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Published by Matthews Publishing Group, 2017-03-16 16:53:08

NT 2017 No 1.YUDU-2

NT 2017 No 1.YUDU-2

The Official Magazine of Nebraska Trucking Association

Ray Vettel Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 1

Sunrise Express



Volume 79 Number 1 | 2017 | $3.95 Value

2 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017


VOLUME 79, NUMBER 1 • 2017 Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 3


On the Cover:


Ray Vettel grew up in trucking, and now
he’s growing a trucking company.







Driver of the Month


Grand Island Express

Member Spotlight: 

NMC 22

80 Years of Helping to Build Nebraska


From the President: by Larry Johnson...............................4
From the Chairman: by Bob Winter.....................................5
From the Publisher: by Jennifer Matthews-Drake...........7
Along the Route....................................................................19
Advertiser Resource Index..................................................7

PRESIDENT’S Nebraska Trucking Executive Committee
Greetings Members and Friends BOB WINTER
of the Trucking Industry! Distribution Inc.

As always, it has been a busy couple of months CHAIR-ELECT
since the last edition. The volunteer committees and MARY DAVIE
staff continue to plan and execute an almost constant Flatbed Express
schedule of meetings, activities and training sessions that help us further the Asso-
ciation’s mission of Advocacy, Information and Services. With the current schedule VICE-CHAIR
of events we are seeing record levels of participation and attendance. It’s gratifying SCOTT ROMANS
to see that our members are taking advantage of the things these meetings provide Romans Motor Freight
in the way of networking and learning, which also helps us build on our goals of
providing Citizenship, Safety and Services. TREASURER
One of the things that I hear from the many successful companies in our mem- Pitney Bowes Presort
berships is that they get a value out of their dues dollars by sending their employees
to our activities, encouraging them to read our publications and developing their SECRETARY
leadership skills by serving on the variety of boards, committees and activities. BRENT FALGIONE
They believe that their investment in our industry trade association isn’t a cost, but Greater Omaha Express LLC
a great way to create savings through our lobbying and education efforts. They
agree that they will only get the value out of their dues dollars in proportion to AT-LARGE DIRECTOR
what they put into it. TIM ASCHOFF

It is with this in mind that I invite all of our member companies to take advan- Crete Carrier Corporation
tage of the benefits we offer. Stay engaged in the Association by reading the com-
munications that we send out, send your employees to an education/networking AT-LARGE DIRECTOR
program (if we aren’t covering something your segment of the industry is interested TIM MCCORMICK
in, call me) and do everything you can to engage in the future as much as all of us
do in the daily performance of our operations. Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc.

Forward thinking and change doesn’t just happen. It takes a vision and action STATE VICE PRESIDENT TO ATA
to put things into motion. Being “stuck” and inactive just makes things worse. DANNY TOMPKINS
Thinking in the past on what use to work in any activity has proven to be ineffec-
tive. Your Association has some great partnerships, tools and people that can create Nebraska Transport Company
positive change in a principled and professional way. Our lines of communication
in and out are working. We’re here, use us. Until next issue, be safe and engaged in ALTERNATIVE STATE VICE PRESIDENT TO ATA
whatever you do. ERICH HELGE

Larry Johnson Seward Motor Freight
Nebraska Trucking Association BOB CLARK
[email protected] Chief Carriers

4 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Don Adams Chris Klotz
Dean Aden Tom Koenigs
Steve Aherns Jean Kurtenbach
George Akerson Heidi Loop
Crystal Anderson Mike Maloley
Tim Aschoff Terry McMullen
Blaine Batten Ron Mencl
Dennis Bauder Lloyd Mettenbrink
David Billings Trey Mytty
Joanie M. Bogers
Kurt Brown Ron Nolte
Butch Brown Scott Olson
Bob Clark Tonn Ostergard
Tom Coffey Dave Parker
Mary Davie Jack Peetz
Eldon Dokter Dean Petersen
Dwight Dunsworth Dick Pierson
Dave Erlandson Tom Pirnie
Brent Falgione Gene Quandt
Ross Faubel Dick Reiser
Corby Flagle Greg Reitmeier
Hugh Fugleberg Norm Riffel
Michael Galvin Scott Romans
Norman Geiken Ronald Romans
Rick Gomel John Sahling
Tom Hastings Roger Schmidt
Mark Hauptman Russell Stough
Erich Helge Danny Tompkins
Mike Herre Nick Vuko
Albert Hill Dave Walde
Duane Hobscheidt Curt Werner
Phillip Holliday Clarence Werner
Dan Hurt Jerry Wessel
Don Kaiser Bob Winter
Larry Kersten Brian Wood
Jerry Kilthau Rallen R. Zeitner


