Bob Worthington: New Company, New Attitude
This edition of Driver Profile puts the spotlight on Bob Worthington, an expediter from Knoxville, TN.
Bob is a veteran owner/operator in the industry, and with his traveling companion, Hooligan - a Jack Russell Terrier, they've been running America's highways, delivering the just-in-time freight that keeps this country rolling.
Bob begins his story: "I grew up in Detroit, but I have lived in a few different places. I went into the US Army at age seventeen. I spent two and a half years in Muenster, Germany as a ammunition records specialist, and after leaving the service, I attended Ferris State College in Big Rapids, MI"
"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I dropped out of college and among other jobs, I managed a Spencer gift store in Madison Heights, MI."
"I left that job to attend an airline school in Kansas City. That schooling landed me a job with Pan Am as a traffic representative in Detroit. I spent fourteen years with Pan Am before leaving to work for an international freight forwarder for a few years."
Bob tells us that after a couple of years with the freight forwarding company, he left them to start his own similar business.
Introduction to expediting
Bob says that by 1990, he was disillusioned with freight forwarding, but stayed with that business until 1995. It was at that time that a close friend offered to sell his cargo van to Bob, which was leased with Roberts Express (now FedEx Custom Critical). Sadly, the friend was dying of cancer and needed to divest himself of the truck.
"During my time at Pan Am, I was fortunate to be able to travel around the world with the company. It wasn't until I began expediting that I saw much of this country at ground level," relates Bob.
"Expediting is a great life for someone like me who needs to see new things, and meet new people," relates Bob. "To me, that is one of the greatest advantages of this business, the chance to see the United States close up."
"One time I took a 50 pound box from Ohio to the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, TN. When I arrived at the delivery, two guys came rushing out of the plant; one guy grabbed the box and shot back in the plant while the other man signed for it. He explained their haste by telling me that these were parts necessary to finish off the model line for that year."
"Expediting is definitely a needed and valuable service!"
Not long ago, Bob attempted expansion of his business: "At one time I owned three expediting trucks (cargo vans), but discovered that these trucks were not generating enough income to keep the drivers satisfied. Luckily, I was able get rid of the trucks before financial disaster hit."
"I'm running just one van now, a 2000 Chevy one-ton which is plenty big enough for Hooligan and myself."
"Being on the road can be a lonely existence so when I started driving, I got my driving partner Hooligan.
Up until now, he has been unable to pass his CDL, so mostly he just keeps me awake. To help fill the hours on the road, I've also taken up wood-carving."
Bob tells us that his life on the road and the time he spends away from home doesn't pose a problem with his home life: "My relationship with my wife has not been strained by my frequent absences, maybe it's actually enhanced it."
"My wife Lyn has a thriving business of her own; she's a benefits consultant who helps companies with the laws associated with COBRA laws(Don't ask me, I don't understand it). Lyn and I have five adult children and we've just been presented with our first grandchild."
Bob has made a change of companies recently and he tells us that his previous company was just too restrictive: "I left my last company a few months ago because they just weren't keeping me busy and I felt that they treated me more like an employee than an independent contractor."
He says that he used a different technique to apply with another carrier: "I went to Expediters Online.com and filled out the online application for Panther II."
"That was on a Friday and when I checked on Monday with Adam Walter, a Panther II recruiter, he told me that I had been approved and asked me when I wanted to come in to complete the paperwork. It was that simple!"
Adam Walter confirms what Bob says about the online application method: "It really does speed up the application process. We find that we can have the "paperwork" in hand instantly; we feel that it's a great tool for both the contractor and the company."
Bob has some very positive comments about his new company: "Since signing on with Panther II, I've found that the folks at this company are responsive to my needs by allowing me the freedom to relocate to areas which I have found to be profitable."
"There is always someone available at the company to advise me and I don't feel like a number at Panther II. Settlements have always been timely and accurate and the few issues I have had have been addressed promptly."
Bob asserts that a smart company listens to it's contractors.
Unfortunately, he says, most companies hire management personnel who have no knowledge about the actual job of moving freight. He contends that a contractor can tell more about where freight is, than someone sitting behind a desk crunching numbers.
"The company I'm signed with now," Bob says, "Is responsive to both their customers and their contractors. My idea of success at this time in my life is not to get rich, but to do something I enjoy while at the same time make a decent living."
Panther II Homepage