Episode 8: A History of the Brenny Transportation Empire with CEO and Founder Joyce Brenny

Brent – 00:00:01:

Welcome to Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast where we explore the fascinating world of trucking and freight management. We dive deep into the freight industry and uncover why the trucking industry is more crucial to our country now than ever before. Stay tuned to uncover the driving forces behind successful trucking businesses and hear from the hardworking truckers and leaders who keep the world moving. Let’s hit the road. All right, well, welcome to Freight Nation, a podcast by truckstop.com. We are so glad that you’re back with us again. We appreciate everybody who watches and listens to Freight Nation. It’s Truckstop’s goal to just continue to put out stories of success and trial in the industry so you guys can learn from them. It’s really our heart at Truckstop to want to help you be successful in your business. That’s our whole goal. And we got a great guest on today, somebody who’s been in the industry for many, many years. And somebody who has been a real pioneer inside the marketplace in a couple levels that she’ll talk about. And so very excited today to have Joyce Brenny on today, the CEO of Brenny Transportation and Brenny Specialized. And so, Joyce, we just appreciate you being on today and telling the Freight Nation watchers and listeners your story.

Joyce – 00:01:12:

Well, thank you, Brent. It’s exciting to be here and I hope I can help someone learn a little bit more about me and the industry.

Brent – 00:01:19:

Fun. I know you will. Joyce, I’m so glad you’re on with us today because your story is really cool. I mean, you’ve been in the industry for quite a while. So first off, before this, you work with your husband, which is kind of unique. How did that come about and how’s it going so far?

Joyce – 00:01:35:

We met in the industry, so we had that in common. And I was managing a different trucking company at the time. And I decided that I really needed to do it my way or hit the highway. I just was going to get out of trucking completely and go back and get my master’s degree. I have a degree in psychology, so I was going to just go back to school and eventually become a counselor and, you know, help people that way. So we were driving back from a little family vacation over the weekend, and I said I need to either start my own trucking entity or leave. I bet he regrets this someday. He said, well, honey, whatever you do, I’ll support you. So that was the beginning of that. He was also in the trucking industry, so he was driving and about a year after we had started in business, I asked him if he would join us. So we start working together about a year after Brenny Transportation started. And we each have our own different roles in the business. So we don’t step on each other’s toes too often. And he knows who the boss is.

Brent – 00:02:47:

I’ll listen to you. I got to work with my dad for a while and it’s kind of unique, but certainly working with a spouse. What kind of unique opportunities or challenges does that present, Joyce?

Joyce – 00:02:56:

Well, you know, I think there’s a ton of opportunities. For one, we have meetings every day, you know, at home over supper and so on. But sometimes I think that’s also a determinant on just having fun, you know, and just when we go on vacation, we have trucking to talk about. Sometimes we have to really… Think about other things to talk about besides trucking. So that’s a challenge, but we’re getting better at it. We have grandkids now, so that’s helped, you know, have another level of things to talk about and enjoy. So.

Brent – 00:03:27:

Right. Yeah. Fantastic. Yep. My mom said to me after my wife and I, Teresa, were lucky enough to have the first grandchild, she had multiple grandchildren. I said, mom, what’s it like being a grandparent? She said, well, you know, He said, Brent, I never thought I could love anything more than my own children. Until I had grandchildren.

Joyce – 00:03:44:

Oh, my God.

Brent – 00:03:46:

Yeah, so that’s Donna Hutto, my 5’1 power of a mom. So she’s great. But, yeah, that was just one of the greatest statements ever. You know, I’ve got five kids. And, you know, if one day I get to become a grandparent, that’ll be great. If not, I’ll just enjoy them. But so fun. So, Brenny Transportation, so you’ve been – 40 years. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. But no, here’s the thing. And if you’re outside of trucking and you’re listening to this, 40 years sounds like a long time, unless you’re in trucking. And you go, well, you’re just one of the many that have been in trucking for that long, because you get this in your sort of system and in your life, and you really enjoy it. And you like to stay in it because it always changes. It’s always a challenge. And it’s super relational. And you have these deep relationships. You never want to leave it. So 40 years ago, you got into transportation. Where were you? And sort of give us where you started. And then lead us up until right before you started Brent.

