David Messmore has always liked to travel and experience new beginnings. Twenty years ago, four generations of his family decided to move from Oxnard CA to Sunnyside WA. This spot in south central Washington would be home to a 200-acre farm, and the four generations of Messmores would work the land growing grapes, asparagus, and apples.
“It was Dad’s dream to move up here and have a farm,” said Messmore. “We had a successful trucking company down in Oxnard—DLM Trucking—but he wanted to follow his heart, start a farming operation with our entire family, and see if trucking would also work up here.”
It has, and then some.
Continuing with a customer base already developed in California, and using its own trucks to move its produce down to Southern California, other farmers quickly took notice and began coordinating loads.
“It grew from there, and today we have 35 trucks a week, nearly all Kenworth T680s, headed down to California with refrigerated trailers,” said Messmore, who serves as president of the company. His dad, Larry, is semi-retired but still helps run the company; his brother, Danny, runs the farm. “Those trucks join 35 more we use for in-state heavy haul and flatbed curtain trailer loads to haul agricultural products.”
At the beginning, Messmore said he and his dad were always traditionalists when it came to the iron they drove.
“We had always liked the ‘large cars’—the big hood with lots of chrome and lights,” said Messmore. “But when the price of fuel began to climb and California started implementing the mandate for fuel-efficient trucks, we had to look at something more fuel-efficient. After doing our homework, we determined the Kenworth T680 was the truck to try.”
The reefer fleet now has 27 T680 76-inch sleepers powered by the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 455 hp and driven through automatics. Messmore said the decision has been paying off in spades.
“The fuel economy is tremendous. We’re getting 1 to 1½ mpg better with the T680s, and that means more than a $400,000 a year in fuel savings for us,” he said.
While improving fuel economy was a top criterion in selecting the T680s, which were purchased through Kenworth Northwest–Yakima, Messmore also was candid about the need for a truck that gave drivers excellent comfort.
“I grew up around trucks,” he said. “I started sweeping floors at our shop when I was a kid, then when I was 21, I began driving up and down the I-5 corridor. So I knew truck driving wasn’t an easy occupation. It was important for us to have a truck that kept our drivers comfortable.”
According to Messmore, offering a generous pay package and benefits can get the company only so far when it comes to attracting and retaining drivers.
“We have some guys that have been with us for 10 and 15 years, but the average is around 3½ years,” he said. “We always have run Paccar equipment, but these new T680s are the best trucks we’ve ever seen. There has been a huge boost in driver comfort.”
With a trade cycle of four years, or 500,000 miles, DLM typically uses a fair market value lease through Paccar Financial.
Access www.kenworth.com for more details.