- Marten Transport, Ltd.
Spend a few minutes with Don Pickford, and you’ll know that he truly is a driving professional. Don has been a part of the trucking industry since 1979, he has driven for Mondovi, WI-based Marten Transport, Ltd. for 18 years, and he is fast approaching his one-millionth safe driving mile with the company.
Thirty years ago, Don was working in the steel industry, and he was discouraged as the economy slumped and he saw few opportunities for advancement and a higher income. Ready for new challenges, Don began driving for a small bedding company, mostly on local and intrastate runs.
This driving job led to others with runs covering greater distances, and Don learned that he had found the right career. “I enjoyed traveling and driving long hours, so I thought ‘Why not make a living doing this?’” he explains. “The longer you do the job, the more comfortable you become, and the better the lifestyle you can achieve.”
1n 1991, after working for a couple of motor carriers that ran into financial problems, Don was eager to join a large, stable company with a strong track record of success. He found what he was looking for at Marten. “I hadn’t driven much refrigerated freight before coming to Marten, but it was an important factor for me in deciding to go with them,” says Don. “People need to eat no matter how bad the economy gets, and that means steady work for drivers running reefer loads. Marten’s ability to haul dry van freight, also, means even greater opportunities for steady runs.
“Marten keeps me moving, and I make a good income,” Don continues. “They have grown tremendously since I hired on, and their stability has really paid off in these tough times. There’s no doubt that they are some of the best people I’ve ever worked for.”
Don started out running over-the-road with Marten, then he ran city routes in Atlanta for 10 years. “Driving city means running from whenever to whenever, day or night, often battling traffic,” explains Don. “That’s the hard way to drive your miles!”
About three years ago, Don began running with Marten’s Southeast Region, and the change has worked out well. Don sits behind the wheel of a 2007 Freightliner condo, and he praises the quality of the equipment at Marten and the careful maintenance it receives. Don averages 2,200 to 2,400 miles a week as a regional driver, and he has most weekends off. “Usually I get home late Friday or early Saturday, then head out again late Sunday to make a Monday delivery,” says Don. “I just couldn’t drive the system routes any more and stay out for weeks at a time. I guess you could say I’ve been there, done that.”
One important reason that Don enjoys spending his weekends at home is Robin, his wife of 24 years. Another is his love of N-gauge model railroading, a hobby he shares with his sons Donald and Robert, both grown. Even his four grandchildren are in on the fun. Don is also proud of his two daughters-in-law.
The staff of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines would like to wish Don Pickford continued success with Marten Transport. If you would like to learn more about the regional driving opportunities available now at Marten, give one of their recruiters a call at 800-395-3331, visit their Web site at marten.com or see their ad on pages 12-13 of this issue.