First Class

Winter 2013

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Page 13 of 23

"We saw an opportunity to say to our customers and the community that we were stepping into the future." Continued from page 13 "Suddenly the world had changed." Nearly a quarter century later, the world has suddenly changed again at JFW Trucking. This time, the world-changer is Peterbilt's new Model 579 equipped with the PACCAR MX-13 Engine. JFW Trucking recently added 10 of the innovative aerodynamic conventionals to its fleet of 30 trucks that work the area around the firm's Commerce City, Colo., headquarters. And for those surprised to see an aerodynamic conventional in a bulkhaul and end-dump application, trust that you're not alone. Even the Whites had some reservations about running a Model 579 in their application — until they saw it perform. "What it signaled — to us, our drivers and our customers — was that we were changing the culture around here," says Dave White. "We'd always been known for our performance and reliability. But it's a changing world and business climate and this said to everyone that we weren't dinosaurs. The Model 579 is the future, and we're going to embrace it." 14 l FIRST CLASSCLASS Storied past The future for JFW Trucking will be built on a storied past that places the company among the Denver area's longest in continual operation. The White brothers' grandfather, Sam Schlegel, started the firm as a residential coal hauler in 1935. Jim White Sr. married Sam's daughter Evelyn in 1959, resulting in a partnership between Schlegel and a small company Jim Sr. ran. They formally merged in 1978 and with Evelyn in charge of the new firm, named it JFW Corporation. Sons Dave and Jim Jr. came to work in the family business in the 1980s. Despite steady management over the years, the company has experienced some changes. The economic slowdown a few years ago pushed them into diversification with a flatbed division to complement what they call their "meat and potatoes" core in materials hauling. They've also developed a high-profile division in servicing various sports niches, such as materials delivery to golf courses and the venues that host the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies. But among the most noteworthy changes are the two that most affected the fleet. The first was the initial decision to put Peterbilts in the fleet in 1989, a conversion that continued over the course of the next decade. "We had reliability problems with our equipment before that, and that went away with Peterbilt," says Dave. "But the other thing that really opened our eyes was that we were really able to shed a lot of weight. We were able to downsize the engine, get a lighter transmission and rear end, and spec aluminum hubs and crossmembers. "With our previous equipment, the only option you had was the rear-end ratio, if that. Peterbilt practically gave us anything we wanted, and we wanted to lighten up the truck. We were really able to get our tare weights down and get legal payloads up to 27 tons." New trucks needed The second noteworthy change occurred late in 2012. The company had just picked up a contract that would necessitate the purchase of 10 trucks, a huge investment for a company that had never run more than about 30 of them. "We were scared to death to buy that

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