Joyce – 00:04:40:

I always say that trucking picks you. Trucking picks us. It’s really an industry. I don’t think a lot of people wake up in the morning and go, yeah, I think I want to go in trucking when I grow up. You know, I think that’s going to be my goal. I don’t think a ton of people do that. So I really believe there’s a higher power up there that says, you know what, you have what it takes to be in trucking. You’re tough enough for it. You have the spirit for it and you truly want to serve people. So right out of high school, I got my, at that time, chauffeur’s license and I took a local driving job that hauled railroad ties from St. Joseph, MN, Minnesota, up to a creosote plant in Duluth, Minnesota. And that’s how it started. So I did that for, oh, I don’t know, three, four years. And then I took a job at a carrier in the area behind the scenes, eventually working into sales. And that’s kind of where I really kind of got an idea of the freight and the, you know, logistics of what goes on in the trucking industry and what freight pays and, and so on and what drivers need to make a living. And I really started to understand more about kind of the injustice, if you want to call it that, that was being dealt with by truck drivers. So I’ve just become an advocate over the years through my own company, through other, you know, means. But I moved into management. Eventually I became the general manager of a trucking entity. And at that point in 1995 is when I said, I really think I need to do my own thing. I had, at that point, had done every job in trucking, except I’ve never been a mechanic. So that’s one job I did. And so I go into our shop and I make sure that I ask those guys lots of questions because I still find it kind of interesting. And I never did that. So that was kind of the short version of how I got in the industry. And 1996 opened up Brenny with one truck and a rented office in Wake Park, Minnesota. And from there, we just kept chugging away and, you know, we just kept chugging away. And that’s how I got into the industry. And I’m not going to It just really kept an eye on what goes on with the drivers and making sure that we are being what they need us to be. And I think something I’m so incredibly proud of is we have a 90% retention with our drivers.

Brent – 00:06:52:

Oh, that’s unheard of.

Joyce – 00:06:55:

It’s unheard of. Yeah. I always try to, you know, get involved with the Truckload Carriers Association, the top industry trucking comes to work for. And kind of like this interview, it’s hard to talk about what is just us. What do we do different? What do we do special? Because it’s us and it’s hard to explain something that isn’t unusual. What do you do that’s different than, I don’t know, we’re just us. You’d walk in here and you feel like home. We don’t have walls. The drivers are wherever the drivers want to be. And they’re not locked out like many companies do. And I don’t even like to say open door. We really don’t even have any doors. It’s a family environment. It just really, truly is. And our drivers come sit down. And a lot of times people go, oh, you know, the drivers come and you just let them wander around. They’re giving me their time. I get to go home every night. If they come and stop and sit down by me on Monday morning before they take off or come in on Friday afternoon and tell me the stories of the week, That’s them giving me their time. They could be home with their family, but they’re sitting down and chit-chatting with me. And I feel honored and privileged that they offer that time. And it gives me an opportunity to ask them questions because I take a lot of that information and I bring that to the political entities and realm that I’m involved in and have made some changes politically based on some of the things that our drivers have brought in and asked me questions or questions. Why does Minnesota’s rest areas only let you park for eight hours? Well, let’s see what we can do about that. And that’s been changed. So that’s one small thing of many things that we’ve brought to, whether it’s to the Minnesota government officials or beyond federally. So it’s important. I’m their voice is how I feel. I feel like they don’t have the time to do that. And I bring their voice, their questions to a higher level of political understanding and political listenings.

Brent – 00:08:58:

Yeah, so you being an advocate is super important because I know a lot of truckers tend to take the can and do take things in their own hands by saying, well, we’re going to shut down for a day or we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. That really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference out there in the marketplace. But when you collectively bring something to a group and work within the system, things can change for the positive for trucking. So let me back up. So first off, thank you for being an advocate for truckers. I didn’t actually know that about you, but now I do. Now I like you even more. So let’s back up a little bit. It’s such a common theme to hear from a successful leader that when they got into something, When they first started, they did every job. They did this. They did that. They did on the counting end. They were on the trucking end. They were on the maintenance end. They were on the safety end. They were on every piece of the business. They were on the overall operations end. And so it’s not uncommon to see that. And then it’s not uncommon to see them go, hmm, you know, I really like working here and it’s good. I just feel like I got to do something on my own. So there was a moment, Joyce, in your life right before 1996, where you said, I just got to go do this on my own. And I know you talked to Todd about it, your sweet husband, but… There was something in your brain, something that just switched on. Tell me about that time in your life. And then what was the day like that you said, this is it, I’m doing it?

