The Week's Features
Consultations will take place over the summer
It’s not the horn … it’s how they’re used
And it is everywhere on the unit!
Web-based platform will grant fleet managers easy access to data
More than 100 million accounts are in some form of modification program
Events
Cleveland, OH.
Aug. 19-22, 2020
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept 9-12, 2020
San Antonio, TX.
Oct. 15-17, 2020
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 19-22, 2020
Dates for Cleveland, Las Vegas, and San Antonio shows moved forward to August, September and October
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing June 22 - June 29, 2020

10W-30 Fleet Diesel Oil

product3.25.2020 f93a7Hot Shot’s Secret recently added a 10W-30 blend to its Green Diamond Fleet Full Synthetic Group III/Group IV engine oil line. Green Diamond Fleet is specially formulated for use in diesel-powered vehicles that experience extreme temperatures, heavy loads, stop-and-go operations or high airborne particulates. As a severe-duty diesel oil, it is a replacement for any CF-4, CJ-4, CI-4 and CI-4 Plus specification oil. Green Diamond Fleet 10W-30 is available in either a 1-gal. or 5-gal. container, as well as in bulk quantities.

hotshotsecret.com


Click here to read more

Towman Killed on I-280 in California

A towman who contracts with a state agency was killed June 23 on I-280 in Redwood City, California, according to the California Highway Patrol. The towman, later identified as Mark Alarcon from Atlas Tow in San Francisco, was a driver with the Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol, or FSP, a program that works with Caltrans and the CHP to quickly respond to vehicle breakdowns that occur during rush hour, said CHP Officer Art Montiel.

At 3:40 p.m., the towman was working on a car on the right shoulder of southbound 280 when a large red lumber truck swerved off the interstate and hit both the FSP truck and the man, Montiel said. The CHP doesn’t know why the truck swerved off the road, Montiel said. The driver of the red truck stopped just past the scene, said Montiel.

Towmen across the country held a “Light Up the Sky” memorial for Alarcon on June 24. In calling for the event, Quinn Piening, California Tow Truck Association president, said, “It is our sincere hope that increased awareness will result in a decreased loss of life.”

Source: padailypost.com.
Mark Alarcon, a driver with California's Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol, was killed last week on I-280.
Inside Interstate: Top Tow Boss Shares His Story of Building Success in a Tough Market
Don't Miss It!
Join Jim Figueira and Ed Grubbs of Environmental Chemical Solutions for an informative presentation addressing the leaks and staining at VSF’s from the damaged vehicles. Their seminar, “The Uncontaminated Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF),” will illustrate how to save thousands of dollars in cleanup costs, fines, and bad publicity. This seminar will take place during Tow Industry Week at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 9-12, 2020. atshowplace.com

towmangames.com

Corn Planter Rotated from the Dam

0 5b041By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Owned by Robert D. Fenimore, B&F Towing Co. is an American veteran owned and operated company in business since 1967. They operate from two locations in New Castle, Delaware, serving the state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland mainly. They’ve also been known to tow from Maine to Florida for their customers.

On May 13, 2020, a farmer called B&F to recover a high-dollar corn planter that had gone in a ditch on his farm in Middletown, Delaware. Always up for a challenge, B&F heavy recovery specialist Chuck Bonadio was dispatched in B&F Unit 129, an NRC 40/50 sliding rotator.

“The job piqued my interest,” Bonadio said, “because I don’t do much farm implement work here. After talking with the farmer on the phone, I responded by myself with our 40/50 sliding rotator.”

When Bonadio arrived, he met with employees of the farm and got a brief crash course on this particular corn planter. They explained how it worked, what was solid to hook to and what he needed to stay away from. The planter had slid off the side of the pond dam after the operator miscalculated the turn.

Bonadio explained, “Due to the fragility of the components, it had to be lifted straight up and rotated back to the roadway. The challenge was that I had to boom past the first 12 feet of the implement to hook to a solid point for lifting. It was rigged around the main post of the implement over the top of the wheels.

“Using a 12-foot round sling in a basket, rated at 42,400-pounds and the right main line with a 12-ton block in the line,” he continued, “I lifted the implement straight up, but the lean wouldn’t come out of it and it was pretty sketchy. I took the left boom line and hooked to the low side and was able to level it out and then rotate it back to the road and set it down.

“The farmer had told me that it weighed 10k on the phone ... he lied to me!” Bonadio exclaimed. “The weight that I lifted was right at about 30,000 pounds. The boom was slid all the way back and fully extended.”

Bonadio proudly concluded, “I had about four hours in total in the job including travel time and there was zero damage to the implement after the recovery was completed. It was a successful, outside the box job.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Being Humane

I came across a wonderful “Letters to the Editor” item on a local Pennsylvania newspaper’s site that illustrated just how great towmen are.

