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 tbrady@writeuptheroad.com.

morrisonOwner: Paul and Gail Morrison
In business: Since 2001
Location: Coolidge, GA

Leased to Bruce Oakley Trucking, Ashton Express is a one-truck operation hauling bulk commodities and some regular freight to locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Do you think of yourself as a trucking company or one that uses trucks in the course of conducting business?
We’re a one-truck company leased to a larger trucking company.

Do you have regularly scheduled routes or on-demand delivery?
We haul throughout the United States and Canada with no regular runs.

How are major repairs handled? Your own shop or jobbed out?
All major repairs are done at our mechanic’s shop.

How is maintenance handled? Your own shop or jobbed out?
We use a local mechanic who has worked on the truck since it was purchased new in 2004. That truck is a 10-year-old Peterbilt 379 model with 1.37 million mi. under its hood.

What are three challenges you face with your maintenance program? How do you resolve each of these?
First is winter corrosion. It’s a challenge to not only keep salt off the truck but keep electrical wires and plugs coated with corrosion-proof grease. Second is scheduling maintenance, as downtime is always a challenge. We plan well ahead for family events and needs, and always keep dispatch in the loop. And finally, keeping up with the priority of repairs—what can and cannot wait.

How do you handle the maintenance on your trucks and/or trailers to minimize downtime? What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
We do preventive maintenance on the truck every 20,000 mi., as well as weekly inspections, i.e., tires, tread/pressure and wear pattern, brake lining, and lighting.

How do you ensure good mileage from tires?
Tire pressure and rotation, maintaining the correct tire pressure, and constant daily inspection of wear and tire condition.

Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed? If you stock parts, which ones?
We purchase as needed locally, and through our mechanic’s shop.

How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
It’s time to replace when repair costs and downtime become too costly or when it cannot be fixed anymore. The replacement of the trailer is the responsibility of the carrier to which we’re leased.

What programs do you have in place to ensure CSA compliance for your trucks and/or trailers?
We maintain a strict preventive maintenance schedule where any deficiencies are repaired or replaced. Add to this a consistent and daily inspection of our equipment, along with keeping the truck and trailer clean and sharp with regular washing. All of these ensure that we’re in compliance with CSA regulations.

What does your company do best?
Move bulk freight in ways that exceed our customers’ expectations.