Joyce – 00:10:20:

You’re right. There was that day. And that day involved a driver coming in to me as a general manager of this company and asking me why he was not told the truth about his route and where he was going to be running when he was hired, that he wouldn’t have to go to these certain locations and so on. And I know where that information came from. And it was one step above me. And that was something that happened quite often. It didn’t seem to be a big deal to lie to drivers. And I just, I couldn’t take that. That’s just not how I’m wired. And so trying to keep these drivers and keep them happy and then try to say, I’m sorry that that happened to you. And I’m sorry, that’s not the truth. And I just, I was sick of covering, basically. I was sick of being the one that had to. Do the pleading and saying I’m sorry for something I didn’t necessarily do. So I just figured, you know, if I’m going to have to do this, if I’m going to be the one that does all the groveling to keep these drivers and that I’m sorry, I want to be the one screwing up that. Nothing’s worse than saying you’re sorry for something you didn’t do. But, you know, I did because I was part of that organization. So I was part of it. So I had to. So I thought there’s only one way to be responsible. And that’s be responsible is be the one that’s in charge. And that’s the only way to be responsible. And then I can, if I screw up, then honestly, I can fix it. And I can say I’m sorry for something that I made a mistake on. So that was kind of it. It was that one driver of many, but the last one that I looked in his face and said, I’m sorry. You know, it just is not the truth. So that was that. And having done the job, granted, I didn’t go very far, but I did have some overnights. Just being away from your family and again, the fear. Drivers are so brave. They’re so incredibly brave. Oh my God. And it is our job to do everything for them except drive that truck. From getting directions to making sure their rig is running perfectly, safely, mechanically, and everything from talking to the brokers, to the customers and getting the directions. And we do everything. They have enough to handle driving that truck and figuring out where they’re going to park that rig every night. And even that, we do make arrangements for making sure that they have a place to park every night too. But they’re the ones that have to go in there and we don’t actually see it. So is it… Typically, we do find a customer where they’re loading or unloading and we ask for their help. And that’s typically what we do. Yeah, it’s important that, and like you said, going back to your question, the passion has always been just drivers are amazing individuals. They’re so misjudged. They are brilliant, incredibly smart. I always say that they are like a brain surgeon. If you’ve ever been around a surgeon type person, doctor, they don’t talk much and they don’t have a lot to say, but they have a lot going on in that brain. And truck drivers typically don’t have a lot to say. Most of them are very introverted. But my God, that brain is amazing. And they are brilliant, brilliant individuals. Never underestimate their intelligence because it’s off the charts.

Brent – 00:13:45:

Yeah, I would agree with you. I always say if you ever want to get a PhD on diesel engines, just ask the truck. Amazing what they know about every single piece of the rig that they operate. So yours was from a heart of doing the right thing by the driver and the marketplace. And that’s what sort of got you committed to creating something on your own back in 1995. So in 96, you became Brenny Transportation. You had that one truck and then it’s just, ever since then, it’s been so easy, right? Everything just been so easy. There’s been no problems. I mean, money’s been easy. Trucks have been easy. Yeah. So tell me about the first like year of operation, because usually that’s the tipping point. You got to get past that first year of operation and those first few trucks that you add on to get to kind of where you are today, which is a hundred trucks. That’s a very healthy organization at a hundred trucks. So tell me about your first year and what were some of the highlights and maybe little bits of what you did? Lowlights of your first year.

