American Towman Magazine - September 2022

Page 1

AT-SHOWPLACE-LAS VEGAS: SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2022

The Road Calls

SOLID Teamwork Recovering a Crane Crash

New vs Used?

Tow Truck Shopping Tips

INSURANCE

Do’s and Don’ts

Masters of Chaos Descend on Baltimore at AT Expo pg. 35

TowIndustryWeek.com

SEPTEMBER 2022 AmericanTowman.com

$10




Contents

Cover Feature

Volume 46 Issue 9

September 30

Solid Teamwork Recovering One Big Fracking Crane by George L. Nitti

2022 Departments 6

The Walkaround

8

News Share

10

Road Tools

11

Zoom In

12

Tow Manager

20

Tow Engineer

24

Tow Boss

28

In Memoriam

34

Ad Index

Dream Team

36

An American Towman

40

Classic Wrecker

by Brian J. Riker

48

Towman Tribute

54

Case Closed

56

Beacons On!

68

Towman’s Market

Whether Buying a New or Used Tow Truck, Keep These in Mind

70

My Baby

74

Lowdown

56

81

Adventures of A.T.

It took two tow companies working closely together (B&B Wrecker Service and Big Sky Towing) to move a massive crane back onto the roadway after a rollover. The operator hauling the wire rope over his shoulder is B&B’s Weldon Brookshire, who’s 90-years-old and still bustin’ hump in 110-degree heat! Photo courtesy of Harvey Carrera of B&B.

Features

12

Building a Better Group of Operators

24

Shopping Tips by Randall C. Resch

Insurance Do’s and Don’ts

To Keep Your Rates Down and Your Coverage Up

by Rob and Sharon Austin 4 • September 2022 | Towman.com

First on the scene since 1977



The Walkaround Viva Las Vegas!

Dennie Ortiz Publisher

Vegas is a destination of great fun, entertainment and, of course, the American Towman ShowPlace happening this month: September 21 to 23. Easy to get to from all points in the country, the Vegas show is the perfect place to enjoy mixing business and pleasure. Your time is precious and it will be well spent networking with your peers, checking out what the latest towing’s top suppliers have to offer, and taking in a few conferences to keep your business growing. Join us in this industry celebration by registering at ATShowPlace.com. As labor shortages abound, now may be the perfect time to evaluate your organization to ensure you’re building a strong work environment with your current crew, while hiring the best possible candidates. Brian Riker in his piece “Dream Team,” offers several suggestions to create and maintain a team that will help your business succeed. A good example of what cohesive teamwork can accomplish, can be found in the recovery showcased in this issue. B&B Wrecker Service and Sky Towing, both out of Texas, combined forces for this challenging job involving a flipped high-capacity crane. As almost everyone is dealing with supply-chain issues, finding a tow truck to purchase requires some patience right now. During this waiting period, take the time to read through Randall Resch’s article that details the various factors to consider while choosing the right piece of equipment. Whether you’re attempting to buy a unit for a special niche that you’re trying to fill, or deciding between used or new, doing your research will help you to make the right decision. Closing out this issue, we have a unique My Baby featured this month. Go take a look at this showstopper from Binghamton, New York (pronounced bing·uhm·tn) and see if you agree. Hope to see you in Vegas and as always stay safe out there!

All Together Now!

Steve Temple Editor

Our cover theme this issue is all about the importance of teamwork, something that tow operators live by. Going solo just can’t cut it on a big recovery job, no matter how good you are. For comparison, everyone in a sports organization knows you don’t score points without an integrated group effort. Or just ask the Navy Seals about how that esprit de corps is an essential trait. So we recognize and appreciate towmen who can work together, not only when sweating the recovery of a big fracking crane on a hot summer day in West Texas, but also behind the scenes as Brian Riker’s “Dream Team” article points out. And also how Charles Scharff, this month’s “An American Towman,” treats his crew. We salute you!

6 • September 2022 | Towman.com

Dennie Ortiz Steve Calitri Steve Temple Randall Resch Terry Abejuela David Kolman John Borowski Mark Lacek Brian Riker George Nitti Henri “Doc” Calitri

President / Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor Operations Editor Field Editor, West Chassis Editor Safety Editor Repo Run Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor

Editorial Board Tommy Anderson Roy Carlson Debbie Collins Belinda Harris Bill Johnson Kurt Wilson

Dallas, Texas Saint Paul, Minn. Las Vegas, Nev. Greensboro, N.C. South Hadley, Mass. Creve Coeur, Ill.

American Towman Staff Gina Johnson Dennie Ortiz Ellen Rosengart Henri Calitri Patrice Gesner Peggy Calabrese Ryan Oser Emily Oz Steve Calitri

Art Director Advertising Sales Mgr. Senior Account Exec. Customer Service Subscription Manager Regional Advertising Sales iMarketing Manager ATTV Producer President

American Towman Media Headquarters 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5, Warwick, NY 10990 800-732-3869 or 845-986-4546

E-Mail: President / Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor

dortiz@towman.com scalitri@towman.com stemple@towman.com

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News Share New Database Tracks Incidents

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) has launched a new nationwide database to collect detailed information about incidents on the roadway where emergency responders or their equipment were struck by a vehicle while operating at a scene. Available at ReportStruckBy.com, the database accepts reports from all roadway responders, including towing and recovery. The goal is to improve the voluntary reporting, tracking, and analysis of struck-by incident data to prevent future incidents. Any roadway responder can report a struck-by incident to ReportStruckBy. com, whether that incident resulted in death, injury, or property damage. Reporting is anonymous and the reporting form takes approximately three to four minutes to complete. Source: Press release TRAA

Win a South African Safari

The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame, as part of its yearly fundraiser held in October during Museum Weekend, will offer a FiveDay, All-Inclusive South Africa Safari and Hunting Package. The package includes hunting six of the most sought-after plains game trophies, as well as daily game drives. The package is for two hunters with a five-night stay at the Wildeman Farm Mainhouse, including meals and local drinks and transfers to and from Johannesburg International Airport. Also included are two non-hunting guests, but it does not include air flights nor accommodation before and after the safari. The safari is good for travel January 1 to December 31, 2023. The fundraising auction is being held Friday, October 7 at the Westin Chattanooga hotel and will include the Wall of the Fallen Name Unveiling Ceremony and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, both Saturday, October 8. For additional information about Museum Weekend 2022 or to purchase tickets, visit TowingMuseum.com.

8 • September 2022 | Towman.com

First Responders Donate to Move Over Foundation U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal speaking at an event where firefighters and police donated to a foundation started by the family of a fallen tower. Firefighters and police of Fairfield County, Connecticut, gathered to donate $4000 to a foundation started on behalf of fallen tower Corey Iodice, who was struck and killed by a speeding motorist while loading a disabled car on a Connecticut Parkway in 2020. In response, Corey’s sister Cindy started the Flagman Project, a foundation to draw attention to the Move Over state law.

At the event, firefighters and police were joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick in presenting the donation to Cindy and her brother Chris, who works as a tow truck driver. “We just want to get home after doing our job,” Chris said, “It’s hard to look over your shoulder when you’re trying to conduct what we’re doing out there.” Source: ctpost.com

Car Repossessions Surging Over the last couple of years, with supply shortages mounting from automakers and demand for autos at a premium, and prices of cars surging, so also have higher auto loans and more repossessions. In a report by Kelley Blue Book, the average MSRP for a new car has gone up 13.5 percent to $47,148 in May 2022. Add in higher monthly payments and limited budgets, and more Americans are having trouble paying for cars bought in the last two years. According to Edmunds, 12.7 percent of customers that bought a new vehicle in the last two years are making payments for at least $1,000 per month. It’s been noted that subprime borrowers, or those with the worst credit history, are defaulting, up 11 percent, but even those with excellent credit have doubled in defaults in the past two years. Besides supply shortages, many auto loans were put into forbearance during the pandemic while economic stimulus and unemployment benefits

Don Adams of Don Adams Towing & Recovery reports considerable uptick in his car repossession business. gave consumers the confidence to take on more debt to purchase a car. But as progress was made against alleviating the pandemic, inflation has heated up and interest rates have risen, causing distress with borrowers. Don Adams of Don Adams Towing and Recovery of Owensboro, Kentucky, said last year that he reported approximately 175 repossessions. But this year alone he has repossessed 250 vehicles, with several more months to go. Sources: wevv.com texasstandard.org powernationtv.com


News Share

Tower Honored

for Rescuing Deputy Constable

A tow truck driver who rescued a deputy constable from her vehicle in Pasadena, Texas in late July was honored for his actions by the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office, Mother’s Agains Drunk Driving and the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Tower Richard Borgstrom was in the right place at the right time when he heard a loud boom and witnessed the explosion. Borgstrom got to the car, smashed in the window and pulled Deputy K. LeMelle from the wreckage before the patrol car hit a wall and burst into flames. “I banged on the window, and then all of a sudden, I see a hand coming out from the smoke where they had the airbag, the side airbag. Her hand came out from around it, and I noticed her bright fingernails,” Borgstrom said. “I punched the glass with my fist, couldn’t break it, ran back to my tow truck, grabbed a trailer hitch, ran back out there, and I smashed the window out with the trailer hitch.” After breaking the window, Borgstrom said he was able to pull the

deputy, who works the night shift in the toll road division, by her vest to safety. Officials said it was good that the deputy was pulled from the vehicle when she was because she also had ammunition in the car that started exploding. In a ceremony on August 9, a tearyeyed LeMelle hugged Borgstrom. “I’m very grateful for Richard. Happy to be alive,” LeMelle said. Borgstrom has been in the business for 30 years and said wrecker drivers see their share of danger. “I’m not the only one who’s done this before. Plenty of tow truck drivers put their lives on the line,” he said. Source: abc13.com

Ocean City, Maryland Finalizes Tow Ordinances Two towing ordinances and resolutions gained the approval of Ocean City, Maryland’s Council members on, Monday, August 1. The first ordinance updates administrative procedures for the towing of vehicles illegally on private properties. The intent is to ensure that companies on the approved police tow list follow proper procedures. The new version of the ordinance states that a property owner or representative of the private business must authorize the tow. The second ordinance updates the city’s code to include vehicles obstructing fire lanes, and addresses tows involving fire lanes and hydrants. Council members also approved two towing resolutions. The first sets an administrative fee of 10 percent of the cost of the tow if a company does

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Ocean City has finalized new tow ordinances and resolutions to counter predatory tow practices. not ask for reimbursement from the city within 90 days. The second adopts an administrative fee and revised procedures for tow companies. Source: oceancitytoday.com

Jerr-Dan on Inflation In an open letter to the towing industry, Bob Nelson, General Manager of the Jerr-Dan Corp., addressed the issue of inflation affecting tow business owners. “As an industry, we need to pull together during these tough times. We can’t bury our heads and ignore inflation,” wrote Nelson. “We must practice pricing discipline to remain healthy. That means as costs increase, pricing must be adjusted and/or surcharges instituted to keep businesses healthy and tow trucks in service.” In his letter, Nelson ran down the economic ills currently afflicting our towing industry: inflation rates at a four-decade high, widespread supply chain disruptions, a tight labor market, logistics challenges, increasing fuel and insurance costs and the threat of increasing interest rates, and a major chassis shortage. Nelson underscored that “Jerr-Dan remains focused on building trucks to satisfy customer demand. To do so we are working diligently and getting creative to secure the parts and chassis needed to build product.” In moving forward, Nelson said Jerr-Dan has allocated resources to three key areas: proactive customer communications, product development and operator training. “In terms of communication, we are being transparent with customers so that they can work through fleet planning and make business decisions with the most up-to-date information. A customer is the first to know if a part or chassis is delayed which will impact their delivery. “And finally, we strongly support operator training. One tower is killed in the line of duty every 6 days. This is an unacceptable statistic we take to heart at Jerr-Dan. We are upgrading our training facilities, capabilities, and programs to get more operators trained to change this statistic going forward.” Nelson forecasted that supply of materials and product would lag behind demand over the next two years. “Customers who want to minimize business disruptions should embrace fleet planning, forecast purchases, and secure financing well in advance,” Nelson advised.

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 9


Road Tools New Way to Carry Containers Miller Industries Towing Equipment Inc. now offers a Container Transport package for the company’s 16 and 20-Series LCG carriers. This new container package features a hydraulic chain-drive system providing a powered method for loading and offloading 10-foot and 20-foot shipping containers. Recessed into the center of the carrier deck, the incorporated hydraulic chain drive system hoists a container with a chain bridle that securely connects to the container. A push bar allows an operator to offload a shipping container from the truck’s deck without relying solely on gravity. The included chain bridle and push bar accommodate all standard shipping container connection points. A wireless remote allows for operator flexibility when loading and unloading shipping containers.

millerind.com

Just a Touchup, Please It’s a rough world out there, with scrapes and scratches a common occurrence on wreckers. Even so, operators appreciate having a professional appearance on their tow trucks. With this in mind, they can keep their vehicle’s paint looking new using AutomotiveTouchup.com. This website offers custom formulated paint for Ford models ranging from F350 to F750, and also heavy-duty Chevrolet and Dodge trucks. Colors are available in paint pen, brush-in-bottle, aerosol spray can or ready to spray in pint, quart or gallon cans. The three-step system is comprised of a primer, basecoat, and a high quality clear coat. The supplies needed to perform a paint repair are also available on the AutomotiveTouchup.com website so everything arrives all in one box. Locating the correct paint code is easy by entering the vehicle’s year/make/model on the company’s homepage.

automotivetouchup.com

Talkin’ on Sunshine! That’s how you’ll be feeling using the world’s first solar-powered bluetooth headset from Blue Tiger. This product provides continuous hands-free talk with no need to ever recharge or add batteries. The unit automatically recharges from any type of light, indoor or outdoor. For a seamless driving and work communications experience, headset also features 97 percent noise-canceling and high-quality speaker technologies (Military Grade MIL-STD-810). “Solare is changing hands-free communications, ensuring a safer driving experience and a cleaner, sustainable energy source for all, whether in the office, at home, or on the road,” said Chantal Saah, President, Blue Tiger USA.

bluetigerheadsets.com

10 • September 2022 | Towman.com


Zoom In

Truck-Mounted Attenuator Crash Protection In the field of electronics, an attenuator is basically the opposite of an amplifier, reducing the strength of a signal. So too with a truck-mounted attenuator (TMA), but instead it reduces the strength of a vehicle impact. This type of crash mitigation has traditionally been used for protecting workers in highway construction zones to prevent injuries and save lives. In the past few years, TMAs have become increasingly used in towing and recovery operations as well. Royal Truck & Equipment’s attenuator truck is specially engineered to serve as a physical barrier between working crews and approaching traffic, and is equipped with a rear-mounted “crash cushion” to absorb force from a collision. When properly built, a TMA truck can withstand a crash from vehicles as large as a tractor-trailer at speeds as high as 62.5 mph. In addition to providing an arrow board as a visual warning, TMA trucks are primarily designed to provide protection in three ways: 1. Prevent damage to towing vehicles and equipment 2. Decrease risk of workers being struck on the roadway

3. Absorb impact from distracted drivers to reduce further injuries Royal Truck & Equipment, the nation’s largest builder of attenuator trucks, has seen many companies reduce “struck by” incidents using TMA trucks while also leveraging preventive technology to avoid collisions from even happening. For example, this company’s ConnectedTech suite of products can turn your existing vehicles and equipment into safety beacons that broadcast activity to approaching motorists via navigation app before they even reach your location. This same technology can be integrated directly with the hazard lights on existing tow trucks and other emergency response vehicles.

