An Open Letter to Expediters
President John F. Kennedy put it best when he said, "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."
And that's exactly what I want to do today - to thank all of you in the expedited trucking community for the impact you've made on my life and career since 2014 when I first got to know you as a writer for EO.
After all, we recently celebrated "Driver Appreciation Week," which is a great way to spotlight how vital truckers are to making our economy work.
But, in this letter, I want to go a step further to not only express my gratitude but also to share why I appreciate you - and how so many of you have inspired me to think, do, and be better.
Here are the three traits (among many) that I've observed in you - and have admired about you - over the years.
#1. Your sacrifice.
Thank you for being willing to spend weeks to months at a time away from home - a huge sacrifice that most of us non-drivers take for granted - to deliver the essential goods our communities need, when and where we need them.
Even if you're a team driver with your spouse, you still spend a lot of time away from your family - your kids, grandkids, and parents - which can put a strain on those relationships. And that means you're having to work harder and be more intentional to ensure that your "home time" with family really counts.
And when you're out on the road, you give up the comforts of home. Most of us non-drivers have no clue what it's like to live in a cramped, tiny space for several weeks at a time. And we don't appreciate how challenging it can be to try to sleep in a moving truck, find clean showers, and deal with the stress that comes with driving for several hours, day-in and day-out.
#2. Your courage.
Thank you for your courage - especially during uncertain times.
As the pandemic spread to the U.S. in early March, and the economy began to shut down, you kept rolling.
While most of us sheltered in place, you were on the front lines, putting your own health at risk to make critical deliveries to ensure that critical supply chains - for food, medicine, and supplies - remained intact.
But, even if there was no COVID-19, you've always exemplified courage in your work.
After all, in most cases, if you're a driver or owner-operator in expedited trucking, you're a contractor and not an employee. And that means you're a business owner without the safety net, steady salary, and paid benefits that come with being an employee.
I'm inspired by the guts it takes to bet on yourself to be successful in the expedite business.
#3. Your professionalism.
Thank you for raising the bar of professionalism in the trucking industry.
That's what strikes me most when I attend Expedite Expo - how you encourage, inspire, and push each other to achieve higher standards of excellence in this business.
You take a lot of pride in your work. And I admire how so many of you are willing to share your time, experiences, and advice to help fellow expediters be more successful.
The Bottom Line
Thank you for accepting this "outsider" who has never been in your shoes.
Thank you for letting me into your trucks - and into your lives.
And thank you for sharing your stories of challenges and triumphs over the years.
But, most of all, thank you for your sacrifice, courage, and professionalism in doing the important work you do to make all our lives better.