One on One with Jerry Moyes, Swift Transportation

April 2012, - Feature

by Jason Rhyno, contributor

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As CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S., Jerry Moyes knows a thing or two about trucking.
Jerry Moyes is the CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S.
Jerry Moyes is the CEO and founder of Swift Transportation, the largest trucking company in the U.S.
He'll be a keynote speaker at Canada's Truck World show later this month, and here he shares his thoughts on trucking's challenges and opportunities, from the promise of natural gas to finding and keeping good drivers.

When did you realize you were destined for trucking?

My father used to drive for C.R. England, and as a young kid - 5 or 6 years old - I was always in the truck and driving with dad. So I've just always been around trucking my whole life. It was the direction I was going from day one.

Any lessons you learned in the early days of Swift?

We came up during the years of regulation, when we had to have ICC authority and you had to do it differently or better than the existing carrier to be able to get the authority. With that background, we always ask how do we do it differently and how do we do it better to get the business.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for trucking companies in 2012?

Government regulations. We're just getting bombarded with various government regulations from CSA to different engine EPA requirements. Our costs are going up dramatically, too. I've never been in an era when costs are as high as they are. That's our number one challenge: what we are going to do from a costing side going forward?

Swift has been experimenting with LNG (liquified natural gas). Where are you now?

We're very excited about it. We have three different test projects that we are working on today. One is the Cummins 8.9-liter that is very underpowered, but we're working some dedicated operations where we don't need a lot of power. We're also testing a Cummins 11.9-liter engine that has some great promise.

We're also involved with a company where we are mixing CNG (compressed natural gas) and diesel - a hybrid that we're getting some excellent results on.

We really believe that natural gas is a thing of the future. There's probably a five-year window to get into it. The manufacturers, like Cummins, are just starting to develop their 11.9-liter engines today. I don't know exactly what their time frame is on their 15-liter - probably a year or two behind. But we really think that this industry over the next five years could be close to 50% natural gas.

How should a carrier treat its drivers?

I've been in this business for 45 years and the number one problem has always been drivers. It's not going to change. For us to solve this, we've got to give them a lot more money. It's still a very difficult job, even though I believe the job itself is getting much better because they aren't required to unload like they used to and the equipment is getting so much better.

The offset of that is that we aren't getting the driver that's the old trucker anymore, it's the opposite of that: It's the new kid that's coming off the street. He wants all these different benefits and he's just not willing to work in the way that the older driver is. The industry has to look at that: number one, we have a different driver we gotta take care of - he has different attitudes and different wants - and number two, we gotta pay him more money.

If you could give one piece of advice to a company that was on the cusp of taking its business to the next level, what would it be?

Watch the numbers. You've got to know where you are on a daily basis as far as revenue and miles. Break everything down.

If you could go on a long-haul with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Well, my dad died 25 years ago and he and I used to drive together. So if I had to select someone, it would probably be my father. It would just be fun to go trucking with him again.

This article originally appeared in Today's Trucking magazine.


  1. 1. Gary Ledgett [ April 12, 2013 @ 08:28AM ]

    Well mr. Moyes I'm a current driver for swift, I've been driving solo for a year now and I have no real complaints about the company over all and I'm in it for the duration. This is my dream job, my passion, and my lifestyle thank you for giving me the opportunity to live out my dreams.

  2. 2. dennis popielarczyk [ April 30, 2013 @ 10:12AM ]

    Just would like to say thank you, I am a old school driver that will help unload a trk. I am a o/o for swift trans and I always dreamed of becoming a o/o and swift made that dream a reality but in this business there is always going to be ups and downs it is just the business. Once again thank you Mr.Jerry Moyes for this opportunity.I am 58 now I will retire a swift employee

  3. 3. Jack Smothers [ July 22, 2013 @ 04:36AM ]

    I have worked at this company for 9 months now. This company has NO CARE for its drivers and their families. Jerry himself would cut your throat and kill your children if he could make a nickel off of it. But my time here is up. I have found a much better company to work for. I would gladly trade my time at this for a stay in prison. At least in prison an inmate won't lie to you before he kills you. They say there is honor among thieves, well that person never worked for swift. I have slept in my home bed 4 nights these past 9 months. Worked 7 days a week to bring home paychecks of $24.25, $63.66, $32.74, $119.25, $68.77, $143.93. And that was 7 days on the truck with no home time and no breakdowns. So his lying ass is right in saying he needs to pay better. But as long as Jerry needs to buy things like hockey teams and yachts my wife and kids can just starve. Thanks
    For my CDL now I'm going to make some other company a damn good safe employee. Hope you sleep well at night.

