Hearn Trucking LLC is a Texas-based, award-winning truckload and transportation services provider. The company offers bulk sand and cement hauling as well as refrigerated trucking and flatbed services, and has grown through reputation, performance, safety and long-standing relationships with both its drivers and customers.
The company was founded in 1987 by Jack Hearn Jr., the third generation in a long family tradition of trucking. With one truck and plenty of determination, the operation continued to build relationships with customers, as well as grow its fleet size and team of drivers. As of 2007, its offices, truck yard and shop were relocated to a new location in Weatherford, Texas where it is proudly headquartered.
With a fleet driven by Peterbilt power and a repertoire of other trailer types, Hearn Trucking remains a preferred service provider in the oilfields predominantly serving Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, offering 24/7 dispatch and other competitively priced transportation services.
Vice President Cameron Dauer noted, “We have also moved over to the refrigerated model of trucking along with flatbed that runs all forty-eight states.” Using state-of-the-art equipment, satellite tracking, communications technology, customer key performance indicators, route optimization and reporting tools, Hearn Trucking offers on-time service that is accountable, reliable and as safe as can be.
This is an important element of the company’s success. The economy relies on the movement of people and goods for its functioning and Hearn Trucking consistently gets it done, delivering goods and exceptional service with each load, which is why demand for its services has continued to grow over time.
Despite a steady demand for its services and what can be perceived as ideal conditions for growth in the market, there are several challenges that have arisen industry-wide that have encouraged Hearn Trucking to make several investments in technology and its drivers in order to remain compliant, competitive and profitable.
“Right now, trucking companies across the board are hitting a brick wall with all of this and carriers are stuck in the middle,” said Dauer, referring to the regulatory environment, driver shortages, continued increases to associated costs, and things like the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, all of which have made it difficult for carriers like Hearn Trucking to grow.
The ELD mandate pertains to the electronic recording of a driver’s record of duty status (RODS), which was previously recorded on paper logs. Having to make an investment in something like ELD is especially impactful for carriers like Hearn Trucking. According to Dauer, “The mandate put a hurt on everybody because the perception and the value were misunderstood.”
Hearn Trucking has made significant investments in ELD, satellite tracking capabilities, as well as its data streaming capabilities, which enables customers to have a more up-to-date record of the movement of their goods. This also serves the company well in terms of planning, service and accountability.
One challenge Dauer is not quite sure how to overcome is the driver shortage. As he explained, “The biggest thing about our field is, we can’t hire anybody younger than 23. It’s very hard to get them on insurance at 23 or younger. Once they get out of high school and decide that they want to be a truck driver, well they might go to college for it for a couple of years and then they’ll find a business where they can drive, where maybe the company is self-insured and then they can get their experience.”
He continued, “By the time you are eligible to hire a driver due to driving experience, as long as they’ve got a safety record, most times they’re with a job they like already, or they move onto another profession at that point.”
To position itself as an employer of choice and an attractive place to settle in for the long haul, Hearn Trucking offers a safe work environment, steady home time for drivers, no erratic schedules, competitive pay, well-maintained equipment, a generous fuel surcharge, benefits packages and a family environment and culture that takes care of its own.
“Ownership, along with myself and all of the managers, we’ve become more hands-on with our drivers, getting involved, getting out into the field, asking questions. Mr. Hearn and myself still drive trucks, so we’ll go out there and drive with our drivers and maybe they’ll show us some tricks and maybe we’ll show them some tricks to help drive a better culture for everybody,” Dauer explained.
Indeed, Hearn Trucking has been built on relationships and that is true of both its customers and its drivers. Today, the company is doing everything it can to make both its valued drivers and customers satisfied with how the company operates. “We’re trying to meet and exceed our drivers’ needs as well as our customers’ needs, and we’re doing that by trying to partner up even stronger with both customers and drivers to come to an understanding of efficiencies and value. The customers want the best product at the lowest price and the drivers want the highest price for their service,” said Dauer.
Dauer, who is self-professed to be, “more of a truck driver at heart than anything,” truly wants the best for his drivers and Hearn’s customers and it is clear in every word he speaks. At Hearn Trucking, quality service is built on the name and reputation of the company that has been established over the last thirty-plus years. When a man’s name and a company’s long-standing reputation is on the line, it can never be growth for growth’s sake and that is certainly the case with Hearn Trucking where growth is undertaken carefully, never haphazardly, and always with the intention of maintaining and improving the company’s performance and service delivery.
The plan is to maintain the company’s size, focusing on growing its team rather than its fleet when possible, always finding ways to maintain the level of service associated with the Hearn Trucking name and reputation. For Dauer, “Our long-term goal is not just to grow in fleet size: we can stay with 150 to 200 trucks and we’re fine with that, but we want to find the best quality drivers for those trucks and give them what they deserve: adequate pay and adequate home time.”
As it looks to the future, the focus at Hearn Trucking continues to be identifying and securing talented drivers who want to join the Hearn family. Once they do, the company does everything in its power to keep them until retirement. The many tenured drivers amongst its ranks are clear proof of that.
As Dauer noted, “We are in this business to be the best and that is what we strive to do: be the best and have the best people.” Despite the many challenges Hearn Trucking and its counterparts in the trucking and logistics sector are facing, the company keeps on truckin’, repeatedly demonstrating the value it delivers with every truckload.