Seems that a 93-year-old World War II veteran was visiting his father’s grave, a World War I veteran, on Memorial Day. When he had finished paying his respects, he got back into his car—but his car wouldn’t start.

A policeman arrived on scene with some gas for the car; but the car still wouldn’t start. The policeman then called for a tow. Declining the first price requested by the first tow company, the veteran took the cheaper price of the second tow company.

“The police officer left us off,” our World War II vet said, “and I thanked him for very much for all his time and goodness. And the tow truck driver was kind to drive me to my place.

“I asked the tow driver how much I owed. To my surprise, he said ‘Zero.’ Nothing. Wow.”

It’s stories like these that lets the motoring public know that this industry is not largely comprised of rip-off artists or people who take advantage, which is the popular media image. It’s one of the reasons we have the American Towman Medal ceremony during the annual American Towman Exposition: to show the typical towman’s humaneness.

--Charles Duke

Towbook Management Software

Towbook e5576Towbook is an industry leader for cloud-based towing software. Their towing, roadside and impound software is your all-encompassing solution for private property, police calls, transport, local calls, motor clubs and more. Come see what Towbook can do for your business at the American Towman ShowPlace taking place at the Westgate-Paradise Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, September 9-12, 2020.

towbook.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Have you diversified into any new revenue streams to cope with the pandemic?
Yes
No
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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June 22 - June 29, 2020
RISC Chief Executive Officer Stamatis Ferarolis.

RISC to Offer Another Month of [b]Free Education

The Recovery Industry Services Co. recently extended its fee waiver for RISC Pro Membership, including CARS Certification Training, for the fourth straight month. The company said in a news release that billing will be on hold until Aug. 1. RISC believes the fee waiver will help current members save on monthly expenses as well as allow new members to sign up to take advantage of free education. “We have seen a 40-percent increase in membership over the last three months. This is a great sign that we are helping agencies during this hard time get the value of membership without any expense,” said RISC CEO Stamatis Ferarolis. “We will continue to monitor how markets are doing and consider additional waivers if the financial strain continues.” Source: autoremarketing.com.

Mayor Suspends Ticket and Towing for Summer

Everett (Massachusetts) Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced the suspension of ticket and towing for street sweeping violations until students return to school. “During the struggling economy, we don’t want to create more financial burden for families,” Mayor DeMaria said. “This is an opportunity to alleviate financial stress as families in Everett are able to focus on more important needs.” In an effort to keep the city clean and prevent harming the sewer system, stree sweeping will continue as scheduled, however, no tickets and towing will take place. Source: everettindependent.com.

Large Verdicts Against Fleets Increasing

Large verdicts against trucking fleets are increasing dramatically, both in number and in size of awards, according to data compiled by the American Transportation Research Institute. ATRI created a trucking litigation database detailing information on 600 cases between 2006 and 2019. There were 26 cases with judgements in excess of $1 million during the first five years of the data. However, in the last five years there were nearly 300. From 2010 to 2018, ATRI found the size of verdict awards grew 51.7 percent. All respondents to ATRI’s survey reported that insurers have had to increase premiums as a result of large jury verdicts. One motor carrier reported an increase in a single-year’s insurance rates of more than 100 percent. Source: ccjdigital.com.
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June 22 - June 29, 2020
Navistar broke new ground on its new manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas, June 25.

Navistar Breaks Ground [b]on New Plant

Navistar held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony June 25 to celebrate the construction of the company’s new manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas.

Located near I-35, off U.S. 281, the new 900,000-square-foot plant will have the capacity to produce Class 6-8 vehicles. Vehicle production at the facility is scheduled to begin early 2022, bringing more than 600 jobs to the San Antonio area.

“This groundbreaking ceremony marks a milestone for us in the development of our new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,” said Troy A. Clarke, Navistar chairman/president/CEO. “We are excited to become part of the San Antonio community and we’re confident this facility will reinforce Navistar’s gains in the marketplace.”

Source: ccjdigital.com.

Task Force Targets Industry [b]Violence in Ontario

The Ontario, Canada, government has assembled a task force to look at overhauling the province’s towing industry, in response to a deadly tow truck turf war that has plagued the Greater Toronto Area for close to two years. The details of the task force were due to be announced June 29, according to a senior government official.

Consultations with towing stakeholders will take place over the summer, the source said, and regulatory changes could begin as early as the fall.

The commitment to exploring a provincial licensing framework marks a significant shift for the Ontario government, which previously stated that was not on the table. A government source said the Ontario’s position on the need for reform changed when the extent of the violence became clear.

