Month: December 2006

Tribute to President Ford

If you haven’t noticed, I have placed a couple pictures and a short video tribute to the former president on my site. President Ford has had a positive impact on my life and has been a role model of a great leader.

Back in the early 80’s, I had a chance to meet the late president and Mrs. Ford at their home on Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. I was attending College of the Desert at the time and was working for a valet parking company at night. My boss called me and asked me a few personal questions and asked if I had any objections to him providing my personal information to the US Secret Service. I didn’t hesitate to allow him to share my information, but of course I was very curious to what was happening. About a week later, I was told to report to the Ford residence in Rancho Mirage for a special function. To my surprise, Mrs. Ford was holding a special party and I was personally requested to provide valet parking service to the Ford’s and Firestone’s. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Firestone (Firestone Tires) were neighbors and friends of President and Mrs. Ford. It was a chance of a lifetime to serve someone for whom I had so much respect. After the party, President and Mrs. Ford and Mr. and Mrs. Firestone personally greeted the help and thanked them for their services.

My father, who owns a very successful business in the desert had the opportunity to meet and work for the Ford’s on several occasions. One memorable moment came when I was riding around town with my father. Mrs. Ford’s assistant called my dad on his cell phone and requested he come to the residence for a special request. We arrived and found out that Mrs. Ford was having a dinner party and one of their dining room chairs had a fabric fade and she wanted the chair fixed as soon as possible. We rightfully took the chair and found an upholstery store that could match the fabric and finish the job right away.

Once again I was fortunate enough to experience the graciousness and thoughtfulness of President and Mrs. Ford. They continued to call my father for years and even sent Christmas cards to him every year.

We thank you Mr. President for being a shining star and a great example of what a leader should be. Rest in peace. ~

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Tribute to President Ford

If you haven’t noticed, I have placed a couple pictures and a short video tribute to the former president on my site. President Ford has had a positive impact on my life and has been a role model of a great leader.

Back in the early 80’s, I had a chance to meet the late president and Mrs. Ford at their home on Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. I was attending College of the Desert at the time and was working for a valet parking company at night. My boss called me and asked me a few personal questions and asked if I had any objections to him providing my personal information to the US Secret Service. I didn’t hesitate to allow him to share my information, but of course I was very curious to what was happening. About a week later, I was told to report to the Ford residence in Rancho Mirage for a special function. To my surprise, Mrs. Ford was holding a special party and I was personally requested to provide valet parking service to the Ford’s and Firestone’s. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Firestone (Firestone Tires) were neighbors and friends of President and Mrs. Ford. It was a chance of a lifetime to serve someone for whom I had so much respect. After the party, President and Mrs. Ford and Mr. and Mrs. Firestone personally greeted the help and thanked them for their services.

My father, who owns a very successful business in the desert had the opportunity to meet and work for the Ford’s on several occasions. One memorable moment came when I was riding around town with my father. Mrs. Ford’s assistant called my dad on his cell phone and requested he come to the residence for a special request. We arrived and found out that Mrs. Ford was having a dinner party and one of their dining room chairs had a fabric fade and she wanted the chair fixed as soon as possible. We rightfully took the chair and found an upholstery store that could match the fabric and finish the job right away.

Once again I was fortunate enough to experience the graciousness and thoughtfulness of President and Mrs. Ford. They continued to call my father for years and even sent Christmas cards to him every year.

We thank you Mr. President for being a shining star and a great example of what a leader should be. Rest in peace. ~

Advice for the Student Driver

* Editor Note * – This is a re-post from an article I wrote last year. It seams like this is the time of year many new drivers experience the open road for the first time. The advice is the same and the ideas I expressed will give the student driver an idea of what it is like the first time on the road. Good luck and be safe! JB

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I was in the Idaho DMV the other day and a guy sat down beside me and started to mention how hard it was to get his CDL license.

I laughed to myself and remembered the day I first got my CDL about 7 years ago. He was excited and told me all about the great company he was going to work for and how his new found company was going to give him the world! He told me he reported for orientation in about a week in Omaha, NE. He asked me if I had heard of the company, Werner, and I said I did. Once the sugar coating wore off, I got down to business giving him my best advise for someone venturing out on the road for the first time. GET YOUR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS AND PERSONAL BUSINESS TAKEN CARE OF BEFORE HEADING OUT ON THE ROAD FOR THE FIRST TIME!

Of course I had to stress the later. Not one person in my trucking school or the company I started with, US Xpress, ever mentioned getting your personal affairs sorted out BEFORE reporting for orientation. Little did I know I would be spending the next 8-10 weeks of my life in a “foreign” state, 3000 miles away from home.

My best advise for this new student of the road was to pay the bills back home at least 2-3 months in advance. This would include rent, utilities, credit cards, car payments, etc. Leave enough money in the bank for the family at home, and buy as many phone cards as possible from your local Wal-Mart, NOT the truck stop!

We could have talked for hours, but I needed to get my two cents in before this guy left the room and I would never be able to warn him about life on the road as a rookie. One other piece of advise that I gave him, and any other student out there, do not get suckered into the “advance trap”. Most larger companies will allow you to advance yourself .09 – .10 cents per mile. It has been my experience that more payroll errors occur when a driver hits his or her advance limit every week. Not to mention that after payroll taxes, insurance, SSI, etc., not much is left on the paystub to send back home to pay the bills. Keep a budget and stick to it! Plan on spending anywhere from $10 to $20 dollars a day on miscellaneous items and food. If you spend your budget and still have a day left before next payday, you may have to skip a couple of meals before you get paid again.

I feel the advance program was developed by someone who knew human behavior all too well. If you look at the process objectively, if one is broke, won’t that motivate the driver to spend more time on the road trying to make more money? More time on the road equals more miles. More miles equals more revenue for the trucking company. Student drivers, stick to a budget, DO NOT take advances, and don’t buy over-priced junk at the truck stops. 90% of American Wal-Marts and K-Marts, even supermarkets and malls, have ample room for a truck to park. Do not park there for long periods of time, be polite, don’t litter, buy your groceries and hit the road. Even thanking the manager of these establishments for allowing you to park on “their” property goes a very long way.

Be smart, save your hard earned money, keep a budget, sign up for direct deposit and start using online bill paying services. As a driver, don’t stay on the road for 8 weeks at a time. Life is short, visit the family often and get plenty of rest. When I was an OTR driver, my ideal time out was 3.5 weeks and 5 days off at home. I still ran plenty of miles, but I was a safer and more alert driver.

Please read my blog often and think about the tips I mention. It can save you a few dollars and a lot of heartache!

Be Safe!