__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

The Road Calls

Miner Witch

The

Recovery

Handing it Over

Succession Planning

HANDLING

Belligerent

Motorists

Farewell

to Scooby

TowIndustryWeek.com

NOVEMBER 2020 AmericanTowman.com

$10


Contents

Volume 44 Issue 11

November 2020

Cover Feature

24

The Miner Witch Recovery Two NRC Rotators assisted a crane in this recovery of a trailer and miner witch. by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti Tri-State Towing and Recovery dispatched two Kenworth T880s with NRC 50/65 65 Ton Rotators.

Features

Departments 6

The Walkaround

8

News Share

10

Road Tools

12

Tow Manager

18

Tow Engineer

34

Ad Index

36

Tow Boss

46

Towman’s Market

48

My Baby

50

Lowdown

58

Adventures of A.T.

28

Succession Planning Two different examples of planning ahead. by Sally Hooper

36

A Towman Who Invests in Towers

Stauffer’s Towing fuels entrepreneurs who want to build a towing company. by Brian Riker

4 • November 2020 | Towman.com

First on the scene since 1977


The Walkaround The Here and Now

Dennie Ortiz Publisher

DEATH IS AN INEVITABLE aspect of life though it is rarely easy to accept the loss of a loved one. This year has been very difficult for many families with the increasing number of deaths due to Covid-19. Towers are no strangers to death as they have long learned the dangers of working the roadways and have gravely come to understand that this industry faces a disproportionate loss of life. Slow Down Move Over, just can’t be shouted loud enough. As if this profession isn’t dangerous enough there is always the potential of danger simply from dealing with customers day in and day out. Randall Resch tackles this sometimes overlooked threat in his article Dealing with Angry Motorists. He touches on the importance of remaining calm when faced with aggressive persons where your reaction can make the difference between life and death. Our heart and prayers go out to everyone that has suffered loss this year. A couple of months ago in September, well-known trainer and industry veteran, Howard “Scooby” Eagan succumbed after a long battle with cancer. I remember meeting Scooby 20 years ago and remarking “You are quite the character.” Anyone whoever had the benefit of meeting Scooby would agree and then-some. A touching tribute to this industry icon can be read on page 50 in the Lowdown, where his long-time friend and colleague, John Sweezy Jr. remembers Scooby with a humorous and moving eulogy. Also later in this issue Terry Abejuela, in the Tow Engineer department, discusses how flat tire service is one of the most dangerous services that tow operators perform. He provides us with very helpful suggestions for changing flat tires for both tower and motorist alike (I had my 18-year old son read this piece) because everyone should know how to change a tire safely. As we all know any recovery has its potential for mishap and injury, but not in the recovery featured in this issue. A Miner Witch, what’s that? Kentucky towers learned first-hand by having to recover this 230,000 lb over-turned load! Well read on to learn more in Jim Sorrenti’s recovery piece. Switching the proverbial gears … as we all grow older, succession planning is an important part of preparing for the future. On page 28 you can read the story of two different companies and how they transitioned their business with great results. As we keep to the management side of the business, Brian Riker talks to an enterprising tower in Utah who not only has built a very prosperous towing operation, but has gone one step further and begun a program to help get other towing businesses started and put on the path to success. Enjoy the issue and as always … stay safe out there.

6 • November 2020 | Towman.com

Dennie Ortiz Steve Calitri Brendan Dooley Randall Resch Terry Abejuela Jim “Buck” Sorrenti David Kolman Bill Simmons Mark Lacek Brian Riker

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

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

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

American Towman Staff Page Layout Artist Advertising Sales Mgr. Senior Account Exec. VP of Accounts Customer Service Subscription Manager Regional Advertising Sales iMarketing Manager ATTV Producer President

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

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

E-Mail: Publisher Editor-In-Chief AT’S Digital Edition AT’S Website AT’S Weekly ATTV

dortiz@towman.com scalitri@towman.com itowman.com americantowman.com towindustryweek.com americantowmantv.com

Copyright ©2020 American Towman Magazine is published 12 times a year by American Towman Media, Inc.

Subscription: Single Copy: $10 1 yr: $60 – 2 yrs: $110 International: $75 & $135

All material published through American Towman Media (AT), to include American Towman Magazine, iTowman.com and TowIndustryWeek.com, including advertisements, editorials, articles and all other content is published in good faith. However, AT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, and does not endorse any companies, products or services that appear. AT does not test or review products submitted for inclusion in its publications. AT does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of content, warranties or claims made or implied by its advertisers. The views expressed are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AT. The act of mailing or delivering a letter, email or article to AT shall constitute permission to publish that letter or article or any portion thereof. AT reserves the right to edit any and all material submitted. No part of the magazine or websites may be reproduced without prior written consent of AT.


News Share Truck Sales Surge in September

Heavy-duty truck orders from North American Class 8 (trucks weighing over 33,000 pounds) surged in the month of September, up 55%, according to a report released by FTR Intel, which provides industry news and analysis for the transportation industry. Familiar names to the towing industry, such as Kenworth, International and Freightliner, fall into that classification. Don Ake, VP of commercial vehicles at FTR, said, “Rates have improved, so carriers have the cash, and now they also have the confidence. When you combine those two factors, orders tend to surge.” Pent-up demand is also a factor, as the months from March to May saw significant contraction to the economy due to the coronavirus. Ake said, “Trucks that would have normally been ordered then, are being ordered now, since much of the risk has passed.” Source: www.fleetowner.com

DOJ Cracks Down for Servicemembers The Department of Justice Department (DOJ) filed suit on 9/28 against a Dallas-based towing firm for allegedly auctioning off cars and trucks belonging to U.S. servicemembers in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The suit is the latest in a string of civil actions taken against towing companies nationwide for failing to comply with a law that requires companies to get a court order before disposing of troops’ vehicles. It’s the fourth case in the last 5 weeks. The suit claims that the Dallas company sold at least five vehicles belonging to service members in their absence and without their consent. Last month, a Florida towing and storage company allegedly auctioned off at least 33 service members’ vehicles between 2013 and 2020 without obtaining court orders, agreeing to compensate service members. Source: www.military.com

8 • November 2020 | Towman.com

Teen Restores Wrecker In Bay County, Fla., 15-year-old Zach White completely redid an old wrecker given to him by his parents, making it his own. The unit, a 2008, 5500 Dodge Laramie with a twin line, self-loading Century was originally bought by Zach’s father, handed over to his grandfather, then sold and eventually ended up in the “bone yard” when the family reclaimed it and gave it to Zach as a gift. White, who’s family own’s White’s Gulf County Wrecker Service, LLC, has been working on the project for 7 months, redoing the interior and exterior, including the engine repairs. He said, “It was all beat up when I got it. The truck, the whole interior was messed up. I just had to fix all of it, order new stuff, send it to shops, get it repainted and all that. It’s worth it. Yup,

Zach White with his Dodge Laramie.

it’s a beautiful truck now.” He credits his dad for teaching him, as he watched him around the shop over the years. Since he is only 15, he is waiting until he gets his driver’s license and plans to drive his wrecker to school and help out his dad’s company. Source: www.mypanhandle.com

Howard L. Eagan

February 11, 1966 - September 19, 2020

Industry Stalwart Howard Eagan Passes Howard L. Eagan of the Town of the Wheatfield, NY, passed away on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Howard, called “Scooby” by friends and professional associates, was employed with Leaseway Transportation and as a foreman with Penske, before becoming a heavy tow truck operator with John’s Towing in Buffalo and Big Red Towing in Syracuse for many years. He was an instructor with MatJack Indianapolis Industrial Products for many years, training tow operators around the nation on air cushion recovery. He often taught air cushion usage at American Towman Expositions. Eagan was a member of the 3F Club, the 9/11 Memorial and enjoyed riding his Goldwing Motorcycle and camping. He was born in Niagara Falls, NY on February 11, 1966, a son of Robert Eagan and the late Bonnie [Miers] Eagan. In addition to his father, he is survived by

his wife Janeene M.[Tokarczyk) Eagan; his children Marcas Eagan, Jessica Marquart and Danielle (Brian) Curry; two grandchildren Natalia Curry and Taya Marquart, a brother Robert (Rene) Eagan, Jr. and good friend Kimberly Simpson and her children Andrew, Ross, Tara; also several nieces and nephews.


News Share PA Puts Teeth in Move Over Law

Procession honoring Dave Ritzer.

Michigan Tower Saluted People came from various points in Michigan to honor deceased tower David Ritzer, owner-operator of Steve’s Auto of Constantine, Mi. Ritzer died Sept. 25 at age 60, following a brief illness, after working in the towing and recovery business for 44 years. 20 tow-trucks lined up in the town of White Pidgeon on Sept. 30 to salute the legacy of Ritzer. Friends and colleagues described him as “hard-working and “a great man.”