The lack of provincial regulation has also meant there is no provincewide training or safety and equipment standards, and no standardized complaints process – making it difficult for consumers to know who to trust, or who to go to with problems. In addition to licensing, the task force will also explore things such as background checks in an effort to tackle fraud within the industry.

At least four men with ties to the towing industry have been killed since December 2018. A law firm was run out of town after its office was twice set on fire, and then shot up in broad daylight. In the past six weeks, four police officers have been charged with towing-related corruption including accepting kickbacks.

Source: theglobeandmail.com.

Ordinance Introduced that [b]Would Require City License

In Chicago, Illinois, Alderman Gilbert Villegas introduced an ordinance last week that would require towers to be licensed by the city in order to work in the city. Villegas said drivers are often times speeding through city streets to arrive at a crash scene and tow a vehicle.

“Right now they are licensed by the [Illinois Commerce Commission],” he said. “This would pull back their license (and) their ability to operate within the city of Chicago.”

He thinks every ward in the city is dealing with this.

“I’ve had upwards of 50 complaints in my ward,” he said.

The ordinance would help address that issue as well with stricter fines. The ordinance is currently in the finance committee. Hearings on the issue will be next.

Source: wgntv.com.

Anthony Cilento New Service [b]Manager at Mike’s

Mike’s Auto Service in Bridgewater, New Jersey, has announced Anthony Cilento as its new service manager. Cilento has more than 35 years of experience in the automotive industry.

He began his career as a mechanic, moved on to own his own business, and then worked many years of as a service manager in several car dealerships.

“We are thrilled to bring him on board and confident he has the knowledge and experience to handle all (customers’) automotive needs in a manner (they) will be very comfortable with.”

Source: Mike's Auto Service.

Doucett New Regional Sales [b]Manager at Muncie

Muncie Power Products recently named Bob Doucett as regional sales manager for the East. Doucett, who has been with Muncie Power for five years, will focus on leading the field sales team in the East.

During his time as field sales manager in the North Central region, Bob strengthened relationships with key distribution partners, expanded sales growth and took on additional responsibilities.

“We look forward to having Bob in this role at Muncie Power Products where he will put an emphasis on understanding our customers’ needs and creating a positive experience through on-time delivery, opportunities and growth,” said a company release.

Source: munciepower.com.

HONK, Spiffy Partner [b]on Disinfectants

Honk Technologies has partnered with Spiffy to provide tow operators with access to EPA-approved hospital-grade disinfection solutions. The partnership provides Honk’s service provider network of over 75,000 vehicles with direct e-commerce access and exclusive discounts at Spiffy’s Disinfection Store.

“As a result of the current pandemic, our insurance carrier clients are continually asking us about standards for vehicle cleanliness,” said Rochelle Thielen, EVP Partnerships, Honk. “We’re proud to respond with this vital partnership, making Honk the first in the roadside industry to enable continuous access to the highest quality professional chemicals that destroy COVID-19 and other pathogens to both our service providers and our insurance clients.”

Source: honkforhelp.com.
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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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June 22 - June 29, 2020

Corn Planter Rotated from the Dam

0 5b041By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Owned by Robert D. Fenimore, B&F Towing Co. is an American veteran owned and operated company in business since 1967. They operate from two locations in New Castle, Delaware, serving the state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland mainly. They’ve also been known to tow from Maine to Florida for their customers.

On May 13, 2020, a farmer called B&F to recover a high-dollar corn planter that had gone in a ditch on his farm in Middletown, Delaware. Always up for a challenge, B&F heavy recovery specialist Chuck Bonadio was dispatched in B&F Unit 129, an NRC 40/50 sliding rotator.

“The job piqued my interest,” Bonadio said, “because I don’t do much farm implement work here. After talking with the farmer on the phone, I responded by myself with our 40/50 sliding rotator.”

When Bonadio arrived, he met with employees of the farm and got a brief crash course on this particular corn planter. They explained how it worked, what was solid to hook to and what he needed to stay away from. The planter had slid off the side of the pond dam after the operator miscalculated the turn.

Bonadio explained, “Due to the fragility of the components, it had to be lifted straight up and rotated back to the roadway. The challenge was that I had to boom past the first 12 feet of the implement to hook to a solid point for lifting. It was rigged around the main post of the implement over the top of the wheels.

“Using a 12-foot round sling in a basket, rated at 42,400-pounds and the right main line with a 12-ton block in the line,” he continued, “I lifted the implement straight up, but the lean wouldn’t come out of it and it was pretty sketchy. I took the left boom line and hooked to the low side and was able to level it out and then rotate it back to the road and set it down.

“The farmer had told me that it weighed 10k on the phone ... he lied to me!” Bonadio exclaimed. “The weight that I lifted was right at about 30,000 pounds. The boom was slid all the way back and fully extended.”

