Trucking runs deep in the veins of Doug Cummings, Maintenance Manager at FleetPride, Texarkana. Doug’s grandfather began driving a truck back in the ‘30s when he was just 13 years old and retired with over 40 years of driving without a single chargeable accident. Doug’s father and three of Doug’s uncles were part of the LTL segment of the industry, as well as his mother, two brothers, a sister, many cousins, and his son were or are part of the trucking industry.
Doug himself was Maintenance Director for his father’s business and was responsible at one point for a fleet of 800 trucks. In 2001, with a twenty-year tenure at Tri-State Delivery and the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and a diverse resume, Doug set out to start his own business, Patriot Truck and Trailer. Just like his father, Doug reinvented himself in his early 40s.
Today, the sign in front of Doug’s shop might say “FleetPride” but Doug and his family built this business. They became part of the FleetPride family in 2019. Doug said, “It (joining FleetPride) was a good fit, but there’s a transition from being the sole decision-maker and then being part of a larger organization.”
So many of our team members across the United States have great stories to tell, and Doug is no exception. We heard that Doug used to race cars, and we just had to hear more about Doug’s story.
Back in the late 70s, early 80s Doug lived in Little Rock, AR, and started going to the races. He helped some friends with a car and they won the points championship at I-30 speedway 2 years in a row where back then, every feature race in their class was a figure eight.
When he moved to Texarkana to join the family business, Tri-State Delivery, the car came with him, and he raced until taking a break to start a family. His first date with his wife was to the dirt track races, and he drove – she sat in the stands. Doug went racing again for three years from 2011-2013. The second year, his son Allen, who is the lead technician at Fleetpride, started racing, too. Doug finished second in points that year. Allen started in the novice class but soon had to move up about halfway through the season, where he raced alongside his Dad. (Allen was just that good!) That year, Allen won Rookie of the Year.
Kids and grandkids watched “Pawpaw” race for those three years, and one July night, Patriot Truck and Trailer sponsored Patriot Night at the races, where Doug’s 8 year-old granddaughter sang the national anthem while the 77 car made a lap with the American flag – talk about a proud Pawpaw! The racing background led Doug into the maintenance arena of our industry, which led him into Patriot, which led him to FleetPride. So, it is safe to say that without that introduction to racing in Little Rock back in the day that Doug would not have landed where he is today.
The team members at Patriot helped Doug keep his car running, and in return, Doug got them in to see the races every Saturday. The friends at the track are like family. It’s a great place to take your family for some good “clean” fun – well, as clean as dirt racing can be. There are many parallels between racing and life and business.
Doug has been successful in many facets, and we asked him why people kept coming back to Patriot and why they still come back with the new sign out front. Doug said, “When a truck comes in, you have two customers. You have the driver and the company who owns the truck. He (the driver) lives in that truck, and you have to take care of both of them.”
He also said, “If the people above you AND the people on your team are successful, then you will be successful.”
It must be working because Doug has a great track record (no pun intended) of keeping his employees long-term. Allen (Doug’s son) has been there for 10 years, and Greg Knowles (assistant branch manager) and William Allen (technician) have both been there longer than that.
Doug says that we are one team and all of our staff knows there are many hats to wear. They don’t have a “that’s not my job” attitude. He also cross-trains his staff; “We all help each other out. There is no us and them environment in our operations.”