Jessica and Chris Reece are a husband and wife team from Toney, AL, who are fairly new to Bennett. They decided to make the switch to Bennett after Jessica heard a speech given by Bennett’s CEO Marcia Taylor at the Mid-America Trucking Show.
“It really struck me how Marcia talked about the importance of faith in a room full of women who don’t necessarily share the same beliefs,” says Jessica.
And the rest, as they say, is history. We interviewed Jessica about their journey to Bennett, and why they continue to stay with us. Here’s what Jessica shared:
Bennett: What is it like to drive as a team?
Jessica: We don’t feel we really drive team any more. We can, but we prefer to drive more super solo than anything else. I am an early riser. I like to be up before the sun and get my day going. Usually, if I can get up, get coffee, start driving, or start researching our day, then in a few hours I’ll be human to others. (My grandmother always said I was just like her, an early riser, but definitely NOT a morning person.) I like being able to spend my grumpy hours with two of the most important things, a big cup of coffee and a WHOLE LOT of Jesus. After a few hours, Chris wakes up and can get his coffee going, see what is going on, make his plans for the rest of the day, and take over driving at about noon. He tends to stay up later, so this sort of schedule works for us. He will generally stop driving at about 9 or 10 so we can sleep together with the truck not moving. The hours we sleep together in a stationary truck are the best hours of sleep. We CAN run pretty much nonstop, only stopping to fuel and swap, but neither of us sleeps as well for the first couple of days in that scenario. We used to do it, and ran 6,000 – 7,000 miles a week.
We have just found we prefer to keep to our schedule that works for us. It allows us to read the Bible together, listen to church together (our church livestreams service on Sunday and Wednesday), or listen to another sermon we’ve heard about. It allows us to be a better couple. We aren’t perfect. We are both two imperfect people who are simply trying to do all we can to ensure our family continues to be successful, and support our local church and all the wonderful missions we are aware of. When we put God at the head of all we do, and make our petitions known to Him, He works for us to ensure we are successful. We have to daily remember we are imperfect, and place our faith in the only one who is perfect. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Bennett: How did you become interested in driving a truck professionally?
Jessica: Chris wanted to drive a truck from the time he was little. We have pictures of several of his birthday cakes as he was growing up having trucks on them or in the shape of trucks. As soon as he was legally of age to go to truck driving school, he borrowed the money from his grandparents and went to school so he could drive.
When the economy turned for the worst, Chris realized that perhaps trucking was the way we could keep our house, and ensure I was able to keep my promise to my girls to graduate from the same high school they started. (I was a dual Army brat who went to seventeen different schools before I graduated high school, so I desperately wanted my girls to have more stability in high school.)
Bennett: What made you decide to drive for Bennett?
Jessica: In 2011, when several things happened at the company we were with, we realized we needed to own our own truck. We looked at several companies, and Bennett was one that got the phone call to find out if they had a Rider Policy and if our youngest daughter could be with us full-time. Because of the inability to bring her, we decided Bennett was not a good fit for us. In 2015, I attended the Women in Trucking event at MATS and met Marcia Taylor very briefly. It really struck me how Marcia talked about the importance of faith in a room full of women who don’t necessarily share the same beliefs. I told Chris that we needed to keep Bennett on the radar of possible companies.
This year when the company we were with decided to stop paying in a timely manner, we looked into what else we could do. We decided that Bennett was again a company we needed to consider, and put it in His hands. We passed all necessary checks and started orientation in record time. The final piece to the puzzle is in His hands right now. Our youngest daughter is in the application process with Pensacola Christian College. She will hopefully be able to complete her senior year of high school at Pensacola Christian Academy while living in the dorms on the college campus. It is very scary, but we really want our daughter to be successful in life and feel this is the best choice for her. Besides, if it is His will, He will open doors no man can close, and close doors no man can open.
Bennett: What are some of the reasons you continue to drive for Bennett?
Jessica: We haven’t been at Bennett for very long at all. However, our main reason for staying is because we feel He really has a reason for us here. Bennett’s continued focus the importance of drivers is another reason we continue to push through any difficulties.
Bennett: Have you had any surprises since starting that have come up, or problems that have had to be resolved?
Jessica: We had several hiccups in our short tenure. We had an issue with our temp tag, and another ensuring our rating was sufficient for the loads we were wanting to haul. However, Noah, and especially Linda have done their best to ensure everything was fixed. While we still haven’t heard from someone with a final word on whether the DOT officer was right or the tag department was right in reference to the temp tag, I am sure our issue at the very least made sure the tag department understands drivers, for the most part, are not going to argue with a DOT officer.
Bennett: What is one of the best things about driving for Bennett?
Jessica: The freedom. It is our truck, our trailer, so it’s our business to succeed or fail. Bennett supplies the tools to ensure we can do well, and it is up to us to use those tools. Those tools are not only the technology tools, but the wonderful Bennett family.
Bennett: What is something that could be improved upon?
Jessica: As with all family, there are difficulties at times. However, I do feel like Bennett tries to figure out how to improve along the way. One area I feel could be improved upon is for some departments to utilize technology improvements. The permitting process for over-dimensional loads depends upon calling with all the required information and hoping that everything is written correctly. Because our truck is so specialized, we have taken to sending an email with all the required information and following up to ensure there was no miscommunication. It seems this same information could be put in an online form, again so that there will be fewer mistakes and then the information could be accessed by multiple people in case someone becomes ill or has to go home. Again, I realize our truck is different than most, but that is why I am a stickler for detail and ensuring everything is right.
Bennett: Is there anything you’ve discovered since starting to drive for Bennett that you didn’t previously know about the company?
Jessica: Before we started orientation, we didn’t know all the different pieces of Bennett International Group. We didn’t know that Ace Doran was acquired by Bennett. We didn’t know about the Truck Transport division, or all the other divisions. Finding out about all of those pieces gave us confidence that we are with a company that will survive, simply due to the diversification if nothing else.
If you’re looking to make the change and drive for Bennett, or if you’d just like more information, visit drive4bme.com, or contact one of our recruiters at 888-712-3036!