“He was a good, dedicated and smart guy,” said a friend, Steve Lard. “There was nothing he couldn’t do.” In addition to towing, Ritzer established a metal-fabrication enterprise, creating prototypes for multiple businesses. He also manufactured tow-truck bodies and parts; got into land development and cell towers; and co-founded SEA Wireless Partners in Kalamazoo and TRMR in Three Rivers. Source: www.sturgisjournal.com

Lightning Luck Strikes Twice Toronto based tow truck driver 39 year old Ninos Barcham became a repeat lotto winner playing Canada’s add-on game called Encore. The drawing for the Daily Grand lotto was held on Sept. 17th when Barcham once again defied the 1,111,111 odds to win the $100,000 prize. Previously he won the April 25th Lottario draw after once again purchasing the Encore add-on game and winning $100,000. Combined, the odds of winning 2 times becomes even more astronomical. Barcham, who purchased his tickets at a local Circle K convenience store, called it “A Blessing from the Sky.” Source: torontosun.com

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

In a 49-0 vote, the Pa. Senate passed a “Move Over” law on Sept. 22 imposing stiffer penalties on motorists who don’t slow down or steer clear of emergency response vehicles. The penalties will include assigning points to a motorist’s license and raising fines for each offense for failing to move over or slow down. In addition, the state Department of Transportation will be required to educate the public to promote driver awareness. In the past year, the state has lost 35 first responders along the highways and roadways, including 17 tow operators. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, there have been 7,075 citations issued this past year for “Steer Clear” violations and 3,204 warnings. Pa. tower Brian Shockey, who was struck by a passing motorist in 2018 and suffered multiple injuries, said the accident impacted his life, making it hard for him to coach youth football and play with his kids. He said his medical bills are now in excess of $500,000 while the woman whose vehicle struck him was given an under $500 fine. Source: www.pennlive.com

Tow Truck Driver Busted

A tow truck driver was arrested for a hazardous tow involving a teenage girl in Miami. Coming to repossess the car, the tow operator backed up his wheel lift into the vehicle while it was moving and then lifted it with the driver still behind the wheel. According to the police report, the tow truck driver’s account of what happened didn’t match up with video surveillance in the neighborhood and he was arrested, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Source: wsvn.com Ninos Barcham

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 9


Road Tools Maglite ML150LR Rechargeable Bundle

Includes: ML150LR flashlight, charging cradle, rechargeable battery, 120V and 12V converters, Mini Maglite® Pro AA LED flashlight, (2) AA batteries, AA holster, & red safety wand for the ML150LR. ML150LR • 1082 lumens • 500 yard beam throw Mini Maglite® Pro • 332 Lumens • 188 yard beam throw

maglite.com

The Calvin Fabrication Co. Portable Power Press

Introducing a multi-functional fabrication tool for auto and truck repair shops with over six functions and 16 uses. 1. Pressing a. King Pins b. Wheel Studs c. Ball Joints & U-joints d. B  ushings & pulley bearings 2. Vice clamping a. Mounted bench vice b. C  lamping on vehicles frames/weldments c. C-Clamp uses d. V  ice style weldment holding 3. Lifting a. Vehicle Jack b. Foundation jack 4. Bending/Spreading a. O  utward force spreading b. B  ending metal workpieces

PortablePowerPress.com

Next Generation’s Patriot Pry Wedge

Next Generation Tool Company introduces the Patriot Pry Wedge. This new streamlined Wedge is multi-functional.   Use the Patriot Pry Wedge to easily create space to insert an Air Wedge while protecting the vehicle with the innovative rubber pivot. The Pry Wedge separates the door from the frame and does not damage weather stripping.   Flip it over and the Patriot can be used as a conventional wedge, with a removable handle that provides sextra leverage if needed. 

10 • November 2020 | Towman.com

nextgentool.com


Tow Manager

Dealing With Angry Motorists Violent Customer Ahead By Randall C. Resch

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.

Author’s Note: This narrative is not an attempt to practice mental health, but intended as a basis of training only for tow company personnel dealing with angered customers and vehicle owners.

I

f you’re active on industry forums, violence against towers is one topic that’s been in the industry’s forefront for a longtime. Although current events suggest a new norm of social aggression, there’s evidence that tow company personnel may have culpability during tow related incidents gone awry. In some cases, vehicle owner’s become immediately violent only to initiate attacks against tow personnel. And, once the police intervened, it was later determined that actions by tow company personnel may have added to the escalation. Fact: Violence is a daily occurrence that happens without notice. Drugs, alcohol, family issues, divorce, loss of job, politics, or a host of other factors may push someone beyond the proverbial edge. Combine that with life’s realities caused by Coronavirus; the communities we serve are literally ticking time-bombs. In, Maryland, October 2019, a customer, irate over his car being impounded, went to the tow yard to get his vehicle back. A violent altercation ensued where a tow company’s employee was choked to death over a money dispute. Three weeks later, a Texas operator, gave a ride to a customer where an alleged argument ensued and became uncontrollably violent. In a (suggested) safety move, the tower photographed the combative individual and in-return was shot dead by him. Could that simple act of taking ones photo have pushed an already psychotic personality over his edge?

12 • November 2020 | Towman.com

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

As an industry professional, how much, “crap”, do you take when faced with aggressive personalities or potentially violent customers? Should you engage in-return, leave your customer to their own accord, or, do you respond in a level headed, non-violent manner? It’s said that the, “fight or flight syndrome”, is someone’s sympathetic nervous system at work, but, sometimes there just ain’t time to evaluate how your system’s gonna’ respond; especially when you’re staring down a psycho with a gun. I think you’d agree that we towers tend to be aggressive, “Type-A personalities”. We’re men and women of action, not trained negotiators. However, the nature of the industry immerses us in dangerous and potentially deadly scenarios. How you react to those, “immediate and in-yer’face”, contacts could be the difference in being injured or killed, or, to the opposite, improved to deflate a level of escalation. The industry doesn’t have, nor does it promote, psychology courses for tow professionals, noting, I’m not a mental health professional. I believe towers should be trained in some basis of how-to calmly handle and respond to upset customers and motorists. If you’ve got a short fuse, it might be challenging for you to avoid a violent interaction. This narrative isn’t about the dynamics of ANTIFA, or, “inciter mentalities”, but tow related situations known to go sideways.


TOOLS OF THE TRADE

While it’s never possible to know a person’s situation, what their threshold for violence is, or, detect when they’re about to snap, here are several, easy to practice, techniques towers can follow in-keeping a potentially violent interaction from happening. These points demand that tower’s remain calm and (hopefully) in-control, first, of their own emotions, and then (calmly) react to the agitated behavior. While not listed in order, consider these techniques as they relate to the situation at-hand: •  Keep-Out of One’s Personal Space: People, including me, don’t like to be crowded. The words, “personal space”, typically refer to a physical distance between two people in social, family, or work environments. There are few tow-like circumstances in-which it’s necessary to stand too close to someone unless there’s a true emergency. People get creeped-out when another occupies their personal bubble. For our industry, personal space includes assisting someone into a tow truck’s cab by grasping one’s elbow; could that simple touch be unwanted and perceived as an assault? Towers are reminded to avoid another’s personal space. • Escape Routes: Like working dangerous highway environments; have an escape route when dealing with elevated tempers. Part of escape planning suggests not being backed into a corner, but if an attack happens, there’s nothing wrong with retreating unless you’re forced to defend yourself. 14 • November 2020 | Towman.com

•  Body Language: When someone goes into fight-mode, they typically display actions or behaviors suggesting battle is forthcoming. An individual with darting eyes and flexing fists is a solid indicator that their mind is over-loading and they’re grasping as to what their next step might be. •  Hands and Eyes: Another sign to an unannounced fight, the individual whose arms and hands are passively relaxed and down at their sides doesn’t openly suggest a fight is coming. But, when hand’s twitch, fists flex and eyes dart, a fight is looming where an immediate physical attack gets launched. •  Remain Calm: Perhaps the hardest behavior for towers to learn is an ability to remain calm when faced with aggressive personalities. In most situations, an agitated customer or owner isn’t upset or angered at you personally, but for the activity they’re forced to deal with. Don’t take what they say personally. Remain calm. I’ve heard some tower’s say, “I lower my voice and kill them with kindness.” I think that’s a great approach to downplaying the behaviors of an aggressive personality. • Don’t Go Equally Aggressive: Because it takes, “two ta’ tango”, a response of, “stair stepping”, occurs when parties attempt to out-thinking, out-insult, or out-shout the other. When altercations get increasingly louder (as the exchange goes back and forth) I personally don’t engage in verbal judo with someone by urging them to fight.

•  Don’t Threaten or Tease: The most negative of all responses is to openly agitate an individual by teasing, taunting, poking snide comments, or making threats. Fact: “When poking junkyard dogs with a stick … they’ll bite back.” •  Treat with Respect: Even if someone is a screaming, inyour-face jerk, the moment you respond to them without anger or emotion, there’s a chance you could break through their tough exterior. While I may not like or agree with how they’re treating me, I’ll try to determine their root problem at the same time attempt to deflat their anger. If you’re a Type-A personality, this response will be the hardest for you.

WHAT’D YOU SAY?

There’s an old Chinese proverb claiming, “A loose tongue may cause a lot of trouble.” In some cases, interactions between two people is just that; saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Much of being in-control is keeping words of aggression at bay. In one, 2019, operator shooting, an intoxicated vehicle owner climbed onto a flatbed carrier’s deck possibly to retrieve personal items. While we know that customers shouldn’t be allowed on a carrier’s deck (at any time) an aggressive tower interaction could initiate violence, i.e., a tower’s verbal response could be the difference between compliance versus violence. For example, a tower that says, “Dude, what the F#+&^ck are ya’ doin’ … git offa’ there”, is far more confrontational than, “Sir, come on down and we’ll get your belongings when the car’s unloaded.” While one response is


overly aggressive, the other is nonthreatening and easier to accept. When incidents like these present themselves, emotion sometime gets in the way and what you really wanted to say isn’t necessarily what comes out. For the customer, especially intoxicated ones, an aggressive demand could be one that sets the customer into violent rage. It’s important to remember that a customer (who climbs onto the deck) doesn’t likely know about industry rules nor do they care. They have their own intentions that are important to them in the moment.

