Drivers are what makes the trucking industry thrive and too often the bold, brilliant and beautiful stories of the road go unnoticed. Over the past few months we've met and talked with some drivers with fascinating stories that deserve to be shared.
This week we're introducing you to David Binz, an owner operator based out of Council, Washington and leased to Alaska West Express.
We met David through a mutual colleague - Jim Allen of 365Trucking.com. Jim recommended David for his kind-hearted nature and unique story from traveling on the road -- he transports rescue animals across the US and Canada! We chatted with David while he was rolling across Oregon and he had some fascinating insights about the trucking industry, how drivers can make the most of time on the road with activities like pet transport and how the industry can shift its image.
Max Farrell: Why did you decide to work with Alaska West Express?
David Binz: The opportunity came to me and I was excited for the challenge of hauling a wide variety of construction, oil field, and mining specialty equipment. Every load is different and challenging, it’s wonderful.
MF: Can you tell me a recent story about a challenge on the road?
DB: On one haul, I had to stop four times, which meant unloading and loading each time. I had to be resourceful and buy some of my own plywood to extend my deck in order to load some specialty pipe. This type of equipment is outside of the box, which is different compared to a lot of other type of things drivers are hauling.
MF: Do you think the dispatcher/driver relationship can make a difference while hauling equipment?
DB: I believe its one of the biggest issues for drivers because if their dispatcher isn’t knowledgeable about the equipment it can lead to frustration. The dispatcher should take the time to learn the general knowledge about the type of equipment their drivers are hauling. Companies could easily teach their dispatchers in one setting with a simple video.
MF: What is one thing the trucking industry could do to increase their image in a more positive manner?
DB: I think that it’s the drivers job to create a positive image for the industry. They need to be more prepared to work while they are on the job. Drivers will make customers wait when they arrive so they can use the restroom or grab a snack and that’s just not very professional. I’ve found that the best way to fix this problem is to stop before you get to your customer and take care of all your needs.
MF: How do you keep yourself busy on the road?
DB: Well I have a unique hobby… I transport animals!
MF: How did you get yourself started in this?
DB: I was looking for a certain type of dog on petfinder.com for some family friends, and my wife ended up wanting one of the dogs that I found. Since the dog was far away I picked it up while I was hauling, which made me wonder how other people were transporting dogs from far away. I started working with Operation Roger, who transported mostly private breed dogs and some rescue animals.
MF: What made you change to the transport company you are with now?
DB: I found Kindred Hearts because they only transport rescue pets and that’s what I really wanted to do. I’ve been working with them for 3 years now and I have transported 107 animals (even a pot belly pig)!
MF: How does the transport work?
DB: I will post where my upcoming routes, and Kindred Hearts will let me know if there are any animals that need to be transported along those routes. I can even meet with other transport drivers along my route and transfer the pets to their trucks if they are going in the right direction.
MF: Do you have your own pet that rides along with you?
DB: Yes, I have a blue healer mix named Izzy. I’ve had her since she was 5 months old and she’s been riding with me every day for 8 years. She gets along well with the other animals and the other animals are comfortable with her, she is fine with staying in her crate.
MF: What are the qualities of a pet transport driver?
DB: They must be extremely conscientious because they are dealing with live animals. They also need to be really understanding; it’s more than just loving animals. Sometimes the animals are a lot to handle and you have to be willing to take care of them no matter what.
MF: How do other drivers go about getting involved?
DB: Go to the Kindred Hearts website and get in contact. You’ll probably have an interview with me!
MF: Anything else you’d like to say about transporting pets?
DB: After transporting all these rescue animals and seeing how many pets don’t have homes, I just have to say please spray and neuter your pets!
A big thank you to David for taking the time to chat with us!
If you have any drivers you think should be highlighted, let us know!