Nebraska Trucker is owned by Truck Services, Inc., and is Greetings from Distribution Inc.
published bimonthly by Matthews Publishing Group. For in Lincoln!
additional copies, to order reprints of individual articles or to
become a subscriber, contact Diana Garcia at 402.476.8504. It’s been a busy few months since the last
edition. The holidays and the election are behind
publisher us and I’m anxious what the next few months will
Jennifer Matthews-Drake bring. I’m thankful that it’s been a fairly mild winter so far and there are
Matthews Published Group, LLC only a couple more months of possible winter storms coming through.
[email protected] The Executive Board has met twice since our Fall Conference and ev-
erything at the Association, we’re proud to say, is going well. Dick Reiser,
executive editor Larry and Sheila are confident that there won’t be any surprises in store
Larry Johnson for us during this year’s state legislative session. I’ve got a report from our
production editor staff and Audit Committee that we have received a clean bill of health on
Sheila O’Connor our accounting practices and we have a respectable reserve in the event of
a rainy day.
art director I was fortunate to have met our publisher of the Nebraska Trucker,
Douglas J. Benjamin Jennifer Matthews, from the Matthews Publishing Group (MPG) at the
[email protected] Fall Conference. I’m pleased to report that we are on schedule, as well
as improving our readership AND advertisers. Without a doubt, printed
photographers publications have found some headwinds despite competition from 24-
Kristian Anderson hour news sources and the internet; yet I do feel that printed media like
ours is important to the majority of our members. A magazine allows us
Thomas Grady to get to know each other better and allows us to share our successes and
Callie Tuck Knapp even sorrows in a much more intimate way than an email, blog or website.
contributing writers While our Association is not ignoring these new technologies, I’m proud
to say that we haven’t given up in continuing to keep our magazine fresh,
Steve Brawner affordable, accessible and relevant.
Renee Miller Many thanks to all our loyal readers that receive the magazine. support
Jennifer Barnett Reed the companies that advertise to reach you and keep the presses rolling.
Derek Reymant Without all of you it wouldn’t be possible.
John Schultz While our printed magazine continues to thrive, it’s also important to
Angela Thomas remember that all mediums of communications are important to a healthy
Todd Traub organization. It may be through an email or blog, but sometimes the old
telephone is just as good, if not in some instances even better. There are very few of us that don’t have a cell phone that you can text, message or
president call from.
Until the next edition, I’ll close with whatever it might be, text, message
Larry Johnson or phone, I’d like to ask that you reach out to me, our Association staff,
[email protected] other members, or even competitors to communicate about something
good - or even bad - that is on your mind. Thank you!
vice president
Sheila O’Connor Bob Winter
[email protected] President & CEO, Distribution Inc.
director of operations Chair, Nebraska Trucking Association

Diana Garcia Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 5
[email protected]

Keith Nesja
[email protected]

Nebraska Trucking Association is a statewide trade
association for commercial truck and bus operators and
affiliated businesses. It is a not-for-profit association
governed by a board of directors elected annually. Nebraska
Trucking is an affiliate of the American Trucking Association
(ATA). ATA serves and represents the trucking industry on
a national level, influencing federal and state government
actions, advancing positive trucking industry image,
providing education programs and industry research, and
promoting highway safety and security.

For more information, contact
Nebraska Trucking Association:

1701 K Street
P.O. Box 81010
Lincoln, NE 68501
Phone 402.476.8504 Fax: 402.476.8570

6 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

Allied Oil & Tire..............................................17
Bauer Built Tire.............................................14
You—our loyal Nebraska Trucker readers—represent
Great West more than 6,600 individuals across Nebraska. You are
Casualty Company....................... Back cover an audience of hand selected, highly targeted, key leaders
in transportation. Some of you are trucking company
HELP/PrePass................................................15 executives and some are shippers. Some of you provide much-needed products and
services to keep us rolling, make us efficient and grow our bottom lines. Some of
HUB International Insurance......................18 you are elected officials, highway safety professionals or industry regulators whom
we wish to educate on issues relating to our industry. We believe that by telling
J.J. Keller & Associates..............................16 your stories and providing in-depth analysis on the issues you face, you will be
united and better understand how each of us is impacted by trucking legislation
Joe Morton & Son, Inc.................................19 and regulations.
Trucking in Nebraska is literally bursting at the seams with success stories
Nebraska Trucker.....................................9, 21 about hard-working people who love what they do and live to serve this great
nation by delivering the goods that people everywhere want and need. You know
Northland Insurance....................................11 many of these stories firsthand. Some are of your friends, some your competitors
and some your customers. If you have a suggestion for a great story, please let us
RDO Truck Centers............Inside front cover know. We value your input.
Nebraska Trucking Association and MPG are partners in the business of
TA/Petro............................................................6 helping you achieve these goals while simultaneously making you look spectacular.
We’ve invested in the highest quality editorial content, photography and design to
Taylor & Martin Auctioneers.......................18 bring Nebraska Trucker directly to you every other month. We are committed to
constant improvement.
Truck Center Companies................................9 All of this is to say that Nebraska Trucker is the premier vehicle to deliver your
company’s corporate message to those who have the power to make purchasing
UPS..................................................................20 decisions on your behalf. We would love to help you create a visual representation
of who you are and what you do. Placing your company’s message within the pages
This edition of Nebraska Trucker was made of Nebraska Trucker (in other words, advertising) guarantees you’ll be seen by the
possible with the support of these corporate largest concentration of your customers, potential customers, and folks who may
advertisers. They support the trucking refer you to new customers. It’s that simple.
industry by enabling Nebraska Trucking We appreciate you so very much for reading Nebraska Trucker.
Association to provide this publication to
its members, prospective members, elected Thank you!
officials and the business community at
large. They deserve your consideration and Jennifer Matthews-Drake
patronage when making your corporate Publisher, Nebraska Trucker
purchasing decisions. Thank you! Matthews Publishing Group, LLC
[email protected]
TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 7

Nebraska Trucking Hosts 2nd
Annual Safety Technology
Summit & Exhibition

BY SHEILA O’CONNOR Director for Grand Island Express and SMC’s Attorney with Fraser and Stryker, PC LLO,
NTA Vice President Chair. “We wanted to open up attendance to covered ‘Protecting Trucking Companies
a wider audience and encouraged companies from Litigation: Practical Tips for Handling
This year’s Summit and Exhibition, to bring as many team members as possible Maintenance, Inspection and Records Man-
‘Reducing Operating Costs through Mainte- to one event to meet with as many vendors agement Issues.’
nance and Safety,’ was a two-day event open as possible.” Eighteen vendors exhibited and
to vendors, exhibitors, Safety Managers, Fleet interacted with more than 100 attendees. Our gratitude to everyone who attended
Owners and Maintenance Managers and was and the committee is already working on
held January 17-18, 2017 at Embassy Suites, Keynote speakers were Collin Mooney, next year’s event. If you have ideas, sug-
LaVista. Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle gestions or comments, please send them to
Safety Alliance (CVSA,) reviewing CVSA [email protected]
“The Safety Management and Mainte- and ‘Understanding the Roadside Inspection
nance Committee wanted a focus on mainte- Program and the North American Standard
nance this year,” said Lucas Mowery, Safety Out-of-Service Criteria’, and Dave Mullin,

