From One Flatbed Load to the Next: The Story of Joe Allen

April 9, 2019

Before my truck is empty, my Coyote rep's got us booked on another load. She always works hard to find us something.”

- Joe Allen, driver for Joseph A. Tomaski Trucking

 

Facts About Joe Allen

  • Truck driver for 28 years
  • Enjoys working with Coyote to locate available freight
  • Hauls primarily flatbed
  • Drives with his fiancé and their two dogs

At Right: Joe Allen, his fiancé Sloan, and their dogs Jake and Kilo

 

Joe Allen of Joseph A. Tomaski Trucking has been a driver for almost 30 years. In that time, he’s worked for trucking companies big and small. He’s also worked with multiple 3PLs and brokers. Now, he works for himself as a proud owner-operator and works his Coyote rep, Katie, to locate available flatbed freight—no matter the state of the market.

We talked with Joe about his years on the road and what it’s like living on the road with his fiancé and dogs.

Coyote: Why did you choose to become a truck driver?

Joe Allen: My grandfather drove trucks. My father drove trucks. It’s always been in the family, so it felt natural for me to get into trucking.

C: How long have you been a truck driver?

JA: I’ve been driving for 28 years. I have worked for larger companies, smaller ones and have been under my own authority. I liked hauling for smaller companies better—they treat you like family. However, I like operating under my own authority best. I really like being my own boss.

C: And what kind of truck do you have?

JA: I drive a 2011 Kenworth that I put 1,003,700 miles on. I haul mostly flatbed freight, but I have done some power-only dry van loads with Coyote to support UPS Peak Season too. That’s been helpful when it’s slower in the open deck market, which it usually is once winter hits. It’s important to be flexible when looking for freight, especially flatbed freight, and Coyote always finds something that works for me. 

C: I heard you have a few passengers riding with you in that 2011 Kenworth.

JA: That’s right. My wife-to-be Sloane and our two dogs, Jake (a 20-year-old red-nosed pit bull) and Kilo (a year-old dingo). Katie calls us the Bonnie and Clyde of over-the-road. We’re on the road year-round, but we take a few weeks off to get back home and visit my family.

C: And how did you meet Sloane?

JA: We actually met at work. I took a break from trucking for a bit to move back home to Pennsylvania and started working in construction. She worked for the same company and we clicked right away. After a while I realized construction wasn’t for me and I missed driving.

I like trucking, being out here on the road, being my own boss, it’s just better. When I told her I had to get back into it, Sloane said, “I’ll go with you” - and she did! That was four years ago and now we’re together 24/7 on the road.

C: How did you find out about Coyote?

JA: I was hauling for a couple different 3PLs and brokers, but I wasn’t very happy. They wouldn’t give us a reload until we were empty with the one we had. We ended up doing a lot of sitting and waiting instead of driving. I have a friend who has a truck, and he recommended Coyote to me. So I called in, and ended up getting hooked up with my Coyote rep, Katie.

C: What’s it like working with Coyote?

JA: Well above the rest. She works hard to keep us loaded—before I get empty, she’s already looking for another load for us. I’ve been working with Katie for three years now, who specializes in finding flatbed loads, so she knows exactly the type of freight that I will want and that will work with my equipment. Coyote has always paid on time—except a few times where we had to straighten out some paperwork errors. Overall, it’s been a very good experience.

C: How do you deal with the ups and downs of the freight market?

JA: Flatbed freight in general is very seasonal, so I’m used to having to get resourceful. It’s a lot easier to find in the warmer months than during the winter, but Katie’s great about finding flatbed loads that work for us all year. If there isn’t enough flatbed freight available, Katie finds other loads through UPS and in dry van that I can haul.

C: Can you think of a time when Coyote’s gone above and beyond for you?

JA: I can tell you a story that pretty much sums up what it’s been like working with Katie. A couple years ago, we were delivering a load of HVAC units to a job site in Chicago. We had an employee from the previous delivery show us how to navigate the city streets to the next delivery site. Well, we came up to a bridge that didn’t have enough clearance, so I stopped—and the person who was helping us just kept going. They didn’t pick up the phone and the guy never came back.

So, I called Katie. Well it just so happens the Coyote office was only a few miles away, so she just hopped in her car in the middle of the day. Katie met up with us on the side of the road, then drove ahead and scouted out all the bridge clearances to get us to the job site. Together, we got it figured out and eventually delivered to the job site.

 

Want to learn how other carriers in the Coyote network keep their trucks moving and grow their fleets? Read the story of Monica Byers of Sugar Creek Transportation, who grew her fleet by 13x while working with Coyote.

Read Sugar Creek's Growth Story Here

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