LIFE-SAVING RESPONSE

The industry is full of stories where tow operators were killed during active repossessions and private property impounds. Last year, a tower was in-process of an active PPI (still on property) in a

16 • November 2020 | Towman.com

strip mall. A cellphone recording showed a clearly angered owner wielding a ball-peen hammer, then smashing the tow truck’s window. The video is an example of the tow operator not responding to the owner’s request, yet, perhaps was violating the state’s vehicle code law regarding vehicle release. Could that, “escalation of violence”, have been immediately reduced by the tower simply releasing the vehicle before temper’s turned violent? On the other hand, what if the tow operator was carrying a sidearm when the window was smashed? Could that scenario have turned into a preventable shooting? When vehicles are in-process of repo or impound, a motorist’s right to free movement is denied. Although the process of either may be 100-percent legal and justified, the vehicle’s owner doesn’t see or care about legality; they perceive

you taking their vehicle against their will. Most states have laws protecting tow operators and vehicle owners as it regards towed vehicles from residences and private properties. FACT: Towers are in-business for profit. When an operator is confronted by an openly aggressive owner demanding their vehicle, the concept of, “calm heads prevail”, can’t ring any more true than that moment. As the tower facing an aggressive owner or customer, what safety actions do you take? If a group were to surround you or your truck, what precautions do you initiate to keep that situation from going high-order? We’ve heard the, “Just shoot em’ in the face”, mentality, but, a loaded gun does no good if it’s under the wrecker’s seat while one’s being stuffed in your face.


HEED THE MESSAGE

So, you’re on-scene, your customer starts getting heated, what do you do? What techniques do you employ to try and lessen an aggressive personality? With luck, delicate customer interactions are relatively easy to manage if you understand its significance. This narrative focuses on de-escalation of violent confrontations and subsequent arguments. In all reality, there are no danger-signs to readily alert you that an attack is near. Are there better ways to descalation? The “Flight or Fight” syndrome is about choice. Going toe-to-toe in today’s overly-sensitive, yet violent society, isn’t the best action to take when other less-violent ways can reach amicable and peaceful solutions? Don’t become an industry statistic. There’s a subtle “David and Goliath” message here and I’m hoping you’ll find it. I’m not so macho that I don’t realize that a person of smaller, physical stature (to me) is cowardly capable of applying only four-pounds of finger-pull necessary to shoot me dead. There’s a simple reality that things are likely to get a whole lot worse before they get better. Are we looking at the new norm? Perhaps. Accordingly, each of you will have tough decisions when aggression finds you.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 17


Tow Engineer

Flat Tire Service By Terry Abejuela

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.

Loosen lug nuts or bolts before lifting flat tire off roadway.

O

ne of the most dangerous services that tow truck operators perform is flat tire service. Flat tire service is one of the common service calls provided by many towing services that exposes tow operators to potential injuries and fatalities. One of the most effective things you can do to improve your safety on scene at a flat tire call is to be efficient so you minimize your time at the scene. Proper equipment, a safe and efficient tire change routine, and lots of practice will greatly improve your safety. Depending on the storage space available on your truck and how often you provide this type of service you may carry the minimum equipment required or you may carry an extensive array of equipment. If the space on your truck is limited and you rarely provide flat tire service, I recommend that you carry the

18 • November 2020 | Towman.com

following minimum equipment: 1 - 2 ton floor jack 1 - Standard lug wrench 1 – Metric lug wrench 1 – Hubcap tool 1 – Portable air tank and air hose with dual head inflator 1– Air pressure gauge (dual head measuring up to 120 PSI) 1 – Pair of gloves 1 – Flashlight 1 – Pair of safety glasses 1 – Back support brace 1 – Pair of knee pads or a knee pad 1 – High visibility ANSI Class 3 compliant safety vest (or ANSI III compliant uniform or coverall) Additional equipment that you might carry if you have the space and need may include the following:


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 19


1 – Air compressor (50 foot air hose if the compressor is not portable) 1– Battery or air operated impact gun with assorted standard and metric sockets 1 – Valve stem tool 1 – Set of locking lug nut removal tools 1 – Tire tread depth measuring tool 1 – Non hand-held flashlight (such as a cap mounted flashlight) 1 – Air bag jack Universal spare tire (works on a variety of vehicles when no spare is available) Upon arrival at the scene the first thing to do is determine if the location is safe for you to perform the service where the vehicle is located. If necessary, and it can be done safely, have the customer move the vehicle to a safer location

20 • November 2020 | Towman.com

away from traffic. If the flat tire is on the traffic side of the vehicle make sure to move the vehicle as far away from traffic as possible. Keep your eye on traffic as much as possible. Do not turn your back on traffic. Have the customer and any passengers wait in the safest location available, which when at the roadside, would most likely be inside their vehicle. Once the scene is as safe as possible for you and your customer you can proceed with providing the flat tire service. When replacing a flat tire with the spare, before removing any equipment from your truck, check the spare. If the spare is locked make sure the customer has the key. Make sure it has sufficient air pressure and appears safe to drive on. Use an air pressure gauge to confirm there is enough air pressure for the tire to be safely driven on.

The tire may appear and feel like it has enough air but it may not have sufficient air to drive on safely. Never allow a customer to drive a vehicle that is not in a safe driving condition. Make sure the rim is compatible for the vehicle. Manufacturers have become very creative in finding locations to store the spare tire. If you are having difficulty finding the spare tire check the vehicle owner’s manual or a tow and service manual. It is common that newer vehicles are not equipped with a spare tire. Make sure the surface area on the wheel that will contact the hub is clean of any dirt or rust to ensure a tight and secure fit. Wear a back support brace and use good lifting technique when lifting the spare tire to avoid back injuries. Next thing to do is check to make sure you will be able to remove the flat tire. Many vehicles


have locking lug nuts or a locking hubcap. If this is the case make sure the customer has the key to unlock them. It is not unusual for the customer to not have the key or not know where it is located. Make note of what equipment you will need and try to bring everything on one trip to reduce time at the scene. Prepare the vehicle for a safe tire change. Place an automatic transmission in park and a standard transmission in low gear, set the parking brake and chock the wheel that is diagonally across from the flat tire. If the flat is on the steer axle and the wheels are turned, straighten the wheel before lifting the vehicle to make it easier to change the flat. Loosen lug nuts or bolts before lifting the flat tire off of the roadway. Make sure to wear all appropriate PPE for a tire change which would include ANSI Class 3 compliant

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

garment, gloves, safety glasses, knee pads, and back support brace. When using a floor jack make sure you choose an appropriate jack point. Many late model cars

are susceptible to damage if you jack the vehicle up in the wrong location. If you can’t find one check the vehicle owner’s manual, instructions with the spare or a

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 21


Air bag jack being used to change flat tire.

tow and service manual. I would avoid using the equipment that the disabled vehicle is equipped with and use your company issued equipment whenever possible. Protect any beauty rings or hub caps you remove by placing them face up instead of face down on the roadway. Keep all lug nuts or lug bolts together in a safe location so you don’t lose any. Be aware that

22 • November 2020 | Towman.com

some vehicles may have reverse threads and turn clockwise to remove the lug nuts or lug bolts but this is not very common on late model vehicles. Some vehicles may have an air suspension system that the vehicle manufacturer recommends be turned off prior to lifting for a tire change. Some Mercedes vehicles use a different set of lug bolts for the

spare wheel than the ones used on the main wheel. If you use the lug bolts from the main wheel to install the spare wheel the vehicle cannot be safely driven. The spare wheel lug bolts should be stored with the spare wheel. If you install a spare tire that is marked as a temporary tire make sure you inform your customer to go to a repair facility to replace the temporary spare and inform them of any speed or distance warnings on the temporary spare. Develop a safe and efficient tire changing routine and practice it until it becomes reflex. The more you practice the quicker and safer you will be. It is dangerous enough when you do it correctly that you do not want to add any additional hazards by not having the proper equipment, and/or spending too much time at the scene because you are not proficient.


THE

Miner Witch

Recovery by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

A long-time Kentucky company recovers a massive piece of mining equipment from a ditch. 24 • November 2020 | Towman.com


O

n July 27th 2020 the McLean County, Kentucky Sheriff ’s Department called Tri-State Towing and Recovery to respond to a large rolled over piece of mining equipment. Tri-State dispatched heavy operators Lance Wayne and Franklin Hammond with their 2020 Kenworth T880 with NRC 50/65 65-ton rotator and their 2018 Kenworth T880 with NRC 50/65 65-ton rotator. Lance’s son Luke was riding shotgun with his dad, as he often does. At eight years old, Luke is already a seasoned veteran of some extreme recovery situations. Lance informed, “We got the call at around 3pm. Upon arrival we found a 230k load and trailer on its side. This very large rolled over oversize load was a 130k miner witch. It’s a continuous miner they run under ground to mine coal. The trucking company had called a crane so we decided to work with them.” Lance and Frank staged the two NRC rotators to assist in the lift. “We set the crane to pick the miner witch.” said Lance. “It took both rotators to stabilize the trailer on each end. We had to do a lot to get the crane to be stable. Once set, the miner witch was lifted and placed on the ground upright.” The crew then broke down the crane, moved it and used the two rotators to set the trailer back on the roadway. At that point they moved the crane back reset and it then lifted and set the miner on the trailer and jeep (extension of heavyhaul trailer). They fixed some issues and hooked the tractor to the trailer. They went down the road to place the front set of jeeps on the trailer, un-hooked then re-hooked to the tractor so the massive unit could go on its way. Lance said, “The trucking company brought another jeep from one of their other trailers to use. We also had had a service truck from Young Trucking come help with changing the tires and help reset the trailer to put the load back on.” Franklin explained, “Initially, we were unable to get the crane’s rigging under one corner of this machine. My 10-foot 1/2 G100 (15,000 lb. vertical WLL) chain set up was used to pre-pick at one of four attachment points. Below are some insights about the lift. I have also provided a picture of how the chain assembly was rigged.”

