by Tim Brady, Business editor

The purpose of “Spotlight on an American Trucker” is to bring our readership to life, by putting names and faces alongside their successes. If you know of a small or micro business that utilizes trucks in the course of doing business that you’d like us to feature in “Spotlight on an American Trucker,” please send their contact information to

spotlightOwner: Thomas J. Carney
In business: Since 1977
Location: Youngstown and Lorain, OH

Carney McNicholas is an interstate agent for and shareholder of United Van Lines LLC. The primary focus of the company is the relocation of private property consisting of household goods and corporate or government assets. The company’s secondary focus is delivery and/or recovery of high value and ride-sensitive commodities requiring specialized equipment or heavy labor.

Tell us about the company.
In 1977, Tom Carney purĀ­chased the assets of McNicholas Transportation. McNicholas was a diversified trucking and warehousing firm established in 1906 by Thomas J. Carney’s maternal grandfather, J. V. McNicholas. Today, Thomas J. Carney is majority owner. The company is transitioning to fifth-generation family ownership. Son John V. Carney and nephew Matthew J. Hagan are vice presidents with ownership stakes. Timothy Carney is a minority owner and Anna Carney will gain a stake this year.

Do you have regularly scheduled routes?
We have some logistics contracts that have regular, scheduled pickups. We have some regularly scheduled routes, and we do a lot of special projects over time, but the majority of our trucking business is on irregular routes on irregular schedules.

How do you handle maintenance and repairs?
Carney McNicholas has a full-time equipment manager based in Lorain who is a mechanic. We have a ‘shop on wheels’ and do most of the regular maintenance, including brakes, tires and lights, in our yards. Oil drains are done at Speedco. All driveline repairs are done in truck or powertrain dealer garages. ECM code displays usually point us toward a repair issue that needs investigation. We will swap out engine-mounted accessories, including radiators, turbos and compressors, if time is critical.

Do you stock parts for your trucks or purchase as needed? If you stock, which ones?

We keep $15,000 +/- inventory of parts including tires, wheels, lights, connectors, liftgate parts and fluids on hand.

How do you ensure good tire mileage?

Start with inspection and inflation. Drivers are required to report any issues with tires, including any inflation loss during a trip. We keep duals rolling as matched sets.

How do you minimize downtime?

The equipment manager for the company takes mileage from all equipment on Monday morning every week. Most parts and fluids have the manufacturer’s recommended replacement, and we try to follow those schedules. Visual inspections are critical as well, and our company fleet is rarely out of sight for more than two weeks. Unusual tire wear, roadside inspections for compliance, and anticipation of weather-related problems are the focus of our visual inspections and interventions.

How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck/trailer?
We do useful life predictions based on use and miles when we acquire equipment, and we try to stay on schedule. Some specialized equipment that isn’t easily replaced will grow old with us, but not much.

What does your company do best?
Brew the first pot of coffee for office staff and crews in the morning.