Bonadio proudly concluded, “I had about four hours in total in the job including travel time and there was zero damage to the implement after the recovery was completed. It was a successful, outside the box job.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Tanker Flipped on Orcas Island

0 676a9by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Uzek Susol established Orcas Auto Tech/Orcas Towing in Eastsound, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State in 1991. Over the years he has handled a variety of situations and developed a reputation for doing some amazing, technically difficult recoveries using some creative rigging.

Such was the case on June 2, 2020, when Orca’s was called by a company for a rolled over tanker.

“At 8:30 a.m.,” Suzol said, “I had a call from one of our local excavation companies for a single-axle water tanker rollover on a narrow private driveway here on beautiful Orcas Island.”

Suzol responded with his Truck No. 7, the “Big Girl,” a 1981 Kenworth W900A with a 1962 Holmes split-boom 750/Zacklift Z20 that he purchased in 2016. The Big Girl has hydraulic spades and Suzol restrung the 200’ pair of 5/8” wire ropes on the drums and also replaced the wire rope for the booms.

“The driver was OK and the tank was empty,” Suzol said. “I surveyed the scene looking at what was available for Holmes trees on the high side.”

After surveying the scene, he found the trees he needed and got busy rigging.

“I set the brakes on the casualty,” Suzol explained, “chained the front axle to the frame with a 1/2 Grade 80 chain, wrapped the driver’s front axle with a Grade 80 recovery chain, wrapped two trees on the high side with continuous loops/snatch blocks.”

Suzol then ran a passenger-side winch line to Tree No. 1 through an 8-ton snatch block to another snatch block/chain at the driver’s side front-axle. He terminated the winch line hook at Tree No. 2’s continuous loop for two lines to the load at the front axle for a roll, then for winching onto roadway.

“I ran 1/2" grade 80 recovery chain through holes in the outer dual wheel,” Suzol said. “I ran a driver’s side winch line from the boom sheave to the snatch block/chain, then terminated it back at the driver’s side sheave for a high-pull for the rollover. I set my driver’s side outrigger and rear spades for wrecker stability. Both winches were engaged and casualty came upright.”

Once the tanker was back on its wheels, Suzol ran a hard chain from the 750’s tailboard to the casualty so he could reposition his passenger-side rigging to a lower position on the casualty to bring the back end back onto the roadway.

“I winched both ends onto the roadway, hooked and towed to the company’s yard,” said Suzol. “From time of arrival on scene to hooked and towing down the driveway was about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

“I don’t get to use this old girl as much as I would like, but she never lets me down and always gives me an adventure.”


Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Slip Slidin’ Away!

0 2b073By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Founded in 1981, Bill’s Towing & Auto Service in St. Clairsville, Ohio, has been providing, road service, auto repairs, towing and recovery services in Ohio and West Virginia. Company founder and owner William “Bill” Coulson co-owns the business with his sons Chad and Ty.

On June 11, 2020, they were called by a customer to respond to a wide-load shift in Moundsville, West Virginia. 

This two-day job included a wide-load trailer rig that was stuck on turns both days. The unit was coming from Indianapolis and going to a compressor site on Roberts Ridge in Moundsville.

“We were called by the company for a 10-axle 2-2-2 stuck on a turn on Roberts Ridge,” Ty said. “The load was an 110,000-lbs. compressor site valve. The guy told me later that he was permitted for 196,000-lbs.”

The first day, Chad drove out in his 2020 Kenworth W990 tandem steer/Jerr-Dan 50/60 60-ton rotator with Ty riding shotgun. Operator Tony Albright responded in their 2018 Peterbilt 389/Jerr-Dan 50/60 60-ton rotator. 

Ty explained, “The way the unit was angled in the turn, we were able to get a rotator alongside of the unit and rigged it with 2-5/8" recovery chains and two-part lines with Skookum snatch blocks. The goal was to only slide the unit and not pick the full weight off the ground.

“Once we got the load around the first turn on day one, the Marshal County sheriffs escorted the load and us to a well site nearby so the driver could drive the rest of the route with his escorts and see if he could make it.”

On day two, Ty went back out in their monster tandem-steer rotator.

“We were called by the company to escort the unit with our rotator the rest of the way to the offload site,” he said. “Coming out of the well pad he had been staged on he could not make the turn. I slid his trailer and stinger over approximately 20 feet so he could make the swing onto the road. I then followed him to his destination without any problem after that.”

Bill’s Towing and the Coulson family has been recognized by Ohio Governor Mike Dewine and has received the American Towman award for rescue operation, as well as other recognition throughout their nearly 40 years of outstanding service. 

