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Taking Care of Business

By on July 1, 2018

Owner-Operators Enjoy Success in Unique Bulk-Transport Operation

For drivers having entrepreneurial spirits and a strong desire to run their own businesses, U.S. Bulk Transport may provide just the right opportunity to achieve a higher level of success and greater freedom than you may have thought possible. RoadKing takes a behind-the-scenes look at this unique operation from two perspectives: the support U.S Bulk provides to its owner-operators, followed by the thoughts of four owner-operators about their time with the company varying from two to 27 years.

The business model, underlying philosophy and culture that have resulted in mutually beneficial growth for U.S. Bulk and its owner-operators can be expressed in relatively simple terms:

  • 100% commitment to serving customer needs via owner-operators
  • 100% focus on hazmat and industrial bulk hauling via OTR end dumps
  • Paying 80% per net ton and 100% of FSC, plus safety and longevity bonuses
  • Discounts for fuel, tires, insurance and other products and services
  • Complete transparency when administering each owner-operator’s business relationship
  • Owner-operator, decision-making freedom, no forced dispatch
  • Work as a team to provide impeccable, customer-first service
  • Attract and retain cream-of-the-crop drivers, emphasize teamwork
  • Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect among customers, owner-operators and U.S. Bulk

A Bit of History

With a high degree of confidence in his ability to build customer relationships in spite of his total lack of trucking industry experience, Gary Goodelle landed a job with Jack Gray Transport in the early 80s. He learned the ropes of bulk hauling and launched his own business model with an existing bulk grain hauler. When that deal didn’t go as expected, he left and founded U.S. Bulk Transport in 1991. The company established itself as a capable hauler of hazmat waste and industrial commodities. A careful business analysis resulted in Gary making a key decision to build his business by working exclusively with top-quality owner-operators. They knew trucks and trucking; he focused on attracting customers and building relationships.

Gary’s son, Craig, hadn’t given much thought to joining his father’s business as he pursued a business and education degree at the University of Toledo. Distance from the Erie, PA headquarters made it somewhat difficult for Craig to get involved. During his senior year, Craig began visiting with customers and prospects near Belleville, MI. When he expressed interest in joining the business in 1996, he jokes now about his father thinking he‘d be doing good to last a couple of days, but last he did. Craig learned the ropes as a dispatcher at the Cochranton, PA terminal, then moved to the Toledo, OH terminal. He moved to the Erie headquarters in 1998 and advanced to chief operations manager in 2012, then COO in 2016. When Gary stepped down at the end of 2016, the transition to Craig becoming the U.S. Bulk president went smoothly.

Essential Support Services

U.S Bulk Transport has grown to 22 terminals and logistics offices in key markets across the Eastern half of the United States. The headquarters and terminal staffing exceeds 90 professionals working in a range of capacities including: safety, compliance and permitting, licensing, recruiting and on-boarding, sales, dispatch, accounting, payroll, insurance and related functions. U.S Bulk has the authority to operate in 48 states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Owner-operators receive all of the support services they need to focus on safely hauling specialized bulk cargo and efficiently running their own successful businesses.

Visit USBulkTransport.com or call 800.609.6611 for more information.

Owner-Operators Weigh In

Steve Schultz
Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
28 Years Professional Driving – 12 Years Driving for U.S. Bulk

“We have complete freedom to make our own decisions about taking on a job or taking time off, even hauling a given load. We know the revenue we can expect before we leave home. There’s no forced dispatch. We’re treated with respect. Craig Goodelle and others in the Erie headquarters know us as individuals. Dispatch knows us by name; we’re not just a number. Craig is very hands on, gets in the trenches with us. He’s very involved with owner-operators, customers and jobsites.

“The camaraderie among owner-operators is a big plus. When we have weekend downtime on the road, we see the sights or find other things to do together. My wife usually spends a week or two with me on the road each year. In some ways, I consider myself a paid tourist. I’ve seen Yellowstone, Lambeau Field, other football and baseball stadiums, and many other scenic and/or historic places. We have several fathers and sons working at U.S. Bulk. Expect my son will drive for us someday.”

Brian Bucenell
Chesterfield, Virginia
10 Years Professional Driving – 2 Years Driving for U.S. Bulk

“When I showed up at the Erie headquarters for orientation at 7:30 a.m., it was amazing to see the office staff already there. They were happy to be at work, extremely nice, downhome people. They wanted to know all about me, my background, my family, and my experience. That great first impression has only improved with time. These folks are great driver advocates. They know me as a person; call me Napster, my CB handle. Pride themselves in seeing drivers succeed. Do everything they can to make it as simple as possible.

“I like being my own boss, having freedom to pick and choose loads. Arrange my schedule to take some weekends off to participate in truck shows. Tell them when and where I’d like to go. They make it happen. Planning to do Super Rigs in June, Walcott in July, Chi-Town Large Cars in August. In addition to the loads, they take care of the administrative details for my truck. Do so much for drivers that we typically don’t see. It’s a huge benefit to be signed on with them. My chances of ever leaving U.S. Bulk are slim to none.”

Clint Hodge
Georgetown, Illinois
17 Years Professional Driving – 10 Years Driving for U.S. Bulk

“Freedom and adventure are the big reasons why I signed on and continue to be happy at U.S. Bulk. I could never do the same job or run the same routes every day. Since I’m a history buff, I enjoy traveling to different parts of the country. Have done some unusual things. A job at Cape Canaveral is a good example. We were cleaning up a site contaminated by rocket fuel during the early to mid 1960s. Gemini was NASA’s second human spaceflight program.

“Recently while I was working a job near Orlando, my wife and two kids flew in for a weekend at Disney World. That was a lot of fun, provided us with some quality family time and resulted in a memorable experience for my kids. You couldn’t do that sort of thing with many trucking jobs. Sometimes, they’ll fly or drive to a major city or a vacation destination, so we can enjoy a waterpark, visit a children’s museum, take in a major zoo, see the sights or do something we can enjoy as a family.”

Mark Strong
Frewsburg, New York
40 Years Professional Driving – 27 Years Driving for U.S. Bulk

“I was the first driver hired by Gary Goodelle when he started U.S. Bulk in 1991. You might say I’ve had a great run here. If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would. I feel like I have a stake in building this business and maintaining customer relationships. Just like the headquarters staff in Erie and my dispatcher, I want U.S. Bulk to be the first call when customers need bulk transport. Our fantastic growth is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Gary and Craig Goodelle, the entire corporate staff and the professional owner-operators who provide top-notch service to every customer, every day.

“Our safety training and regular updates are excellent. The safety director has developed great personal relationships with all of the owner-operators. If we have any immediate issues that need to be addressed, he’s available 24/7. The entire Erie staff is fantastic; it’s like working with family. If you have a problem, they’re willing to do anything necessary to assist.”

About Warren Eulgen

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