How long driving: 16 years
Owner-operator leased to Phil Walker Trucking
Hauls: Flatbed, step deck
Route: All over the U.S.
Drives: 1999 Peterbilt
Birthday: July 9, 1973
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Roderick Henry of Atkinson, N.C., did plenty of odd jobs before he turned 21, but after that birthday his trucker dad was ready to get him into the business.
“When I turned 21 my dad paid for me to go to school and then I worked for my dad for about four years,” said Henry. “Then he helped me get my own truck.”
Henry attended driving school in Benson, N.C. at Alliance.
Henry spent those first four years driving with his dad and then set out on his own, but leased to his dad’s company, Phil Walker Trucking, a small company with eight trucks.
Henry currently has a 1999 Peterbilt and hauls loads all over the U.S. His sister, who owns a small trucking company that isn’t currently active, helps Henry with his paperwork since she is also an accountant.
Henry said he likes trucking mostly for the freedom it allows; not having someone looking over his shoulder 24/7.
On the other side, what he dislikes most about trucking is “brokers cutting the freight. It’s been the same the whole time I’ve been out here.”
Henry lives with his girlfriend and three children ages 18, 17, and 6 years. He gets home every week and stays home two to three days at a time.
“I don’t stay out two to three weeks at a time,” Henry said.
When he’s home he likes to relax, cook, and spend time with his family. He also lives near the ocean and goes there all the time.
Henry doesn’t expect to stay in trucking until he’s old enough to retire since he has a backup plan.
“I have my heating and air certification,” he said, adding that he took a year off from driving a truck to get that. “If I can get 10 more years of trucking, that’s going to be it. Then I’ll do heating and air.”
Henry is currently running loads with his brother, Dedric Murphy, while Dedric gets experience and then he’ll get his own truck. They typically drive 10 hours and switch.
Henry keeps a good attitude about what he’s doing.
“I feel if you’re going to be in it, you must have a positive attitude,” he said. “If you are going to do something there’s no need in hating it. [The pay] takes care of my family.
“Life is great. It is. You have got to look at everything in a positive way. Joy comes in the morning.”
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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