They will soon open a third location, expanding to West Virginia. Their new 7,000-square-foot repair center, garage and office facility will be located in Glen Dale. The company plans to invest over $1 million in their new location and will hire 10-12 employees in the next year and a half.

Ty stated, “Our new location in Glen Dale has been busy already, now if we could only find workers ... ha ha ha.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com ; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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MIDWESTERN - Rolla, MO
$50
(pop. 19,559)

SOUTHERN - Brunswick, GA
$65
(pop. 15,383)

EASTERN - Willow Grove, PA
$125
(pop. 15,726)

WESTERN - Ellensburg, WA
$181
(pop. 18,174)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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June 22 - June 29, 2020

What’s That Obnoxious Noise?

trainhornFINAL f33c2By Randall C. Resch

The site “Trainhorns.us” is for train horn enthusiasts; their opening statement is, “We believe that, ‘beeping’ your horn is for soccer moms. If you drive a truck, especially a lifted pickup, then you really ought to have a horn that blasts when you need to tell the minivan in-front of you to get out of the way.”

Train horns? I’ll start with this fact: a tow truck is not a train. I’ve heard train horns blast inside at tow shows and they’ll scare the proverbial “crapinski” out of anyone standing nearby when they boom.

To ask towers why they need train horns, many say they need them to help clear traffic when they’re responding to urgent police requests.

Sorry … wrong answer.

A discussion about tow trucks and train horns is comical to me. While the past and current climate of tow truck response suggests a sameness with firefighters and law enforcement responding to emergency calls, some tow operators drive as though they are first responders with the same allowance.

While their actions are well-intended, having first-responder mentality oftentimes causes towers to push their tow trucks faster and more dangerously. The history of the towing and recovery industry has recorded literally hundreds of operator crashes and fatalities where questionable actions have caused towers to lose control, run off the road, crash into others or overturn.

Get Outta’ the Way

California Assembly Bill AB-2245 (regarding the decibel levels of aftermarket horns) is one of those goofy vehicle code sections where the act of being “too loud” is determined by an officer and is an easy citation to write.

An officer who was interviewed in a YouTube video about train horns in cars stated, “It’s technically illegal because it’s unreasonable.” They may violate state vehicle codes at the moment the truck’s operator gives them a joyful blast.

One particular horn can emit an ear-piercing blast anywhere from 115’ (at 10’) to 135’ (at 100’). These kinds of signals are oftentimes used in commercial applications for emergency signaling. It can be bought on-line for nearly $8,000, plus tax. If ya have that kind of cash for this kind of playful spending, God bless ya.

AB-2245 is an act to amend Section 27000 of the Vehicle Code relating to vehicle horns. This bill would prohibit a motor vehicle from being equipped with an aftermarket horn that emits a sound greater than 110 dB(A). AB-2245 was written to ensure that motor vehicle horns, “shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound and a motor vehicle shall not be equipped with an aftermarket horn that emits a sound greater than 110 dB(A).”

Blurrrrrrt …

Notably, train horns are loud and oftentimes obnoxious where a single, in-traffic blast could earn an expensive ticket when not used in an emergency situation.

Accordingly, if you have $8,000 burning a hole in your pocket and you have to have train horns, be sure you know the exact wording of your state’s vehicle code as a means to defend a ticket.

In police officer forums, some cops comment on unnecessary use of train horns saying, “I'm thinking it’s gonna end with an actual arrest for DisCon (Disorderly Conduct) for excessive noise, and then the vehicle being towed at owner's expense unless there is another licensed driver right there at the scene.” Another officer wrote, “What is the point in scaring the living crap out of somebody just for the heck of it?”

Bottom line? To have train horns on your tow truck means it’s best to resist that urge to blast them. It’s not the horn … it’s how they’re used.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.




Hanging On to the Good Ones

truck driver 0e835By Brian J. Riker

As a tow boss, do you find yourself always looking to hire the next new person just to keep a position filled? If so, have you looked at why people do not stay with your company?

It has been my experience that the majority of turnover happens because of a disconnect in communications between owners and/or managers and employees. Most of this is not done intentionally and it is easily avoidable. Even the most mild-mannered among us will walk away if we feel ignored, disrespected or lied to often enough.

Good employee relations begin with open and honest expectations. Employers need to be upfront with the demands of the job, the resources available and the opportunities for advancement or career progression. As owners we tend to look at our business through rose-colored glasses: What is only a minor inconvenience to us may be a major hurdle for employees.

The most common complaint I hear is the job was not what they were expecting. Now, some of this is normal as applicants eager to move on to a new company often only hear what they want to hear about the job. However, as employers we must be careful how we describe the available position to prospective employees. I have often witnessed people move across the country and only last a few weeks at what they believed was going to be their “forever job.”