  4. 4. Laurie [ December 12, 2013 @ 12:45PM ]

    The equipment sales department at Swift is rude and unproffessional. Owen plays favorites with truck buyers. You practically have to beg to spend your money with them. Bill Martin was wonderful to deal with. Too bad hes been replaced with neverending vacationers who will only sell equipment to their buddies despite the fact other people are willing to pay for trucks NOW. How pathetic. I read Swifts mission statement and code of conduct for their employees. Their equipment sales reps and management should be fired pronto!

  5. 5. pete [ December 26, 2013 @ 04:00PM ] are just a number ...if you make a mistake..or two you are gone...

  6. 6. TJ [ February 11, 2014 @ 09:49PM ]

    well i have a big issue with a few diff areas with swift. i currently drive for them. i lease a truck from them. we are getting screwed out of so much money from swift transportation. get paid 1200 miles but the actual trip is 1350 miles so therefore we are not getting paid the mileage for that 150 miles and no fuel surcharge for that 150 miles.swift transportation is making billions of profit each year by shortchanging their drivers on their miles they are paying them. never get you home when u want. macro 30 choose your load is not worth a crap. give us a load board . but i will end up leaving swift because of the getting screwed out of 20,000 dollars a yr per drive on the low of 13,000 per driver per year of the paying mileage. pay your drivers the actual mileage.on that note. go screw your self

  7. 7. Trewth Hurts [ June 18, 2014 @ 12:33PM ]

    Swift Transportation has had and still has an 80 to 100% turnover rate amongst drivers. The problem is not the younger generation of drivers not wanting to work. The problem is with Swift wanting drivers to live 24/7, 365 days a year, in a truck for wages that when compared to hours worked is not even minimum wage.

    Oh but wait!!! Want to make more money with Swift?? Become a mentor and train a new sucker for Jerry!!!

    Or you can lease a truck from Swift Leasing Co. and pay for their rolling stock.

    Swift Transportation has and will always be a detriment to professional drivers. This company along with the other Norman mafia outfit, CR England view the drivers as scum to be cheated and exploited like slaves. Any old school truck driver knows this and will never work for these companies. They prey on hard working people desperate for jobs.

  8. 8. Barbara [ August 19, 2014 @ 12:47PM ]

    Swift is big company with no heart for there workers this will be my news story for the news paper for all truckers. I have taken many notes on my trip with my husband. Believe me Mr moyes.your neglect for your workers has me wondering if you could handle this job being a trucker no home time 3 hrs to fine a trailer fine one and it is trashed .your planners don't know where to fine them your on rode takes 4 hrsto fine something you driver !manager there lost because no one ever been on a truck looks like to me the number one rule is been behind a seat of a truck to what the hell these men and women go thru how many families have split up because of no home time
    How many lives are gone because of the improper jobs done for there safety
    I know I am small person in your big company but if I ran the hospital the way you run your company then we both would of closed our doors mine is still running because the people were take care of you other hand needs to be revap I would like to see if the board members care to here why your losing workers why your trailers are trashed why your terminal need to be closed down until there looked at you have people taking money from by not doing there job if you want to be the best then get off you high chair and get out and look at your drivers get look at your terminal ask questions fine the right answer to a negative you brought to this company
    Do you really care. As for your terminal board of health should make a visit

  9. 9. Mike [ September 05, 2014 @ 09:26PM ]

    I went through most of the training with Swift but didn't finish. The trainer was awful. Yelling at me from minute one of my behind the wheel. I told him he needed to control himself and that just set him off. Long story short he told me privately he would not pass me, no matter what. I'm so glad it turned out the way it did. All the friends I made at the Academy had an awful time working for Swift with very low wages and little home time. Swift is unconcerned with its employees, the backbone of its business. Don't work for this company if you have any other choice.

