Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Owner-operator chooses to ‘stay focused’ on what he believes is important


Wednesday, October 20, 2010
by BARB KAMPBELL

Owner-operator Steven Wynn believes in staying focused on what’s important: his spiritual beliefs, family, and remembering that money is not everything. (The Trucker: BARB KAMPBELL)
Owner-operator Steven Wynn believes in staying focused on what’s important: his spiritual beliefs, family, and remembering that money is not everything. (The Trucker: BARB KAMPBELL)

Wynn file:
How long driving: 14 years
Owner-operator for Atlas Van Lines
Hauls: Electronics, trade shows
Lives in: Los Angeles
Drives: 2007 Volvo
Birthday: Dec. 29, 1959
Favorite place to drive: Toward home

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sometimes a regular nine-to-five job gets boring and people look for something different.

Steven Wynn wasn’t really looking for a change while working at the University of California, Los Angeles (better known as UCLA), where he spent his days putting old books on microfilm in the reprographic services department there. That is until one day he saw a Mayflower recruiter looking for drivers.

“I hopped on a plane and they trained me,” he said. “I was just ready for a change. It was a very good change.”

Wynn said the reasons he likes trucking include: 1) The money; and 2) Living in California his whole life the job helps him avoid some of the challenges of being at home. “This job actually keeps me out of trouble,” he said. And he gets to see the country.

“Now I’ve settled into it and I’ve accepted it as a profession,” Wynn added. “At first it was just fun — now I’ve accepted the nuances of the business. It is a business.”

Wynn still lives in Los Angeles. He is contracted to Mayflower Van Lines and hauls all kinds of loads including electronics and setups for trade shows. His hub is in Chicago and he drives all 48 states. Wynn’s been driving for 14 year, all of which he’s done as an owner-operator.

“Sometimes it gets a little rough in the money situation,” Wynn said. “There are dry spells. Sometimes guys want to fight for freight. I stay loaded pretty good.

“I like the umbrella that Atlas provides. They deal with our pay. They pay me. I am paid a percentage of each load — 53 percent per load.”

Wynn said Mayflower used to haul a lot of trade shows, primarily the booth setup.

“We don’t do as many as we once did,” he said. “That used to be our main thing. A lot of people are not as comfortable. The collapse of the economy showed a lot of people how undisciplined we have been financially.”

Wynn has two daughters ages 31 and 28, and one 10-year-old grandson, Cameron. He said because of a tight schedule he doesn’t get to see them as much as he would like. His youngest daughter, Kimberly, lives in Ohio and is working as a secretary in a trucking company while waiting to take a test to be certified as a doctor so she can practice family medicine.

Ebony, 31, his oldest daughter lives in Mississippi where she is a single parent to Cameron and works in food services for events in Mississippi.

Wynn said he thinks that CSA 2010 is a step in the right direction.

“I think that all of it is good,” he said. “I may get caught up in it, though. If it saves lives and has a positive impact as a whole, I’m all for it. I see a lot of things that can be improved [in trucking]. [For instance] texting and talking on phones — a lot of drivers aren’t aware of how much damage a truck can do to a small car.

“I don’t like the idea that we’ll be charged points for our equipment. Mechanical problems and issues are not fair to us as a driver.”

Wynn’s typical day includes driving time of eight to 10 hours. He doesn’t have trouble finding a place to park because he’s good at parking his truck, he said, and while others may pass up a spot because they can’t fit in it, “I feel like there’s always a spot for me.”

Often drivers complain about others on the CB, at truck stops, and even on the road, but not Wynn.

“I don’t have any issues with anyone out here,” he said. “I leave my home with one issue — to feed my family. The CB and my cell phone have off buttons. These people [out on the road] are not paying me. They are not supporting me. They don’t know me.

“Drivers are pretty much considerate to others. I’ve seen other drivers stop after a trucker is broken down.”

Wynn relayed something he tells others about what happens when a person becomes a trucker: “If I was a jerk before I started driving, I’d be able to do that nationwide. It doesn’t change who you are.”

When The Trucker saw Wynn’s truck with “Stay Focused” written on the driver’s side we asked what he meant by that.

“I believe in God wholeheartedly,” he said. “I have to keep my eye on the things that are important to me. Stay focused on my spiritual beliefs, think of my family, and most of all remember that money is not everything.

“I try not to let what I do for a living interfere with my personal relationships. I have to be mindful of that all the time.”

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barbkampbell@thetrucker.com.

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