Three different models, each with different lengths and applications, are the Scorpion II® TMA, Scorpion II® Metro TMA, and Blade TMA. These attenuators are all approved by MASH (Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware), which means they meet the safety guidelines set forth by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). This nonprofit organization establishes test protocols and publishes specifications and guidelines used in the U.S. highway construction industry, with MASH being the uniform set of guidelines for crash testing. Given the proven effectiveness in protecting highway workers from serious injuries and death, many states have mandated the use of TMA trucks for highway operations. One user of Royal Truck’s TMA, Evan Yocum of Yocum Towing in Allentown, Pennsylvania, praises the value of this equipment in his operations: “This has been lifechanging for us.”

royaltruckandequipment.com Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 11


Tow Manager

Building a solid team of tow operators includes identifying those that are open to advancement.

Dream Team Building A Better Group of Operators By Brian J Riker Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 26 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator, and president of Fleet Compliance Solutions. He specializes in helping navigate the complex world of federal and state transportation regulatory compliance. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

Y

ou want the best possible team, a competent, efficient and safe group of skilled tow operators. Yet it’s a struggle just to fill open positions—what might you be doing wrong? Anyone in ownership or management has asked themselves that very question, maybe even a few times. It’s not an easy question to address, but the answers are well worth taking the time to find them. First off, a great team doesn’t just happen by accident. Many hours of hard work, sacrifice and intentions are what’s needed to help you find, create and refine the ideal mix of personalities and skills for your dream team. Where most of us fail is in trying to rush the end result. There’s simply no substitute for taking the time needed to develop and nurture the work relationships necessary to create success.

TROUBLING SCENARIOS

Let’s be frank: How many of you have rushed the hiring process just to fill a seat? 12 • September 2022 | Towman.com

And then realized they’re really not qualified for the job. On the other hand, you hire a seasoned and experienced professional, only to find out that even though their technical abilities are excellent, their people skills are abysmal? Or what about keeping high performers on the payroll for their productivity, even when they create a toxic culture? None of these scenarios will result in long term success, yet many of us have— or still do—these things daily. The first area we need to address as leaders is our own presence. Do we model the behaviors we want our team to exhibit, or do we follow the “Do as I say, not as I do” leadership style? We must show— not just tell—our team how we expect them to behave every day. Otherwise our words will be merely that, words without any weight when we speak to our “culture.” As with children, more is caught than taught, meaning your team will model what they see you allow. Whether it’s showing up late, not obeying safety policies, or being rude



to others. They will likely duplicate what they see daily. Like that old saying, “I couldn’t hear what you’re saying because your actions were speaking so loud!”

MAN THE HELM

If you have read this far, and not offended by the thought that you might be the problem, then learn and lead. There is a huge difference between a leader and a manager. Yes, there is a place in every business for a manager, but to run a company there must be a leader at the helm. Managers are good for daily, noncritical tasks, but frontline people must be leaders. This doesn’t mean they need to be in management, as your lead driver is likely a leader even without a title or official responsibilities. As is the wise one that takes the time to mentor new employees without even being asked. These are the heart and soul of your team and should be acknowledged and rewarded appropriately. Have you ever noticed that often you will have a few team members that are respected and followed even without being in a “position of leadership”? This is what a makes for a true leader. If you are new to the concept of “servant leadership,” it might seem strange to you. But trust me it works. Your sole purpose as the owner of your company is to serve others. Serve your team, serve your family, and most important, serve your community and customers. By serving these people well you will succeed. This advice is right in keeping with the main theme of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This simple but valuable guide emphasizes thinking in terms of other people’s needs—and then your own needs will get met. A large part of servant leadership is identifying others that have 14 • September 2022 | Towman.com

It doesn’t do any good to sugarcoat what the job is all about. If you “blow smoke,” new hires won’t last. potential, and helping them reach it in full—even if facilitating it leads them out of your company. Let’s face it, in today’s employment environment, most folks are not interested in a lifelong career with a single employer. Rather they are looking for two to five years max.

WIN-WIN

Admittedly, merely two to five years is hard to accept, since it can take that long for heavy-duty operators or recovery specialists to get good at their job. But that is a reality we face today. So instead of complaining or choosing not to invest in training and education for your team, make the most of the seasons they will be with you, even if you know it will only be a short time period. In turn, they will give you all they have for the time they are with you, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone be the best version of themselves they can be. It is a winwin situation. Now, not everyone that works with you will be open to advancement and personal growth, but many will be. You might be wondering, “How to identify those that are open to advancement?” Determining that requires really getting to know your direct reports. Not just their name and favorite shift

to work, finding out if they have any dreams or goals outside of work, any other skills from a previous position, or general career goals. What do they want their future to look like?

PROFESSIONAL EVAL

In addition, look at a team member’s performance after a few weeks, and then again after a few months. Have they shown any natural improvement, as expected— or have they stagnated? If they’re not growing, did you provide all the necessary tools and resources for them to improve their skill set? Do they have a different learning style (e.g., hands-on versus reading a textbook)? All these factors must be taken into account before writing off someone as unwilling or unable to learn the job. Presuming you have provided appropriate resources, and they have taken advantage of them effectively, you can now begin further evaluation for promotion and professional development opportunities. The ideal candidate for professional development will be the self-starter—the person that takes it upon themselves to come in a few minutes early, stay a few minutes late, and do things without being asked. They take on an active responsibility (anticipating and acting upon your company’s needs) versus a passive one (available, but waiting to be told what to do). Another indicator of candidates’ good potential: Do they keep their equipment just barely good enough, or do they go above and beyond with cleaning and maintain their stuff? The latter can show they are eager for more, and have the desire to be professional. They will be the easiest to work with, and most eager to grow. Even so, they are not the only candidates in your company for development.



HUMILITY BEFORE ABILITY

Do you have someone that already exhibits natural leadership tendencies without the desire for the spotlight? They would be the person that is always willing to listen to the new hire, even when they are asking the same questions over and over, and then takes the time to show them the right way. They also demonstrate leadership qualities by always having the equipment and paperwork in order, following the policies and having good customer reviews. This person may just need some coaxing to really shine as a frontline leader, but don’t push them. Many of these folks are happy without major recognition, and you don’t want to lose a behindthe-scenes asset by pushing them too far out of their comfort zone too far. On the other hand, be very wary of promoting a know-it-all. We all have one of those in our life, the fella that

16 • September 2022 | Towman.com

knows everything about everything, and will share their opinion— forcefully in some cases. This trait is not leadership material, and they are not even good teammates, since they often cause problems and drive away the good folks. That doesn’t mean you have to fire your know-it-all tomorrow, but you should work to control and correct his or her behavior for the betterment of the whole team culture. Whatever you do, do not give the know-it-all any special authority, as that is a surefire way to feed their ego, and cause dissension among the whole crew. What about when hiring, how can I avoid employing the same type of person every time? It is usually a result of hiring for technical skills or certifications over attitude or personal demeanor. While certain skills are a must for each position you are trying to fill, don’t get caught

up in looking solely for them. Consider hiring for attitude and aptitude, regardless of experience, licenses or certifications. We can always train the right candidate for the hard skills they need, and then obtain their licenses or certifications. But nobody can change their basic personality to fit your team no matter how hard you try. Which is why it’s sometimes better to hire folks without any towing-specific experience, and then train them from the ground up. The extra time and effort you take pays back in dividends with their better attitude and grateful appreciation. Plus you don’t need to take the time retraining them to unlearn all their bad habits.

DON’T BLOW SMOKE

Honestly goes a long way in the hiring process. It’s no secret that towing is a difficult career, often with long, odd hours, bad weather,


ungrateful customers and the risk of physical harm daily. It’s sometimes a wonder anyone wants to drive a tow truck! We can’t control many of these factors, but we can manage the applicant’s expectations right from the start. It doesn’t do anyone any good to sugarcoat what the job is all about. If you “blow smoke,” they won’t last and you will have wasted thousands of dollars hiring and training someone that wasn’t a fit from the start. Tow businesses need to fill positions, often quickly, but the hiring process can not be rushed for it to be effective. Besides the basic background screening that may be required by law enforcement and insurance, a good hiring process includes multiple interviews conducted by different people within your company. And maybe even a ride-along for driver or roadside technician positions. This will allow

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Building a dream team involves anyone who strives to improve. Consider hiring for attitude and aptitude, regardless of experience, licenses or certifications.

the applicant to see firsthand what the job really is, and multiple interviews with different staff members will give you a better picture of the applicant as a whole. Don’t forget to include a hands-on skills demonstration to check for technical aptitude or ability, depending on what level of experience you choose to look for. If you are serious about building culture within your organization, consider administering personality profiles and posting the results in public places within your

company. Commonly used by larger corporations to foster more concise communication and efficient interactions among team members, these profiles can be useful for those that might not collaborate often, or are new to the team. The DISC Profile (discprofile.com/what-isdisc) is one example, and another is the Enneagram Institute assessment (enneagraminstitute.com) When used properly, they’re not intended to intimidate, embarrass or harass anyone. Rather they

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 17


LITE-IT UP WITH

CUSTER PRODUCTS

www.custerproducts.com • 800-490-3158

18 • September 2022 | Towman.com

can allow everyone to more effectively communicate with each other once they learn what the different personality traits mean. These profiles might even help you identify different positions where someone’s unique personality traits may be better suited. For example, do you really want an introvert as the first line of communication with your company? He or she may be better suited in a back-office admin role, rather than as a dispatcher. Building a dream team involves anyone who strives to improve, and not just in the large companies. Even family businesses can find ways to better communicate and support each other for their own good, which in turn will improve the company as a whole. Change doesn’t need to be scary, nor does it even need to be huge to be effective. Small steps along the way can make big improvements over time in building your dream team.



Tow Engineer

Inflation Measures Tips on Handling Flat Tire Service By Terry Abejeula

Field Editor Terry Abejuela has 40-plus years of light-duty towing and recovery experience. He is also a light-duty Level 1 instructor for the California Tow Truck Association.

O

n average, in the United States, a motorist gets a flat tire about every seven seconds. That is about 220 million flat tires every year. And here’s another stat of particular interest to tow operators: the average motorist will have to deal with a flat tire five times in his or her lifetime. Yet most motorists do not know how to change a tire on their vehicle, and even if they do, the equipment provided with their vehicle is neither the easiest nor safest to use. This is where the towing and recovery industry comes into save the day—and make a few bucks, too, of course. We have the experience and proper equipment to perform this task as quickly and safely as possible. Even though we may have the experience and proper equipment, changing tires on the side of a highway or freeway with traffic nearby is never completely safe. Tow operators must take every precaution to make it as safe as possible.

MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE

If the vehicle is located in an unsafe location, it should be moved to a safer location before changing a tire. Having the 20 • September 2022 | Towman.com

customer drive the vehicle slowly further away from the traffic lane to provide more of a buffer, or towing a vehicle off a busy highway to a safer location, are better options than trying to change a tire in an exposed location. Other practical tips include planning an escape route, keeping an eye on traffic, never turning your back on traffic, and completing the service as quickly as possible and leaving the scene should be standard practices on all flat tire service calls. Having the proper equipment and knowing exactly where it is stored is a prerequisite to performing flat tire service as efficiently as possible. Make sure you complete a pre-trip inspection of your truck to ensure you have all the right equipment on the truck. The minimum items that should be carried on a truck to perform this service should include the following: Two-ton floor jack Standard lug wrench Metric lug wrench Hub cap tool Gloves Safety glasses Air tank or air compressor with air transfer hose


Tire gauge Two Wheel chocks Valve stem tool Lug nut cap puller If you perform a significant number of flat tire service calls you may want to invest in additional equipment, including but not limited to: Air or electric impact gun Torque wrench Valve stem tool Air lift bag Hose reels CO2 systems Lug nut cap remover Locking lug nut removal kit Put some thought into where this equipment is stored. If the majority of your calls are on the right shoulder it would make sense to store this equipment on the passenger side of the truck so you can avoid the traffic side as much as possible. Make sure you know exactly where everything is stored so you don’t waste precious time looking for equipment on the side of a highway or freeway.

customer has the key. The spare tire may also require a key or special tool to remove it from its storage space. Vehicle manufacturers have become very creative in where they store the spare tire. If you are not familiar with a specific vehicle and where the spare is located, utilize resources available prior to arrival on scene to locate the spare. This type of information is available online, as well as in printed materials such as the AAA Tow & Service manual. If you are not able to find this

information in advance of your arrival on scene, it should be available in the vehicle owner’s manual. As one unusual example among others, some Chrysler minivans have the spare tire stored under the vehicle between the driver and passenger seat.

TO TOW OR NOT?