  10. 10. barbara [ October 29, 2014 @ 01:43PM ]

    Really jerry you bought this terminal in Houston tx I have taken pictures of your terminal they dirty smell look like bums live there bathroom dirty smell like mold I bet you losing cyotes don't have locker this discussing so I told you that the board of health in each state will be called you need to get off your behind and come down here or if can't in which I even do it you care check them out you can even park in jurupe .you need a woman to clean up from your boys that is screwing it up I would love the job at least I know going to the bathroom it would be clean you make trucking look bad you care about your people then give a place where it safe and clean and don't forget about the heath department they can close things down

  11. 11. Michele [ November 01, 2014 @ 02:22PM ]

    I have a big issue...
    My son went to your academy in Richmond. He went there with his L.P. in hand. He had never driven a stick shift or been in a vehicle larger than a minivan. He passed his 5 tests that were given the first couple of days there. Then 1 morning, him and 8 other greens were taught to shift and strength back. The instructor had his way with them, yelling, screaming and cussing at them if they did things wrong. Then the instructor adjusted the mirrors for "him" and wouldn't let the students adjust for them. They went to lunch that day and when they came back they had 2 tries to pass the straight back. Oh, no lines just imagination. My son was close, but was not passed. He was sent home and told that he could try again if he had $750 cash.

    What is this way of teaching called? 4 hours for 9 people....then send over half of those home cause the task was impossible in the short amount of time and resources?

    I would like to know if I can please get an immediate response.

    Thank you

  12. 12. Barry [ November 26, 2014 @ 06:23PM ]

    Good Lord, never seen so much vitriol! I got with Swift after a horrendous experience with C.R. England (so I understand some, if not all, of your complaints), and yes, it was a bumpy start (no room at hotel first night of orientation), but Swift had stood by and backed up everything they said and told me they would do. My situation may be a little different from others as I'm a recent widower with no home to speak of, but I find the hours, miles (and most important of all), the money to be quite satisfactory ($800 to $1200 a week, take home, if you must know). Yes, the Houston terminal leaves something to be desired, and yes, I too have heard some horror stories about training, but if you READ the article (...he wants all these benefits, but is just not willing to work for them), then really it all comes down to Just How Bad Do You Really Want Something Better For Yourself. For me, Swift has provided just .that.

  13. 13. Janet B [ December 11, 2014 @ 07:08PM ]

    Drivers....if you think it's greener on the other side .....try working for someone else.
    PS----I worked for Swift back when Jerry Moyes was a lot smaller and I have seen the stress, hard work and sacrifices he put into making it the company it is today. If he wants to enjoy some time off on his house boat,,,more power to him. I dare you to go out and do the same. IT'S A FREE WORLD!!!

  14. 14. Dennis Adsir [ February 03, 2015 @ 07:20AM ]

    I driven for Swift bout 4 years now. Swift is the first company I've driven for.
    Folks gotta rember . Just like with religion . Ya can't always blame the person at the top. Most of the issues are caused by people lower on the food chain.
    The pay might not be the best. It's a training company. If a newbie gets a good mentor . That driver is off on the road to success . I lucked out. My mentor was great to work with. If a newbie has conflicts with mentor they need to inform their driver manager or driver services. If the newbie just toughs it out with bad mentor then it's on them for not getting proper training,
    The mentors I believe .are owner operators. A portion of them are only mentors in order to make more money and aren't concerned with properly training newbies.
    The cleanliness of terminals inside and out along with shop services . Are dependent on employees that take Pride in their work .there are suggestion/ survey card boxes at the terminals . If one had an issue once again. Report it. YA blow it off. It's on you. Upper management like any company counts on ALL employees to do the best job and do it in a safe manner.
    At this point I am very happy to be a part of the Swift team . I also have a great DM . That helps a lot.