8 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

TRUCKINGThanks to our The Official Magazine of Nebraska Trucking Association | Volume 78 Number 6 | 2016 | $3.95 Value
THREUY,CAKRIENYGOUsponsorMso!ves Nebraska Forward

Moves Nebraska Forward

LOOKING AT ME?2017 Second Annual Safety Summit & Exhibition
TRUCKINTGRUCKINGMoves NebraskPaLAFToINrwUaMrdS20P1P7OLSANeTcSIoNnOUd MARSnnSPYuPeaOLlaSANhaT,fSIeNatOyUdSMvRuemSrmtiits&inEgxhwibiotiornks.
TRUCKINGnnual Safety Summit &MEoxvheisbitNioenbraska ForwcFooarntmradcotreouinrfpourmblaisthioenr,oJnenandivfeerrtMisiantgthienwNse-bDrraaskkea, Trucker Chad AdamsSterling Transportation Services

TRUCKINGSPON20S17OSRecSond AMnonvuealsSNafeebtyraSsukmamFito&[email protected].
RCKIUKTNTICRNGRTKTUGRURICNUCUKGTTCKCITRTRNIKRKNTRUUGIIUNGRUNCCCGUCGKKKCKIINNIKINNGGIGNGmG aking our way!SSddsM2mRsSnSe0uFAANMMkdiace1mSStSnnoPaofce7A&ooeMnnBmrLPPnSobS2nwt2vvuuFSRdEynPPAior0n0teeaaIOOPeoad2aL2xTLLOAvS1u1&llMssSScPrrh0S0V2seA7aSSIAA7nuOwModNNNIINi11SLE0kNNolEbLLsnmnaanTTSPS77aZ1aSAUoxivuVVnNffRdSSeetII2PPmeNeee7rhEiNNaevaTSuSOMoEE0bbdFPcAttcLiMfOOlieSaeyysSbISnOeUUeS1toerroRRNonLSAlisaacbNc7eI&ntSSntoMMNnOrLSyAiRRUaPoToNssrcoddwuuvuNSSVafEnaSnTePoISkkMnemmeIaNAROASSaedfMdsSMEenLxIbaaLutSeSlsNSOncVynrmmhUkdbrARmAtSASoMdooNOnnyFFIEaiUaSSSPPSNrMbALiinnaTnMvmuRvttuRasooSPSoiPMunVnfnSdeFteaIPP&&ReaPOOeksiirrNomuvuuLnLotSElblsPPPswwoPStAakMamOeaEEvyuOOn&SOAUSSASBmrRNPNraLLLInlaalNeSSaNsaxxOLwaFTamSTMoRnSLAAESiARlrrhhPNNsNtsVIIfFfSeSeIoIuvNuddaeLLeiSAaxTTOaiiNTNP&NtkbbEbmoberaNtVVrtOhSffSSaSeTIIOIO&yaywUiieLUNedNNrlrNrRsttiEmfEESBebbIiiawtatSeASooSMOONMaZOSNyEyFUUxURiRbRRrNsRitstnnaTuautOrhEyaxiIUoSSMMMrkokdLfSmRReOm&RIirhSaSsebrSNunMauadVbRiwtksmiNmbmmEOuytSSUSEriaFkFiamoZtixaiSmmStMRtiaoonrRohEsFm&&udiirnirttkFbomwwiS&E&Etaiortmaai&wxxorEEFrhrhwinadtEdxxioBibbEah&rhSxTrOx3idRiriitrhtwp4ubIbuiiEtdLro,ociOer0iiebakttcxnVn0nsIiitihNoCeos0rht’EnswiedAnsnioZinfbqcsRulntsiouEialeetlcanrissFaroCsteetoemnio-molafmloenmopnopwlcwEottaaoiysbphnlroletanaeiuiseeyraemisrststdrs..isoaosOaTwontftthuecaIh2t-irdirshe86aece0ntMuhlaoesacmsoiwidntrutooeewedsplsmodeoe,Hecisefoaianatgorfn’fthsudtideinoowrelraanmn4aOtrse2ryagaciawelxs5nstc-se0oodbftkrabaiviFincnsoyiericceOlgurtielirtrurmg2aoybdhp0iwaaonet1rhynliisoin7nsanta.ggg.aehr1ancree2enddss-ndeobsstaiuas.exloytredhrfbaeoenrodareedsidtcwytiwaeestosh!eerodklp.,ATRI’s Top 10 ConcNeEBrnRsAS–KAImTRpUrCoKvEiRng —TrucIkSiSnUgE’s6,I2m01a6ge—– Mwewmw.bneebrtSrupcokitnlgig.chomt: Alex Clark, ORDP








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Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 9