If the spare tire is unsafe to drive on, offer the customer a tow. If the customer refuses a tow and insists that the unsafe spare be installed,

CUSTOMER CONCERNS

Upon arrival at the scene of a flat tire service call make sure the customer and any passengers are in the safest location possible. Your customer might want to stand near you to watch you change the tire. Politely explain that for their own safety they should either wait in their vehicle or in another place that is well off the roadway, away from potential harm. Once you have provided for your safety and the safety of your customer and any passengers, inspect the flat tire to ensure you are able to remove it, and the spare tire, too, ensuring that it is usable. The spare needs to fit properly on the vehicle, have sufficient air pressure to drive on safely, and be in a safe condition. If the flat tire has a locking hub cap or lug nut, make sure the Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 21


notify your dispatcher and document your paperwork accordingly. If the vehicle is equipped with a temporary spare tire, inform the customer of any distance and speed restrictions. According to the AAA, approximately 30 percent of new vehicles are not equipped with a spare tire. These vehicles are either equipped with an inflator kit or tires designed to drive short distances with no air. Another option available now is a universal spare tire that will fit many different types of makes and models of vehicles. These would have to be carried on your truck, and you would have to follow the customer to a repair facility to retrieve your universal spare.

QUICK-CHANGE ARTISTRY

The disabled vehicle should be in placed in park (automatic transmission) or in low gear (standard transmission) and the parking brake set. Use wheel chocks to secure the wheel that is not flat, on the opposite side, and diagonally across from the flat tire. If the vehicle is equipped with an air-suspension system, the manufacturer may require the system be shut off during flat tire service. Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended jack location to place your floor jack for lifting the flat tire off of the ground. (Putting a floor jack in a location that is not recommended by the manufacturer can cause extensive damage to the vehicle.) Recommended jacking locations can usually be found on a sticker located with the spare tire. Never get under a vehicle that is supported by only a floor jack. Loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire before lifting the vehicle with the floor jack. Some vehicles are equipped with hub caps that have fake lug nuts or lug nut covers. These have to be removed to gain access to 22 • September 2022 | Towman.com

the real lug nuts. Wear gloves when performing flat tire service. Hand injuries can otherwise be caused by steel belts wearing through the rubber tread, pieces of glass or a nail embedded in the tire tread. Use good lifting technique when removing the spare tire from its storage location, and when lifting If your operation handles a lot of flat-tire service calls, consider adding the spare tire an air tank or air compressor with an air transfer hose to your tow truck. to install it on hub cap tool to ensure the hub cap is the wheel hub. When installing the installed correctly. spare tire on the hub use the lug On some vehicles the flat tire may wrench, a jack handle or a pry bar not fit in the storage space where the as a secondary lever to assist you in spare tire was located. For example, lifting the spare tire into position. the 2010 to 2013 Acura ZDX is Start the lug nuts by hand to equipped with a spare tire bag and ensure that you have not cross securing strap so the flat tire can be threaded the lug nut, and then use placed in the bag and secured in the the lug wrench to slightly tighten. cargo area using tie downs in the Tighten the lug nuts securely once floor. the vehicle is lowered to the ground. Some vehicles have lug bolts Some manufacturers required a instead of lug nuts, and may require specific amount of torque to ensure special lug bolts for the spare tire the spare will not loosen. Most versus the lug bolts used on the tow trucks are not equipped with flat tire. This is common on many a torque wrench and the specific Mercedes and BMW models. Using amount of torque required might the wrong lug bolts can cause not be available to you. Refer the damage. customer to a qualified mechanic to Tow operators must be properly have the lug nuts torqued correctly equipped and well informed to and to have the flat tire repaired. provide flat tire service safely and Some tow companies have a without damage. Take advantage of policy of not reinstalling the hub cap the wealth of information available on the spare tire due to the liability. on the internet, the vehicle owner’s It’s better to follow company policy, manual, and in industry publications but the customer might insist that the to stay informed on flat tire service. hub cap be reinstalled. If the spare is They will save you a lot of time and a temporary tire, the hub cap may frustration, and prevent damage to not fit securely. If you do reinstall the the vehicle—and, more important, hub cap, make sure to use the proper the tow operator.



Tow Boss

Shopping Tips Whether Buying a New or Used Tow Truck, Keep These in Mind By Randall C. Resch

H

Operations Editor Randall C. Resch is a retired California police officer and veteran tow business owner, manager, consultant and trainer. He writes for TowIndustryWeek. com and American Towman, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and recipient of the Dave Jones Leadership Award. Email Randy at rreschran@gmail.com.

ere’s an enticing offer: A 1991 International 4700 carrier for sale at $55,000. The ad listing showed less than 40,000 original miles. A screamin’ That shiny new tow truck on the show floor has a lot of visual appeal, but make deal? Maybe, maybe not. sure your investment fits with your business niche. While the low mileage night and day. Staying busy is clearly the sounds tasty, that’s a bunch of money for a 31-year old tow truck. key ingredient to generating income, so a two-car carrier is a better choice for running Which leads to our overall theme. Purchasing a tow truck requires plenty of multiple vehicles. Follow this basic advice up-front: “Don’t research and close inspection, as buying one sight unseen is a risky proposition. In the be oversold, don’t buy someone else’s junk, midst of this sketchy economy, choosing a and don’t make an impulsive purchase!” Get new or used tow truck has never been more the best bang for your buck in selecting type, size, and accessories for the niche you serve. challenging. In addition, since there are so many tow And once you figure that out, do you go new truck and and recovery categories, the hard or used? Buying new usually avoids possible choice is determining which business niche downtime, yet can pose a financial challenge you plan to pursue. For newer or startup tow business owners, it’s smart to first know for startup budgets. On the other hand, the your business segment, because not all savings of a used truck might seem enticing, wreckers and carriers fit all categories. It can yet needed repairs and replacing worn be hard to choose that one new or used tow equipment can cost many thousands more. truck that’s suitable for your tow operation Are you ready for that? and budget.

FILLING YOUR NICHE

In considering what’s available in today’s marketplace, we won’t recommend specific products, but instead present some recommendations to ease confusion about operational aspects. For instance, an innercity auto loader would not be the best choice for working complex rollovers that require extra lift and extension as part of a recovery. A primary question to ask yourself: What services produce your greatest percentage of tow and recovery income? Obviously, wreckers versus carriers are as different as 24 • September 2022 | Towman.com

STEALTH MODE

Considering a couple of other niches, companies serving both private property impounds (PPIs) and asset recoveries are similar for a single reason—stealth. When it comes to “snatch and grab tows,” quick and quiet access is the ability to slip in without being heard or recognized. A word of caution here: flatbed carriers are neither stealthy nor quick on scene. That’s why PPI and repo operations prefer wreckers with gasoline engines over rumbling diesel motors for a less conspicuous approach. In addition, light-duty manufacturers


offer add-on units that hide under a truck’s rear bumper with an autoloader design. If your business involves repo jobs, ease, speed, and access are just as important as stealth. Each one is directly related to operator and repo agent safety. Another huge safety option available on modern wreckers is having interior controls for operating the wrecker’s functions while seated inside a tow truck’s cab. If you’ve ever watched a skilled wrecker operator or repo agent do their thing from inside the wrecker’s cab, precious seconds can be gained via this function. Even so, staying inside a tow truck creates a greater potential for driverinflicted damages resulting from not looking out for hazards. Remember, towed vehicles require safety straps, safety chains and extension lights.

OTHER DECIDING FACTORS suitable to today’s heavy vehicles. In The phrase, “Work smarter not harder” comes to mind when considering which type of tow truck serves a specific business niche. Sales reps might claim their brand of tow truck is best for towing and recovery, but smaller tow units on smaller chassis setups aren’t necessarily compatible to recover larger SUVs and pickup trucks. Since all wreckers aren’t created equal, it’s generally better to purchase heavier rated tow units

general, also consider the following criteria: • Most important: affordability. What is your company’s cost per-call? Can you afford new versus used? • Choose heavier wreckers and carriers up to 26,000 pounds GVWR to remain in the light-duty classification that doesn’t require special licensing for operations • Choose a truck with equipment that’s user friendly

IN A TIGHT SPOT?

Another point to keep in mind: tow trucks require plenty of access. If your truck is too big, it won’t reach your customer’s vehicle. Access directly relates to the potential for both wasted time and wasted money. If it takes a while to get a customer’s car into a towable position, a couple hard-to-reach calls per day could mean you’re losing valuable service time. For inner-city towing and private property impounds, a great feature of today’s modern tow trucks is the ability to extract parked vehicles from tight spaces. When a wrecker’s wheel-lift is capable of radical, pivoting backup angles, less time and wranglin’ is required. In addition, with fold-down strobes or emergency amber lights, plus the combination of a shortened wheelbase and quick, nimble steering, helps to access the tightest spots and understructure parking areas.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 25


Purchasing the right tow truck requires research and hands-on inspection.

• When heavier cars, pickups and SUVs land beyond guardrails, overturn in ditches, or 100 feet beyond the highway’s edge, recovery may become problematic for small, inner-city wreckers • For successful recovery, longer-reaching, extendable booms offer the best mechanical advantage when working odd recoveries where lift and reach is necessary • For increased operator safety, choose an optional remotecontrol system • Choose a wrecker body that employ controls separate from wheel-lift and the wrecker boom operations; especially advantageous when training new operators • Towing heavier vehicles demands a heavier-based wrecker/wheel-lift unit with capacities of 5,000 to 6,000 pounds, including the longer reach of an extended wheel-lift’s boom • Twin-winch wreckers offer greater recovery capability. Having a second, operating winch allows operators far more versatile rigging possibilities for working complicated reverse-roll techniques with a catch-line. A single line wrecker is limited in its operational capabilities

TOWING FOR POLICE ACTIONS

Not all police towing requires a heavy wrecker. When inner-city activity increases, such as at stadium events, posted tow-away locations,

26 • September 2022 | Towman.com

snow-zones or DUI-enforcement stings, smaller GVWR wreckers have the advantage. That’s because they can easily access tight parking lots, narrow streets and crowded parade routes. Since smaller tow trucks provider quicker operation, they are ideal when volume is a greater factor than recovery. Note, too, that law-enforcement wreckers and carriers require specialty towing and recovery equipment on-board, including dollies, measurable cable length, gas cans, emergency lighting, etc. In California, highway-patrol tow providers are required to have specific equipment for responding operators to handle a plethora of tow and recovery scenarios without the need to request other trucks or equipment. When spec’ing or purchasing trucks to serve law enforcement; consider purchasing wreckers with higher ratings, and equipment and accessories as required by the CHP per their twopage, Form 234B, “Tow Truck Inspection Guide.” (chp.ca.gov/ ResearchAndPlanningSectionSite/ Documents/Chp234B_052017.pdf)

URBAN VS. RURAL

Trucks in lower GVWR ranges are best suited to servicing rental company fleets, especially when recovery isn’t a primary niche. When call volume is high, fuel-efficient trucks are better suited for towing services. For inner-city towing, tow trucks with flat-faced noses provide tighter turning radius making

U-turn’s a snap. For rural locations, though, consider the cab size and seating capacity, relating to the number of persons who can safely ride in the tow truck’s cab. For companies in remote areas serving interstate highways, law mandates that seating shall provide a total number of seatbelts per passenger, rather than transporting motorists and occupants atop a carrier’s deck. (Allowing motorists to ride in towed vehicles is a dangerous practice not considered safe by the industry or insurance providers.) When choosing the best truck for your operations, shop the Internet and review the many equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The bottom line: tow trucks and towrelated equipment are expensive. Don’t be lured into purchasing a unit you don’t want, or something not suitable to your company’s needs. Choose a full-service equipment representative who puts your needs first and understands your timeline. Most important, they should stand behind their product. Don’t settle for unwanted upgrades and additions that weren’t part of an initial conversation. Customer service and warranties “after the fact” can make or break buyer/seller relationships. When buying a used truck, there likely won’t be any guarantee. Reputable manufacturers, dealers and vendors run the gamut when it comes to customer satisfaction. Ask other towers where they purchased their equipment and if they were satisfied with the product. And would they buy that kind of truck again from the same supplier? When considering purchasing new versus finding that elusive “in good condition” used tow truck, don’t waste your money on a wornout rig. Be smart, shop wisely!


IMPORTANT SAFETY FEATURES Look closely at how fire trucks and paramedic units are set up, where agencies typically mount and position equipment in the same locations to allow first responders to retrieve equipment from the same location. This process helps to builds “muscle memory,” an essential trait when time is of the essence. Especially true for rotation tow companies serving high-speed highways, the toolbox setup is directly related to stowing tow equipment on the tow truck’s non-traffic side. When equipment is tactically stowed, well-placed equipment and accessories lend extra safety to towers by keeping them off the white-line side. When spec’ing tow trucks, include the following equipment items (or options) to help ensure operator safety: • Double free-spool handles for carriers, designed to allow winch free-spool from white-line traffic • Wireless controls mean operator’s work in places of safety away from traffic or beyond lifted loads • Wireless extension lights keep towers off the white-line • Mount the extension-light plug on the truck’s non-traffic side so operators are away from traffic danger when simply plugging-in • Dolly bars mounted or stowed on the non-traffic side • On-highway equipment mounted away from traffic • Choose a safe mounting location for six traffic cones • Equipment used less frequently can be stowed in the driver-side boxes Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 27


In Memoriam

Innovative Tow Manufacturer Passes Away

D

aniel Reynolds, an innovator and leader in towing and hauling manufacturing, died on July 21, 2022 at 74 years of age. His storied career began as a machinist in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, where he met Jerry Pool. Together they co-founded the Jerr-Dan Corporation, where the company built one of its first products, an EZ Dumper. Then in 1973, Dan struck out on his own, founding Danco Products, becoming its CEO and President. When Jerr-Dan purchased the Grove Agricultural Center, a farmequipment maker and the creator of the first rollbacks, Dan was approached by Jerr-Dan in 1976 to buy the agricultural division. For the

28 • September 2022 | Towman.com

next several years Danco produced a range of farming hydraulic equipment. In 1983, Danco made a foray into the rollback business when a customer approached Dan about customizing one, which is now a cornerstone of the firm’s business. Dan’s wife Darlene credited the success of their rollbacks to not cheapening the process and maintaining their great structure, which included the manufacture of the cylinders. “Dan went with in-house manufacturing to ensure that the components were safe,” she pointed out. “We prided ourselves on not being cookie cutter.” A machinist and welder, Dan


was a hands-on person, bringing his vision to the shop where he made the cylinders. “He wanted to make sure everything was built right for the customer,” Darlene added. Throughout the years, Dan was a tireless worker to bring Danco’s products to fruition, and she worked beside him in their 49-year marriage. “I remember when we were first married, he would work from six in the morning til ten at night,” Darlene noted. “He was a worker. He would work on Saturdays, but he would never work on Sundays.” In 1996, Danco patented a swivel rollback that operated on hydraulics rather than cables, but later discontinued it because of the challenges towers had in operating them. “It would work great if the tower knew how to operate it,” said Darlene, “but Dan had too many headaches with it and discontinued it.” Another Danco innovation in 2001 was the all-aluminum 3 Car Carrier that was capable of hauling three cars without having a CDL. “He and his son William worked on engineering it when William was 12 years old,” she recalled. Later on, “They worked together on designing a lot of different things as my son was into AutoCad .” Part of what continues to set the company a part is a state-of-the-art facility, where the firm does its own machining, from start to finish— from bringing in the steel to painting the finished product. “When you manufacture your own parts, you are not waiting for a boat to come over from China,” Darlene noted. “We know our stuff is built right.” When it comes to their PTOs and winches, though, Danco does rely on outside manufacturing and experiences the same delays currently endemic to the entire industry. “Even during his last days, Dan

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

wanted to come to the shop to give the good advice that he needed to give to the people that depended on him for different things. It was frustrating to him that he had to slow down,” she related. “He said

that, ‘They would have to carry him out, that he would never retire.’ So I guess he got carried out.” According to Darlene, Dan developed a kidney issue and succumbed to an infection after 10 months on dialysis.