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

About Tri-State Towing & Recovery Tri-State Towing and Recovery based in Evansville, Indiana originated in Henderson, Kentucky from Rideout’s Service Center. With locations in Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky and an extensive fleet of trucks and equipment, they cover a large area providing a variety of services including a 24-hour environmental incident response team equipped for hazardous materials clean-up. Gary Crawford owns Tri-State, Eric Crawford is the company’s General Manager and Terry Hailman is the Evansville Manager. They have been providing service to the tri-states (IN, KY, OH) for over 35 years.

Miner Witch ditched.

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 25


EXTREME MACHINE LIFT RIGGING NOTES:

1.  The machine weight was 136,000-pounds. 2. The machine was lifted 12-inches then lowered onto cribbing. My chain was then removed and the crane’s rigging was successfully attached. 3. As we all know, it is nearly impossible to evenly load four pick points, therefore some attachment points likely carried more than their fair share of weight. (34,000-pounds...plus) 4. The shackle used was a 1.5 inch diameter, 30-ton alloy. 5. The D:D at the shackle is only 3:1. 6. The attachment point on the machine contained sharp edges with 90-degree bends. 7.  The chain assembly shows no visible signs of damage or excessive wear.

Crane lifts Miner Witch while NRC Rotators stabilize trailer.

26 • November 2020 | Towman.com

Lance shared, “We started around 2:30pm on the 27th and got done around 6am on the 28th. This was a very involved recovery due to the extreme weight and the location. You work up an appetite on a job like this, so we ordered the pizza from our friends at Rockhouse Pizza in Henderson, Kentucky and they delivered to the scene.”


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 27


Putting the

SUCCESS in

Succession Planning Hampshire Towing parading by retirees, one of the many community events in which Hampshire contributes.

Two companies share stories of positively transitioning their business

By Sally Hooper

A

s many in the industry will tell you, the towing business is like a family. Many companies are handed down from one generation to another - some more successfully than others. And while there is no “secret recipe” to a positive and prosperous transfer of business, there are steps companies should take to help ensure success. Below, two tow companies share their experiences and what worked from them. THE JOHNSON GROUPS

Editor’s note: Sally Hooper is the senior manager of marketing communications, for the Jerr-Dan Corporation

In 1978, a young Bill Johnson opened up a small autobody shop in his hometown of Granby, Massachusetts. More than 30 years later, Bill and his wife Tracey own a myriad of transportation and towing businesses including Hampshire Towing in Massachusetts and New York-based T&T Towing. The Johnson’s two children - Rob and Dave - grew up in the business. In fact, Rob began towing vehicles the same week he got his driver’s license when he was 16. At that time, the company had just one flatbed and one wrecker. Now they have a fleet of over 30 units in addition to all their ancillary equipment. “There was no nepotism involved. It

28 • November 2020 | Towman.com

was just about doing the job correctly,” said Rob. “I was making good money as a teenager and enjoying it.” Rob opted to forgo college and start working fulltime in the family business shortly after graduation. David started out in the business cleaning the garage. He decided to go to college and eventually became the bookkeeper. “Rob and Dave really bring their own strengths to the business,” said Bill. “It’s a great blend having both kids.” With the Johnson sons in the business for nearly two decades, transitioning the company to them seemed like the right thing to do. Bill admits that succession planning for his family began years before Rob and Dave started in the business.


thing about our transition is we are allowed to make decisions. Sometimes family members are so controlling they don’t allow the younger generation to make any changes. My brother and I have a lot of latitude.”

HAWKEYE TRUCK & WRECKER SALES All in the Family: (from left) Bill Johnson, son David, his wife Tracey and son Robert are the driving force behind Hampshire Towing.

“The preparation begins when you are a parent and trying to bring up a proper adult,” Bill explained. “As far as the business goes, sometimes you have to step back and let them make mistakes.” Bill offered two examples. The first was when Rob wanted to save money by buying retreads in lieu of new tires. Bill was reluctant but allowed Rob to do what he thought was right for the company. The result? A blown tire that translated into significant damage to a truck. Rob then discussed switching from standard transmission to automatic trucks, explaining that younger drivers typically do not learn to drive manual vehicles anymore. Bill said it was one of the best decisions they ever made as a company. Dave is also taking the business into the 21st century. He transitioned the company from

Hawkeye Truck & Trailer Sales in Bono, Arkansas.

30 • November 2020 | Towman.com

paper-based accounting to online QuickBooks and has a heavy say in any purchases or acquisitions. “Dave has to be the tough guy because Rob and I always want to buy stuff and expand,” Bill added. “It’s tough trying to tell your dad and big brother ‘no’.” One area of the business the family has agreed on for more than 25 years is using Jerr-Dan as its fleet provider. “We bought our first Jerr-Dan truck in 1994,” said Bill. “They have a great product, and it also helps that their lending company and dealer network are great to work with. They put together a winning team all the way around.” While there is no official transition date, Bill said he feels confident that when he does step down the business will be in good hands. Rob concluded, “The good

For more than 20 years, Danny Ward has owned and operated Ward’s Wrecker Sales in Bono, Arkansas. In 2004, Danny met Travis Mears who had recently started his own truck and trailer business. Danny would call Travis when he needed parts for his fleet and later bought used chassis from him as well. Over the years the two developed a friendship. As Danny contemplated retirement, they discussed a succession plan for the Jerr-Dan distributorship part of his business. “Last year he decided to semi-retire,” explained Travis. “He said he would put in a good word for me with Jerr-Dan.” While Danny’s opinion got his foot in the door, Travis and his brother/business partner, Scott, still needed to convince Jerr-Dan they were capable of taking over the business. This meant presenting the manufacturer with a business plan and meeting other criteria to ensure he would be a successful new distributor.


The manufacturer played a big role in the transition as the company transitioned from Ward’s Wrecker to Hawkeye Truck & Wrecker Sales. After flying to the company’s corporate headquarters, Travis attended both orientation and distributorship meetings. This all happened in February, right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “The timing may not have been the best, but fortunately we have not suffered as much as other industries,” Travis said. Danny, who continues to sell used heavy-duty trucks and wreckers, constructed a building next to Travis’ business, which allows them to keep in touch as they continue through the transition. “What started out as a business relationship evolved into a business friendship,” Travis added. “We still help each other when needed, but our businesses are distinct.” Travis was also able to acquire

32 • November 2020 | Towman.com

both an experienced salesman and an installer that were employed by Danny. This made the transition even smoother since Travis was spared the time and money it would take to find new employees. Travis was even able to retain Danny’s business phone number which he had for over a decade. Another person who was an invaluable asset during the transition was the brothers’ office manager for 20 years, Debbie Tharpe. “She has been instrumental in our ability to maintain and grow our companies throughout the years,” Travis remarked.

REPUTATION IS EVERYTHING

Succession planning can be even more challenging if the company’s reputation is at stake. Fortunately, both The Johnson Groups and Hawkeye were able to transition their stellar reputations along with

the businesses. “It’s important to do the proper vetting to ensure everything is in place and make sure you’re working with a good business with a good reputation,” said Travis. “A lot of towing companies are brand loyal. You have to have quality people and products that you can stand by and demonstrate the advantages of switching.” For the Johnson family, it was important their children not feel pressured into taking over the business. “They didn’t force either one of us into it. If anything, it was the complete opposite,” said Rob. “There is a lot of give and take on both sides.” Both companies have been happy with their success during succession planning. The longevity of the relationships as both family and friends went a long way in developing the trust and camaraderie needed for a seamless and profitable transition.