This can be avoided with straight-forward information about your company. I avoid using phrases like “our top driver makes $XXX per year” or “we treat you like family here.” Often this does not reflect what a new person can achieve and it sets them up for failure and disappointment.

Another area where employees feel left out is when a company offers a bonus program that seems unattainable. If you want to make part of their pay a bonus for meeting specific goals such as fuel mileage and call volume, then the bonus needs to be achievable by the majority of your employees. If they do not feel they can achieve the bonus, or the amount is not significant enough, they will stop trying and morale will plummet.

Listening to and knowing what is going on in your employees’ lives goes a long way to employee satisfaction. It is amazing the difference in attitude you will see when you ask your employees how they are doing and take the time to truly listen.

I know many great people that are ready to or have moved on from this industry simply because their employer didn’t or wouldn’t recognize the struggles the job was causing. None of these problems are insurmountable; they just require attention, care and some compassion.

Perhaps they are going through a rough patch and could use some grace. Maybe something awesome just happened to them that should be recognized and celebrated. Maybe they have dreams and aspirations of their own. Or maybe they’re just feeling burned out and need a break. We all have different ideas of what success looks like, so keep in mind their idea of success may be vastly different from yours.

Owners should not put profits before people. I believe the loss of productivity that results from constant churn costs more than some kind gestures like an extra paid day off or surprise bonus.

Great leaders hire talented people. Give them a direction and then get out of their way. Trust in your people to do the right thing and you just may be surprised how well they do.

Of course, there needs to be guidelines and expectations. When these are properly communicated to your team, they will already know what to do based on your examples as the leader and the company values.

It can be very frustrating for an employee that has great vision to be ignored or even belittled for their ideas. Yes, there is a time and place for everything and sometimes they can’t see the big picture because they don’t have all the information. But I challenge you to learn from those that surround you. You will be surprised at what you can learn from your team when you just open your mind to a different point of view.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC and is a contributing writer to American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at: yourdotguy.com.

Playing the Carpool Game

HOV lane bf9e4By Randall C. Resch

When operating tow trucks and flatbed carriers, tow operators fall under additional requirements while conducting work as commercial vehicles.

California has carpool, or high-occupancy vehicle, lanes as do many states. In most states, it is unlawful for a person to drive in a carpool lane with no passenger. 

Scenario: A flatbed carrier operator got ticketed because he was dispatched to a carpool request and he was alone in his carrier when arrived at the customer’s location. The customer was already there with his with wife waiting in another car. The disabled car was loaded onto the carrier and off they went with the husband and wife in the forward car and the carrier operator following behind.

A law enforcement cruiser approached from behind observing the loaded carrier and its lone tow truck driver having no second person. The carrier was stopped and the customer, not knowing the tower was stopped, continued on their way.

While the highway patrol generally understands that this does happen, along comes the city police or sheriff’s deputy to issue a citation because they only comprehend the letter of the law. Some officers "double section cite,” because he or she believes the tower further violated designated lanes when highway signage prohibited, "no towing,” or, “no commercial vehicles in carpool lanes.”

I Ain’t Lying

There's always a problem when law enforcement doesn’t believe the tow operator's explanation when they observe a loaded carrier with its single driver. If your company should receive a service request from customers or auto club providers where a disabled vehicle is situated within the carpool lanes, here are several recommendations to consider when responding to carpool responses:

1. Where possible, if the vehicle's owner or its driver isn’t at the disabled vehicle’s location, send your driver to the customer’s location and pick them up prior to going into carpool lanes.

2. When you’re at the carpool location and customer is with you, someone should ride with you, or
3. At the moment your driver is dispatched, have dispatch call the highway police and ask for authorization. Advise the highway patrol that your company is sending a truck to a location within the carpool lanes. Ask if they can dispatch a unit to your location.

The highway patrol might send a unit or won't have a unit available. If no unit is available, ask the patrol’s dispatcher for an incident or dispatch number. At the very least, ask for the dispatcher's name or ID number. These info snippets should be added to the dispatch call notes.

Defend Your Truth

If you’re company’s operator gets stopped for a carpool violation or violation of signs, provide the officer with a complete explanation. That includes telling them that you called the highway patrol and they know of the towing scenario.

Carpool citations are written for motorists who play the carpool odds game, figuring perhaps they won't get caught. Believe it or not, towers have played the game themselves. Because some cops don’t play, it’s a quick, easy citation to write, causing you the inconvenience and anguish that you were cited for simply doin’ your job. That’s a tough lump to swallow.

Time for Court

There will be a time to defend your actions. You can pay the citation, appear in court or provide a written Trial by Declaration. To pay for the citation is a “no contest”-type of action where points are levied against your driver’s license, if any. Appearing in court is one recommended way that allows you to tell your truth via your written account of what happened.