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 29


SOLID TEAMWORK

Recovering One Big Fracking Crane By George L. Nitti

30 • September 2022 | Towman.com

O

n a scorching summer’s day with the needle hovering close to 110 degrees, B&B Wrecker Service of Pecos, Texas and Big Sky Towing of Odessa, converged on the little town of Monahans to recover an overturned crane. It was located along Rt. 20, which runs from El Paso to Dallas.


Note the several bottles of liquid soap (left) used to lubricate the roadway.

Cranes are indispensable in West Texas. We are not talking whooping cranes. Of course, they matter too. We’re talking mechanical cranes. They are hard to get ahold of, tied up on locations for weeks at a time, handling established wellheads for oil and gas companies. “The fracking business is what keeps everybody busy,” pointed out Travis Turner, Big Sky’s 26-year-old supervisor and lead operator. “We’re booming.” Transporting a high-capacity crane can be challenging. This Terex mobile hydraulic crane was on its way back to the yard in Odessa, when, according to the driver, the last three axles on the dolly locked up. “He said it shoved him off the road and flipped the crane,” Travis noted. Fortunately, the driver walked off unscathed, but the crane was in a precarious situation. B&B Wrecker was dispatched, led by its supervisor, 38-year-old Harvey Carrera. Knowing that the job needed extra power and solid teamwork, he called his friend Travis at Big Sky. “We had just done a challenging crane job together last month,” Harvey recalled, “I knew that once I called him, we would knock it out.”

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Despite severe damage to the cab of the crane, the driver walked away from the accident.

RESPONDING EQUIPMENT 2020 Kenworth T880 Tandem Tandem Vulcan 103 XP 50-ton Wrecker 2005 Kenworth 1150 Century Rotator 1999 Peterbilt 5130 Century 30-ton Wrecker 1996 Peterbilt 9055 Century with a 2011 bed AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 31


B&B Wrecker’s Harvey Carrera knew that the job needed extra power and solid teamwork, so he called on his friend Travis at Big Sky.

After the toppled crane was righted, dragging it back on the road proved to be an even bigger job.

Combining forces, their equipment included Big Sky’s 2020 Kenworth T880 “tandem tandem” Vulcan 103 XP 50-ton wrecker and three of B&B’s rigs: a 2005 Kenworth 1150 Century Rotator, a 1999 Peterbilt 5130 Century 30-ton, and 1996 Peterbilt 9055 Century with a 2011 bed. Upon arriving, their first task was to carefully turn over the flipped crane. After casting out winch lines from all four units to grab a hold of it, Travis, with his Vulcan, initiated a reverse roll. “I picked it straight up and rolled it away from me,” he noted. “You get the most mechanical leverage that way.” The 35-ton next to the Vulcan was used as a catch truck, while

RECOVERY PERSONNEL B&B Wrecker Service: Harvey Carrera Justin Stokes Jesus Luna Damaso Holgiun Weldon Brookshire

The crane was stuck in the sand, and there was little room to maneuver.

32 • September 2022 | Towman.com

Big Sky Towing: Travis Turner Todd Turner


the other two units on the other side pulled the crane towards them. “That way it doesn’t flop over,” Harvey explained. “It must be a controlled environment the whole time, because if something was to yank our boom and damage it, that would suck. Plus, you want to salvage the crane as well. You don’t want to cause any more damage than what’s already happened. You have to tow it back.” After up righting the crane, getting it on the road proved to be a bigger job. “Once we flipped it, the crane was stuck in the sand, wedged between a sand dune and a concrete road barrier,” Travis said. With very little room to maneuver, the situation required that they turn the crane 90 degrees to get it back on the road in order to tow it. Moving the Vulcan to the front of the crane, Travis executed a lift and pull, while B&B’s rotator was used to pull the rear of the crane around. “It fought us every step of the way,” Travis admitted. “Especially the front end. I had to drag it through the dirt. It was probably the hardest winch I’ve done.” To facilitate the process, the team applied Dawn liquid soap to the road, which they picked up from a nearby Dollar Store. This would enable the crane’s tires to slide over more easily and not damage the lightweight dollies which had lost some of their upper supports. Harvey said, “We didn’t want to lose the dolly,” Harvey noted. “If that happened, we would have to trailer things in and do a bunch of stuff. We tried to save the customer as much money as possible without getting more equipment involved.” Finally, the crane was ready for transport to a nearby yard in Monahans. Since the Pitman arms of the crane were compromised, the front end had to be lifted and towed. “We used my wrecker because it can out-tow any other tow truck,” said Travis. “I have it set up with the ‘tandem tandem’ twin steer.” After several weeks of nonpayment by the crane company, B&B Wrecker became the proud owners of a crane. “We bought it out from them in order to settle the bill,” Harvey related. “They have agreed to sign the papers over to us. We will auction it off ourselves.” Does he think they will come out ahead on this deal? Well, four years ago, when the company picked up a much smaller crane, weighing only eight tons, B&B Wrecker gained title to it. “So off a $14,000 bill, “Harvey revealed, “we auctioned it off for $150,000.” A nice piece of change for a day’s work.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 33


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34 • September 2022 | Towman.com

September 2022

GSS Safety ................................................17 Guniwheel .................................................64 Int’l Towing & Rec. Hall of Fame & Museum.....19 ITI .............................................................25 Jump n Carry ............................................29 Len Zermenos ......................................... 23 Lift Marketing Group ..............................W78 McMahon Truck Center ..........................M75 Metrocom .................................................39 MIDCO SALES ........................................W80 MIller Industries ..........................................2 Mobile Control Systems ............................51 Mobile Create USA ....................................55 Motorcycle Safety Lawyers ........................35 North American Bancard ...........................15 NRC Industries ..........................................83 OMG Tow Marketing ..................................59 Online Impound Auctions ...........................61 Pacific General Insurance Agency ...........M76 Peak Wrecker, LLC .................................W76 PeakPTT ...................................................49 Performance Advantage Company .............62 R. P. Recovery/Sonetics ............................63 Recovery Billing Unlimited .........................55 RimSling ...................................................33

Ron Gilligan Auctioneering .........................42 SafeAll Products ........................................27 Santander Bank ........................................84 Sea Crest Insurance Agency ...................W77 ServiCase .................................................49 Smyrna Truck & Cargo ..............................60 Speak Easy Communication ......................57 Talbert Manufacturing ............................ N78 TEC Equipment .........................................50 Tow Brokers /Mckamie Insurance ..............64 Tow Industries .......................................W77 Towbook Management Software .................3 TowMate ...................................................52 Trail King Industries ..................................53 Traxero North America ...............................65 Ultra Built Mfg. ..........................................33 Urgently ....................................................59 Utility Trailer Sales Southeast Texas ........W79 Warn Industries ...........................................5 West End Service ......................................44 Winches Inc............................................W78 Wrecker Warehouse................................W75 XINSURANCE ..........................................W79 Zacklift International .................................51 Zip’s AW Direct .....................................7, 21



An American Towman

CHARLES SCHARFF President, All Bay Cities Towing, Inc. Concord, California

Who is The American Towman? Living and Loving What You Do By Charles Duke

American Towman Magazine Senior Editor Charles Duke has written and served as editor for trade, music and nonprofit publications. He also serves as the editor for AT’s online sister publications Tow Industry Week and Tow Industry Today.

Blessed.” It’s a word that comes up in conversation quite often with Charles Scharff, president of All Bay Cities Towing, Inc., in Concord, California. And it truly does apply, too. All Bay Cities has been in existence since 1986, and from all accounts, has done things the right way. A member of the California Tow Truck Association for many years, Scharff is a man who knows the importance of building relationships and doing business faceto-face. Nearly 50 percent of his business comes from police tows mainly in the Bay Area (though he has traveled as far as Los Angeles to do a job on occasion). Scharff also

36 • September 2022 | Towman.com

estimates that nearly half of his business comes from his ongoing relationships he built with FedEx and Pacific Gas and Electric. All Bay Cities Towing supplements that work by also towing for most motor clubs. This firm’s fleet currently consists of five units: one medium-duty, two carriers, one light-duty with boom, and one truck for RVs and fifth-wheel trailers. There’s family involved in the business, too. Son A.J. Scharff is 27, and has been towing almost 10 years. Scharff said that A.J. is being groomed to eventually take over the business, as he plans on retiring in a few


years. Wife Laura handles books and dispatch. Charles and Laura will be celebrating their 30th anniversary as husband and wife this year. “She’s a great lady,” he relates. “She goes above and beyond, and we cover each other’s back.” Laura and Scharff also have a daughter, Shannon. In this day and age where many tow companies in the industry have had problems with retaining drivers, Scharff feels he has been blessed with loyalty and longevity regarding his staff. He has six drivers on staff, with a few having been with his company for decades. They work on-call at night and take three days off each week, and all his drivers are CTTA-trained. He attributes the longevity and the loyalty to paying good wages and treating them right. “My guys are good,” Scharff notes. “They make good money and they’re happy, and they’ve been with me well over twenty years. One of my guys have been with me thirty years, at least.” The secret to attaining such loyalty and longevity? “You’ve got to pay people good,” he points out. “That’s one thing I’ve learned: if you pay people good, they will work for you. I don’t even remember the last ‘headache’ I had. I take good care of my guys, and it works out good for me. You can’t pay peanuts. You pay peanuts—you get monkeys. If you pay them good and treat them good, you’ll get good employees.” Scharff gives his drivers commissions, so they make more. He said that a lot of companies don’t want to do that. “I don’t think I have a miserable guy on my crew, and they all get along great,” he said. “I’ve got a good team and I’m blessed, man. I don’t credit it all to me; my wife is a great part of it. I’ve figured it out. It's easier to do it that way and not Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

All Bay Cities Towing hosted an American Towman Spirit Ride ceremony, Aug. 21, 2018. Over ten towing companies, including several city and state officials including then-Concord mayor Ed Birsan, took part in the event.

have headaches. And people love doing their job when they’re making money, right?” One of the industry’s biggest issues that Scharff feels strongly about is Slow Down/Move Over. His company participated in the American Towman Spirit Ride in August 2018, and had the participation of many, including about a dozen tow companies

(totaling nearly 40 towmen). Scharff was able to get the Concord’s thenmayor of Ed Birsan, the Concord Fire Department and many in law enforcement to be a part of the ceremony. It was held at the Concord Pavilion. “I went to the mayor’s office,” Scharff recalls. “He wasn’t there, but his secretary Trish Burns asked me what I was doing. So, I showed

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 37


DEVILISH DUTY One of the most challenging and harrowing jobs that All Bay Cities Towing did took place in August 2021. The site was Mt. Diablo State Park, one of the highest mountains in California. A woman committed suicide, driving off the mountain and falling nearly 900 feet down. Her car, a Mercedes Benz, landed on boulders. There was concern by park officials as to how it was going to be brought up, as park officials were concerned about further damage done to the mountain and the park below it. The job almost had to be done with a helicopter. Charles’ son A.J. Scharff and Allen Beasy handled the job for the most part, first securing the vehicle, then getting it unstuck when it got caught on the boulders, brush and walls on the side of the mountain. Scharff also said maneuvering on that job proved to be quite a challenge. “It was tight,” he said. “It was a two-lane road, so we had our truck blocking the whole road, right up against the mountain with the boom hanging off the side of the cliff.” Public access to the mountain had to be closed for eight hours. All Bay Cities used four trucks for the job, which included their 2015 medium-duty Chevron 512, fronted with a Freightliner M2. No further damage was done to the park and mountain. A.J. and Allen expertly guided the vehicle up, placing debris in the car as they moved along. They also brushed over areas where the car made tread marks. “My son was pretty much in charge of that job. I couldn’t have been more proud of him,” Scharff smiles.

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her the video on the Spirit Ride, and I had a bunch of flyers and a bunch of literature I had made up; I was handing that out to all the towers to get them involved. She said, ‘Give me an hour and I’ll call you right back.’ “An hour later,” Scharff continued, “she called me back and said he ‘loved it’. She said, ‘I’m going to have the mayor speak at your thing, and here’s the phone number of the guy at the Pavilion.’ She cut out all the red tape. I called the guy at the Pavilion, and he said I could have whatever I wanted. He gave me the whole parking lot.” All told, Scharff spent six months in putting the ceremony together. Aside from the mayor’s office, he elicited the assistance of the Concord Police Department, CalTrans, CHP, Concord Fire Department, and town and state officials. One of the reasons he felt compelled to take part in the

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Spirit Ride campaign is due to the many fatalities the towing industry has faced over the past few years. “We’ve lost quite a few people to the freeways,” Scharff observes, “and it bugs the hell out of me that people just don’t understand that. It (the message) just needs to get out there a little bit more.” Outside the shop and out of uniform, Scharff said that he really enjoys boating. “I really enjoy the water and the house boating, and water sports,” he said. “I have a 25foot a pontoon boat, a 25-foot party barge. I love having family together; there’s nothing better than doing that kind of stuff. I love cruising, too; there’s nothing better than doing a cruise with your wife.” With nearly 40 years in the trade, Scharff said that he is able to keep going because, “I love what I do. I love to help people, and I’ve been blessed that I can do so.”