EXHIBITOR ROSTER Suppliers Exhibiting at

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

360 Payments AAA, p. 43 AAA East Central AAA Texas AASP-PA Access Tools Agero AirDown Alliance Funding Group Allstate Roadside Amdor Amell Insurance Agency American Safety & Supply American Sweeping System American Towman Magazine American Trans Insurance Group American Wrecker Sales SC AmeriDeck Amur Equipment Finance Anchor Graphics, p. 26 ARI-Hetra Arizona Prof. Towing & Recovery Assn. Ascentium Capital AT&T - The Wireless Experience Atlanta Wrecker Sales, p. 32 Aussie Rimshine Austin Insurance, p. 44 Auto Data Direct Automobile Club of Southern California AutoReturn, p. 45 B/A Products Bad Dog Tools Battelini Wrecker Sales Bay Street inc. BBSI Beacon Funding Beacon Software Bowers Group- farmers Insurance Breg Environmental Car-Part.com Chergey Insurance Chevron Commercial, p. 20 Chevron West/Golden West Tow. Equip. Clean Diesel Specialists Collins Dollies Command Light Commercial Best Insurance Services Copart Auto Auctions CrashFilm Crawford Truck Sales Crouch’s Wrecker & Eq. Sales, p. 37 CTTA Custer Products Dedicated Funding NY Detroit Torch DewEze Mfg. Dibuduo & Defendis Insurance

Discovery Bay Insurance DriverLocator.Com Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers, p. 35 Dynamic Towing Equip. & Mfg., p. 29 East Coast Truck & Trailer, p. N, S 51 East Penn Truck Equipment Elite Specialties Agency Enviromotive Environmental Chemical Solutions Excel Sportswear EZ Spare Wheel Farmers Ins / Khasim Ins Agency FCar Tech USA Federal Signal Finex Group LLC First Business Five Star Registration FleetNet America Flitz International Ford Commercial Vehicles, p. 2 Freeway Service Patrol FULLBAY Repair Shop Software G-Cor Automotive GEICO GM Consultants Guniwheel Distributed by LKQ Corp. Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel Hanks Insurance Group Hino Trucks Honk Technologies Hooks Towing & Equipment Hydraulic Shop, Inc, p. 45 ICW Group Insurance Idaho Wrecker Sales Illusions Wraps In The Ditch Towing Products Int’l Tow & Rec. Hall of Fame & Museum Integrated Veh. Equip. Leasing Intek Truck & Eq. Leasing/Fin., p. 17 International Trucks Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Jerr-Dan Corp., p. 7 Journey Business Solutions Kalyn Siebert, p. 22 Landoll Corporation, p. 19 Leavitt Group Legacy Plus Insurance Lien Enforcement, Inc. Lift Marketing Group Lodar USA Lubnau Gonzalez Insurance Agency Lucky’s Trailer Sales Lynch Truck Centers Magnetworks / Stamp Works Manufacturer Express Martens Johnson Insurance Maryland Carrier & Wrecker Sales

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Matheny Towing Equipment Matjack Jumbo Safelift, p. 59 Menzel Technologies MercurySend.com Metro Tow Trucks Metrocom, p. 42 MFC International Miller Industries, p. 13 Mobile Create USA Mobile Road Service Solutions Mobile Video Computing Solutions Motorcycle Towing Services Muncie Power Products Murphy Bank Mytee Products Nation Safe Drivers (NSD) National Automobile Club Nottingham Insurance NRC Industries, p. 41 NXGEN Olson & Company Omadi OMG Tow Marketing Peak Wrecker Sales/Trail-Eze, p. W 53 Penny Pockets Penske Truck Leasing People’s United Equipment Finance PGM Recovery Systems Phoenix USA Planet Halo Pop - A - Lock Pro-Vision Video Systems Prof. Exchange Service Purpose Wrecker QuestX Towing Services R & A Insurance R.A. Storelee Insurance Ram Trucks Ramos Oil Company Ramsey Winch Ranger SST RC Industries RealWheels Corp. Ricky’s Sales & Service Riggs Truck Roadside Pro Robert Young’s NRC Sales & Service Robinson Oil Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales Roush Clean Tech RP Recovery Consulting RRA Tow Truck insurance Rush Towing Systems Rydin Decal Safety Up Safety Vision

Sam Winer Motors Sanderson Truck Equipment Santander Bank, p. 27, 60 Santiam Enterprises SBA Loan Group Sea Crest Insurance Agency, p. W 51 Secure Tow Sepson US Sierra Pacific Insurance, p. W 53 Southern California Tow Equipment Specialty Vehicle Equip. Funding Spill Tackle Steck Mfg. Co. Sterling National Bank Talbert Mfg., p. 17 TCF Capital Solutions Time-Out Seated Massage Corner TJR Equipment Todd Equipment Tow Brokers Tow Industries, p. W 54 Tow Life Tow Times Towbook Management Software, p. 15 Towing & Recovery Assoc. of America Towing Insurance Specialist Towing.com TowingWebsites.com TowLien.com TowMate, p. 19 TowToolz TowTruckLocator.com, p. M 55 towXchange Tracker Management Sys. Trail King Industries, p. 34 Transit Pros Truck Body Sales, Inc. UniFirst Corp. Urgent.ly, p. 40 US Fleet Tracking Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX, p. W 51 Verdant Commercial Capital VTS Systems Warn Industries, p. 3 Webfleet Solutions Weego Portable Power Wellnex Group West End Svc., p. M 53, N 54, S, W 55 Whelen Engineering Co. Whiterail Reviews Will-Burt Company, p. 27 WorldClass Insurance Services Worldwide Equipment Sales WreckMaster, p. 44 WStar USA Inc. Xpress-Pay Zip’s AW Direct

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 33


AD INDEX AAA...........................................................43 Akins Body & Carrier Sales.........................39 Anchor Graphics........................................26 Atlanta Wrecker Sales................................32 Austin Insurance........................................44 AutoReturn.................................................45 Blackmon Auctions..........M, W 52, N 55, S 57 Calvin Berkey Enterprises.......................M 54 Captain Recovery................................... S 53 Chevron Commerical..................................20 Crouch’s Wrecker & Equip. Sales................37 Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers...................35 Durabilt......................................................21 Dynamic Towing Equipment & Mfg.............29 East Coast Truck & Trailer................... N, S 51 Enzo’s Cleaning Solutions.................. M, N 57 Ford Commercial..........................................2 G. Stone Commercial.............................. N 55 Hydraulic Shop...........................................45 Intek Truck & Equipment............................17 Jerr-Dan Corporation....................................7 Kalyn Siebert.............................................22

34 • November 2020 | Towman.com

November 2020

Kenworth of South Florida..........................38 Landoll Corp...............................................19 Len Zermenos............................................23 Maglite........................................................5 Matjack Jumbo Safelift..............................59 McMahon Truck Center..........................M 51 Metrocom..................................................42 Miller Industries.........................................13 Mobile Binaries......................................W 52 New England Truckmaster............ M 53, N 52 North American Bancard............................11 Northeast Wrecker Sales........................ N 53 NRC Industries...........................................41 Pacific General Insurance.......................M 55 Peak Wrecker Sales...............................W 53 PEM Power Engineering & Mfg...................31 Performance Advantage......................... N 53 Photo Card Specialists...............................27 Progressive Commercial Insurance.............21 Quick Draw Tarpaulin System.....................16 Recovery Billing Unlimited..........................35 Santander Bank.........................................60

Santander Merchant Services.....................27 Sea Crest Insurance Agency...................W 51 Select Truck & Equipment......................M 54 Sierra Pacific Insurance..........................W 53 Smyrna Truck & Cargo...............................42 Talbert Mfg................................................17 The Calvin Fabrication Co...........................35 Towbook Management Software.................15 Tow Industries.......................................W 54 TowMate....................................................19 TowTruckLocator.com.............................M 55 Trail King Industries...................................34 Trucks For Sale........ M, N, W 56, 57, S 52, 53 Urgent.ly....................................................40 Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX......................W 51 Valor Trailers..........................................W 54 Warn Industries............................................3 West End Service............M 53, N 54, S, W 55 Will-Burt Company.....................................27 Winches Inc...........................................W 57 Wrecker Warehouse...............................W 55 WreckMaster..............................................44


Call for Next Class

508-763-5474 OSHA first session immediately following class

“An organization dedicated to teaching fellow towers how to become more profitable for the work they do”

We Teach:

Instructors Bob & Eric Fouquette

Visit us on Facebook

• Building the proper tow business foundation • Remediation of the accident scene to free you from future liability • Proper way of writing acceptable recovery invoices • Obtaining payment from insurance companies for proper billing • Billing on property damage liability coverage only • Laws to help get you paid • Guest speakers: Attorney, Insurance Executive

508-763-5474 Call for Class Schedule

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 35


Tow Boss

A Towman Who Invests In Towers The Stauffer family with the company’s Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator on a Kenworth chassis.

By Brian J Riker

Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 25 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

I

recently spent a few hours speaking with Kurtis Stauffer of Stauffer’s Towing hoping to understand what has allowed his business to expand, dare I say thrive, during these difficult economic times brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. At 59 years old and with 40 years as the owner of Stauffer’s Towing based in Salt Lake City, Utah it would be fair to say he has learned a thing or two along the way. The Stauffer family success is not because of what many would assume -having a large amount of funding available, rather it stems from what Kurtis learned from his father Von who founded the business in 1954. These lessons have become the key principles of providing exceptional customer service through proper training of their team with a fanatical focus on safety and employee well-being. Besides being prudent with managing expenses and controlling their internal growth Kurtis credits their success to the sacrifices his wife and four children have made. He has shared his vision for the growth of the family business and working with other towers within the entire towing

36 • November 2020 | Towman.com

community. The concept is simple, by raising the bar for the entire industry and helping others grow we all benefit from the successes. It is in this spirit he has begun a program to help entrepreneurs desiring to own their own towing company but needing a little assistance to get their shot at success. In key locations within their service area Kurtis is willing to partner with qualified individuals where, in exchange for a minority ownership interest or percentage of revenue agreement, he will help them pick a location, purchase their tow truck(s), develop a business plan and steer work into their independent facility. This is not a franchise deal, they will be fully independent businesses, with guidance and support from the Stauffer family organization. As a network affiliate these independent towing companies will benefit from group buying power for insurance, employee benefits, parts, service and more. From humble beginnings Kurtis and his family have built their company into the powerhouse it is today. With more than a dozen locations spanning three


Jerr-Dan 35-ton with a JFB on a Kenworth chassis.

states their goal is to have a tow truck within an hour of every location along I-80 from Cheyenne, Wyoming to the Utah/Nevada border and up I-15 past Idaho Falls, Idaho. Their growth plan includes strategic locations that will allow them to promptly service a 500 square mile radius of Salt Lake City, Utah. COVID-19 has not dampened

38 • November 2020 | Towman.com

their expansion efforts either with Stauffer’s Towing recently announcing the acquisition of Triple L Towing & Repair, LLC in Pocatello, Idaho. A company with this vast of service area requires a great deal of reliance on their team members ability to work remotely with little to no direct supervision.