Joyce – 00:14:48:

You know, the days were obviously very, very long. But I think probably the biggest shocker to me was, wow, taxes. Nobody really explained this tax situation to me. You’re putting your business plan together and doing all the calculations of the money you’re going to bring in, hopefully. But you forget some of those small details like paying taxes. And so that was a shock. We never got behind. But, you know, once we got an accountant all ready and rolling and set up, it was kind of, we had to pay how much? I always tell the story I thought was kind of funny. But I’m definitely a people person. And I had the trust of many customers that knew what I would say I would follow through on. And so, you know, getting those customers to say, yeah, Joyce, we’ll give you a chance. So I brought my business plan into the banker. And, you know, I had my estimate of what I’m going to gross the first year. And I had a million dollars. I was going to gross a million dollars on my business plan. And he laughed at me and he kind of pushed the piece of paper back and said, Yeah, those are projections. So I’m like, eh. Well, long story short, we made a million dollars in six months. And he now definitely was trying to make sure we didn’t switch banks.

Brent – 00:16:04:

Yeah. Did you go back into six months and go, it’s already at a million dollars and it’s going to be way over what I thought?

Joyce – 00:16:12:

I wanted to, but I didn’t. It’s fun to tell the story and just kind of roll your eyes. But I think, you know, with that, though, it was just the hard work of getting face to face with the customers and saying, please give us a chance and please trust us. And for them to do that, they knew I knew trucking, but still a new trucking entity is a scary thing. And we still have some of these same customers, many of them actually to this day. It’s so neat. I mean, just some of the customers we have, I’m just so proud. One, I just have to brag about one that is Cold Spring Granite Company, which has been a customer pretty much since day one. But we help bring the building granite to help rebuild the World Trade Tower after the 9-11.

Brent – 00:16:58:

Really? Wow.

Joyce – 00:16:59:

So just the thought that we have something that. Helped rebuild and part of that is just such a amazing feeling to know that we helped rebuild America. You know, it’s a neat thing. That’s one of, you know, just leaving a legacy across the country, our drivers just really, really proud of some of the freight that we’ve hauled. And it’s pretty cool.

Brent – 00:17:22:

That is so unique. I know trucking was such a big part of the removal of that debris. I see it at different trucking headquarters and stuff. I know Mercer Transportation Co, Inc. Has a big piece of the, I think it’s like Tower 2 or something like that. But it’s just unique about how when things are at their worst, trucking is at its best. And I think about the pandemic, even though Over 80% of truckers were worried about their health too. More than 95% still showed up for work.

Joyce – 00:17:50:

Well, and I think something with our company too, just the support thing. And some people roll their eyes at me and tell me that, I don’t know if I’d have done that, but we never shut down.

Brent – 00:18:01:

We could have worked from home.

Joyce – 00:18:04:

I shouldn’t say shut down. I use it, and that’s probably the wrong word. Nobody worked from home. We came into the office every day and we distanced ourselves. And we still, to this day, clean everything, Lysol down every day, getting a new routine of that. But I just said, I’m sorry, guys. You know, if our drivers are out there doing their job, we got to be here, too. We have to. So if you don’t feel comfortable, I get it. We lost, I think, two people in that whole situation, which is pretty minor. You hate to lose anyone. But I’m sorry, when the drivers are out there enduring the fears that they did and we can’t show up in an office setting, then you’re not tough enough for trucking. And that’s just kind of my slogan. You got to be tough enough for trucking. And you just really do.

Brent – 00:18:49:

You got to be tough enough for Chuck and Emily quoted by Joyce Brenny right there. I’ve got to write that down. I do love your point about You don’t pick trucking, it picks you. I think that’s true. My career, same thing. Worked on a small steel processing company for my dad’s business, and I learned how to run a fork truck and load trucks. I’ve been around trucks since I was about 13 years old. It was illegal for me to be operating a fork truck. Two to 10,000 pounds on these trucks, I shouldn’t have been doing it, but we made it work. So no, I just fell in love with truckers then, and I never thought I’d ever be in the truck transportation industry in 1998. It’s a great year in my life. I’ve January 24th, 1998, and just was so fantastic. And I’ve been in love with it ever since. I’ve gotten to work for two great companies, and so it’s just been lots of fun. You built Brenny Transportation, so that first year, just making decisions. You obviously had more success than you thought, probably a little more than two times the amount of success. And then you got to figure out all the things like taxes, like you were saying, all the things to run the operation, dealing with the great drivers and the great staff that help you run it. So that’s part of the business. But you’ve been obviously blessed to experience a good amount of success. And you don’t just haul one particular amount of freight. You have several pieces of the Brenny Transportation Inc.. I’m going to call it an empire. You’ve diversified your business. So talk a little bit about how you diversified into the different parts to employ more people and create a better company, but also haul more freight. Talk a little bit about that because that’s really cool.