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 39


Classic Wrecker

It’s a Jeep Thing An Early Roadside Service Vehicle That Was Rugged and Versatile By Steve Temple Photos by Steve Temple and courtesy of ACSC

A

fter WWII ended, surplus military Jeeps were plentiful, so they were put to good use in a wide variety of applications. One was for the Emergency Service Patrol of the ACSC (Automobile Club of Southern California). Prior to that, as noted in our March 2022 issue (pages 38 to 40), a three-wheeled Harley Davidson called the Servicar had been used since 1935. Clearly the Jeep would be an ideal replacement, given its military-proven ruggedness and versatility. Showing the latter aspect, a custom-fabricated utility 40 • September 2022 | Towman.com


box in the rear housed tools and equipment to aid stranded motorists in need of a tire change or battery jump (as was also done on the Servicar). Initially the ACSC used a CJ2A Jeep starting in 1947, a civilian “Powerhouse on Wheels” with a “Go Devil” engine, and sold mostly as a work vehicle for farmers and construction workers. It featured several upgrades from the military version, such as a tailgate, sidemounted spare, larger headlights, and an external fuel cap, among other items. In 1953 this model began to be replaced by the CJ-3B model, identified by a taller hood and grille to make room for the

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F-head “Hurricane” four-cylinder engine that boasted a revised valve train. Besides the utility box, this newer model also benefited from a

push-bumper, loudspeaker, and twoway radio. While the Jeeps would eventually be retired in favor of Chevy

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 41


Cameo pickup trucks in 1957 (which we’ll feature later on as well), the ACSC did keep the spunky little vehicles for parade and other events. Plus they were ideal for tackling rough, off-road terrain in Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra mountains. Soldiers and civilians alike knew they could go virtually anywhere and do anything. As war correspondent Ernie Pyle once noted, “It’s as faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule and agile as a goat.” Even so, the ACSC gradually phased out Jeeps over the years, and were no longer in the fleet by the early to mid-sixties. That’s about the time the first El Camino/Ranchero vehicles came on board. While those emergency-service Jeeps might be gone for the most part (besides this restored ’53 CJ-3B in the Auto Club’s museum), they’ve never been forgotten.

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Supplier Scoop Voltera’s High-Voltage Venture

Voltera, which provides the critical infrastructure necessary to support the full electrification of transportation, officially announced a multi-billion-dollar investment. The company builds, owns, and operates charging facilities that enable electric vehicle (EV) deployment and operation at scale. “Fleet operators, automakers, and consumers alike are adopting electric vehicles at a rapidly accelerating pace,” observed Voltera CEO Matt Horton. “Lagging far behind, though, is the power infrastructure needed to support EVs at scale.” Horton has industry experience including as Executive Vice President of Energy & Charging Solutions at Rivian and Chief Commercial Officer at Proterra. “We have to bridge that gap if we’re going to make zero-emission transportation a reality. That’s what Voltera is doing, and it’s why I’m so excited to be part of this team.”

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Voltera’s customers are companies that have a pressing need to power EVs at scale. That includes organizations looking to electrify without disrupting operations or investing significant time and upfront capital to install EV charging capacity, as well as automakers looking to deploy charging infrastructure to support EV sales. To support those needs, Voltera plans to invest several billion dollars on deployments that are both customer-driven (in a particular location for a particular customer) and thesis-driven (proactive development in the strategic locations customers will need to be). This approach significantly speeds time to market and enables customers to meet their deployment timetables.

“Charging infrastructure is one of the most critical requirements for EV deployment at scale. As companies take initial delivery on large EV orders, they’re finding that the charging infrastructure does not exist at the scale needed to support those, or future, deployments,” Horton added. “A key part of the challenge is that charging facilities need to be strategically located and require vast amounts of power. In the U.S. and Europe, almost 150 gigawatts power—about equivalent to the annual power consumption of all U.S. households—will be required by EV fleets by 2030. Voltera is uniquely positioned to help solve those challenges.” For more information, visit volterapower.com.




2022 Exhibitors

For a complete list of exhibitors and updates, visit us at ATShowPlace.com As of August 17, 2022 A & H Insurance Access Tools Agero Alliance Funding Group Allstate Roadside American Towman Magazine American Transportation Insurance Group American Wrecker Sales SC ARI-Hetra Arizona Prof. Towing & Recovery Association Ascentium Capital Auto Data Direct Automobile Club of Southern California Azuga, A Bridgestone Company B/A Products BBSI Worker Comp & Payroll Beacon Funding Bissell Commercial California Lien Sales Chergey Insurance Collins Dollies Command Light - pg. 28 Commercial Best Insurance Services Copart Auto Auctions Crossroads Equip. Lease/Finance Curbside SOS Curtis J Vernon Insurance Agency Custer Products - pg. 18 DewEze Mfg. DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance Brokers, LLC Discovery Bay Insurance Services DRIVE DriverLocate.Com - pg. 16 Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers - pg. 34 Dynamic Towing Equip. & Mfg. East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales - pg.73 Elite Commercial Insurance Energy Security Agency Environmental Chem. Solutions -pg. W 76 ExxonMobil FCar Tech USA - pg. 18 Federal Signal First Business Bank - pg. 38 FleetNet America Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) FULLBAY Repair Shop Software G.L. Anderson Insurance Services

Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers GEICO Guniwheel - pg. 64 Haas Alert Honk Technologies Huntington Bank Hydraulic Shop IAA Idaho Wrecker Sales In The Ditch Towing Products Junk Car Buyer Academy USA Kalyn Siebert Landoll Corporation LDZ Lift Marketing Group Lubnau Gonzalez Insurance Agency McCandless International Trucks MercurySend.com MIDCO SALES - pg. W 80 Mike Keith Insurance Miller Industries - pg. 2 Mobile Battery Solutions Mobile Create USA - pg. 55 Mobile Video Computing Solutions Murphy Bank Nation Safe Drivers (NSD) National Automobile Club Nite Beam Products NRC Industries - pg. 83 OMG Tow Marketing - pg. 59 On Call GPS Video Online Impound Auctions - pg. 61 ParkingPermits of America (PPOA) Peak Auto Auctions PeakPTT - pg. 49 Peddle Penny Pockets Phoenix USA Pruuvn Questx Towing Services R. P. Recovery/Sonetics - pg.63 Ramos Oil Company Ranger SST RC Industries RealWheels Corp. RLX Roadside Protect

Roadside Response RoadSync Robinson Oil Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales RRA Tow Truck insurance/Robertson Ryan RRCATS.com Safety Up Santander Bank - pg. 84 Sea Crest Insurance Agency - pg. W77 Sendos Services ServiCase - pg. 49 Southern California Tow Equipment Specialty Vehicle Equipment Funding Group Spill Tackle Stamp Works TEC Equipment - pg. 50 The Exchange TJR Equipment Todd Equipment TOMAR Electronics Tow Industries - pg. W77 Tow World Towbook Management Software - pg. 3 Towlot.com TowToolz Trail King Industries - pg. 53 Traxero North America - pg. 65 U-Haul International UHS Hardware UltraTech Urgently - pg. 59 US Fleet Tracking Utah Professional Towing Alliance Verdant Commercial Capital Warn Industries - pg. 5 Wasatch Truck Equipment Webfleet Wellnex Group Whelen Engineering Co. Whiterail Recruits Will-Burt WreckMaster Ynot Services Zacklift International - pg. 51 Zellner Insurance Zip’s AW Direct - pg. 7, 21

*Supplier names in bold are display advertisers in this issue with their ad page number cross-referenced.


Towman Tribute

Some jobs aren’t all that heavy. These Jerr-Dan 2019 W 900 and 2020 T880 60/50 rotators were on display at a car show sponsored by Hix, and they had a free bicycle raffle for kids. You can see the bike hanging from the winches.

Hix Wrecker Service Indianapolis, Indiana Matthew C. Fueston is a writer, editor and PR specialist in the B2B space and has been writing for almost 15 years about “big iron” equipment and the men and women who rely on those machines. From towing and recovery, to underground and openpit mining, to oil and water drill rigs, he has always put the story of the real people in the field first and foremost. He may be reached at matt@ fuestonassoc.com.

Secrets of Success For 65 Years and Counting By Matthew C. Fueston

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ooking back over the last several decades, imagine a small business weathering a whole slew of setbacks. These included the Covid pandemic, the Great Recession of 2007-’09, the techbubble burst in the ‘90s, the farm crisis of the ‘80s, the inflation and price controls of the ‘70s, and the economic slowdown in the late

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‘60s, among others. Now, imagine a small business not only enduring these pressures, but also prospering and growing—all while owned and operated by one single family! Hix Wrecker Service can not only imagine that scenario—they lived it. Familyowned and operated since 1957, today this firm provides towing services 24/7 to


Indianapolis and the surrounding area from four locations, with 32 trucks in its fleet, including three rotators, five heavy-duty wreckers, and two medium-duty wreckers. Of course, Hix wasn’t always so well equipped as a leader in its regional market. In the 1950s, Jim and Ova Hix moved from Tennessee to Indiana with basically just one thin dime in their pockets. He worked at various jobs until he met a man with a wrecker, and was instantly fascinated. Hix took a job driving a wrecker at night for insurance companies, while still working his day job. Once he had learned this new trade, Jim offered the owner of the wrecker $290 in cash and his car in exchange for the wrecker. That was in 1957, and the Hix family has continued in the footsteps of Jim and Ova Hix ever since then. Jamie Neal, director of finance and accounting for Hix Wrecker Service,

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and a grandson of Jim and Ova related that, “Until my grandpa’s recent passing, our company was run by four generations of the Hix family.” It’s now owned by Jim’s daughter, Gail Neal, and her husband Tom. Their son Jamie Neal, and his son Cory Neal, are active in the business as well.

Ova and Jim Hix founded Hix Wrecker Service back in 1957.

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This was a wreck on 465 when it was cold and rainy. The trailer was loaded and we separated the tractor from the trailer. We used two rotators to upright the tractor-trailer and then used the rotators to lift and bring the trailer over the guardrail and set it down about right between the trucks and the guardrail. It was a thing of beauty to watch.

Today they are proud to provide a wide variety of towing services to their Indy-area customers. These include both standard and emergency services, using flatbed, fifth-wheel, and wheel-lift rigs. They are well versed in light, medium, and heavy-duty towing, plus tractortrailer and long-distance towing, along with mobile crane and lo-boy service, accident recoveries, and

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junk-car removals.

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS

However, even the combination of Hix’s impressive fleet and comprehensive range of services would not be enough to explain their longevity and success. Adrian Emerson, rotator specialist and heavy-duty driver/manager at the company’s headquarters in

Indianapolis, believes he knows the secret to their success. “I’ve worked for other wrecker service companies in the past, enough to give me a baseline for comparison,” he noted. Emerson believes that two key philosophies are “baked into” the company’s business model. “The first thing I noticed when I went to work here is that all the customer interactions are based on honesty,” he observed. “I know every business on earth claims the same thing, but it is a very clear guideline established by the Hix family. We are always upfront with customers. Even in cases where we could take advantage of a situation to charge more, we don’t. The price is the price, and customers really appreciate that they can rely on us to always be fair.” Emerson said that he figured out another key to the company’s success after working there for a while: “Something else that really stands out here is the sense of family. It extends from the owners to the drivers and all the rest of the staff and continues on to the customer. I know that sounds cheesy, but it really is true. I’ve seen how that family atmosphere helps us to retain


team members during a time when a lot of companies are having problems hiring. And it has helped us build up a cadre of very experienced operators. That gives us a huge advantage.”

LOCAL NEEDS

All this equipment and veteran operator experience make it possible for Hix Wrecker Service to handle almost any type of tow job. Enlarging on this aspect, Emerson added: “Of course we do recoveries, we have police contracts, and we can use our rotators for business customers that need a light to heavy crane, but have none in their own fleet. For some reason, Indianapolis has a lot of tractor-trailer turnovers, so we keep our rotators busy. We do site cleanup, we have a rescue truck with pump, we even do basic hazmat cleaning. Though if it is a major hazmat incident, we call in a third-party specialist company to handle it.” A relatively recent job serves to illustrate how Hix Wrecker Service’s goes the extra mile (or miles) to help a customer. An accident with a tractor-trailer presented a special problem: the trailer was refrigerated and full of perishables. The Hix heavy-duty team had to detach the trailer and unload it. They then reloaded the fragile food stock into a refrigerated trailer and tractor rig

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and ran it from Indy to Boston to deliver the load. Their willingness to help out in this situation was built on the operational ability to deliver that help—the recipe for customer satisfaction.

IMPRESSIVE CAPABILITIES

One of the capabilities that helps

Hix Wrecker Service stand out is its ability to handle some of the biggest and most demanding jobs. Hix has two Jerr-Dan JD 50/60 (HDR 1000) single-steer rotators and a recently delivered JD 50/60 dual-steer rotator. These can handle pretty much anything that comes along, Emerson noted.

This photo of Truck 3 dates back to May of 1986. James Neal remembered, “I used to ride around in all those trucks with my grandpa that are behind truck 3.”

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“That’s another thing that impressed me when I came to work for Hix,” he stated. “The equipment is all top-drawer. I’ve been a rotator operator for a decade or more, and I guess you could say I had some prejudices when it came to equipment. I’d never operated a JerrDan machine before, and I was a little skeptical about its performance. But when I started running one, I was genuinely impressed. It was an eyeopening experience, I can tell you that. I’d hate to operate anything else now.” What helped, too, was some specialized training he received. “Hix invested in sending me to the Jerr-Dan rotator operator’s school. That was mind-blowing, in itself, seeing how much tonnage an experienced operator could move in the 60-ton Jerr-Dan machine, especially from the sides.” He noted how the company emphasized stability when using a


rotator, and showed how its scissorstyle outriggers, combined with unique torsion frame design, enable an operator to adjust the attitude of the equipment to provide a flat, stable base. “They only have about 20 or so operators in their classes, so I got plenty of personal attention and hands-on time,” Emerson recalled. “On top of that, actual engineers came from the factory to talk to the class. And those engineers didn’t just lecture us. They talked to us and listened to feedback.”