To accomplish this goal for their 80+ employees Stauffer ’s has implemented several new rigorous training programs along with a robust mix of in-house and outsourced continuing education provided both online and hands-on and including cross discipline training with many fire departments within their service area. Their program begins during the on-boarding phase where a new-hire is required to complete a pre-work physical assessment at an occupational medical specialist’s office and review the company policies and employee handbook before ever stepping foot into the yard or the cab of a truck. During the on-boarding phase all new hires must also complete Smith System defensive driver training provided by an in-house Smith certified


instructor that Stauffer’s employs. All new drivers regardless of previous experience then spend their first two weeks in training with a lead driver before being permitted to do any work on their own. Drivers with no previous towing experience spend an additional two weeks operating the equipment with a driver trainer riding along before being released to work alone. Kurtis believes in a graduated training experience which requires all

drivers to demonstrate proficiency in light duty before moving on to medium duty and finally working into heavy duty and complex recovery positions. Kurtis speaks from his heart when he says “we consider training a core value - not only for our employees but also for the towing community. In fact, we host a Facebook page (Heavy/medium towing hookup methods) where the towing community can share lessons

learned and ask questions about unique towing scenarios. We believe if we don’t invest in our employees someone else will”. Their in-house training program is so well received they even provide training on rigging scenarios to many of their local fire departments, helping them prepare for technical lifts.

We consider

training a core value

- not only for our employees but also for the towing community. Since 1994 Stauffer’s has used industry recognized professional training from WreckMaster, requiring all their drivers to be WreckMaster certified within 90 days of hiring and to maintain a current WreckMaster certification for the level of their job function. Before being advanced to simple recovery jobs all drivers must be at least WreckMaster level 4/5 certified and 6/7 or higher to become a heavy operator. In addition to regular in-house continuing education and traditional training sources such as WreckMaster, Stauffer’s also invests time and money into sending their heavy duty recovery specialists for advanced instruction from Jerr-Dan and their dealer, Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales. “The investment of time and money into sending my guys to the factory for instruction is money well spent” says Kurtis Stauffer. He believes in

40 • November 2020 | Towman.com


the value of learning directly from the manufacturer of his towing equipment and rotators so much that he has sent three different groups of operators to Greencastle, Pennsylvania to participate in these factory events. Stauffer’s commitment to training does not stop with towing and recovery methods. They currently employ three operators that have completed the Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Train the Trainer program, one Smith System certified defensive driving instructor and have a full time dedicated Safety Director to assure all their team members remain current with the latest in safety training for their job roles. “We also understand that training is not a one-time thing - so we’re always striving to continuously learn and train our employees on the safest and most efficient towing

42 • November 2020 | Towman.com

methods.” To this effect they have one more operator in line to be trained as a TIM Trainer and one in line to become a Smith System defensive driving instructor. Beyond training Stauffer’s also deploys state of the art technology systems and old fashioned methods to monitor and improve the operation of their fleet of over eighty trucks. In addition to random unannounced field observations of their drivers performed by Kurtis himself and ride-alongs with lead drivers Stauffer’s Towing deploys gps telematics data to monitor speed, hard braking and other safety critical events. Combined with cameras on all their trucks this data has proven invaluable in coaching their drivers towards the goal of being safer operators. The truck mounted cameras and gps data have been used to defend their drivers against false claims and


even have prevented false citations from being issued. Perhaps the real key to the phenomenal growth and stellar reputation of Stauffer’s Towing is their practice of treating every vehicle, even the worst of crashes, as if it has no damage and is your own pride and joy. Putting their customer’s above all else and working tirelessly to improve the image of the towing industry in general has truly allowed them to expand in a very remote, rural area where your reputation means everything. It is critical to work with other towing companies in a professional and open manner and Kurtis agrees, saying “we need to work with other towers. We are all on the same team”. Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com

44 • November 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 45


Towman’s Market USED TRUCKS FOR SALE

• 2006 Peterbilt 335, NRC 22’ • 2013 Hino 258 • 2014 Ford 550, Danco 19’ Rollback • 2015 Ford F450, Vulcan 810 Wrecker • 2016 Ford F550, Dual Tech 19’ Rollback • 2017 Ford F550, Dual Tech 1035 Rollback • 2017 Ford F550, Dual Tech Wrecker • 2017 Ford F550, 19.5 FT Vulcan Steel Carrier • 2017 Freightliner M2 • 2018 GMC 3500 HD • 2018 Hino 258, Vulcan Trailer attached • 2020 International MV607, Century LCG Carrier - 30’

631-662-5845

ronald.manning@santander.us

CALIFORNIA TOW TRUCK ASSOCIATION INTRO TO TOWING The California Tow Truck Assn. presents INTRO TO TOWING. A new 5-part online course for towing beginners and new hires! Through five videos and corresponding quizzes, operators will learn the basics of towing. Students will receive a certificate of completion, and company owners are able to track their progress! Available now at: ctta@ctta.com

For details, please contact Scott Manning

LOOKING TO RETIRE OR JUST GET OUT ? HIRE ME TO SELL YOUR TOWING BUSINESS GM Consultants is a business brokerage specializing in the sale of towing companies and auto salvage yards. Most times we can sell the company without alerting the competition.

Call or Text George Metos for a confidential conversation

801-440-3176.

410-784-7029

SPECIALTY VEHICLE U & EQUIPMENT FUNDING GROUP S Craig R. Nadolny E CNadolny@easternfunding.com D 2007 Ford F550/ T 2007 Jerr Dan 19’Carrier R U 2007 Ford F450/ Vulcan 812 Peterbilt/ C 2019 Chevron 30’ 4 Car Carrier K S 646.723.6393

To Advertise In Towman’s Market F O R S A L E

46 • November 2020 | Towman.com

CALL

800-732-3869 Ellen Rosengart x 203 erosengart@towman.com

I will give you an honest opinion of the value and what your prospects are of a sale. GeorgeMetos@aol.com www.businessbrokergeorge.com See George’s profile on LinkedIn.com


Towman’s Market USED TRAILERS FOR SALE • 2011 Peterbilt 379 • 2014 Cascadia Freightliner • 2014 Peterbilt 579 • 2015 Peterbilt 579 • 2015 Kenworth T800 • 2015 Kenworth T800 • 2015 Kenworth T800 • 2015 Kenworth W900 • 2016 Peterbilt 389 • 2017 Western Star • 2019 International MV 631-662-5845

ronald.manning@santander.us For details, please contact Scott Manning

CUSTOM TOW TRUCK MAGNETS

Cycle friendly. Operator safe. Hauling made easy. With an Amerideck™, you can drive your motorcycle onto the platform, safely hoist your load into your pickup truck and drive away with ease. Authorized Dealer: Aumsville

2500lb load capacity

TruckDecks.Pro

skip@truckdecks.pro

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Equipment Sales

866.994.3473 503.749.1601

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 47


My Baby

Star of the Fleet By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

D

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past 10 years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com.

onnie Woolard started Woolard’s Automotive Towing and Transport, located in Washington, North Carolina, in 1976. The company is family owned and operated by Donnie’s son Mike and Mike’s wife Janet. Mike has worked in the business his entire life and took over running the business in 2003. Woolard’s offers accident recovery, cleanup, 24 hour towing, a diesel truck repair center with an 8-bay service garage and a well-trained staff of operators and mechanics. They also offer towing and hauling services for both local and long distance projects and provide escorts for over-sized loads with an assortment of trailers capable of hauling equipment from forklifts to dozers and cranes. Their fleet of heavy- and mediumduty wreckers can tow and/or recover any size vehicle. It consists of four heavy tandem rollbacks, two Landolls, three detach lowboys, one service

48 • November 2020 | Towman.com

This truck’s ability to

rotate 360 degrees allows us to work from all sides without needing more than one lane.

truck, one ERT (emergency response truck equipped with air cushions etc.) and the awesome twin-steer rotator featured here. This beauty is a 2016 Century 1150 50-ton five winch rotator mounted on a 2015 Kenworth T600 twin-steer powered by a 550 Cat with an 18-speed Eaton trans.