Will The Trump
Administration Drain

the Regulatory
Swamp Affecting


BY DAVE OSIECKI those that proactively provide remedies, in-
Guest Writer centives or safe harbors designed to stimulate
business activity.
Over the coming weeks, dozens of
industries will be trying to answer the President Trump’s “Regulatory Freeze
question of how the regulatory agenda will Pending Review” means that any regulation
change under President Trump. No doubt published by the Obama Administration
it will change, and certain industries (think that’s not yet effective, will need to be re-
banking and oil) are likely to see bigger viewed and scrutinized by President Trump’s
shifts than others. But those in trucking, new team at various Agencies across the
from professional drivers to small and large federal government. The President’s new
fleet owners alike, are likely wondering how politically-appointed team will review and
the robust regulatory agenda pursued under determine whether those rules should go
President Obama will change. They will also forward and become effective, or whether
be anxious to see how long it will take to they should be withdrawn (with the help of
change. Congress). More on this later as it relates to
electronic logging devices and the recently
Let’s start with timing…that is, how published large truck fuel efficiency rules.
long will it take. The short answer is,
some change will be seen soon and some The President’s ‘regulatory freeze’ also
means that ongoing agency work on final
quite a bit later. President Trump’s regu- regulations not yet published, or those
latory moratorium, initiated within recently published as proposed rules, will
hours of his inauguration on Jan. 20, slow, or come to a complete halt, until a
froze regulations in process but not determination can be made whether those
rules align with Trump Administration pol-
yet implemented. Other regulatory icy. It’s a safe bet that some of the Obama
changes that will take more time are


10 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

Administration-initiated regulatory work by the Obama Administration for December with the fact that Congress mandated the
will be at odds with Trump Administration 2017, technically speaking the ELD rule has ELD rule and a federal Court of Appeals
policy, and will find the cutting room (i.e.,
government cubicle) floor. These decisions President Trump’s “Regulatory Freeze
will take some time, perhaps many months Pending Review” means that any
until Agency heads are confirmed by the regulation published by the Obama
Senate and in place. While President Trump’s Administration that’s not yet effective,
Cabinet is starting to come together, over will need to be reviewed and scrutinized
4,000 Trump appointees must be put in by President Trump’s new team.
place, with more than 1,000 requiring some
type of congressional approval. For many been effective since February of 2016. This recently upheld it, likely means that it will
industries, including trucking, the delay effective date—established for ELD vendors not be affected by President Trump’s team at
associated with this transition process, and to begin certifying their devices—coupled
the review time itself under a moratorium, Continues on page 20 
will provide some relief.

Turning to how the substance of the
trucking regulatory agenda might change,
let’s start with two rules of importance: elec-
tronic logging devices and new fuel economy
standards for large trucks. On electronic
logging, while the compliance date was set

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Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 11

A Trucking Life

Ray Vettel grew up in trucking, and now he’s growing a trucking company.

BY STEVE BRAWNER trucks. Now it has about 200, with intentions were humble: The office consisted of a phone
Contributing Writer to keep growing. with a toll-free number set up in a spare bed-
room, and the “fleet” was one owner-opera-
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS GRADY The company was founded in 1985 by tor. Charlene was the company’s first safety
Charlene and Lloyd Mettenbrink as part of director and secretary. The first customers
Ray Vettel, 55, is owner of Grand a partnership with Butch Brown, owner of came from contacts made earlier in Metten-
Island-based Sunrise Express, a dryvan over- Brown Transfer, an LTL carrier. Mettenbrink brink’s career. The first haul—the invoice is
the-road hauler that he joined as a dispatcher had been an industry veteran, and when he enshrined in a plaque at company headquar-
in 1986 when it operated only a handful of didn’t become a partner at another firm, he ters—was a 23,000-pound load of Pabst Blue
struck out on his own. The company’s origins

12 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017


Ribbon empty beer containers from Grand the company’s owners, in poor health, sold manager who has been with the company 30
Island to Milwaukee on Feb. 26, 1985. the company. In 1986, he joined Sunrise years, said Ray was “aggressive, in a word.”
Express as a dispatcher and vice president
Ray joined the company the next year. of operations. For a while, he was the only “He was very good at finding freight and
The son of a truck driver and terminal op- dispatcher, and he did it well. His brother, very good at getting drivers to take it and
erator, he had moved to Ohio after graduat- David, remembers marveling at family gath- then connecting the dots to get them home,”
ing high school to work for Coldway Food erings at his brother’s ability to keep track he said.
Express, the company that had employed in his head of his drivers’ routes and phone
his father. He was there five years and was a numbers. Mark Roland, a customer relations Ray said his own personality was a good
troubleshooter and terminal manager when mix with Mettenbrink’s laid-back demeanor.

Continues  Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 13

“I think he was decent. He was calm. He While working at Sunrise, he also started a continuing over the next five years. That
had a pleasant attitude, and I think together, three-person trucking company, plus a logis- meant having the equipment, the financial
I was a little more assertive-aggressive, and tics company, C.N. Logistics, and, because he ability to back it, and drivers. According
I think the two of us worked pretty well wasn’t busy enough, he owned a restaurant to Steve Beahm, vice president and gener-
together,” he said. for seven years managed by his wife, Shari, al counsel, Sunrise Express would obtain
and his mother, Phyllis. When Mettenbrink a commitment from new drivers first and
By April 1987 the company had grown retired in 1995, Ray’s transportation compa- then would buy a truck. It focused on hiring
to 18 power units split about evenly between nies were merged into Sunrise, and he became drivers who lived within 100 miles of Grand
company-owned and owner-operators, but the company’s president and owner. Butch Island so they could be home as much as
Ray intended for Sunrise Express to grow Brown and Dean Aden with Brown Transfer possible.
much more. It reached about 50 trucks by the are silent partners.
mid-1990s thanks to his and Mettenbrink’s Today the company has about 200 power
skill at finding drivers, building a customer In 2004, Sunrise Express acquired Austin’s units, all but about 22 company owned, and
base and then servicing those customers. Transportation, a Twin Falls, Idaho-based about 325 employees. It transports commod-
company that primarily did brokerage work ities both nationally and in Canada and has
“He had a vision almost from day one but also operated about 50 trucks, about 15 won numerous safety and other awards from
when he came to Sunrise of what Sunrise of them company owned. With the acquisi- the American Trucking Associations, Ne-
could be, and he’s never let go of that, and tion, the company managed about 160 power braska Trucking Association, and Truckload
we’re still working towards getting to Ray’s units. The Twin Falls location is now about Carriers Association.
vision for this company,” Roland said. 25 percent of the operation.
Ray is not satisfied. In fact, he hopes to
That vision, Ray said, was “Growth. Sunrise Express faced one of its biggest double the company’s size again to 400-500
Growth and continuous growth, and good challenges during the oil boom of the 2000s, power units, depending on what happens in
drivers. And to be able to expand on our when many of its owner-operators left the the industry. He isn’t afraid of new technolo-
business, expand on our customer base, and company for North Dakota. In order to gy and isn’t shy about taking a chance on the
to see how far we could go with it.” maintain its growth strategy, it had to focus latest equipment. The company maintains a
on increasing its company-owned assets by 3:1 ratio of trailers to power units, meaning
Ray said he had joined the company with about 10 trucks a year starting in 2004 and it can compete with larger motor carriers.
plans only “to do a good job.” But his am-
bition was leading him to a leadership role.