  15. 15. william wellington aka c [ February 09, 2015 @ 09:46PM ]

    been with swift family for long time been with ups and downs with them do not have thing bad to say seen drivers go and comes right back I have not look for other trucking company jerry dad said its greener over there more fertilizer [ poop ] just had one bad truck out of all the trucks I have been responsible for and if jerry came up to my truck the can take over and fill good inside and out how it look and runs,my 1st terminal Fontana 10 yrs and now out of troutdale for 5 yrs thank all the swift family for all the help when I did call and thank you mr jeery and his dad mr carl please be safe and smile aka coach

  16. 16. Paul Acaley [ March 04, 2015 @ 07:43AM ]

    You should change your mission statement to same as class not the best. Before trying to start with you and being in orientation for 2 days. Then I'm told I'm not able to drive for you. As I said I didn't want my other companies contacted AG trucking is trying to black ball me from getting a job, and kept over $ 8,000. of my personal belonging, even after going down to Goshen, twice. I also have a family at the age of 59 no hope left for a stable job nor a life this is how you treat a vet… And it looks like Swift just goes with the flow thats not the best of class , just like another trucking company taking care of there own skin...

  17. 17. Rj [ March 12, 2015 @ 07:21PM ]

    "You have to WATCH THE NUMBERS" I've always said Jerry could pluck a quarter out of a driver's ass ... You gotta be that good?

  18. 18. josey wales [ March 24, 2015 @ 09:10PM ]

    hey I started motoring4 UN.swift when it was all FREIGHTSHAKERS DETROIT DIESEL AND WABASHs. wagons , HECK I TRAINED ON AUTORAIL ANY 1 REMEMBER THAT?

  19. 19. Jesse. harruson [ October 18, 2015 @ 06:38PM ]

    You can't. Keep. Me moving what is going on

  20. 20. Noah passino [ December 04, 2015 @ 09:42AM ]

  21. 21. Noah passino [ December 04, 2015 @ 09:44AM ]

    Combative planne4

  22. 22. Vernon Ward [ January 31, 2016 @ 09:41AM ]

    Good morning Mr. Moyes, I'm one of your student drivers here at swift transportation, driver code 383175. I have been treated disrespectful from the employees here at swift since day one. As of jan 30 2016, I was on truck number 502068, mentor Bryan, owner operator to get my training finished to upgrade to solo. As of that of this date had gotten phone call saying I was on safety hold with out reasoning, I called my home terminal in Greer sc an was told I was not on safety hold an been trying to find out why I am getting run around. I am sitting up here in Laredo Texas at the terminal trying to get some explanation is to why I'm being treated like this an I'm being told I have to wait to Monday to speak to my driver manager an to get a hotel, hotel with what money, I'm broke an my family is at home with out food. Sir I take my job very seriously an I'm good at what I do, I believe in doing my job by picking up my load, securing it, delivering it on time safely an undamaged, why, because swift is best in class because were all about safety. But because I cannot get anyone to help me, I'm in limbo with no response, sir I'm sorry to contact you on a Sunday which is a day I know you be in church, I'm a Christian my self sir but I need your help. Thank you for your understanding an patience, it's an honor to be here at swift transportation, my number 336-247-5350.

  23. 23. Tanveer qureshi [ February 07, 2016 @ 06:40PM ]

    Acchhey Mian stealing from Swifttranspietation.
    From load bars, load straps to bunk bed.

  24. 24. Joseph Benton [ February 13, 2016 @ 07:38PM ]

    U can't get home when u want nobody cares that's that bull shit

  25. 25. A Swift Driver [ March 10, 2016 @ 11:46AM ]

