. I said no, the business I’m in, that’s enough gambling for me.”


30


SCOTCH BLOCK FINANCES He learned


his conservative streak from the two men who sold him the business in ’76. He asks, “Do you know what a scotch block is? Years ago before trucks had park brakes, they just put them in gear and parked. Sometimes they would roll, so they had blocks that they’d stick under the tires— scotch blocks. “Mr. Butler told me, as far as


finances, you need to keep you a scotch block. If you have an engine go out, or a transmission, or something that is going to cost a lot of money to fix, make sure you got enough money. So we’ve always tried to keep a scotch block.” The philosophy has served him


well. The past 40 years have brought economic ups and downs, deregula- tion that drove rates down, the cost of fuel and equipment that keep going up. Wayne says keeping a financial scotch block under the business kept every- thing from rolling backwards when times got tough. Perhaps the biggest risk Wayne took


was not just buying the business, which consisted of two trucks, five trailers and a contract, for $95,000, but grow- ing it so quickly when the Rock Island Railroad went on strike two years later. The ’78 strike put the paper mill they serviced in a dilemma, because they still had paper but no train to put it on.


—Because Wayne had hauled raw


pulpwood for them when he moved back to Arkansas years earlier, they asked if he could haul the paper while the Rock Island workers were on strike. The plant manager helped Wayne get an emergency temporary contract to keep all of his trucks full. And then some. When the plant manager called


Smith, he asked how many trucks he could get. So Smith called the bank and was told he could get a million dollar credit. “In ’78, that was a lot of trucks.” Eventually, Rock Island began roll-


ing again and strikers went back to work, but they let WST keep all the scrap paper out of Safeway. Smith doubled his fleet to keep up


with demand, but hauling for the paper mill meant crossing the union’s picket lines when mill workers went on strike in the ’80s. The supervisors were sleeping and


eating at the mill to prove they could run without the whole crew, so they still needed WST to pick up and deliver loads. “I told them as long as we don’t get anybody hurt or anybody threat-


 Issue 3 2016 | ARKANSAS TRUCKING REPORT


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