Friday, March 3, 2017

Remembering Jerry Nerman - trucking magnate, art collector

Jerry Nerman, founder of Arrow Truck Sales and well-known art collector, died Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the age of 97. Services were held March 3 at the Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kan.

He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran. After the war he went home to Kansas City, Mo., where he founded Arrow Truck Sales. With 18 locations, Arrow is now one of the nation’s largest dealerships for used Class 7 and 8 trucks.

In 1950, Nerman and the late Melvin Spitcaufsky created a small truck lot in Kansas City intending to sell used trucks. Their first trucks were eight vehicles purchased from the Missouri Corps of Engineers. Those trucks wouldn’t even fire up and, as the story goes, the men had to roll them down a hill to start them.

The $8,000 investment, however, turned into a lucrative deal and the two men realized they might be on to something. Arrow Truck Sales Inc. was launched. The Volvo Group bought half of the ownership of Arrow Truck Sales in 1998 and acquired the rest of the company in 2001. Nerman continued to be active until he announced his retirement in February of 2010. Nerman also founded Truck Center of America, which provides pre-owned vehicles to customers. Based in Leawood, Kan., TCA remains a family-operated business.

In the Kansas City metro, Nerman, wife Margaret and their son Lewis are known as being among the Midwest’s most prominent collectors of contemporary art.

The Nermans have also provided financial support for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City, and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

With this ring

“People say that love knows no bounds, that it flows through all of us and crosses all definable and indefinable planes of existence.”

Those words are from a recent Facebook post by Ashley Boeglin (pronounced Beg lin) and it’s a message that will resonate with the trucking industry. Most truckers remember when truck driver Mike Boeglin lost his life in an unsafe parking area, his Freightliner set on fire to destroy evidence. It happened almost three years ago.

“I lost the love of my life, my other half, my soulmate,” she posted.

Detroit firefighters found her husband, Mike, age 31, inside his truck in the early hours of June 26, 2014. Mike was parked in an abandoned lot near ThyssenKrupp Steel Plant where he planned to deliver his load. But he was unable to park inside the gated facility as ThyssenKrupp doesn’t allow it.

Mike was 31. Ashley was four months pregnant. Today, she’s a busy mother of a toddler and a committed activist for safe parking and for truckers’ rights to carry weapons for protection.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tony Justice, Thompson Square to perform at MATS

Tony Justice (Photo by Tex Crowley @
Tony Justice, an OOIDA member from Dandridge, Tenn., attended his first Mid-America Trucking Show in 2012. Five years later, the truck driver and country musician is slated to perform in front of thousands of fans at the MATS free concert on Friday, March 24. Justice will open for international country music stars Thompson Square at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

“Man, it’s a dream come true,” Justice said while hauling a load to Mesquite, Texas, on Tuesday morning. “It couldn’t be possible without God and my wife’s (Misty’s) hard work. I think I’m more excited for her than I even am for me. This has been a big goal for her. We had a lot of drivers and fans who kept going to the truck show website and requesting for us to be there. This is just an awesome deal.”

Justice, a second-generation truck driver, has definitely climbed the ladder in the country music industry. A grassroots effort of sorts started with the release of the album “On the Road” in 2011. Since then, he and Misty have been handing out CDs and spreading the word about his music at truck shows around the nation.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Tennessee DOT tries to make safety ‘pun’

Can a clever – or even not so clever – pun help improve safety on the highways?

The Tennessee Department of Transportation recently started the voting process of a Dynamic Message Sign Contest that aims to cover such safety issues as distracted driving, seatbelt usage, impaired driving, speeding and aggressive driving.

Last year’s winners were:
  • Turn signals, the original instant messaging.
  • Get the cell off your phone and drive.
  • Practice safe text. Don’t do it while driving.
  • You’re in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safe.
  • Ain’t nobody got time for a wreck. Slow it down.

This year, the Tennessee DOT received more than 2,000 entries for possible safety messages for the overhead signs located across Tennessee.

The entries were narrowed down to 15 finalists:
  • Not buckled up? What’s holding you back?
  • Speeding can lead to skid marks
  • Only bird brains tweet while driving?
  • Use your blinking blinker
  • Avoid a wreck. Don’t rubberneck.
  • Awwww snap – your seatbelt.
  • Shift happens! Especially in work zones.
  • Let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Buckle ‘em up!
  • Signal your intentions.
  • In a hurry? Shoulda left early. Slow down.
  • Nice headlights! Turn yours on during rain or fog.
  • Do your duty. Seatbelt your booty!
  • Ride like lightning, crash like thunder.
  • We’ve upped our road safety, so up yours.
  • Be kind, don’t ride my behind. 

You can vote for your favorite at the Tennessee DOT website. Voting ends on Tuesday, March 7. The winning phrases will be used in a rotation on overhead signs that also alert motorists to lane blockages, hazardous road conditions, or Amber Alerts.

While I cringe at several of these, the corny phrases are worth it even if they lead only one person to drive safer and avoid a fatal accident.

But I feel like we can do better. What would your slogan be to promote safety on the highways? I’m confident we can come up with something while avoiding the use of “Awwww snap.”