Joyce – 00:20:19:

Right. And I think that’s something, again, that you’re going to find that you’re not going to hear this very often from many trucking company leaders. It’s all about growth and it’s all about the bottom line and let’s set these growth goals. And I have never really been much into that. It’s about the people. You put the people first and then the profits come. And of course, you have to have some goals. I’m not saying that you don’t, but people first, profit second. But it just really, really has to focus on doing your best. If you’re doing your best, you’re going to grow. I would say that we’re going to grow because our customers need and want us to grow. And that’s what it’s about. So asking the customers, you know, what more do you need from us? What more do you want from us? And we’ve been able to grow that way. You know, and obviously additional customers that have needed our help and so on. But there’s never been an aggressive growth plan at Brand. We have one salesperson, just one. And we’re about a $40 million company. We have a larger crew of customer service. Representatives. But we’re just really not focused on being the biggest. We want to be the best. And that’s what our focus is. So I think we probably would have been, we probably have been double in size had we just had a focus on growth. But we also would have had a huge amount of turnover. It would not have been a happy feeling for Joyce Brand and how I look at people and life and what I feel is right. I need to know everyone. I know all our drivers, significant others and most of their children. And I for sure know all the office team members, significant others and their children. And they were all in here trick or treating yesterday. I know. And that, when I talk about that, that makes me feel good. And so many people go, God, doesn’t that make you nervous? Oh my God, it’s, I’m not willy nilly about making goals. That’s not it. But they’re not stupid, non-people related goals. They’re people related goals. And you keep your people happy and the goals, they’re going to happen. Usually pretty nicely on their own. And that’s kind of the story here. Have we had a few years where we’ve had a few slipbacks? A few, but not many. We’ve never had a year that we didn’t make a profit. We’ve made a profit every year since we’ve been in business. And, you know, of course, some less than others. 9-11 wasn’t the best. But, I mean, this year is probably a tighter year as well. But we’re still on track to make our goals and make a profit. So it’s about the people. People first. And it sounds cliche. I know it does, but it really is like that here. It really is.

Brent – 00:22:57:

My old CEO, Joyce, used to say that your greatest assets walk out the door every day at 5 p.m. And he was talking about the people that work for the business. And so because he recognized really quick, you can’t do it all yourself and you need a team to get you to where you want to be in business. And so that’s super cool. So when I said the empire of Brenny Transportation, so you guys have, did you say three or four divisions? You have a standard, you know, sort of long haul, four hour freight.

Joyce – 00:23:25:

Yeah. So I guess you could say four, but I mean, technically the trucking, the asset base is under, you know, one entity. But yeah, we have the flatbed heavy haul and the van division warehouse and then the logistics division as well.

Brent – 00:23:38:

Right. So you’re almost like a four PL. You got it all. Well, that’s super cool. But really, I mean, to have a 90% retention rate, you can’t help but focus on people because it’s not just you. It’s every person that is associated with Brenny focusing on helping those drivers create success and satisfaction, what they do. If not, you’re not even getting close to 90% retention rate. Yeah. So it’s an all hands on deck play. And that sounds like that’s the approach you’ve taken.

Joyce – 00:24:06:

We have a driver review board. So every year it’s the top safety producers within the drivers group. Anything that has anything to do with the drivers, it’s ran by the driver review board. And then we also have a team advisory council. And that team advisory council is voted on by the entire team. So those individuals, if there’s any major decisions again, it’s ran by the team advisory council. And here’s one that will sound a little different. But we do the pledge every morning, Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 9 o’clock. And we have since day one. Pretty cool. So we thought, well, you know, in this day and age, maybe we should check and see if that’s still what the team wants us to do. So we ran that by the team advisory. You want us to still do the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 9 o’clock? And there’s 17 people on the team advisory council. And it was unanimous. Yes, absolutely. We still want to do the pledge. And so that was neat. So it’s things like that that just involve the culture and, you know, what we’re about. And, you know, just important decisions that affect us all. So it’s kind of neat.