It is equipped with dual 2-speed planetary 50,000-pound boom winches, dual 22,000-pound turret winches and a 50,000-pound drag winch to handle any and all lifting and pulling chores. It has an SDU-4 underlift for towing. “Its biggest asset is its rotating feature. We have small narrow roads in our area and this truck’s ability to rotate 360 degrees allows us to work from all sides without needing more than one lane,” stated Mike. Mike’s beauty is equipped with everything from chains, straps to a cutting torch and running water and also includes the Raptor Wireless Remote Control System. This is a proportional control system that uses joystick controllers to

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

precisely operate the boom and winch functions with a display screen that shows a variety of information including load sensing. This wireless system gives Mike total control while keeping him out of harm’s way during recoveries. Chowan Grafix in Edenton, NC did the graphics. They are a local sign shop that offers custom screen printing, embroidery, channel letters, vehicle lettering and graphics. Mike said, “It got 2nd place at the NC tow show in 2017. We try to participate in all the local parades we can. The paint design is actually a wrap. We had an idea and took about five different designs and this was what came out.” Mike said, “This truck has outdone itself since we bought it a few years back and continues to. Its most memorable job was when we removed a guy from being pinned for two hours.”

Tech Highlights Chassis: 2015 Kenworth T600 twin-steer Wrecker body: 2016 Century 1150 50-ton Engine: 550 Cat Trans: Eaton 18-Speed Winches: Dual Planetary Two-Speed 50,000lb, Dual 22,000lb. Turret, 50,000lb. Drag Built by: Miller Industries Equipment: Raptor Wireless Remote Control System Extras: Cutting torch and running water Graphics: Wrap by Chowan Grafix in Edenton, NC On Aug 14th 2020 Mike was called to recover a dead haul refuse truck loaded with dead chickens. The unit was stretched across the roadway and the rotator was able to work this recovery/cleanup from one lane.

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • 49


Lowdown

John Sweezy Jr.’s Eulogy for Howard Eagan

H

Editor’s note: Due to limited space, a few paragraphs were edited out at my discretion. John Sweezy Jr. is president of Matjack. Steve Calitri

oward would often tell the story how we met some 31 years ago and how my beginnings were humble, which is true. I can’t imagine his were. There was nobody else, with the possibility of our President, Donald Trump, that could walk into a room and command attention the way he did. Whether it was the voice over everyone else or the distinctive laugh, everyone always knew, Scooby’s here. He was a fierce friend and the kind of guy you wanted next to you going into a battle, you could always, always count on Howard. If he said he was going to do something or be somewhere, you could put it out of your mind it was done, as he always responded to me when I requested anything “Affirm Sweetheart.” He was quick with a joke and even quicker to scold, whichever suited his purpose. Which was normally to embarrass me in some way or another. Howard knew more about airbags and cushions than most people would learn in 10 life times, both do’s and don’ts, he was a great teacher, maybe a little long winded at times, but he would tell you when questioned about shortening it up, “Hey, guys have to learn about appearance and hair gel along with knowing I’m the handsomest guy with great hair they will ever know.” He literally could go on about his looks and hair for hours on end. In my opinion, Howard missed his calling because if he would have gone to Congress he would have been the greatest filibuster in the history of Congress talking endlessly about everything. You need to fill 20 hours of dead space with talk, he was your man. When not teaching or working, Howard had a great penchant for story telling. He used words out of his “Kings English” that only he understood and the rest of us got to guess. He would tell stories like the time a guy stuck his head in his daughter’s open window one summer in Tonawanda. Supposedly, she screamed and he reacted by grabbing his AR and running into the room he started

50 • November 2020 | Towman.com

shooting out the window, then went outside continuing to shoot up the neighborhood. He said people’s garages, houses, cars, etc… were all full of holes the next day. Of course, the police were summoned at some point during all this and when they arrived, saw what he did and they all just laughed it off as “Well, that’s Howard”. My response, uh sure. Howard told that story on several occasions. However, one year at the Ohio tow show he brought his Wife, Jeannene. First time I had met her and ever had a chance to talk. So, of course, I asked about Howard’s tirade. She just laughed and said when that happened she woke him up and he told her to go shut the window and rolled back over to go to sleep. Somehow this wasn’t quite matching up, so here comes Howard, I said “Hey Machine Gun Kelly, come over here for a minute.” So when he heard the conflicting story, he said she just remembers it differently and “it’s my job to entertain so most of it’s true.” This was just how Howard would capture his audience and draw them in so when he got to the real information he wanted them to have, they were all ears. Howard and I talked about training back in 2004 and the sore lack of it in the industry. I provided the backing and he put together the team most of which is here today. Howard was the glue and the inspiration for spreading the knowledge about recovery, specifically airbags and cushions. He pushed the knowledge out to towers and rescue personnel across the U.S. and Canada. He was tireless in his efforts to be on the forefront of instruction and became one of the top desired instructors in the nation. Howard, wherever you are, I hope you can hear me. I will always hear your words and your laughter. I know only by watching you the last few years how much you suffered and did so in silence. I will miss you terribly but will try to continue to do you proud. I love you Scoob.


News Flash Joyride is Now in Nine Major U.S. Cities with Impound Auctions Online

Joyride, a dedicated, highly-tailored, online unclaimed-vehicle auction platform and marketplace, is now active in nine major U.S. cities and rapidly expanding into new markets. Launched in Spring 2020, Joyride now has 14,000 active users and sold over 10,000 vehicles. Joyride provides an expanded buyer audience for sellers by proactively marketing to auto dismantlers, used vehicle dealers and car hobbyists within a larger geographic area. By creating greater demand, Joyride increases the average sale price of listed vehicles and quickly clears valuable space on impound lots. The platform integrates with existing systems and provides sellers with a seamless interface to list vehicle information, photos and videos. Joyride also provides robust, on-demand reporting to give sellers valuable insights into auction results.

“Joyride has enabled us to greatly expand our bidder base creating a more competitive landscape which has driven up the sale price of our inventory,” said Alanis Wrecker Service owner, Alex Alanis. “Implementation was very easy and it was simple to upload pictures. Vehicles were ready for online display in seconds and we are now conducting more profitable auctions.” Joyride’s user-friendly, mobile responsive interface makes it easy and safe for auto dismantlers and vehicle enthusiasts alike to buy cars from the comfort of their home or office. Joyride provides buyers transparent pricing with no surprise fees. “We designed Joyride with both buyers and sellers in mind,” said Joyride Head of Operations, David Salin. “It’s not just software. We are energized by the momentum we are

North 52 • November 2020 | Towman.com

seeing of vehicle sellers across the country adapting to and appreciating the value of transitioning to our specialized online vehicle auction marketplace.” For more information on how to become an authorized Joyride seller, email joyride@joyrideautos.com. Joyride, launched, in April 2020, is now successfully executing regular online unclaimed vehicle auctions in nine major U.S. cities – Fort Pierce,Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angles, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and West Palm Beach – and is experiencing rapid product demand and growth. Learn more at joyrideautos.com.

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


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • North 53


Supplier Scoop

East Coast Acquires Atlantic Wrecker

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales has acquired its neighbor to the north, Atlantic Wrecker based in Manassas Virginia. This second location expands East Coast’s inventory to now more than 200 wreckers, car haulers and roll-off trucks with several more arriving soon. As a premier dealer for Jerr Dan Corporation, this acquisition, according to a company spokesperson, “ represents an extraordinary growth opportunity for us to offer our industry expertise to the towing and recovery industry while giving us the ability to offer premium services to those in the northern part of Virginia and to further scale our services at an unrivalled pace.” With this expansion, East Coast plans on relocating its operations in Manassas soon. Visit  www.ectts.com for up to date announcements and to view a full line of inventory for both parts and sales!   East Coast Truck and Trailers Sales, located in Portsmouth VA, has been a dealer, for over 25 years specializing in product lines for Cottrell, Inc, Jerr Dan Corp, and Gal Fab, Inc. They offer a diverse product line to the towing, recovery, car hauling, and roll off community. East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales also offers a wide range of parts available for purchase in their showroom or online with free shipping; plus services such as vehicle signage, financing, Insurance, leasing, and truck maintenance and services to the trucking community. 

North 54 • November 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • North 55


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • North 57


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • South 53


Letter to the Editor

Dear Dennie: I enjoyed speaking with you. Here are photos of the Barstow California tow truck drivers that honored Roque and their profession. A memorial parade was held on Main street across the town of Barstow on a Saturday night in August. I want to especially thank Victor of ARC towing who coordinated the lighted parade and the seven companies that participated. It provided awesome healing and was a morale booster for all who attended. These drivers are on the front line every hour of every day and people need to believe the tow industry when they say they have an eight day week not seven. I’m a mom of a fallen driver and retired banker. The 2nd and 3rd pictures are of my son Roque Don Stillwater Pittard born 6-27-77 and his beloved dog Diego. Diego was always with Roque and survived the crash as she was inside the cab when the tow truck was hit and tossed into the desert along with Roque and the driver he was assisting, on I-15 southbound. It was 5 in the morning and the second call already for the day of July 30th. The last photo is the roll back that is now totalled along with a senseless loss of two lives. A 23-year old driver is to blame and he sadly must carry that burden for the rest of his life. Driving is a priviledge that we all take for granted. Look forward to meeting you October 2021 Chattanooga Tenn. Wall of the fallen.

