41 Years Driving at K&J - Q&A with Steve Snow
Steve Snow has been with K&J since 1982. Yes, you read that right. He's been a K&J company driver for an impressive 41 years. When he joined us, the internet hadn't even been invented, computers were the size of whole desktops, CDLs were known as chauffeur's licenses, and electronic logging was inconceivable.
Back then, Steve called Canistota, SD home. Now, he and his wife Pam (along with their two dogs and six cats) have made Guymon, OK their base. Interestingly, Steve met Pam through K&J when she used to work at our Guymon office!
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with Steve to get a glimpse into his life on the road and his history with K&J Trucking.
Q: How did you get into trucking?
When I graduated from high school, I went to work for a new truck stop they built outside of Canistota, SD. After about 6 months of that, I joined the Navy and served 4 years. I was stationed in Hawaii, Florida, and Alaska.
When I was discharged, I didn't know what I wanted to do next, so I went to Midwest Coast's Truck Driving School in Sioux Falls. I worked at MCT for a few years and then tried a few different companies before settling in at K&J 41 years ago.
Q: How did you get your start at K&J?
At that time, I was working for a company called Kansas Arizona Motor Express. They did a lot of runs to Arizona and back. I had a lease purchase truck (a three-tone blue Ford CL-9000) with them and my wife at the time drove with me, along with our Chinese pug, Mugsy. I actually taught my wife how to drive. Back then you didn't need to go through all the hoops.
In 1981 the company unexpectedly shut down and I lost my truck. I saw that K&J trucks went to all the same places we had gone. So, I decided to come over here and check them out, and this is where I stayed. But when I lost that truck, I decided I didn't want to lease ever again.
Q: What was your worst Trucking Job?
I had a boss at one company that I had to run down to get a paycheck. I had to track him down at whatever bar he was at. When I started with him, he had 15 trucks and he drank his way down to nothing. It was sad.
Q: What is your most memorable story oTR?
I was in the truck driving championships many times and went to nationals four times! I went once in Long Beach, CA and three times in Minneapolis, MN. I don't know how it always ended up in Minneapolis when I won it. The one in Long Beach was fun!
Q: What Was Your first truck?
It was a 1974 GMC Astro. But I don't even remember the color!
Q: What is your Weirdest OTR story?
I'm a really boring truck driver! I don't really have anything funny. I got unintentionally involved in a highway chase in Utah! Cops were chasing a meth addict and he crashed into a tour bus and then crossed the median and hit me while trying to escape law enforcement. I couldn't believe he got out okay! He then tried to get into the tour bus that he hit and tried to pretend he was just riding the bus. It was crazy.
Q: What’s the best thing about being at a company for so long?
I never have to fill out a job application. That's the real reason I've stayed so long. I'm kidding. People who change jobs all the time are always trying to climb their way up, so why jump from bottom to bottom when you can be at the top?
I had to fill out an app when I started and they pretty much handed me the keys right away. Not like today! At the time K&J had one dispatcher and one gal in the office and that was it besides Dave if I remember correctly. Shelley might have been in the background, but I don't remember for sure.
Q: What is something about truck driving you are proud of?
My longevity with one company! 41 years in one company and next March will be 50 years in the industry. I don't think I've ever had a speeding ticket since coming on at K&J.
I have never had an accident where I was at fault. Sometimes life happens and people hit you, but I have avoided causing damage. I'm pretty proud of that.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to new truck drivers?
If I was going to get into the industry I would go to work for a small company like K&J. That is one reason why I've stayed here. Here you are not just a number, you're an individual.
My experience with K&J Trucking has been one of the best decisions I've made in my lifetime. Working for a company that is God-given, family-based, and family-run.
Q: What is the biggest change?
Hours of service. Back in the day, you had more control over your log book and you could do something besides sit in the truck and drive. You could use your truck for more things like going to see things. It is harder to use personal conveyance now. I used to really enjoy going around and finding golf courses I liked.
There was one particular course in Utah that I could hit and then get back in the truck and keep driving. My father also used to enjoy riding with me. I remember one Sunday morning we were in Miami, got unloaded, and went down to the aquarium and watched a marine show.
Q: What do you want to be remembered by at K&J (not that we are ever letting you leave)?
My longevity I suppose. I'm not very exciting. But what Shelley will probably remember is when I pulled a prank on a fellow driver years ago.
We had a bunch of old, beat-up equipment that we were letting another company store in the back of our lot. So one day I told Scott, another driver, that Shelley sold his truck and he was going to have to move into one of the old trucks parked in the back of the lot. Scott was freaking out. He kept calling Shelley to ask if it was true.
The best part is Scott wouldn't believe Shelley, he really thought that she was going to sell his truck out from under him! Shelley told him, "Don't believe Steve, he does nothing but lie to you!"
And then she told me no more pranks.
Here are some photos of Steve at K&J throughout the years. (Press red arrows to navigate.)
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