Carrier Spotlight of the Month: Parrish Leasing Co.The Road
In 1970, Herschel and Elaine Parrish founded Parrish Leasing, a company that put Herschel’s love of trucks to good use. Today, the company has grown into a successful trucking business in Freeburg, IL, with 100 trucks on the road. The Parrish family still owns the company, and the third generation still plays an active role in the day-to-day management of the fleet. Parrish is our carrier of the month.
Historically, the company’s initial hauling interests required dump trailers, but after a tornado swept through Freeburg in 1969, Parrish purchased van trailers to meet the storage demand in town while they rebuilt the local high school. Once the school was complete, those van trailers “hit the road” to haul paper products and beer. Since then, they’ve expanded to also include some flatbed, refrigerated, open top, and drop deck equipment. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Donna Kisgen, third generation Parish owner, to discuss the business and the industry at large.
What makes your company unique?
Because there is no aspect of our business that is not actively managed by a member of the Parrish family, our employees and customers can be assured they will receive personal attention from someone with a deep interest in excellence. We have been made stewards of the customer’s freight entrusted to us and of the employees that work for us. We take the handling and managing of both very seriously.
How do third party logistics providers (3PLs) impact your business?
3PLs are another partner in the transportation industry. We have built many strong relationships through these organizations. With their help, and the relationships we developed, we can move our trucks more efficiently.
When working with a customer for the first time, what are your expectations?
Like any new relationship, a measure of grace on both sides goes a long way.
If you could change one thing about the transportation industry, what would it be?
Knowing our drivers and the level of professionalism and pride that they bring to their jobs, it would be nice to give them a bit more independence back as drivers. We are so locked down by hours of service, managed fuel stops, and the like that their jobs have become much like the factory job of the past that many of them tried to escape to begin with. The regulations and managed schedules are necessary for safety and efficiency, but it has taken some of the “open road” feel out of the career.
What should the general public know about the trucking industry?
As stated above, the majority of truck drivers that we see in our industry enjoy their jobs and take pride in what they do. These men and women leave their families, usually on a Sunday, to live in a small compartment for most of the week and eat their meals on the road or out of a cooler. (Eating out sounds good at first, but it gets tiresome and expensive!)
As drivers, they have to keep an eye on all of their equipment. And, simply because it is equipment, it needs routine care, and occasionally breaks down—usually without warning. Their office is the nation’s highway system where the motoring public travels around their rigs and forgets that there are blind spots where the drivers can’t see. Motorists often forget these rigs cannot stop with the same immediacy as the average car or pickup truck.
Truck drivers routinely deliver into very tight alleys, docks, and buildings with a skill that is often unappreciated by the dock workers, guards, or local traffic. Instead, they treat the driver as an inconvenience.
These men and women of the road are hard working professionals who are a vital cog in the wheel of our nation’s economy. It may be overused, but the phrase, “If you have it, a truck brought it” is very true for all of us. Let’s give them a little space and a lot more respect.
What industry or technology innovations have improved efficiency within your business?
We are proud to have partnered with McLeod Software back in 2010. The efficiencies and reporting capabilities that their system has brought to the table has been worth all of the expense of time and money required in changing software systems. Because of them, we have capabilities usually reserved for much bigger carriers. For example, the EDI communications that we have put into place with some of our larger customers have become invaluable to us in time saved and accuracy gained.
Peoplenet has also been a strong partner for our company. The integration that we have been able to implement between our rolling stock equipment and our operating software has freed up many data entry hours and given us great information to use in fine tuning our organization.
Any last thoughts you’d like to add?
Parrish Leasing is proud to be part of the trucking industry. We strive to promote a safe, family-friendly work environment for our drivers and office staff. This same office staff works hard to get the drivers scheduled through home each and every week because we understand the importance and strength of family—both at work and at home.