Brent – 00:25:12:

Yeah, without a doubt. That’s the two adjectives for trucking is freedom and patriotism. They love driving their trucks because they love being free and they love living in a country that’s free. So that’s super cool. So you feel like that your business is kind of where you want it. What are some of the next things that you’re looking at for your business? And then after we talk about that, I want to shift into the way. As you’ve extended yours and Brenny’s reach into the other parts of the transportation industry to make an impact. What’s next for Brenny?

Joyce – 00:25:40:

Well, you know, right now we’re so out of space. So we’re looking for the possibility of a larger chunk of land. We want to stay in the St. Joseph, MN area if we can. Trucks and trailers take up a lot of space. So we’re kind of running out of room. So that’s something that’s on the horizon. We’re just hoping to see, you know, what goes on with the economy here in the next year. I mean, I have a feeling there’s going to be some good deals on land. So that’s what we’re hoping, that it might just be our chance to possibly purchase a larger piece, probably within the next couple years being, I just told you I’m 60 years old. We would like to see someone on our leadership team eventually move into the president position and myself and my husband be on the board of directors. That’s a couple years off. We don’t plan on selling our company. We have family involved. And just having a good, solid leadership team and staying involved. We can’t really picture doing anything else. It’s what we love. And there’s so many companies out there that are just multi-generation trucking companies. And that’s what I see us being and doing. So it just makes me feel good thinking about that.

Brent – 00:26:50:

Right. Yeah. Looking for a place to grow into the facility breathed a lot of life into companies too, you know, something new and it kind of shows a lot for the foundation of your business. And so I applaud you for continuing to try to create the best surroundings. For the people, Brenny Transportation, Brenny Transportation, because great brands aren’t great brands because they’re great. They’re great because they have great people. Behind them. That’s a matter of fact, you will not have a great brand if you don’t have great people. So that’s super cool. So super good to see that Brenny’s in great hands and going to continue to be in great hands that you get to work with your husband and your son. It’s your son, right? Son-in-law.

Joyce – 00:27:28:

My daughter works here too.

Brent – 00:27:30:

Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So excited to get to do that. All right. So one of the most unique things about Joyce Brenny is that she doesn’t just sit still and run a transportation company. She does not let that moss grow under her feet or anywhere else. All right. So you’ve been really, really proactive about working at multiple levels. You’ve been involved in working with advancement of females inside of transportation, not just your state level, not just through your company, but even at the federal level. And so you’ve also been involved in helping truck drivers that have an unfortunate financial crisis within their operation with helping improve their lives. I’d love to talk for a few minutes about your vision for helping females advance their careers inside of transportation. Talk for a few minutes about that. And then I want to talk for a few minutes about what you do with the great organization, St. Christopher Fund’s. So tell me a little bit about, you know, really helping females see a bigger sort of scope for themselves.

Joyce – 00:28:27:

I was actually nominated to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Women of Trucking Advisory . And so that’s a really wonderful opportunity to bring a perspective on female ideas on how to make the industry safer with a focus on female drivers, not just drivers. We’re doing some focus on behind the scenes team members, but mostly a focus on drivers just because of the safety aspect of being out there on the road by yourself and so on. So really putting my heart and soul on that right now, we’re having a couple of meetings a week with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. I’m also on the Minnesota Trucking Association Board of Directors. I have been for 18 years. And the American Trucking Association, I’m on the Safety Policy Committee. It’s involving a lot of ideas and ideas. Just thoughts coming forward, how we can help the trucking industry and drivers just be and have respect and be safe. That’s the reason why I always say that you can stand on the sideline and gripe all you want. You’re never going to solve one single problem. You got to be in the game. And is getting in the game scary? Oh, heck yeah. And most people think that I’m just this outspoken, you know, crazy, love to talk person. I’m really an introvert. And I put myself out there because it’s what I’m called to do. And I have such a passion for it. You know, I think it’s just important. You have to get outside your comfort zone to accomplish anything. And right now that’s really important for me.

