In The News
Expediter of the Year 2017 Finalists: Robert Burton
Expedite Expo 2017, which runs July 14 and 15 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky., is the only trade show in the world geared exclusively to the expedited trucking industry. And this year’s show will feature the announcement of the winner of the inaugural Expediter of the Year award, which will be presented to one of these three finalists: Bob and Linda Caffee with Landstar, Robert Burton with V3 Transportation, and Edward Estes with Bolt Express.
The purpose of this award is to recognize those hardworking, professional and safety-conscious expediters on the road today who strive to make the expedite industry better and are deeply involved in serving and making a positive impact on their community.
So, who will win this year’s award? Find out on Saturday, July 15, at 3:30pm in the Expo hall.
Registration for the entire conference is free--and so is truck parking. Secure your spot today at https://www.expediteexpo.com/.
In the meantime, let’s get to know each of the finalists. Today’s spotlight is on Robert Burton.
Carrier: V3 Transportation
Home: Ledyard, Connecticut
Year Started in Expediting: 2007
Miles to Date: Over one million
Robert Burton was nominated for the Expediter of the Year award by his wife and co-owner Christy Burton. “Robert is so much more than an expedite driver,” says Christy. “Robert is an owner-operator, as well as a great human being. He goes above and beyond to help anyone that needs him.”
Robert, who grew up with his parents running a trucking company, started out in expediting as a driver in 2007. And five years later, in 2012, he and Christy bought their first truck to become owner-operators.
So, what drives his passion for expediting? How does he define success? And what advice does he have for others who are new to the expedite life? EO recently spoke with Robert to learn more about his story.
Passion for Expediting
What makes the expedite business a passion for Robert?
“What I love most about expediting is that we're kind of like the emergency squad of the trucking industry,” says Robert. “Customers depend on us to keep their lines moving. You just feel important.”
Robert also says that it’s gratifying to be able to see the impact of his work. “When you get to the customer, and they’re thanking you up and down because you arrive with the parts they need, and they don’t have to shut down their [manufacturing] lines--that's a big accomplishment.”
Definition of Success
How does Robert define “success” in the expedite business?
“You have to be self-driven and really want to be successful in this industry,” he says. “If you're a slacker or lazy, you're not going to make it in the expedite industry because the work can get strenuous and stressing. A lot of people have a hard staying out of truck stops, but you really have to be self-driven and disciplined.”
Some people prefer being a driver because they don't have the responsibilities--and risks--that come with owning a truck. Other people want a greater sense of freedom of being an owner and find a lot of value and fulfillment in that. So, what led Robert and Christy to want to become owner-operators?
One major factor was the Burton’s need for more control over their schedule for home time to make doctor’s appointments to treat Christy’s rheumatoid arthritis. “Sometimes you have to be home for an extended period of time, like a week and a half to two weeks,” says Robert. “[Fleet] owners tend to frown upon that because they have to pay you, they have to pay for maintenance, and they have to pay for the truck payment.”
Another aspect of expediting that Robert enjoys is the community--having opportunities to meet and mentor other drivers.
“I try to help the new people out as much as I can,” says Robert. “A lot of people come to me and ask questions, either on social media or in person, and I try to help them out as much as I can.”
What type of advice does Robert typically give to expediters who are new to the business on what it takes to succeed as expedite owner-operators?
“Stay in service. Don't turn down loads. Just do your best, do what you can. Stay safe. Keep it legal and hope for the best. And remember, it's going to be rough ride,” says Robert.
By “rough ride” Robert is referring to the hurry-up-and-wait-on-the-next-load aspect of expediting and other challenges that come with running your own business.
“You hurry up, get there with your load, and then you’re waiting on the next one. And there’s going to be confusion with loads. But don't get frustrated. Just take it in stride,” says Robert.
“Take your job serious. Treat every load like it had to be there yesterday. Even though it's two days out for delivery, still do your best to get it there before the customer needs it.”