In a written declaration your detailed statement should include dates, times, details, dispatch records and even letters from your customer and the auto club confirming that you responded to their calls for service. If your dispatcher did speak to the highway patrol, include that information.

In all hopes, either the courtroom judge or administrative referee might believe that you weren’t using the carpool lane in an illegal manner and rule in your favor. I’ve known several towers who beat this citation in court and others who lost when their explanation didn’t deliver a solid presentation. I consider carpool citations as imbalanced enforcement, so be ready to defend your actions.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.






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June 22 - June 29, 2020

Elements of Black

0 a4ea6By George L. Nitti

Although graphics often speak volumes about a tow truck, in some cases the truck itself speaks more loudly. Like a person of character, sometimes it ain’t the dress, it’s the person inside.

Over the last two years, Rusniak’s Service Inc. of Buffalo, New York, has done a makeover of its American flag-themed fleet, doing away with its traditional bright colors and opting for a more modern design.

Their 2006 Kenworth/Jerr-Dan 50-ton expresses this sensibility and is characteristic of what you will find on their other units as well.

“The truck was painted about a year and a half ago and then wrapped with the American flag,” said Joe Afciutto, general manager. “Black is the new look.”

Black is back in vogue these days, becoming a popular theme countrywide. In this case, the flag is all black, waving along the unit’s side, as the cutout stars pop out in a bright red.

Perfectly picking up the color of the stars is its all red background, pitted against other black elements, like a two-toned Converse All-Stars sneaker.

And black is everywhere on the unit: the front grille, rims, fender, visors, bumpers, fuel tanks, front light encasings and more.

“We take pride in our fleet,” said Afciutto. “We get comments all of the time like, ‘You have beautiful trucks.’ ”

The Rusniak name stands out on the boom while its largely written phone number on its back side is easy to read.

Character shines, as does this bright red truck with elements of black.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

‘Slick and Splashy’ Rotator

0 8315dBy George L. Nitti


According to Metro Towing and Recovery driver Kevin Richardson, who has been with the Ontario, Canada-based towing and transport company for 19 years, the 2017 Freightliner SD Classic with an NRC 50/65 CS Rotator he drives is “pretty slick” in its yellow and purple.

“We have a body shop,” Richardson said, “and so it is easier and cheaper for us to paint it than to wrap it. We painted it yellow and then added the splashy purple decals. Not only does the paint last a lot longer, but it is easier to maintain when scratched.”

The NRC rotator is painted a solid purple, and perfectly complements its yellow background while other colors of red and green add accent and contrast.

The name of the company stands out in several places, primarily on the side of the unit, where Metro is written in large white lettering. The company logo pops out on the side door.

“It looks flashy with the lights on. It’s a bright billboard,” said Richardson.

On the passenger side of the cab is a white and green decal, a certification standing for “idling clean.”

“It just means that it is certified by the government that it is eco-friendly,” said Richardson. “Canada is cracking down on smog and diesel emissions.”

“Having a rotator makes the job easier. It’s state of the art,” Richardson stated.

(Note: This article originally appeared in the February 21, 2018 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Nifty Green Trucks

0 bca0cBy George L. Nitti

Over the last few years, Phoenix Metro Towing in eastern Arizona has been sharpening its image with impressive wraps, setting themselves apart with graphics of techno gadgetry and bright colors of green and yellow.

Their latest acquisitions include a pair of hefty 2019 Ford units, F-650 and F-750 series respectively, coupled with Jerr-Dan 21’ steel flatbeds.

Manager David Mardis, a 20-year veteran who is a nephew to owner Shawn MacGregor, said, “I’m a Ford truck guy all the way. One key difference between the two trucks is the size of the tires, with the 750 having a 22.5” wheelbase and the 650 around 19”. With the 750, you can handle larger loads.”

Realistic gray and black techno gadgetry covers the hood, one of the common denominators between the two trucks.

“It was just something we came up with when we first started out,” Mardis said. “We went back and forth with Brand Smith and their graphic designer, Paul Sebastian.”

The company logo incorporates a partial skyline of the Phoenix metropolitan area. White clouds around the side windows extending back to the cab also help to accent the artwork.

Bright green and yellow contrasting color schematics stand out on both bodies. Green is the dominant color with a diamond-plated texture, while a thick stroke of yellow merges the hood’s techno art with the body.

The company name stands out along with their logo incorporating Phoenix skyline on the side doors.

“We are getting back to normal here in Phoenix,” said Mardis. “We are even looking to hire new drivers.”