Brent – 00:29:53:

Right. Fantastic. I love the advice that you just gave about you need to be at the table to help make policy decisions because trucking is a giant industry inside the United States. And so you can’t just do it by complaining. Complaining doesn’t get you much. You have to do it through advocacy and policy sort of thing. So tell me a little bit about your work with the federal government. And so I know you had the thing with the FMCSA where the women of trucking, right?

Joyce – 00:30:17:

Women of Trucking Advisory Board.

Brent – 00:30:20:

And you said you meet a couple of times a week. Well, that’s busy.

Joyce – 00:30:22:

It’s been a little relentless. Yeah, we had a meeting yesterday. We have another one tomorrow. We’re getting the final draft to present to Director Hutchinson at the Fed and Water Safety level. And of course, I’m the chair, which I’m laughing. Of course I am.

Brent – 00:30:39:

I’m really shocked about that. I can’t believe it. What happened?

Joyce – 00:30:44:

So yeah, how that happened, I don’t know. But so I’m the chair. So I will be the one presenting, which will be really an extreme honor. I feel that this group of ladies is leaving a legacy. And what we have, the board is made up of women truckers. Either they’re lady truck drivers or they’re women that run trucking companies. So it’s really an elite group of people that know what it takes. So it’s neat to serve with them. And I’m excited. We should be finishing up in two weeks. And hopefully everything comes across really nicely and we can see some changes and hopefully just create a safer environment for women in trucking and all people. If you make trucking better for women, you make it better for everyone.

Brent – 00:31:30:

Yeah, no doubt. Yeah. And so I think most people miss the, they think that, oh, well, you’re just an advocate for females. No, you’re an advocate for everybody, including females. I love the way you put that. If you improve it for one person, you’re improving it for another.

Joyce – 00:31:43:

And if the opportunity was there and I was nominated to be on, heck yeah, I’m going to take it because, you know, I can be a voice for all truckers at that level. And that is just an amazing thing.

Brent – 00:31:54:

Fantastic. But you didn’t just stop there. You went even further in personally helping truckers when they go through a crisis or a tragedy. Talk a little bit about your work with St. Christopher Fund Fund’s. And you’ve been on St. Christopher’s for a long time.

Joyce – 00:32:07:

Yeah, I was looking. I got the date written down. I think 2012 is when I became a board member. But it’s kind of funny. Before that, I didn’t know much about St. Christopher Fund Fund. Actually, I was going to start my own charity that would help drivers. And so then it just happened that I stumbled upon St. Christopher and like, well, I don’t need to reinvent the wheel here because they’re already doing it. So, yeah, I was excited to find them, became a board member. And then I believe. But 2018 is when I became president. And when they asked me to be, you know, if I would be president, I said, yes. However, the goal would be that we do more proactive work with health initiatives, because prior to that, we were just really doing grants to help drivers if they had a health situation, you know, if they needed money for a current health situation. And it’s like, well, you know, you just keep giving money and you’re not doing anything to help them fix what’s causing these issues. I said, I just don’t feel good about that. You know, we need to do things. So since then, right, we started the Diabetes Prevention Program, the Rigs Without Cigs Program. We now have counseling service and telehealth services. So there’s a whole ton of preventative care that drivers can get. And if they go to truckersfund.org, the St. Christopher Fund website, and all the information is on there where you can get the different help that you may need. And I’m super, super happy about the one that is most prideful thing for me and just I’m just so excited about is the counseling services. Because, again, me with the psychology degree, I just really have always had a passion for making sure people’s mental health is right up there with their physical health, because it goes hand in hand. And that is a passion of mine. You want to talk about goals? That’s a goal I have. So we have a wellness director, which is my daughter, who’s an RN. But another goal. Another goal of mine is I would love to have an in-house counselor. And I can see within the next year or two, I’ll make that happen. But right now, our drivers use and our behind the scenes team use the St. Christopher Fund’s site for counseling service. And it’s amazing. It’s easy to use. And the counselors are very, very helpful and easy to get a hold of. So it’s really neat. But right, St. Christopher Fund and the amazing board that we have, we only have nine people on our board. So these companies that have signed up to say, yeah, we want to be part of helping drivers. It’s such a neat group of people. Just so proud of them. But can I name them real quick? There’s only nine. Please do.