    To whom it will concern don't sign on as dedicated for Pottsville, PA. I have been here almost a year and now that I have settled in they are giving me loads of 200 miles or less or on reserved then after I go in 2 hours later they say nothing to give me so again I sit and wait only getting paid 30 bucks for that day.
    As for these new auto trucks I do believe that it should be the drivers choice whether or not to drive a auto/manual it should not be forced a pond us.
    The companies slogan is best in class I beg to differ in see standard trucks for company drivers but owner ops/team get the better of the trucks. Honestly the company drivers should have a apu/inverter/fridge the most common things that we need since we practically live out of them.
    Pay is a joke for otr drivers I was told a cpm I assumed that it would be that for the duration of the trip not trickle down further i get into the trip (sliding pay scale) yes I understand that the company has to make money as well with bills and insurance and all the claims that some drivers cause by running into low bridge's light poles etc. But we are talking about 1 to 4 cents a mile less or more depending upon your miles. Doesn't seem like much but 1000 miles at 3 cents that's 30 bucks off your check.
    Home time is the most important to any family you take that away from a person your asking for a rude awaking I've seen and heard several drivers take off to go home on the holidays and have been let go because it wasn't authorized. When someone is requesting to go home don't give them a run around or push them further away from home.(opposite way of home).
    Camera situation I believe it's a great idea but unfortunately I have caught the safety guy at my terminal slip up and say he has been watching the drivers. Now we all know that when they first started talking about them and sending the videos through qualcomm they assured us that they can't just hop on and watch well what they fail to mention is it doesn't matter if you set the cam off or not it's continuously records because of the motion sensor and g-senor built into it. So if you have one don't pick up your phone or take a drink,smoke,chew,eat just drive like a robot
    One minor thing that kinda irks me is the simple fact that if your truck is dirty and you are a clean freak like me I want my truck looking good I want the polished aluminum wheels to shine the white paint to be white windows clean ect.ect. but do you think swift (BEST IN CLASS) would have an account with blue beacon so we can wash our trucks. Forget the terminal wash bays you'll have better luck driving in the rain. I understand 45 bucks times how ever many trucks swift has can be expensive but with an account as big as swift I'm sure a discounted price would be agreed upon. Once or twice a month and if that's too much then fix the terminal washbays and if that's still to much to ask for then build do it yourself bays so we can take the time to wash it ourself.

  26. 26. Vernon [ March 16, 2016 @ 12:47PM ]

    Mr. Moyes, I would just would like to say that I'm very ashamed of your company. I use to be one of your best flat bed drivers who loved working for you, but due to the wrong firing an lies that cost me my mother's life an bad mouthing me so I couldn't find a nother job, just telling you thanks for nothing, I don't want my job back, and everything folks said about your company that I defended, I see it was all true an that I feel like a complete idiot for ever working for you, I was wrong an I regret making that decision. I'm sorry to say that I am not repaying my loan because my contract was broken on the companies end, I honored my part. Take me to court if you like, I own nothing, I have no money, you just be wasting your own time trying to sue me, I have nothing more to my name, your company took that from me. I'm very disappointed an ashamed of how you an the company treat us drivers. Good day sir.

  27. 27. Bob [ September 19, 2016 @ 04:09PM ]

    Face it fellas if you stay in this business, which i have for 29yrs. At some point you will drive for 1 of 3 compianies
    Swift, JB Hunt and the great pumpkin. Its gonna happen someday you all can take that to the bank... as regulations get tighter, expenses get greater and the ATA lobbies for the big 3....deregulation was to put an end to the giant compianies.. as we all know that didnt workout as planned.
    And as far as Jerry whatever his last name is. Saying the new breed of driver "we need to pay them more"
    Are you Fucking kidding me. These idiots that your company is training are the lowest paid people ive ever talked to. I was just speaking to one of your trainers out here in Iowa and if hes telling the truth he himself has only been driving for 2 years and is making .30cents all miles to train.. Are you nuts
    Letting someone with only 2 years themselves train a new driver.. Why not pay experienced drivers what they are really worth, but first ask yourself what are experienced guys worth? If i have 29yrs experience and some other driver has 8yrs.. how is my 29yrs not worth more then that other drivers 8.. the answer is.. you cant afford it we would put you out of business.. i dont see any reason why a experienced driver is not making 100k a year as a company driver. One last thing there Jerry or whatever your name is you scumbag.
    If your Dad was a REAL driver.. ask yourself would he be proud of you? You and a handfull of other scumbags have Fucked this industry up. So again scumbag would daddy pat you on the back and say, that a boy... the only thing you are doing is laughing all the way to the bank cashing big pay checks.. while the men and women out here who provide your ass with all the comforts in life.. they are barely surviving.. you my man are a huge twatwaffle
    Have a fine day

  28. 28. Bryon Reynolds [ May 15, 2017 @ 10:33PM ]

    801 B Gulf Blvd. Indian Rocks. Beach Florida

  29. 29. Deya [ August 17, 2017 @ 06:20PM ]

    He's 21s century master of the masters of transportation. All respect

  30. 30. Dread Pirate Trucker [ September 26, 2017 @ 01:14AM ]

    Jerry is the greatest thing to happen to trucking. He integrated technology with trucking and made the drivers jobs much easier. He will forever be known as "the king of trucking" and the "Elvis Presley of trucking". Jerry Moyes is a legend. Hail to the king! DPT


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