Cover Story- Over The Road
Doyle Neeley—Ozark Motor Lines, Inc.
Doyle Neeley first got behind the wheel of a big rig in 1973. “I always wanted to drive for a living, but my wife told me I wasn’t that smart,” he says with a laugh. “Well, a neighbor across the street owned a couple of trucks, and he taught me how to drive ’em. That was back before we needed CDLs to get a job, and I was running over the road in no time.”
The young man paid his dues while running with a couple of trucking companies, and along the way he sharpened his skills and gained important driving experience. One big lesson he took with him was that management did not always deliver fair treatment and respect.
Doyle spoke with a lot of fellow drivers, and he heard that things were different at Memphis, TN-based Ozark Motor Lines, Inc. In 1992 he made the decision to get on-board, and he’s never looked back.
“Ozark has traffic lanes that run right by my hometown of Chattanooga, and that makes it easy for me to get home regularly,” says Doyle. “I like the way they treat me, too. They’ve always given me the time I need to take care of family matters, and that means a lot.”
In fact, Doyle suffered a heart attack just over a year ago and was laid up in bed for eight long months. The folks at Ozark checked in regularly to see how Doyle was feeling and reassured him that his job would always be there. Late in the fall, his patience and rehabilitation paid off, and he was able to get rolling with Ozark once again.
Doyle enjoys life in Chattanooga with his wife, Marie. “Marie has always been there for me through the years, and that has made all the difference,” says Doyle. “A trucking wife has to be understanding and trustful, and she has to take care of all the business at home while her husband is on the road. Marie has fulfilled that role for me.”
The Neeleys are the proud parents of a son, Dwight, and a daughter, Dawn, now both grown. Dwight has proudly followed in his father’s footsteps by choosing to lease on to Ozark as an owner-operator. He’s been there for 11 years, just three shy of his dad.
When he’s not racking up the miles for Ozark, Doyle enjoys camping with his family in his Sun Vista motor home. As for the future, he plans to stay out on the road for a few more years. “I love being my own boss,” says Doyle, “and I enjoy running with Ozark. If you come to Ozark, and you’re willing to run hard, there is no reason in the world that you can’t run 2,500 miles a week or more. That’s the way to be successful in this business.”
The staff of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines would like to wish Doyle and Dwight continued success with Ozark Motor Lines. For more information on company driver and owner operator opportunities available at the company, see their ads on the back cover of this issue, along with an insert card.