Brent – 00:34:49:


Joyce – 00:34:49:

Tim Ridley with Dave Nemo Radio, Tom Hines with Coffee Cup Fuel Stops, Norita Taylor with OOIDA, Cody Griggs with C.H. Robinson, Eric Harley with Red Eye Radio, Mark Singleton with Rudolph Foods, Patty Delamonico with TA Travel Plaza. So amazing group of people and the staff too. Got to bring them up because they’re a small group. Donna, Lindsay, Shannon, Leslie, and Nick. And we make a lot happen and we help a lot of drivers with a staff of only five people and a board member of only eight people. And they’re just totally driven to serve the truckers that have things come up. And it’s not just, like I said, not just illness. We help families that may have a death in the family and they need to take time off. There’s just a lot of things that drivers deal with that you just don’t think of, that many of us have a support group for, and they don’t. It’s a passion of mine and I love it. I love being a driver. I love being part of St. Christopher Fund’s.

Brent – 00:35:48:

Well, I love how you’ve taken your success And you didn’t say it was only intended for me and our company. It was intended to go further and to help further and to make an impact on people’s lives. And so I’m going to guess that you’ll continue to be successful because you continue to help serve others with your success, which is if I could give any advice to anybody that creates success in business, it’s designed to give away. One of my favorite people one time said they were up in front of a large, very, very large group of people. And this was actually a prayer breakfast. And this person said, I found that money can buy happiness. And so it’s at a prayer group, right? And these people are like, all right, where are they going with this? And she goes, if you give it away. And so one of the greatest people I know, Kathy Randall, part of Randall Raleigh, the company I worked with, but. So first of all, thank you for the interview today. Thank you for talking about Brenny. Thank you for talking about what it means, the responsibility of success and what does it mean in making sure that you’re helping everybody create success in their business and being willing to serve and sacrifice. That’s a model that we should all follow an example. So thank you so much. All right. So the last minute, what’s the greatest piece of advice that you would give to your younger self? Because you know yourself the best, right? What would you give to your younger self if you had to do it all over again?

Joyce – 00:37:11:

Well, it kind of goes off of what you just said, not to worry about money, because as long as you’re serving, it’s going to come back to you. And it has. I’ve gotten really good at it probably last 10 to 15 years. But at the beginning, it was really hard and I did worry a lot about money. But now it’s just a freedom that I know I’m taking care of. And I tell people, if you could just realize that what you do good, you get back tenfold, as we know the Bible says. And it’s so true. It does not fail you. And I just advise that. Just try it. It’s amazing. So it’s so fun. And I love it because the Christmas season’s coming up. We do so much help and we do a lot of gift cards. And I just love handing them out. You know, I’ll go to the gas station and give one to the person behind the counter or the restaurant. And give one to the server. And just it’s so fun. And just I love it. And I envision how happy that they are with their maybe buying with their little gift card. A hundred bucks, you know, and just it’s fun.

Brent – 00:38:15:

Generosity never fails to return an enjoyable life. And so thank you for the work that you do for our industry. Thank you for what you do with advancement for all people, especially for females in industry. And thank you for what you do in helping truckers through St. Christopher Fund’s. A Truckstop is involved in St. Christopher Fund’s. We’re a proud part of St. Christopher Fund. And so thank you so much for being on today. I know that the watchers and listeners to the podcast will glean a tremendous amount about how to create success by serving others. So thankful that you were on today. So that’s a wrap for Freight Nation. I hope you guys enjoyed it today in watching and listening to it. We are proud to bring it to you. We’re thankful that we can bring it to you. So thanks for listening to Freight Nation today. And don’t forget to work hard, be kind, and stay humble. Thanks a lot. On behalf of the Truckstop team, thanks for listening to this episode of Freight Nation. To find out more about the show, head to truckstop.com forward slash podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until then, keep on trucking and exploring the open roads with Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast.

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