In The News
Expediter of the Year 2017 Finalists: The Caffees
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 Linda and Bob Caffee.
Linda and Bob Caffee
Home: Silex, Missouri
Year Started in Expediting: 2005
Miles to Date: 1.7 million
Long-time expedite owner-operators Linda and Bob Caffee were nominated for the Expediter of the Year award by Jeff Hurley, vice president of LTL, Expedited and International Services for Landstar. “They perform with excellence in all that they do,” says Hurley. “Bob and Linda manage their business with class and professionalism.”
EO recently caught up with the Caffees to learn more about what they love most about expediting, how they define success in this business, and the industry charities and organizations they enjoy working with. Here’s their story.
Passion for Expediting
If you’ve read their blogs on ExpeditersOnline.com or on Team Run Smart, you can’t help but come away with thinking just how enthusiastic the Caffees are about their business. They absolutely love the expedite life. But why?
“Unpredictability,” says Linda. “You just never know what the next load is going to be or where it's going, or when it's going to happen.”
For a lot of people, though, that level of unpredictability could be scary. But the Caffees see it as a thrill.
“I don't know how to explain it; it's just exciting, especially compared to having worked a 9 to 5 job for so many years,” says Linda. “I wrote a blog about riding a rollercoaster and how much expediting is like that rollercoaster of ups and downs and being prepared to drop. And that, to me, is part of the excitement. And it’s a game--like how to get the best fuel prices, for example. When we run through a state, do we buy fuel here or do we buy fuel in the next state to get the better price? All the time we're playing this different game of how we make business decisions. That’s exciting--and fun!
Definition of Success
Success means different things to different people. So, what does it mean for the Caffees? How do they define “success” in terms of their own business in expediting?
“Personally, I think it's being able to pay your bills, put away for retirement, and at the same time enjoy and have fun with what you're doing,” says Linda. “It all has to work together. You have this great balance in your life. When you don't have money stressors, you have fun.”
For Bob, success is also about being able to work with Linda. “We've always kind of worked together,” says Bob. “After we would come home from our 9 to 5 jobs in the evenings, I had a part-time business and she helped me with that. Or even when I worked for a small fleet, whenever she got off work, she and our daughters would come to the shop, and she could help me change clutches and do things around the shop that I hadn't had help for. So, being with Linda and being able to see the things that we've seen on the road--expediting has just enriched our lives quite a bit.”
Strong Foundation for Success
What would the Caffees say is the most important key to achieving their definition of success in expediting?
“I think a lot of it comes down to reducing stress about money by keeping your financial side in balance,” says Linda.
Bob agrees. “Have a budget. You don't have to stick to it to the penny, but you really have to keep a focus on it. Once you get your finances to where you're not under the finance company's spell all the time, your life just gets so much easier. Decisions are much easier to make, and you can actually take time off and have fun and not worry about how you're going to make that next car payment or truck payment.
A common trap the Caffees have seen other expediters fall into is not reeling in their expenses. “So many people that we know have boats and motorcycles and hot rods and all this stuff, and then they're like, ‘Oh, we just spent two or three months out on the road. And we don't have time to enjoy our toys because we’re out on the road trying to pay for them.’ They're constantly stressing about, ‘Oh, that load won’t pay enough to haul, because I need this much money per mile.’ They’re trapped."
The Caffees are involved with several organizations as a way to give back to the industry, including the St. Christopher Truckers Fund (SCF), a charity that helps drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. “It’s a charity that directly benefits drivers,” says Linda, who has served on SCF’s board. “The money raised go to the drivers and their families.”
The Caffees also enjoy working with Trucker Buddy International, which educates and mentors school children through pen pal relationships, by matching classes of children from kindergarten through eighth grade with background-checked professional truck drivers. “We’re able to work with students and present a positive image and promote safety around trucks,” says Linda, who serves as president of the board.
But where Linda thinks she and Bob might be making their greatest impact on the expedite industry is on websites like ExpeditersOnline.com, where they share their expertise and experiences in blog articles. “A lot of our blogs are based on trying to help other expediters by talking about how to avoid the mistakes we’ve made or sharing something we've learned from our experiences. It's all about trying to help--trying to guide other people to make better decisions for their business.”