MORE THAN A WRECKER SERVICE Surprisingly, another valuable service provided by Hix Wrecker Service doesn’t have anything directly to do with equipment or operators running the road. It consists of a wide assortment of free

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and useful advice for the benefit of customers and potential customers in the company blog. (See hixwrecker. com/blog). This blog is not a marketing device, but rather a customer resource. It covers topics from what to do if you are locked out of your vehicle to a primer on the five common types of tow trucks, along with a remarkable array of themes in between. As both web development pros and professional bloggers’s advise, a company’s blog should not be a place to pat itself on the back. Instead, the block should be a real tool their customers can use, a resource that they will turn to when they have a question. The Hix Wrecker blog is a great example of how a tow service can use their website to their advantage. Lastly, Hix Wrecker Service has its own auto parts department with

a large inventory of new and used components to choose from for all makes and models of trucks and cars, domestic and foreign. Every day, Hix parts experts help customers find the part they are looking for at an affordable price.

WEATHERING THE STORMS AHEAD

With stable ownership and management in place, Hix Wrecker Service is well-positioned to continue growing. Indeed, the firm opened its fourth location in 2021 and took delivery of a third Jerr-Dan rotator around the first of this year. This business momentum and timetested operational model, paired with an experienced and dedicated crew, bode well for the company’s continued success.

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Case Closed

Estate Foresight Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail By Larry Oxenham

I

f you died this week, do you know what would happen to your assets? Sadly, the vast majority of Americans can’t answer this question. Creating an effective estate plan ensures that you can effectively answer this question. But without an effective estate plan, a portion of your estate will be lost to probate costs and taxes.

Larry Oxenham is one of America’s top asset protection experts, having helped thousands of professionals achieve financial peace of mind by teaching them how to properly structure their assets for lawsuit protection and tax reduction. He has authored and co-authored several articles and books on the subject including The Asset Protection Bible and How to Achieve Financial Peace of Mind through Asset Protection. Larry Oxenham is a nationally recognized speaker who has trained thousands of professionals at hundreds of conventions, conferences and seminars across the country.

WHAT IS PROBATE?

The legal process by which a court distributes the assets of a deceased person according to their last will and/or state law is called “probate.” The court first determines the validity of the will, and then resolves all claims from creditors and competing claims from heirs. If you have not named an executor to oversee the distribution of your assets, an executor is appointed by the court.

Planning is as natural to the process of success as its absence is to the process of failure. 2. It is a lengthy process. While it is possible for an estate to be “probated” in six to twelve months, it is also common for the process to take even years. 3. It is an invasion of privacy. Your entire estate will become a matter of public record during the probate process. Anyone can go to the courthouse and learn what assets are in the estate, their value, and to whom the assets are to be distributed. There are instances of dishonest people searching probate records to find assets that they can take.

SETTING UP AN ESTATE PLAN WHY DO YOU WANT YOUR The key document in an effective estate ESTATE TO AVOID PROBATE? plan is a revocable living trust. It enables 1. It is expensive. Up to 10 percent of your estate can be lost to probate costs alone. These may include court fees, legal fees (to the executor of the estate, or to resolve disputes), appraisals, and accounting services.

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you to avoid probate, keep your estate private, and reduce or eliminate estate taxes. It also ensures your assets quickly transfer according to your wishes upon your death. With a revocable living trust, no court action is involved, and the property is


distributed privately. Other documents frequently used in conjunction with a revocable living trust include a living will, medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and irrevocable life-insurance trust. Then why do some attorneys recommend a will without a living trust? (Which ensures the estate will go through probate.) Because they do not always have their clients’ best interest in mind. An attorney might want to collect the legal fees associated with probate, and, in some states, the attorney receives a percentage of all the assets that go through probate. The only person that benefits from your estate going through probate is the attorney.

ANY TAX BENEFITS?

A living trust provides no income tax savings, and for income tax purposes, it is as if it does not exist. However, if the size of your estate is above the amount exempted from estate taxes, the trust can be structured to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Since the vast majority of Americans do not have an effective estate plan in place when they die, by default they subject their heirs to the frustrations and costs of probate. Setting up a revocable living trust enables you to pass assets onto your heirs efficiently, and is one of the most loving things you can do for your family.

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Beacons

On!

Insurance Do’s and Don’ts To Keep Your Rates Down and Your Coverage Up By Rob and Sharon Austin Rob and Sharon Austin have specialized in towing and recovery insurance since 1991. They are dedicated to quality service, and work with many different companies to offer a competitive insurance package. Whether you own one truck or dozens, and are located on either the East or West coast, they are available to fulfill your insurance needs, along with a full understanding of your coverages.

Unless your policy includes coverage for handling aircraft or other unusual items, it’s better not to show this sort of picture on your company web site or social media.

N

ot all insurance policies are the same, since some tow companies handle customers with special requirements. Also, when tow companies are looking for insurance, they need to look at more than just the coverages. They also have to think of how the insurance company views their operation and business image. Think of what you put on your social media, website and safersys.org (which provides in-depth company profiles, and reviews trucking companies per state). All of these will be viewed by an insurance company. The claims could play a big part as well— both claims frequency and claims severity. Also, tow company owners and operators need to have a good understanding of the scope of coverage they have. For instance, what if you use a wrecker or rotator to set AC compressor units or trusses on top of a building? These jobs are so far outside the parameters of a typical insurance policy that there could be no coverage. So the following list of Do’s and Don’ts provides a quick reference for towing companies to help them have a better

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understanding of their insurance coverages, along with what insurance companies look for when considering providing insurance coverage.

COMPANY WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Do: • Have a clear and professional looking website that showcases your views on safety, and advertises the specific services you provide for your customers. • Post pictures of your training and safety meeting on your facebook page. • List all the certifications you and your employees have on your website. Don’t: • Have a picture of 30 kids on your rollback in a parade. (This sort of image could pose some unwanted liability issues.) • Show a picture of you pulling an airplane on the runway (It’s likely not a covered item in your policy; don’t try to be superman and overstate your services). • Post any pictures of your truck 2000


miles way for your home base. (While not technically wrong on an occasional basis, it might raise some questions about the scope of your policy.) • Promote graphic pictures of the scene of an accident. (Aside from distracting from a professional company presentation, there’s a potential issue with litigation.) • Display pictures of using your wrecker’s boom lifting items not covered under your current policy. (Since a tow truck is basically a crane on wheels, avoiding getting to the edge of your coverage. If you do need to handle unusual items, you might need to add a special rider to your policy called “downriggers’ crane coverage” in case additional damage results; e.g., suppose an AC compressor you’re lifting accidentally drops through the roof of a restaurant, causing a loss of business claim.)

Don’t: • Just put anyone behind the wheel in your tow truck. (Training is essential, so don’t take risks with an inexperienced driver— better to just park the truck. And you might get a reduction in your insurance premium while that tow truck is not being used.) • Avoid having a revolving door of drivers. (Otherwise it shows a lack of business stability and

possibly some internal issues.) • Refrain from having either all young drivers or all old drivers. (Otherwise it might seem like you’re unable to attract fresh talent, or that your operators might be too old to handle unloading a flipped tractor trailer.)

GAPS IN COVERAGES

Do: • Make sure you tell your

DRIVER PROFILE AND RECORD

Do: • Have a variety of aged drivers with different years of experience. (Older operators are more experienced, and they can train younger ones. Even so, all drivers need to pass a DOT physical before handling a commercial tow truck.) • Recheck your drivers’ MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) yearly to make sure they are eligible to be a tow operator. • Make sure the driver is licensed for what they will be driving (a CDL is required to operate any vehicle with a gross weight rating in excess of 26,000 pounds.). • Make sure you list all parttime and full-time drivers. (Some insurance companies require a list of everyone who’s operating a tow truck for your firm.)

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AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 57


insurance carrier when you add a new service, so the proper coverage can be added. • Make sure all insurance bills are paid on time, so you don’t have a lapse in coverage. Don’t: • Neglect to inform your insurance carrier of a new service provided by your company, as a claim could be declined. • Expect to have no coverage issues if an underwriter gets your submission and your loss runs show your insurance has been canceled two or three times throughout the year. This will throw up a red flag. • Get insurance from multiple companies. If possible, try and have all your coverages with one insurance carrier. (Otherwise, having multiple insurance carriers might create a “crack” in coverage, due to a lack of consistency

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between various policies. You don’t want to be wondering on 3:00 a.m. job, “Am I covered here?”)

SHOPPING INSURANCE CARRIERS

Do: • Stick with the same insurance company if it is financially possible and you are getting the correct insurance coverages. • Let underwriters see that you have been with another carrier for several years. This history could make them want to be more accommodating about getting your business. • Show loyalty to your insurance carrier, as this fact could also make underwriters drop their rates to keep your business. •Ask for loss runs every so often to make sure any unknown claim hasn’t slipped onto the loss runs.


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Don’t: • Get every insurance agent to shop your business. If an underwriter sees submissions from three or four different agents, that will show there is no loyalty. • If an underwriter sees you have been with three different carriers in three years, it will make them not want to give the best price they could.

COMPANY SAFETY PROGRAM

Do: • Have monthly safety meetings • Make sure you have a company safety program. When you have new hires, go over the company safety program and document the training. • Have both on-the-job and outside training (such as from

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WreckMaster, Miller, AAA, JJ Keller). • Have the proper files on your drivers and trucks. • Invest in telematics for your truck, plus cameras and GPS. (They are the next best thing to a tow-company owner sitting next to the driver in the cab.) Don’t: • Forget to document training or meetings held with employees. • Neglect your safety program. This needs to be reviewed once every year with all employees. • Get aggravated with inspections by either DOT or the insurance carrier. They can affect you in two ways: by hurting your DOT rating or making the underwriter think you are hiding something. (They’re there to help, and make sure you operating safely.)


Supplier Scoop Biofuels Emissions Solution for Trucks

According to Biodiesel Magazine, a new study that evaluates several approaches to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles from 2022 to 2032 finds considerable advantages with advanced diesel technology, particularly when using renewable biofuels, as compared to an electrification strategy. Medium and heavy-duty trucks operating in 10 Northeastern states that have adopted California’s low emission (LEV) and zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations were studied by Stillwater Associates for the Diesel Technology Forum. An analysis was undertaken to analyze the environmental benefits attainable from three strategies in the 2022 to 2032 period— electrification, accelerated fleet turnover and use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel. Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum pointed out that: “As we look for the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions, this study demonstrates that accelerating fleet turnover and use of renewable and biodiesel fuels can deliver significantly more benefits (three times) that outweigh those possible from EVs in the region in the study period. Advanced diesel technology is more effective,

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 61


Supplier Scoop more affordable, and most importantly more available than others.” He went to note that the transitions to new energy sources still have considerable uncertainties and longer timeframes—a decade or more—to meaningful implementation. Some solutions will be available sooner than others and at larger scale than others. He feels that advanced diesel technology, as well as renewable and biodiesel fuels, are key available solutions that can deliver big impacts today. The considerable benefits of using low-carbon renewable biobased diesel fuels becomes clearer from this analysis. As these fuels can be used in all diesel vehicles today, fueling the diesel vehicles in the study with 100 percent renewable diesel resulted in three times larger cumulative GHG reductions by 2032 than the EV scenarios. Using B20 (a 20-percent blend of biodiesel with 80-percent

62 • September 2022 | Towman.com

petroleum diesel), provided about the same cumulative GHG reduction. “All eyes seem to be focused on electrification as the best if not the only strategy for the future fuel and technology in the transportation sector,” stated Gary Yowell, automotive engineer at Stillwater Associates. “This work has illuminated that’s overly simplistic; that there are significant, less expensive, and more available emissions reduction strategies for these workhorse vehicles which can enable greater emission reductions to be delivered more rapidly.” Beyond GHG emissions, the research also highlighted impacts of an advanced diesel vs. electrification strategy on regional air quality as well, finding that the business-as-usual case replacing pre-2007 model year diesel vehicles which lacked diesel particulate filters with advanced technology diesel vehicles provided the largest particulate matter (PM) reduc-

tion. This is due to new technology diesel engines’ 98-percent PM reductions compared to EVs’ 95 percent PM reduction assuming power from the U.S. Grid Mix. As for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, EVs have 98.5 percent lower NOX than pre-2007 diesel vehicles on a per mile basis, and 2010 and later MY vehicles have 79 percent less NOx emissions than a 2007 diesel model. However, when replacing a diesel medium and heavy-duty vehicle with an EV and evaluated on an annual miles driven basis, the NOx benefit is diminished. EVs are generally deployed on shorter routes and have a shorter range of operation than that of a comparable diesel vehicle, with about 87 percent of the mileage on a daily basis. Given this mileage difference, NOx emission reductions for a fleet transitioning to EV will be less than the business-as-usual turnover from older generation diesel to


Nominate a

HERO

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Do you know a tower who risked their life to save another while on the job?

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 63


Supplier Scoop advanced technology with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that reduce NOx by 98 percent. On a cumulative fleet conversion cost basis, turning over a medium and heavy-duty fleet of 10,000 vehicles in the region over to EV carries a price tag more than three times higher than the equivalent cost for new technology diesel vehicles. The incremental EV cost for Class 7/8 vehicles is $250,000 for the vehicle and $45,000 for charging infrastructure.

Towers Seeking Higher Wages

In the city of Decatur, Alabama, the town council may be forced to reconsider tow rates for police-initiated tows. According to a Decatur tow manager, it’s been reported that some wrecker services are turning down city calls, causing lengthy delays at the scene. Kenny Hetrick, manager of All Star Towing & Recovery of Decatur, asked the City Council to consider increasing the rates a tow company can charge when responding to a city call. Decatur allows a wrecker company to charge $75 for a typical tow, and $125 for a wreck, or a tow necessitated by an arrest or to pick up an abandoned vehicle. Storage of a vehicle towed for the city is capped at $20 per day. Hetrick proposed allowing charges of $125 for a traffic stop or routine tow, $200 for a wreck or abandonment, and $30 per day for storage. Hetrick pointed out that the city hasn’t raised tow truck rates since 2008, and the city does not allow any charge for the first 24 hours of storage.

Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com

64 • September 2022 | Towman.com


Nominate a Towing Professional for

The Order of Towman

Working with Police and Fire Chiefs to foster recognition & professionalism among the towing professionals who serve our towns.

Nomination Form

For the past ten years over one thousand police and fire chiefs in the U.S. have nominated towing professionals for The Order of Towman, presented by American Towman Magazine in recognition of their supreme dedication to their communities and to the professionalism of their trade. No one knows more than the chiefs how towers rise to the occasion to face the challenges at incident scenes. While American Towman Magazine mails nomination forms to all the chiefs in the nation, it may take more than one notice to get your chief’s attention. Should you feel you qualify as a towing company that has served your local police or fire department with exceptional service and professionalism, take this nomination form to your chief. He or she may contact me if they have any questions. Steve Calitri, American Towman Magazine.

Nominee (Owner or Manager): ________________________________________________________ Name of Towing Company: ___________________________________________________________ Address:__________________________ City: _______________ State: ____ Zip Code: _________ Phone Number: ____ / ____ / _______ email address: _____________________________________ Nominating Police/Fire Chief:__________________________________________________________ Police/Fire Department Name: ________________________________________________________ Address:__________________________________________________________________________ City: ______________________________ State: ____ Zip Code: _________ Mail To: Bryna Stankiewicz American Towman Position: _______________________Phone Number: ____ / ____ / _______ 2 Overlook Dr., Suite 5 Signature: _____________________________________________________ Deadline: September 15, 2022 for Cross Of The Order

Presented Nov. 19, 2022 at the American Towman Exposition Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Warwick, NY 10990 800-732-3869 x218 Bryna@towman.com

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 65


Supplier Scoop

Volvo’s Electric Corridor

Volvo Trucks North America is joining forces with Volvo Financial Services, Volvo Technology of America, Shell Recharge Solutions, TEC Equipment, Affinity Truck Center, and Western Truck Center to develop a publicly accessible medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle (MHD EV) charging network that connects several of California’s largest metropolitan areas. With an award from the California Energy Commission (CEC) of $2 million under BESTFIT, the Electrified Charging Corridor Project will address key barriers to long-range MHD EV deployments and accelerate widespread adoption. The project will get underway in 2022, with all five stations anticipated to be online by the end of 2023. “This project will open the door to a truly electrified freight future in which zero-tailpipe emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks are no longer limited to short-mileage, return-to-base operations and can reach far and wide across the state,” said Peter Voorhoeve, presi-

66 • September 2022 | Towman.com

dent, Volvo Trucks North America. “We are excited to begin construction of the Electrified Charging Corridor Project this year in collaboration with these pioneering truck dealerships so that we can further support fleets in successfully integrating battery-electric trucks into their operations, including our Volvo VNR Electric model. With the support of the CEC helping to drive and manifest this project, we will see an accelerated progression with ripple effects across the industry.” During the next 18 months, the project will deploy high-powered chargers at several existing Volvo Trucks’ dealership locations in Central and Northern California, including TEC Equipment Oakland, TEC Equipment Dixon, Western Truck Center in Stockton, and Affinity Truck Centers in Fresno and Bakersfield. They will serve as an extension to chargers already available at the TEC Fontana and TEC La Mirada locations in Southern California. With publicly accessible charging stations strategically located at convenient intervals, fleets

utilizing battery-electric trucks will be able to complete zero-tailpipe emissions routes between Southern, Central, and Northern California. The Electrified Charging Corridor Project has the goal of enabling convenient charging for: • Small business fleets that want to avoid making major financial investments in large-scale charging infrastructure at their site; • Fleets looking to pilot an electric vehicle through rental and short-term lease opportunities; and • Fleets that need an OEM-neutral location to “opportunity charge” along their route. • The CEC’s BESTFIT Innovative Charging Solutions program funds projects that demonstrate transformative technology solutions and work to accelerate the successful commercial deployment of electric vehicle charging for light, medium, and heavy-duty applications.



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Ellen Rosengart x 203 erosengart@towman.com 68 • September 2022 | Towman.com


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Isuzu Motors Limited, Toyota Motor Corporation, Hino Motors, Ltd., and Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) have partnered to plan and develop light-duty fuel cell (FC) electric trucks for the mass-market. The joint initiative is intended to expand customer options and increase the demand for hydrogen. The companies will also promote the introduction and widespread use of FC electric trucks to the market. FC technology, which runs on high-energy-density hydrogen and has zero CO2 emissions while driving, is considered effective under conditions common with light-duty truck use. Light-duty trucks are often used for distribution to supermarkets and convenience stores. In addition to being equipped with refrigeration and freezing functions, they are required to drive long distances over extended hours to perform multiple delivery operations in one day. They must also meet requirements such as fast refueling capability. CJPT will be responsible for planning the jointly developed mass-market light-duty FC electric trucks. The four companies will mobilize their combined knowledge— Isuzu and Hino truck technology and Toyota FC technology—to design products meeting performance and conditions required for light-duty trucks. The partnership’s first FC-electric trucks will be introduced after January 2023 and deployed at distribution sites in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo social implementation projects.

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AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 69


My Baby

The OctoRam Wrapping its Arms Around All Sorts of Towing Jobs By Steve Temple

P

eople ask what prompted Gary Hibler to letter his Ram 5500 B&B wrecker with the words, “12 Tons of Fun.” His answer is both simple and obvious. “It’s so user friendly,” he enthuses. “Just kinda fun to run!” But it’s not just a lighthearted rig, as he handles a number of difficult seasonal recoveries around Binghamton, New York where the winter weather can turn nasty. In particular he appreciates the wrecker’s forks, and the down-riggers with wide footing to stabilize the chassis. These items, along with a pair of Ramsey winches, are invaluable when handling medium-duty box trucks and stake bodies that are about equal in weight to his hefty wrecker, powered by a torquey 6.7L Cummins diesel. For safety’s sake, in one of the side boxes for the towing controls, he added the acronym “STOP” (Survey, Think, Opinion and Proceed With Caution), learned from his father Charlie, who purchased the company in 1966. He had seen this helpful reminder on a rotator in 2006, 70 • September 2022 | Towman.com

and decided to put it on all his wreckers. Today, the company runs eight trucks in all, mostly larger NRCs, but Gary still has an older ’85 Chevy with


a Holmes 500 in the fleet, used for shows and parades. Getting back to the Ram, it’s outfitted with B&B Industries’ 12/65 Elite package. By way of

background, this firm was started by Bill Bottoms in 1979 with his expressed goal of building the best towing and recovery trucks on the market. After his passing in 2019, the Burda family felt the calling to carry on Bill’s legacy by purchasing B&B Industries and moving its headquarters and manufacturing plant to

Big Lake, Minnesota. Gary’s wrecker came from that factory well equipped with extra lighting, including the new rearfacing blue lights now allowed by law. Plus diamond plating on the bed and back panel, stainless steel trim on the boom and wheel lift, and a decorative surround for the grease fitting. The wheels are stock

TECH HIGHLIGHTS Chassis: 2022 Ram 5500 Engine: 6.7L Cummins Diesel Wrecker Body: B&B Industries’ 12/65 Elite Lettering Graphics: Robinson Design Company

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • 71


19-inchers, since Gary notes they can handle heavier weight than larger rims. Plus he prefers a certain look, dressing up the truck with custom lettering from the Robinson Design Company. “I like to keep it clean and classy,” he says. Which helps to explain how he won a couple first-place trophies at the recent Empire State Towing Association’s show in Lake George, New York. Also, his B&B was one of the biggest draws at the event, since it was the only one there. Youngsters attending are especially drawn to the toy octopus in the cab. As a result, after getting the truck in May, Gary decided to call it the “OctoRam.” A fitting name since his rig recently had to wrap its arms around a camper top that had separated from a pickup truck. “My kids love that name,” Gary laughs. Charlotte (11) and Nolan (7) enjoy riding with their dad to handle tow jobs, as the four-door interior is large and comfortable, and useful for customers who need a ride. While he had to be patient in getting to take delivery of his B&B, —as supply-chain issues have been affecting the entire towing industry—he kept his cool, realizing that, “It was worth the wait when you get it.”

72 • September 2022 | Towman.com



Lowdown

Steve Calitri Editor-in-Chief scalitri@towman.com

Industry Treasures By Steve Calitri

J

ohn Borowski will be in Baltimore this November conducting four seminars for the American Towman Academy. That’s right, four different seminars. Not only does he maintain his title of Mr. Industry, the number and scope of his seminars may earn him the name, Mr. Galaxy. The breadth of the topics is, well, out of this world: Towing Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) Recovery Business Success Quick Clearance Protocols and Certification The Real Profit Center of Your Business— Dispatch Also known as “Horsepower” (HP) for his energy and drive, and immortalized in the pages of The Adventures of the American Towman, John Borowski is a 19-year veteran tow boss, and two-time recipient of the Towman Medal, a Hall of Famer. Aside from running his own tow business, John was a national account for a large towing company, and worked for two wrecker manufacturers. He knows more about this industry than most. Borowski is one of many Industry treasures in Baltimore. Randy Resch, Bob Foquette, Brian Riker, Todd Althouse, Jim Shellhaas, Terry Abejuela … check out their conferences at atexposition.com. Our industry’s greatest communicators are drawn to Baltimore because of the quality audience that goes there each year, towbusiness owners hungry for new ideas on best practices in running a towing operation. James Bennett, Jr. is presenting his seminar on The Tower as Incident Commander. Bennett (of Beard’s Towing & Recovery)

74 • September 2022 | Towman.com

played a key role helping to coordinate the clearance of “The Great Texas Pileup.” Bennett will also be in Las Vegas. Indeed, all the seminar presenters at the coming AT ShowPlace—Las Vegas and American Towman Exposition in Baltimore, will be sharing their experiences and insights on critical areas of a towing business. All of them are dedicated to helping tow bosses succeed. Participating in the American Towman Academy is like being in the center of an electrical storm, but this one is a brainstorm. Tow bosses, like all business owners, follow their own routines and systems that let them operate smoothly. But this doesn’t give them the space or time to consider a better way of doing things. The Academy gives them a chance to pull back and walk around the business as they would walk around a turned-over vehicle before going about recovering it. For example, take a look at these issues being tackled in Baltimore and think how they may be worth attending: Recruiting Tow Operators from Generation Z (David Saline, Drive) Maintaining Aging Equipment (Brian Riker) Advances in Private Property Impounds (Jim Shellhaas, Ranger SST) Tow bosses who use the Academy for the resources it provides return home inspired to make significant changes that will translate into lower costs and increased revenue. Any one of the American Towman seminars is worth the trip alone, though there are 20 to choose from while you enjoy the greatest tow show on earth.



News Flash Tow Company Gets Hit with Class Action Suit Over Impound Fee

All City Tow Service, a tow company in Santa Monica, California, along with the city and its police chief, are being sued by a local business owner who owns a fleet of licensed fruit carts. The class action suit claims that they are arbitrarily imposing a 30-day impound fee upon towing their carts. “We’ve never seen a city charge even an extra fee to a release fee,” said attorney Cynthia Anderson-Barker. “That fee is $1,200. That’s theft as far as I’m concerned,” The lawsuit seeks that a federal court orders a stop to these reported practices. The City of Santa Monica said it cannot provide details on the pending litigation, and added that, “Both the city and its police department are committed to values of accountability, equity, inclusion and safety to protect and support communities of color.”

All City Tow Service told ABC News, “We cannot and will not respond to ongoing litigation; it’s a matter of the courts to make that determination.”

TRAA Advocates Against Speed-Limiting Rule

The TRAA stands in opposition to proposed rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that could limit speeds on some commercial vehicles. The proposed rule would limit speeds of commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce weighing over 26,001 pounds that are installed with engine control units (speed limiting devices). The proposal would be in effect for the lifetime of the commercial vehicle if subject to the rule. Responding in a letter of comment to the federal agency, the TRAA cited several reasons for not supporting a speed limiting rule: it prevents oper-

North 76 • September 2022 | Towman.com

ators from adhering to state Move Over Law; it limits their ability to react to roadway hazards; it potentially increases interactions and crashes dangerous to responders and the motoring public. In addition, the TRAA has also joined forces with other organizations that are in opposition to the proposal including the OOIDA and others, deeming the proposal “bad news” while remaining optimistic that their participation will yield a reversal of the proposal.

The TRAA cites several reasons for not supporting a speed-limiting rule for some commercial vehicles.



