After nearly 27 years of running with J.B. Hunt, local Intermodal driver Joe delivered his last container and parked his truck for the last time in the Harrisburg, Pa., railyard. With years of hard work, million mile safety bonuses and investment in his 401K, his plans for retirement are now in the works.
“I’m looking into getting a condo on Myrtle Beach. Me and the Mrs., we love the beach,” Joe said. “The best thing was the 401K. I started off young. I have 1400 shares in J.B. Hunt at $14 a share. It was well over $111 the last time I saw it… I’m proud to say that I have over half a million dollars in my account.”
Joe’s interest in truck driving flourished after many years of driving a fire truck and an ambulance as a volunteer fireman. Eager for a slower-paced job that involved driving, he decided to pursue a career in trucking. “I had seen enough blood and guts and it was taking an emotional toll… Instead of dealing with people’s lives, I was now dealing with the motoring public,” he said.
Ready to captain a larger piece of equipment and travel the states, Joe joined J.B. Hunt as an over the road driver. “I liked seeing the country… When I joined J.B. Hunt, I’ve seen it all,” he said. “Out west, it’s beautiful out there – the redwood forest in California, the hoover dam. It was awesome to see something like that built by man.”
After two years of driving over the road, Joe became eager to spend more time with his new wife. “I was a newlywed at the time and wanted to be home more often. I asked my fleet manager for a local position. All they had open was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania… so the wife and I moved here,” he said. “We started with four guys and now we have over 300 drivers!”
Moving rail containers to local customers was an adjustment for the former OTR driver. “It’s a challenging career because of the hustle and bustle happening at rail yards… You have to have eyes all over,” Joe said. “Sometimes you deliver three, four, five or six loads a day, a lot of in and out of the truck.”
Throughout his career, Joe experienced the evolution of the trucking industry and J.B. Hunt’s advancement along with it. “J.B. Hunt was constantly updating equipment – tractors, trailers and the OBC. The OBC was a godsend” he said.
As J.B. Hunt continued to change with the times, Joe found stability in the company always paying their drivers. “With J.B. Hunt, you’d still get paid. They trusted the drivers and paid them. At other trucking companies, you didn’t get paid until they were paid by the receiver,” he said. “I like having a steady pay check. Other places, the drivers were constantly complaining about pay.”
Bonuses and driver recognition for safe driving also remained strong throughout J.B. Hunt. Reaching two million safe miles is one milestone that Joe will never forget. “The two million mile experience, going down the stairs and everyone shakes your hands…I got to see Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Hunt and Mr. [Richard] Petty. That was awesome!” he said. “It was a very proud moment in my life. I wished my mom and dad would have been alive to see this.”
No longer adding miles to his truck driving career will be a big change for Joe. “I have mixed emotions. I’m going to miss truck driving, the guys, coworkers and my boss,” he said. But the new retiree is ready to load up on one thing. “I’m going to sleep in. I’m going to enjoy sleeping in!” Joe added.
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