Savannah, GA,
08:30 PM

Strong Relationships, Reliable Reefers


Bill Davis Trucking forges ahead with Great Dane reefers

Mentors and strong relationships have made all the difference for Bill Davis, owner of Batesville, Arkansas-based Bill Davis Trucking, Inc.


Growing up, Davis took his first breath of the trucking industry as he worked weekends with his father, who supervised large rigging operations at various job sites. This introduction to the trucking world was later augmented by the lessons and friendships of other truckers, who Davis says mentored him and developed in him a "burning desire to own and operate trucks." They also gave Davis opportunities to study the trucking business from the ground up, and he later learned even more as a truck salesman for a dealer in Little Rock. These experiences led up to 1975 and the beginning of Bill Davis Trucking, Inc.


The two-truck operation flourished to its present coast-to-coast scope. Much of that success stems from Davis' strong relationship with his wife Gail. For the last 36 years, Davis has run the company with his wife, and together, they have been successful in not only their marriage and trucking, but in several other ventures outside the business. For 22 seasons until 2008, Davis owned Bill Davis Racing, Inc., where he fielded teams in all three series of NASCAR. His operation won the prestigious Southern 500 in 2000 and the Daytona 500 in 2002, the Truck Series Championship in 2008 as well as many pole positions and other races. The Davis' also own Chimney Rock Cattle Co. in Concord, Arkansas, where they have registered and commercial herds of Brangus cattle.


Throughout the years, the husband and wife team has grown their company to a 48-state refrigerated hauler with a fleet of 36 tractors hauling 50 trailers. Most of the company's outbound loads consist of dry food and household goods while refrigerated produce loads are the business' mainstay. This makes Davis' relationship with his reefer provider all the more important. "In our business, every load has to count, and we want to run every mile loaded if possible," Davis says. "That's why we buy only Great Danes."


"Like a lot of trucking companies these days, our trade cycles are a bit longer than usual so we spec for longevity," he adds. "Great Dane has done a very good job of building a trailer we can use for many years."


Davis currently has 30 Super Seals and is ordering more of the Everest SS models this year. "One reason for this choice was a cost point that makes sense, and at the same time the inside height of the Great Dane reefers provides opportunities for all types of high cube loads," he says. "In addition, the durability of the Great Danes means we can run them for a long time and they are still in good condition. No other trailer has as much acceptance in the resale market as a Great Dane."


Bill Davis Trucking's newest Everest SS reefers are 53-ft models equipped with Carrier 2500A refrigeration units. Specs include stainless steel for rear impact guards and wing plates on the landing gear, PunctureGuard interior lining, Hendrickson air ride suspensions, Meritor Tire Inflation Systems and wide base single tires on aluminum wheels.


Maintaining that connection with Great Dane is a prime example of the one lesson that rings truest for Davis - the immeasurable value of strong, long term relationships with family, friends and customers.


"We still run many of the same lanes for customers that have been our clients since we started this company. We also have people that have worked for us for a long time, and that's especially gratifying in a business that's known for a lot of turnover," Davis says. "The same is true of suppliers like Great Dane. They make a great product and are a company that's in this business for the long haul, just like us. We know we can depend on Great Dane, and for us that's a big part of what it takes to continue to be successful."