News Flash Tower Killed in Pennsylvania

Thomas Hoket, a 26-year-old tow operator for the Herring Motor Co., was killed while trying to secure a tractor trailer late evening on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset, Pennsylvania. It was reported that the truck fell on Hoket while he was in the midst of the recovery. Further details are unknown, and the case is under investigation. Tom was a 2014 graduate of Somerset High School and was a US Marine Corps Veteran. He enjoyed riding motorcycles, hunting, and spending time with his family. www.dailyamerican.com/obituaries/ psom0264874

North 78 • September 2022 | Towman.com


RE AL SP COV L E QUCIAL ERY AL IST IFY S

Submit Your Recovery for the

2022 Donnie Cruse Recovery Award Presented by:

TAKE THE CHALLENGE SEND US:

• Photos or Video of Your Recovery • Name • Company • Address • Phone Number • Email Address

WE MAY CONTACT YOU FOR THE DETAILS Email: stemple@towman.com or Mail to: 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5 Warwick, NY 10990

Choose the most challenging recovery that your company has performed with excellence

Rec ove per ry m form ust 200 ed b have 1 & etw bee 202 een n 2

Co-Sponsored by:

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North 80 • September 2022 | Towman.com


Episode 17

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990



News Flash U.S. Senators Introduce “Move Over Law Day” Resolution

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the National Move Over Law Day Resolution (S.Res. 734) supporting the goals and ideals of a National Move Over Law Day. This bipartisan resolution urges national, state, and regional incident management organizations to promote existence of and adherence to State Move Over laws. The resolution can help raise awareness of the dangers faced by roadside first responders and the need for motorists to slow down and move over. The resolution was inspired by Corey Iodice, a tow truck operator for his family’s business, who was tragically struck and killed in Connecticut in 2020 while assisting a driver. “Every state has laws directing drivers to reduce their speed or to move over if a vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, yet tragic collisions that injure and kill roadside assistance workers like Corey Iodice continue to happen,” Blumenthal said. “This resolution amplifies the simple yet effective way to keep workers safe on the roads: Slow Down and Move Over.” The resolution is supported by a number of organizations, including the Towing and Recovery Association of America “The TRAA has been a longstanding champion at the federal level for policy to protect roadside first responders and applauds the introduction of this resolution. TRAA recently met with Members of Congress during its annual Hill Day in Washington, DC to advocate for

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mike Braun (R-IN)

Count’s Kustoms and Dual-Tech will unveil a special project at American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas.

this resolution, and is thankful for the support of Senators Blumenthal and Braun.” Source: blumenthal.senate.gov/ newsroom/ Source: TRAA press release

The Big Unveil

At American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas, Sept. 21 to 23, among the highlights will be the unveiling of a Dual-Tech Wrecker owned by Don and Jo Ann Roberts, owners of Dual-Tech Inc. The wrecker will be customized and hand-painted by Ryan Evans and Ghetto Bob of Count’s Kustoms, stars of the History Channel’s reality show Counting Cars which features car restorations and customizations. The partnership came about after Count’s Kustoms did some research and discovered Dual-Tech’s quality carriers, discussing with the owners the idea of doing a makeover on one. In exchange, Dual-Tech would allow them to use the wrecker for their show and to transport their customized designs. According to Count’s Ghetto Bob, Roberts gave them carte blanche on the design.“Don told us ‘Do what we want.’” Bob said, “No limits, no pigeonholes, no nothing. Whatever we want to do, we do.” “They do super work,” Jo Ann Roberts noted. “They will do their own special interior and exterior paint work on it and reveal it right before the show. Then we will exhibit it.”

South S76 • September 2022 | Towman.com

Dual-Tech Inc, established in 1989 and based in Bean Station, Tennessee, has become a trend setter in the design of low-profile carrier units with a quad-rail subframe of 64 feet and 1152 square inches of slide pad. Don Roberts said, “I built mine as a low profile to start with and other companies followed suit.” Visit booth #1024 at American Towman ShowPlace, Las Vegas, September 21 to 23, to meet the Dual-Tech team along with special guests from Count’s Kustoms, and join in on the fun for the unveiling of their custom paint job. For more information about the show and to register, visit atshowplace.com

TRAA Advocates Against Speed-Limiting Rule

The TRAA stands in opposition to proposed rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that could limit speeds on some commercial vehicles. The proposed rule would limit speeds of commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce weighing over 26,001 pounds that are installed with engine control units (speed limiting devices). The proposal would be in effect for the lifetime of the commercial vehicle if subject to the rule. Responding in a letter of comment to the federal agency, the TRAA cited several reasons for not supporting a speed limiting rule: it prevents oper-


ators from adhering to state Move Over Law; it limits their ability to react to roadway hazards; it potentially increases interactions and crashes dangerous to responders and the motoring public. In addition, the TRAA has also joined forces with other organizations

that are in opposition to the proposal including the OOIDA and others, deeming the proposal “bad news” while remaining optimistic that their participation will yield a reversal of the proposal. Source: TRAA Press Release

The TRAA cites several reasons for not supporting a speed-limiting rule for some commercial vehicles.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Tow Rates Set to Spike in Greenville, N.C.

In Greenville, North Carolina towing companies championed their municipality for higher towing rates and will see an increase beginning August 1. This increase would more than double the price of a tow for both collision and non-collision tows. Tow rates had been unchanged for 15 years. City of Greenville Spokesperson Brock Letchworth said: “In recent months, we’ve received calls and concerns from some of these companies that some of their rates haven’t been changed. So that initiated the process of reviewing the rates that are charged in other areas. The city settled on what the state Highway Patrol settled on.” Currently the fee for a collision tow is $125 while the price for a non-collision tow is $75. Those rates will rise to $280 and $185 respectively, with additional costs assessed for winching, overturned vehicles, and mile-

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • South S77


News Flash age costs outside of city limits. “It’s an agreement that’s put in place between the municipalities and the tow company,” Letchworth added. “It’s not unusual; other places do the same thing. It’s just a set rate because of police-initiated tows.” Other prices that will also go up include the release of cars and removing items from cars. Source: witn.com Tow rates more than doubled in Greenville, N.C.

All City Tow Service told ABC News, “We cannot and will not respond to ongoing litigation; it’s a matter of the courts to make that determination.” Source: abc7.com/santa-monica-towing-lawsuit-police

Tower Killed in Pennsylvania A cart vendor sued a tow company over an impound fee.

Tow Company Gets Hit with Class Action Suit Over Impound Fee

All City Tow Service, a tow company in Santa Monica, California, along with the city and its police chief, are being sued by a local business owner who owns a fleet of licensed fruit carts. The class action suit claims that they are arbitrarily imposing a 30-day impound fee upon towing their carts. “We’ve never seen a city charge even an extra fee to a release fee,” said attorney Cynthia Anderson-Barker. “That fee is $1,200. That’s theft as far as I’m concerned,” The lawsuit seeks that a federal court orders a stop to these reported practices. The City of Santa Monica said it cannot provide details on the pending litigation, and added that, “Both the city and its police department are committed to values of accountability, equity, inclusion and safety to protect and support communities of color.”

Thomas Hoket, a 26-year-old tow operator for the Herring Motor Co., was killed while trying to secure a tractor trailer late evening on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset, Pennsylvania. It was reported that the truck fell on Hoket while he was in the midst of the recovery. Further details are unknown, and the case is under investigation. Tom was a 2014 graduate of Somerset High School and was a US Marine Corps Veteran. He enjoyed riding motorcycles, hunting, and spending time with his family. Source: dailyamerican.com/obituaries/psom0264874

Apprenticeship Pilot Program for Truckers Under 21

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seeks to establish a pilot program allowing drivers between 18 to 20 years with an intrastate commercial driver’s license to operate interstate commerce under specific conditions. To meet this requirement, FMCSA established the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP). This three-year program will help individuals ages 18, 19, and 20 explore interstate trucking careers and help trucking companies hire and train new drivers through an apprenticeship pilot program. The application period is currently open. For more information, please view the SDAP Public Information Webinar which covers training qualifications, participation requirements, and instructions. Source: TRAA

A pilot program allows drivers under 21 to drive interstate.

South S78 • September 2022 | Towman.com


RE AL SP COV L E QUCIAL ERY AL IST IFY S

Submit Your Recovery for the

2022 Donnie Cruse Recovery Award Presented by:

TAKE THE CHALLENGE SEND US:

• Photos or Video of Your Recovery • Name • Company • Address • Phone Number • Email Address

WE MAY CONTACT YOU FOR THE DETAILS Email: stemple@towman.com or Mail to: 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5 Warwick, NY 10990

Choose the most challenging recovery that your company has performed with excellence

Rec ove per ry m form ust 200 ed b have 1 & etw bee 202 een n 2

Co-Sponsored by:

&


South S80 • September 2022 | Towman.com


Episode 17

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990



News Flash U.S. Senators Introduce “Move Over Law Day” Resolution

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the National Move Over Law Day Resolution (S.Res. 734) supporting the goals and ideals of a National Move Over Law Day. This bipartisan resolution urges national, state, and regional incident management organizations to promote existence of and adherence to State Move Over laws. The resolution can help raise awareness of the dangers faced by roadside first responders and the need for motorists to slow down and move over. The resolution was inspired by Corey Iodice, a tow truck operator for his family’s business, who was tragically struck and killed in Connecticut in 2020 while assisting a driver. “Every state has laws directing drivers to reduce their speed or to move over if a vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, yet tragic collisions that injure and kill roadside assistance workers like Corey Iodice continue to happen,” Blumenthal said. “This resolution amplifies the simple yet effective way to keep workers safe on the roads: Slow Down and Move Over.” The resolution is supported by a number of organizations, including the Towing and Recovery Association of America “The TRAA has been a longstanding champion at the federal level for policy to protect roadside first responders and applauds the introduction of this resolution. TRAA recently met with Members of Congress during its annual Hill Day in Washington, DC to advocate for this resolution, and is thankful for the support of Senators Blumenthal and Braun.” Source: blumenthal.senate.gov/ newsroom Source: TRAA press release

Midwest M76 • September 2022 | Towman.com



News Flash The Big Unveil

At American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas, Sept. 21 to 23, among the highlights will be the unveiling of a Dual-Tech Wrecker owned by Don and Jo Ann Roberts, owners of Dual-Tech Inc. The wrecker will be customized and hand-painted by Ryan Evans and Ghetto Bob of Count’s Kustoms, stars of the History Channel’s reality show Counting Cars which features car restorations and customizations. The partnership came about after Count’s Kustoms did some research and discovered Dual-Tech’s quality carriers, discussing with the owners the idea of doing a makeover on one. In exchange, Dual-Tech would allow them to use the wrecker for their show and to transport their customized designs. According to Count’s Ghetto Bob, Roberts gave them carte blanche on the design.“Don told us ‘Do what we want.’” Bob said, “No limits, no pi-

Count’s Kustoms and Dual-Tech will unveil a special project at American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas.

geonholes, no nothing. Whatever we want to do, we do.” “They do super work,” Jo Ann Roberts noted. “They will do their own special interior and exterior paint work on it and reveal it right before the show. Then we will exhibit it.” Dual-Tech Inc, established in 1989 and based in Bean Station, Tennessee, has become a trend setter in the design of low-profile carrier units with a quad-rail subframe of 64 feet and 1152 square inches of slide pad. Don

Midwest M78 • September 2022 | Towman.com

Roberts said, “I built mine as a low profile to start with and other companies followed suit.” Visit booth #1024 at American Towman ShowPlace, Las Vegas, September 21 to 23, to meet the Dual-Tech team along with special guests from Count’s Kustoms, and join in on the fun for the unveiling of their custom paint job. For more information about the show and to register, visit atshowplace.com


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Midwest M80 • September 2022 | Towman.com


Episode 17

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990


News Flash The Big Unveil

At American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas, Sept. 21 to 23, among the highlights will be the unveiling of a Dual-Tech Wrecker owned by Don and Jo Ann Roberts, owners of Dual-Tech Inc. The wrecker will be customized and hand-painted by Ryan Evans and Ghetto Bob of Count’s Kustoms, stars of the History Channel’s reality show Counting Cars which features car restorations and customizations. The partnership came about after Count’s Kustoms did some research and discovered Dual-Tech’s quality carriers, discussing with the owners the idea of doing a makeover on one. In exchange, Dual-Tech would allow them to use the wrecker for their show and to transport their customized designs. According to Count’s Ghetto Bob, Roberts gave them carte blanche on the design.“Don told us ‘Do what we want.’” Bob said, “No limits, no pi-

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Count’s Kustoms and Dual-Tech will unveil a special project at American Towman ShowPlace in Las Vegas.

geonholes, no nothing. Whatever we want to do, we do.” “They do super work,” Jo Ann Roberts noted. “They will do their own special interior and exterior paint work on it and reveal it right before the show. Then we will exhibit it.” Dual-Tech Inc, established in 1989 and based in Bean Station, Tennessee, has become a trend setter in the design of low-profile carrier units with a quad-rail subframe of 64 feet and 1152 square inches of slide pad. Don

Roberts said, “I built mine as a low profile to start with and other companies followed suit.” Visit booth #1024 at American Towman ShowPlace, Las Vegas, September 21 to 23, to meet the Dual-Tech team along with special guests from Count’s Kustoms, and join in on the fun for the unveiling of their custom paint job. For more information about the show and to register, visit atshowplace.com

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • West W75


News Flash U.S. Senators Introduce “Move Over Law Day” Resolution

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the National Move Over Law Day Resolution (S.Res. 734) supporting the goals and ideals of a National Move Over Law Day. This bipartisan resolution urges national, state, and regional incident management organizations to promote existence of and adherence to State Move Over laws. The resolution can help raise awareness of the dangers faced by roadside first responders and the need for motorists to slow down and move over. The resolution was inspired by Corey Iodice, a tow truck operator for his family’s business, who was tragically struck and killed in Connecticut in 2020 while assisting a driver. “Every state has laws directing drivers to reduce their speed or to move

West W76 • September 2022 | Towman.com


over if a vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, yet tragic collisions that injure and kill roadside assistance workers like Corey Iodice continue to happen,” Blumenthal said. “This resolution amplifies the simple yet effective way to keep workers safe on the roads: Slow Down and Move Over.” The resolution is supported by a number of organizations, including the Towing and Recovery Association of America “The TRAA has been a longstanding champion at the federal level for policy to protect roadside first responders and applauds the introduction of this resolution. TRAA recently met with Members of Congress during its annual Hill Day in Washington, DC to advocate for this resolution, and is thankful for the support of Senators Blumenthal and Braun.” Source: blumenthal.senate.gov/ newsroom Source: TRAA press release

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • West W77


News Flash TRAA Advocates Against Speed-Limiting Rule

The TRAA stands in opposition to proposed rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that could limit speeds on some commercial vehicles. The proposed rule would limit speeds of commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce weighing over 26,001 pounds that are installed with engine control units (speed limiting devices). The proposal would be in effect for the lifetime of the commercial vehicle if subject to the rule. Responding in a letter of comment to the federal agency, the TRAA cited several reasons for not supporting a speed limiting rule: it prevents operators from adhering to state Move Over Law; it limits their ability to react to roadway hazards; it potentially increases interactions and crashes dangerous to responders and the

West W78 • September 2022 | Towman.com


The TRAA cites several reasons for not supporting a speed-limiting rule for some commercial vehicles.

motoring public. In addition, the TRAA has also joined forces with other organizations that are in opposition to the proposal including the OOIDA and others, deeming the proposal “bad news” while remaining optimistic that their participation will yield a reversal of the proposal. Source: TRAA Press Release

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2022 • West W79



Episode 17

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990