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14 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

Ray said growth is important because of or not so friendly to work with. We are how to operate efficiently and be financially
“sustainability and being able to service the wanting to maintain this small- to mid-sized sound. Everyone is a valuable asset.”
customer base in the area. If you’re too small, business structure with an atmosphere that
you weren’t able to, and if you’re not able to is family oriented,” he said. “Raymond really Ray’s efforts have borne fruit in part
sustain the business, after a period of time cares for all of his employees. … Almost to a because of his deep roots in the industry.
you’d lose out to those who could.” fault, you can say.” His father, Raymond, worked 38 years
for Ohio-based Coldway Food Express, a
Drivers remain a focus. Brother David For Ray, the key to having good em- refrigerated carrier that hauled swinging
Vettel, the company’s general manager, ployees is finding the right ones and then meat. When Raymond was a long haul driver,
said Sunrise Express offers a compensation preparing them to do their jobs in the context Ray and his siblings – he’s the second oldest
package meant to be competitive with the of the company’s overall mission. At Sun- of four brothers and a sister – sometimes
largest carriers, with incentives for mileage rise Express, employees aren’t just cogs in a would climb up in the rigs and ride with him
and efficiency and other opportunities for wheel. They are trained from the ground up on trips across the country. Otherwise, the
drivers to make extra money. Dispatchers try so they understand how different aspects of children were left at home under the care of
to get drivers home as much as they can. The the company work together – so, for exam- their mother, Phyllis, who knew exactly how
company even lets drivers pick their truck’s ple, safety personnel understand logging, and to handle them.
color because, David explained, “We want dispatchers don’t book loads they shouldn’t.
the drivers to feel like that’s their piece of “She was a truck driver’s wife, and with a
equipment, because it is.” “We look for quality people that we driver on the road a lot, with four boys and a
won’t have to babysit,” he told Nebraska girl running around screaming and whatnot,
For drivers and non-driver employees, the Trucker in 2004. “We don’t put an employee you can imagine what she was like,” said
company tries to maintain a close-knit, caring in a position to fail. We don’t just demand David, the oldest brother by three years. “She
structure – an outgrowth of Ray’s big heart. from them. We help them grow into the job, was a drill sergeant. Man, all she had to do
David said Ray will go the extra mile to help although drivers have just got to have experi- was raise her voice and we were at attention.
his employees, even if it temporarily affects ence. We listen to what each driver’s priorities But she was a great woman, a great mother.”
the bottom line. are. Maybe someone doesn’t fully under-
stand how to maximize mileage. Maybe an In 1971, Raymond stopped driving and
“We are not that big corporation that’s owner-operator needs some information on was made an operations manager in charge
very bureaucratic and layered and awkward
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Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 15

of a terminal in Aurora with about half David said Ray comes by his ambition engines and completely restores collector
a dozen trucks. In the early years, the boys naturally. In his mid-teens, he played center- cars. The division offers services for classic
were given odd jobs like cleaning the meat field on a state champion American Legion collectors, big rigs and passenger cars. After it
hooks in the freezing cold trailers, basic office baseball team, where he covered a lot of was bought, it was moved to company head-
jobs including auditing work and expense ground in the field and found holes in the de- quarters and now employs about 18 tech-
logging, and shop work. fense when he was at the plate. He also was a nicians, fabricators and machinists. Beahm,
skilled wrestler who gave up the sport his ju- the company’s general counsel, said the move
In an interview with Nebraska Trucker nior year. As a young adult, he became active came about as a result of Ray’s drag racing
magazine in 2004, Ray credited both his fa- in taekwondo – becoming, naturally, a black hobby in addition to his close relationship
ther and Mettenbrink, who still lives in Oma- belt who fought as a 160-pounder in open with Starlite Motor Sports’ previous owners.
ha with Charlene, for his business success. class competitions with no weight limits.
From his father, he learned to take care of the Ray has always enjoyed the mechani-
business so that it would take care of him. “What they were doing back then was cal side of trucking. In his teenage years,
Mettenbrink, who was chairman of what is beating the crap out of each other, and he he worked on projects in his dad’s shop.
now the Nebraska Trucking Association for a loved it,” David said. In addition to Starlite, the company does
year, taught him about being involved in the full-service work for its own trucks and for
political and rulemaking process. Meanwhile, a new outlet emerged for outside customers at The Sunrise Shop at
Ray’s competitive instincts: ProMod drag both the Grand Island and Twin Falls loca-
“The key reasons for success here at Sun- racing. Ray for years was the team’s driver, tions. Sunrise Express also offers a full-ser-
rise are the things I learned from my dad and and he was good enough to win numerous vice truck wash and an exterior trailer wash
from Lloyd,” Ray said then. “They had two trophies. His daughter, Jacki Jones, drove for at its Grand Island location, along with tire
different perspectives of the trucking industry, a while, and his son, Josh, still drives. services.
and a person learns from those before them.”
Drag racing has been not only a fun “He really has a fascination for all of this
He also told the magazine, “You grow hobby, but it also led to an expansion of the stuff,” David said. “He probably knows the
from their experiences forward. You chal- company’s holdings. In 2008, Sunrise Express technology in the rig, the truck, as good as
lenge yourself to do the right thing, for the acquired Starlite Motor Sports, a full-ser- anybody out in that shop. He really stays in
right reason, with the right people.” vice automotive and truck shop that builds