Lou Ann Houston

South 54 • November 2020 | Towman.com


Supplier Scoop

600 Lightning Electric Trucks Lightning Systems, a provider of complete electrification solutions for urban commercial fleets, announces that Fluid Truck, a national truck rental platform, will incorporate 600 Lightning Electric vehicles onto their platform, with availability starting in Q4 2020. Fluid Truck empowers businesses to easily rent and pick up vehi-

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

cles from nearby locations 24/7, 365 days a year. Users in major cities across the United States can access vehicles through both the Fluid Truck website and mobile application. Fluid Truck’s 600 vehicle order calls for an assortment of Lightning Electric Ford Transit 350HD delivery vans, Lightning Electric Ford E-450 Class 4 trucks, and Lightning Elec-

tric Hino 268 Class 6 trucks. The all-electric, zero-emission vehicles will be deployed in major urban areas across the U.S. In addition to the vehicles available through Fluid’s rental platform, Lightning Systems is working with Fluid to facilitate trial use and demonstrations with 100 of their own all-electric vehicles in several major U.S. cities.

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • South 55


Supplier Scoop

East Coast Acquires Atlantic Wrecker

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales has acquired its neighbor to the north, Atlantic Wrecker based in Manassas Virginia. This second location expands East Coast’s inventory to now more than 200 wreckers, car haulers and roll-off trucks with several more arriving soon. As a premier dealer for Jerr Dan Corporation, this acquisition, according to a company spokesperson, “ represents an extraordinary growth opportunity for us to offer our industry expertise to the towing and recovery industry while giving us the ability to offer premium services to those in the northern part of Virginia and to further scale our services at an unrivalled pace.” With this expansion, East Coast plans on relocating its operations in Manassas soon. Visit  www.ectts.com for up to date announcements and to view a full line of inventory for both parts and sales!   East Coast Truck and Trailers Sales, located in Portsmouth VA, has been a dealer, for over 25 years specializing in product lines for Cottrell, Inc, Jerr Dan Corp, and Gal Fab, Inc. They offer a diverse product line to the towing, recovery, car hauling, and roll off community. East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales also offers a wide range of parts available for purchase in their showroom or online with free shipping; plus services such as vehicle signage, financing, Insurance, leasing, and truck maintenance and services to the trucking community. 

South 56 • November 2020 | Towman.com


News Flash Joyride is Now in Nine Major U.S. Cities with Impound Auctions Online

Joyride, a dedicated, highly-tailored, online unclaimed-vehicle auction platform and marketplace, is now active in nine major U.S. cities and rapidly expanding into new markets. Launched in Spring 2020, Joyride now has 14,000 active users and sold over 10,000 vehicles. Joyride provides an expanded buyer audience for sellers by proactively marketing to auto dismantlers, used vehicle dealers and car hobbyists within a larger geographic area. By creating greater demand, Joyride increases the average sale price of listed vehicles and quickly clears valuable space on impound lots. The platform integrates with existing systems and provides sellers with a seamless interface to list vehicle information, photos and videos. Joyride also provides robust, on-demand reporting to give sellers valuable insights into auction results.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

“Joyride has enabled us to greatly expand our bidder base creating a more competitive landscape which has driven up the sale price of our inventory,” said Alanis Wrecker Service owner, Alex Alanis. “Implementation was very easy and it was simple to upload pictures. Vehicles were ready for online display in seconds and we are now conducting more profitable auctions.” Joyride’s user-friendly, mobile responsive interface makes it easy and safe for auto dismantlers and vehicle enthusiasts alike to buy cars from the comfort of their home or office. Joyride provides buyers transparent pricing with no surprise fees. “We designed Joyride with both buyers and sellers in mind,” said Joyride Head of Operations, David Salin. “It’s not just software. We are energized by the momentum we are

seeing of vehicle sellers across the country adapting to and appreciating the value of transitioning to our specialized online vehicle auction marketplace.” For more information on how to become an authorized Joyride seller, email joyride@joyrideautos.com. Joyride, launched, in April 2020, is now successfully executing regular online unclaimed vehicle auctions in nine major U.S. cities – Fort Pierce,Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angles, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and West Palm Beach – and is experiencing rapid product demand and growth. Learn more at joyrideautos.com.

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

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • South 57


News Flash Joyride is Now in Nine Major U.S. Cities with Impound Auctions Online

Joyride, a dedicated, highly-tailored, online unclaimed-vehicle auction platform and marketplace, is now active in nine major U.S. cities and rapidly expanding into new markets. Launched in Spring 2020, Joyride now has 14,000 active users and sold over 10,000 vehicles. Joyride provides an expanded buyer audience for sellers by proactively marketing to auto dismantlers, used vehicle dealers and car hobbyists within a larger geographic area. By creating greater demand, Joyride increases the average sale price of listed vehicles and quickly clears valuable space on impound lots. The platform integrates with existing systems and provides sellers with a seamless interface to list vehicle information, photos and videos. Joyride also provides robust, on-demand reporting to give sellers valuable insights into auction results.

“Joyride has enabled us to greatly expand our bidder base creating a more competitive landscape which has driven up the sale price of our inventory,” said Alanis Wrecker Service owner, Alex Alanis. “Implementation was very easy and it was simple to upload pictures. Vehicles were ready for online display in seconds and we are now conducting more profitable auctions.” Joyride’s user-friendly, mobile responsive interface makes it easy and safe for auto dismantlers and vehicle enthusiasts alike to buy cars from the comfort of their home or office. Joyride provides buyers transparent pricing with no surprise fees. “We designed Joyride with both buyers and sellers in mind,” said Joyride Head of Operations, David Salin. “It’s not just software. We are energized by the momentum we are

Midwest 52 • November 2020 | Towman.com

seeing of vehicle sellers across the country adapting to and appreciating the value of transitioning to our specialized online vehicle auction marketplace.” For more information on how to become an authorized Joyride seller, email joyride@joyrideautos.com. Joyride, launched, in April 2020, is now successfully executing regular online unclaimed vehicle auctions in nine major U.S. cities – Fort Pierce,Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angles, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and West Palm Beach – and is experiencing rapid product demand and growth. Learn more at joyrideautos.com.

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


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • Midwest 53


Supplier Scoop

600 Lightning Electric Trucks

Lightning Systems, a provider of complete electrification solutions for urban commercial fleets, announces that Fluid Truck, a national truck rental platform, will incorporate 600 Lightning Electric vehicles onto their platform, with availability starting in Q4 2020. Fluid Truck empowers businesses to easily rent and pick up vehicles from nearby locations 24/7, 365 days a year. Users in major cities across the United States can access vehicles through both the Fluid Truck website and mobile application. Fluid Truck’s 600 vehicle order calls for an assortment of Lightning Electric Ford Transit 350HD delivery vans, Lightning Electric Ford E-450 Class 4 trucks, and Lightning Electric Hino 268 Class 6 trucks. The all-electric, zero-emission vehicles will be deployed in major urban areas across the U.S. In addition to the vehicles available through Fluid’s rental platform, Lightning Systems is working with Fluid to facilitate trial use and demonstrations with 100 of their own all-electric vehicles in several major U.S. cities.

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

Midwest 54 • November 2020 | Towman.com


East Coast Acquires Atlantic Wrecker

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales has acquired its neighbor to the north, Atlantic Wrecker based in Manassas Virginia. This second location expands East Coast’s inventory to now more than 200 wreckers, car haulers and roll-off trucks with several more arriving soon. As a premier dealer for Jerr Dan Corporation, this acquisition, according to a company spokesperson, “ represents an extraordinary growth opportunity for us to offer our industry expertise to the towing and recovery industry while giving us the ability to offer premium services to those in the northern part of Virginia and to further scale our services at an unrivalled pace.” With this expansion, East Coast plans on relocating its operations in Manassas soon. Visit  www.ectts. com for up to date announcements and to view a full line of inventory for both parts and sales!   East Coast Truck and Trailers Sales, located in Portsmouth VA, has been a dealer, for over 25 years specializing in product lines for Cottrell, Inc, Jerr Dan Corp, and Gal Fab, Inc. They offer a diverse product line to the towing, recovery, car hauling, and roll off community. East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales also offers a wide range of parts available for purchase in their showroom or online with free shipping; plus services such as vehicle signage, financing, Insurance, leasing, and truck maintenance and services to the trucking community.  Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • Midwest 55


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • Midwest 57


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • West 51


West 52 • November 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • West 53


Letter to the Editor Dear Dennie: I enjoyed speaking with you. Here are photos of the Barstow California tow truck drivers that honored Roque and their profession. A memorial parade was held on Main street across the town of Barstow on a Saturday night in August. I want to especially thank Victor of ARC towing who coordinated the lighted parade and the seven companies that participated. It provided awesome healing and was a morale booster for all who attended. These drivers are on the front line every hour of every day and people need to believe the tow industry when they say they have an eight day week not seven. I’m a mom of a fallen driver and retired banker. The 2nd and 3rd pictures are of my son Roque Don Stillwater Pittard born 6-27-77 and his beloved dog Diego. Diego was always with Roque and survived the crash as she was inside the cab when the tow truck was hit and tossed into the desert along with Roque and the driver he was assisting, on I-15 southbound. It was 5 in the morning and the second call already for the day of July 30th. The last photo is the roll back that is now totalled along with a senseless loss of two lives. A 23-year old driver is to blame and he sadly must carry that burden for the rest of his life. Driving is a priviledge that we all take for granted. Look forward to meeting you October 2021 Chattanooga Tenn. Wall of the fallen.

Lou Ann Houston

West 54 • November 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • West 55


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | November 2020 • West 57


Episode 190

CopyrightŠ2020 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Profile for dortiz-towman

American Towman Magazine - November 2020