Spotlight on an American Trucker: K&J Trucking Inc., Calhan, CO

Spotlight on an American Trucker: K&J Trucking Inc., Calhan, CO

Kevin and Janice Peterson, owners

The Petersons started K&J Trucking in 1986. Kevin had been pulling weekday loads for the local farmers co-op, but when he purchased a new Freightliner in 1989, “the revenue and payments just didn’t match” so he and Janice got a team load to Chicago on weekends. A friend and retired company driver then asked to take Janice’s position, and later asked if he and his son could team on the Chicago run. At the same time, Kevin’s sister and her husband moved to Colorado and were having a hard time finding work so Kevin taught him to drive. And that’s how K&J Trucking began. The company handles freight that works in a convertible grain wagon, van, reefer, and flatbed. Equipment includes a Freightliner FLD, Columbia, and Cascadias, pulling a Timpte convertible grain wagon, Wabash vans and reefers, and East and Raven flatbeds.

Q: How are maintenance and repairs handled? What do you do in your own shop?
A: For greasing, checking tires, fixing small items, the driver takes the truck home. If a tire needs to be changed, or wheel seal replaced, etc., the truck and trailer comes to the shop. For any major items, the truck or trailer is sent to Freightliner, Stewart & Stevenson’s, Wabash or a facility OTR for repair.

Q: How do you minimize downtime? What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
A: Solving the problem is real hard. The drivers are required to do a pre- and post-inspection every day along with checking out the truck every three hours. It still does not work. When the drivers are back in Colorado, they complain 35 mi. one way is too far for someone to pick them up. That’s why we allow them to keep the truck at home for minor maintenance; otherwise, the truck comes back to the shop.

Q: How do you ensure good mileage from tires?
A: I check the air pressure. I also put Equal in all tires for truck and trailers. I try to get drivers to stop and check the tires every three hours. Also, we get a good alignment on the trucks when tires are replaced. Once a year, an alignment is done on trailers.

Q: What programs do you have in place to ensure CSA compliance for your trucks and/or trailers?
A: We use J.J. Keller documentation for our CSA programs. Every month the drivers receive a Transportation Safety Training Newsletter to read and test. Also, we care about the driver’s health by providing them access to J.J. Keller’s Living Right: Your Health and Wellness Awareness Program.

Q: What does your company do best?
A: We treat our drivers as family. If they need to be home for a special event, etc., we make sure they’re home. We offer benefits and bonuses for doing an excellent job. The primary focus when we started was just to give me a job I loved. Then when the others needed work, I enjoyed working with them. But hiring drivers since has not been enjoyable. The old-timers have a different work ethic. They appreciate a place to work and respect their employers.

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