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16 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

tune with all of that stuff.” ago, the two had kicked around the idea of call a ranch and what others might call a
A number of family members work for working together. Then Ray called on April sanctuary with a variety of animals outside of
21, 2016, and asked David to visit him. The Grand Island.
the company, including Ray’s wife, Shari. His two had a long talk, and before it was over,
brother, Mike, is a dispatcher. Ray’s daughter, Ray asked David to come work with him. “He’s the nature guy that he will look at
Jacki Jones, is director of human resources. That conversation lasted four or five months. the Humane Society website, and if he looks
Her husband, Tyler, helps the company main- Then, on Oct. 10 – purposely on their late at an animal, like say, a puppy or even a
tain CSA compliance. Ray’s son, Josh, works mother’s birthday – David joined the compa- full-grown dog, and he makes some sort of
with special projects at Starlite Motor Sports. ny as general manager. contact with them and feels like that they’re
Josh’s wife, Brittany, also works at Star- in need, he’ll just go get them,” David said.
lite. Ray’s sister, Becky, at one time worked Hiring family members wasn’t an ac-
in the company’s information technology cident, though it wasn’t the original plan. In 31 years, Ray has been a leader in
department. Another brother, Ken, (one year Instead, Ray said, they had the right expe- building Sunrise Express from a few trucks
younger than Ray – same birthday in May) riences in life, along with “the same drive to almost 200. It hasn’t always been easy, but
is a doctor in Grand Island. Often Ken will and the want to and will to go forward, and it’s mostly been successful. If the future is like
provide medical care for Sunrise associates. trust comes a long way. … I felt that they the past, the company will eventually have
He also owns a game preserve near Grand could cross over into what we’re doing, and 400-500 power units, and then more.
Island that Sunrise uses from time to time for hopefully bring in an energy and a drive to
employee outings and customer VIP visits. what we’re trying to accomplish. And easier Reaching that goal will be satisfying.
said than done, but it won’t be from lack of So will be trying to reach it. As Ray told
Last year, the oldest brother, David, joined trying.” Nebraska Trucker in 2004, he enjoys “those
the company. Three years older than Ray, he moments when everybody’s rolling and every-
had spent almost 40 years in the agriculture Outside the office, Ray has a rich life. He thing’s running smooth. There’s personal sat-
industry doing technical work, sales and and Shari have four grandkids. They have a isfaction in accomplishing what you thought
international sales. In the prime of his career boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, you couldn’t, in always pushing forward.
he was working for an Illinois company as where they have family gatherings. In his Because it’s not the end result. The enjoyment
president of international activities. Years spare time, he maintains what some might is in the chase.” Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 17

TRUMP REGULATORY may keep President Trump from slowing or 1. Carrier Safety Fitness Determi-
AGENDA outright reversing it, but the outcome on this nations (using the CSA system)
is probably less certain than the ELD rule. – published as a proposed rule in
Continued from page 11 January 2016;
The current moratorium is, however,
DOT. The same could be true for the recently very likely to affect the progress or future of 2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea – pub-
issued large truck ‘phase 2’ fuel efficien- other trucking rules in the pipeline. Below is lished as an advance notice of
cy standards, a key component of Presi- a short list of some of the more controversial proposed rule in March 2016;
dent Obama’s climate change action plan, trucking-related rules initiated by the Obama
although this rule was not congressionally Administration that will likely be snagged in 3. Speed Limiting Devices – published
directed. EPA and NHTSA established an Trump’s moratorium net, and either slowed as a proposed rule in September
effective date of late December 2016, which or perhaps even withdrawn. 2016;

HUB International Transportation Insurance Services, Inc. 4. Financial Responsibility for Car-
riers, Forwarders and Brokers
Customized trucking insurance – published as an advance notice
solutions, national coverage, local of proposed rule in late 2014, and
operations and dedicated people are awaiting further regulatory action.
what set HUB International apart.
Also, it’s important to note that the Entry
Jeff Dillon, Senior Account Executive  888-365-0923  [email protected] Level Driver Training regulation– recently
published as a final rule in December 2016, with an original effective date of February
2017, has been slowed down (slightly) under
the moratorium. Its February 2017 effec-
tive date has been pushed back to March
21, 2017. But, given the broad stakeholder
support for this rule, it’s very likely to move
forward in late March.

Keep in mind that the four controversial
trucking-related rules above are intended to
improve safety—both industry safety and
public safety—and withdrawing safety-re-
lated rules could prove difficult for the new

President Trump is not the first President
to impose a regulatory freeze, and he won’t
be the last. But, if his regulatory relief actions
match his campaign promises, the number
and type of regulations affecting the trucking
industry over the next four years is likely to
be very different than that of the last 8 years.