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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June 22 - June 29, 2020

Ford Launches Telematics Platform

FordTelematics d940aFord Commercial Solutions has launched Ford Telematics, a web-based software platform and subscription service designed to grant fleet managers easy access to important connected vehicle data. Through Ford Telematics, commercial vehicle customers can monitor their fleets with GPS tracking and geofencing, get live vehicle health alerts to plan and limit downtime, set reminders for vehicle service, analyze driver behavior and help manage fuel usage to potentially reduce costs.

corporate.ford.com.

SparkCharge Mobile EV Chargers

SparkCharge 132e4SparkCharge’s new ultrafast chargers enable service providers to deliver miles of charge to stranded electric vehicles in a fraction of the time of traditional mobile chargers, eliminating the potential need for the vehicle to be towed to the nearest charging station. The portable electric vehicle charging units can extend range from 15-100 miles and can charge an electric car at a rate of 1 mile every 60 seconds without using gasoline. The mobile units can charge at level 3 speeds.

sparkcharge.io

Penny Pockets Customized Facemasks

PennyPocketsMasks dffd2Penny Pockets is now offering custom-embroidered facemasks for the towing industry. The personalized facemasks are available in black or white and can be customized with your company logo. Available in large and small sizes.

pennypockets.com
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June 22 - June 29, 2020
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June 22 - June 29, 2020
MBSi President Cort DeHart (left) and Resolvion CEO Michael Levison.

Resolvion Survey Gauges [b]Post-Pandemic Repo Landscape

Resolvion recently conducted an email survey of auto finance providers inquiring about repossession activity once the coronavirus pandemic abates and recovery efforts intensify.

One of the telling findings from the survey uncovered the depth of concern that finance companies have about the capacity for the repossession industry to handle the volume of assignments that could be on the horizon.

While auto defaults currently are trending lower, more than 100 million consumer-credit accounts are in some form of modification program.

Most of the institutions who responded were independent finance companies (43 percent), followed by credit unions (35 percent) and banks (14 percent).

Most respondents who were not currently issuing involuntary repossession orders did not know when they expect to resume.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Resolvion Survey Gauges [b]Post-Pandemic Repo Landscape

Resolvion recently conducted an email survey of auto finance providers inquiring about repossession activity once the coronavirus pandemic abates and recovery efforts intensify.

One of the telling findings from the survey uncovered the depth of concern that finance companies have about the capacity for the repossession industry to handle the volume of assignments that could be on the horizon.

While auto defaults currently are trending lower, more than 100 million consumer-credit accounts are in some form of modification program.

Most of the institutions who responded were independent finance companies (43 percent), followed by credit unions (35 percent) and banks (14 percent).

Most respondents who were not currently issuing involuntary repossession orders did not know when they expect to resume.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Resolvion Survey Gauges [b]Post-Pandemic Repo Landscape

Resolvion recently conducted an email survey of auto finance providers inquiring about repossession activity once the coronavirus pandemic abates and recovery efforts intensify.

One of the telling findings from the survey uncovered the depth of concern that finance companies have about the capacity for the repossession industry to handle the volume of assignments that could be on the horizon.

While auto defaults currently are trending lower, more than 100 million consumer-credit accounts are in some form of modification program.

Most of the institutions who responded were independent finance companies (43 percent), followed by credit unions (35 percent) and banks (14 percent).

Most respondents who were not currently issuing involuntary repossession orders did not know when they expect to resume.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

MBSi, Resolvion [b]Completing Integration

MBSi Corp. and Resolvion announced recently that they reached an agreement to complete full integration of Resolvion’s Wombat system with MBSi’s new RecoveryConnect platform.

Both firms have been in transition during the past year.

Resolvion completed a merger with Del Mar and in doing so created one of the largest repossession/skip management companies in the country.

MBSi, which acquired MyRecoverySystem and Vendor Transparency Solutions in 2019, has been working to merge legacy systems to create the new RecoveryConnect platform with mapping and post-recovery scheduling capabilities.

Executives explained the Wombat-RecoveryConnect integration will provide agents the ability to receive and work all Resolvion repossession assignments in RecoveryConnect without the need to log in to Wombat.

“This integration is a win-win for all involved,” MBSi president Cort DeHart said. “For agents, it further reduces the number of systems they access, while improving compliance and efficiency.

“For Resolvion, it helps consolidate recent acquisitions into Wombat, as well as expand their commitment to mobile technology and the real-time benefits it brings,” DeHart continued. “For MBSi, it further enhances the service and compliance offerings to our lender, forwarder and agent partners.”

Resolvion chief executive officer Michael Levison added, “While we have been integrated on the lender side with MBSi for many years, this expansion will ensure our ability to seamlessly support both our lender clients and our agent partners regardless of the platform that they choose.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.
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