18 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017 Editor’s note: This article was updated as of
press time on Feb. 28.

Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transporta-
tion Consulting, LLC, has spent the last 30 years
working at the regulatory agency overseeing the
trucking industry and, more recently, as a policy,
regulatory and legislative expert at the American
Trucking Associations in Arlington, VA.

Along the Route

Recent events and news from Nebraska Trucker Advertisers

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Nebraska Truck Driving Championships Installs New Chair

BY NT STAFF pionships, which will be held June 2-3 in a HAZMAT table top exercise and various
Grand Island, is an annual event which offers hands-on inspections. The winner represents
The Nebraska Truck Driving Champion- Nebraska’s best professional truck drivers Nebraska in the Commercial Vehicle Safety
ships (NTDC) is pleased to announce David a chance to demonstrate knowledge, talent Alliance North American Inspector Cham-
J. Dailey with Lyman Richey Corporation, and skills in a competition highlighting pionships held in conjunction with ATA
Omaha as the new chairman. Daily accepted what it takes to be a safe driver on today’s National Truck Driving Championships.
the position on January 13. streets and highways. Ninety-eight drivers
participated in last year’s championships in The Nebraska Trucking Association’s
“I’m excited to serve as the chair of this ten classes. Additional awards are presented Safety Management Council organizes the
long-standing event. This event brings the based upon scores in the four separate test ar- championships and recruits more than 100
‘best of the best’ drivers in Nebraska in for a eas: written examination, personal interview, volunteers to staff the event each year. The
weekend of friendly competition, fellowship pre-trip inspection and driving test. Team Nebraska Trucking Association is the pro-
and is very family friendly. As chairman, I’m awards are also given to the company with vider of effective information, services and
pleased to announce that Make-A-Wish Ne- three or more drivers competing with the advocacy to Nebraska trucking companies
braska is our designated charity,’ said Dailey. highest overall score. and affiliated businesses.

Make-A-Wish Nebraska has a unique First place winners of the first nine classes
purpose; to enrich the human experience may advance to the American Trucking
with hope, strength and joy. ‘As a father Association’s (ATA) National Truck Driving
whose children has been recipients of wishes Championships, while the mixer truck first
granted,’ Daily continued, ‘ I am honored to place winner advances to the National Mixer
partner with them for this year’s Truck Driv- Driver Championship.
ing Championships.’
Also held during the championships is the
Vice Chairperson is Michelle Drahota of Nebraska State Patrol Inspector Champion-
Schultz Transportation Services, Lincoln. ships, which consists of a personal interview,

The Nebraska Truck Driving Cham-


Put the new logistics to work for you. © 2012 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. UPS, the UPS brandmark, and the color brown
20 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017 are trademarks of United Parcel Service of America, Inc. All rights reserved.

the Month
Mar. 9 March
Safety Management Council Lunch and Learn: Q& A with February
FMCSA, LaVista Eric Bauman,
Grand Island Express
Apr. 6 APRIL
Safety Management Council DOT Level One, Scottsbluff Eric has been with Grand Island Ex-
press for 27 years, accumulating nearly
MAY four million miles. He started as a stu-
May 7-10 ATA Leadership Meeting,San Antonio, TX visit dent with Grand Island Express and has been here since. His nominator comment-
Meeting for more information ed that, ‘He is a driver that, even with his
seniority, is willing to help whenever the
May 9 – 11 Safety Management Council Courtesy Safety Scale Checks company needs him to.
May 9: North Platte and May 11: Waverly

May 18 Spring Conference and PAC/Foundation Golf Outing, Ashland

May 27 MITA 2017 Nebraska World Trade Conference, visit for information

June 2-3 Nebraska Truck Driving Championships, Grand Island

Oct. 22 – 24 ATA Management Conference & Exhibition 2017 (MC&E),
Orlando, FL


You may view Nebraska Trucker — complete with sound effects — online with a Bauman with his wife, Tonya,
week of distribution. and daughter, MaKayla
Another awesome feature of this great new technology is that websites in the
digital magazine are “live.” So, viewers may click on a site featuring in an ad and Over the years, he has been a train-
be transported directly to an advertiser’s website. er and is still an active mentor to new
drivers. Eric represents one of the best
Check it out: drivers on the road by always driving
This is just one more service that we’re happy to offer defensively and is not satisfied if he is not
on behalf of our NT advertisers
Eric has more than 3.8 million acci- dent free miles, a 23-year member of the
President’s Safe Driving Club and was the
first place winner in the five axle sleeper
division of the 2015 Nebraska Truck
Driving Championships. Eric enjoys
spending time with his family and is an
active member of his church.

Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 21



80 Years of Helping to Build Nebraska

Ric Rivera – NMC Dispatch Manager Wyoming Highway Department, struck up a lot of pride in Nebraska, in the culture and
a friendship. The two, who both had ties to the people. Just solid Midwestern values and
BY TODD TRAUB Caterpillar thanks to their highway de- work ethic.”
Contributing Writer partment work, began to discuss opening a
dealership, with Norris hoping to mine ties in It was just such a work ethic that pro-
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS GRADY his native Nebraska. pelled NMC to expand from its genesis point
in North Platte to locations throughout the
Thanks to NMC and the heavy equip- Conversations with Caterpillar led to the state, and by 1987, after buying out two
ment it has sold and serviced through the men opening Nebraska Machinery Compa- other Caterpillar dealerships, the company
decades, construction crews in Nebraska have ny (now NMC) and landing the Caterpillar became Nebraska’s only Caterpillar dealer.
been able to turn a lot of dirt. dealership for western Nebraska.
While expanding physically the compa-
But then, how else does one put down “I knew that it was an established compa- ny also expanded its portfolio, moving into
roots? ny in Nebraska,” said Mizaur, who came to equipment sales and rental and service for
NMC after 13 years with Omaha-based Val- the power generation, material handling,
NMC, closing in on its 80th anniversa- mont Industries. “I also knew NMC because on-highway truck, agriculture, transport and
ry, is a Nebraska mainstay offering sales of we did business with them.” railroad industries.
Caterpillar and other brands of machinery
and equipment as well as parts, rentals and Valmont, a producer of products for in- Those enterprises led NMC to open
services. The company has had a role in some frastructure and agriculture -- like irrigation material handling facilities in Iowa and the
of the state’s most important construction equipment -- caught Mizaur’s eye while he Dakotas.
and building projects, and its longevity is was working on his law degree at Creighton.
part of its appeal, President and COO Nick He’d had a love of machinery since helping That’s the company that transport dis-
Mizaur said. his grandfather work on equipment on his patch manager Ric Rivera found when he
Iowa farm, and he stayed with Valmont after joined the team a year ago.
“From the company standpoint I think it’s he graduated, moving over to NMC nearly
a sense of pride,” Mizaur said. “Certainly it 10 years ago when he saw a fresh set of chal- “I actually knew some employees that
is for me personally and also for the compa- lenges and opportunities. worked here and also heard some excel-
ny. I think for our customers, it gives them a lent feedback from surrounding areas that
sense of confidence and trust that we’re going “Next year will be 80 years,” Mizaur NMC  is a great place to work,” said Rivera,
to be here for the days to come when they said, anticipating NMC’s 80th anniversary. a 22-year veteran of the transportation in-
do business with us. … They want to make “I’m proud to say I’ve been here 10 of the 80 dustry who got his start driving for Werner
sure that we’re going to be here to back that years.” Enterprises out of Omaha.
equipment and serve them.”
What Mizaur found when he arrived
NMC is rooted in the Great Depression, nearly a decade ago was a company deeply
tracing its lineage to 1938 when Joe Swan- rooted in its home state. NMC, in just its first
son and W.A. Norris, both employed by the year, provided earth-moving equipment for
the Kingsley Dam project, which became the
second-largest hydraulic fill dam in the world.

With the passage of the Federal Aid Act
of 1956 came the interstate highway system,
and again NMC was part of the project.

“From a company perspective we take
a lot of pride in it,” Mizaur said of NMC’s
entrenched role in Nebraska history. “There’s

22 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

Rivera’s father was in the Air Force and guys face every day and to me it’s exciting to from finding balance during growth – not to
Rivera spent his formative years overseas, see how they meet hose challenges,” Rivera overinvest in the growing business while also
swearing to himself that when he got back said. “If there’s an obstacle that’s in front of trying not to be too restrictive on personnel
to the states he’d actually try to see a lot of them they find a way to get around it and or infrastructure investments. And he said
them. He signed on with Werner as a driver make it happen. To me that’s more exciting finding quality technical talent is a challenge
for five years, with the understanding that he than anything else.” for anybody in the equipment business.
would eventually transition to management.
For Mizaur too, the daily, on-the-job But both men agreed it is a little easier
“I got to see the first 48 my first five pleasure comes from seeing the employees to meet challenges within the community
years,” said Rivera, who went on to spend the succeed. environment of the Nebraska Trucking Asso-
rest of his time keeping other drivers on the ciation. Being able to pick the brains of one’s
road before finding an opportunity too good “The thing that I love about NMC is that peers on topics ranging from maintenance to
to pass up at NMC. we have an entrepreneurial culture and the the newest equipment on the market and to
thing about having an entrepreneurial culture be brought up to speed on new legislation or
“It enabled me to learn a lot more than is it allows me to work with people in all regulations is an immeasurable help, Rivera
what I had known about the transportation the different divisions we have, in helping to said. The membership may include compa-
industry,” he said. grow those divisions and then working with nies who are business competitors, but the
the customers to improve their businesses.” individuals are kindred spirits.
As a former driver and one who works
closely with drivers in dispatch, Rivera is One of the most exciting recent develop- “It kind of makes it nice to talk about
keenly aware of the special skills the drivers ments from Mizaur’s standpoint is the NMC different things and the challenges we’re
at NMC have. Truck Centers move toward servicing all facing,” Rivera said. “The end result is we’re
makes and models of trucks as the company’s all transporting something.”
Not only do they have to drive big trucks old mainstay Caterpillar has moved away
loaded with heavy machinery, the drivers from the on-highway truck engine business. Whether interacting with the Association
have to safely and legally navigate those or working with its own employees, NMC
trucks to constructions sites, sometimes over “That’s been a part of our expansion. has thrived on relationships and people. But,
dirt roads and terrain that is less than ideal. Recently, we have focused on the all-makes- Mizaur said, that’s always something you can
and-models truck business,” Mizaur said. build on.
“A five-mile trip may be 15 or 20 miles by
the time we’re done,” Rivera said. Expansion has also included the material “I’m very excited about the future and
handling division’s new location in Sioux about The NMC Group and our prospects of
The drivers also have to know how to Falls, S.D., and a new workshop in Fargo, growing the company,” he said. “Again it’s re-
operate the equipment they are hauling so N.D. ally about people, great people, and we have
they can get it off the trucks and brief the some of the best employees in the state and
customer who will use it. “It’s affected the workload but the quality country, and certainly you can do anything
of employees we have, we’re already able to with the right people.”
“There’s a lot of challenges that these handle that,” Rivera said of the company’s
growth mode.

Mizaur said the big challenge comes Issue 1, 2017 - Nebraska Trucker 23

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24 Nebraska Trucker - Issue 1, 2017

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