Left to Right: Driver Ronnie Spears, Geary Buchanan, Driver Chuck Babcock -- Not Pictured: Driver Dean Burton
“It’s a family-- and it has been from day one.”
Those are the words echoed by Buchanan drivers Charles “Chuck” Babcock and Ronald “Ronnie” Spears when asked what it’s like to be a part of the Buchanan team. Both Chuck and Ronnie, along with Dean Burton, recently received the prestigious 1 Million Safe Miles award from National Interstate Insurance.
To achieve such a recognition takes time and dedication. “You certainly can’t drive 1 million miles overnight,” said Geary Buchanan, founder of Buchanan Hauling & Rigging and long-time owner-operator. “Chuck, Ronnie and Dean have been with me since the very early days, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the dedication of our drivers.”
For most drivers in the Buchanan Family, it’s a loyalty to Geary and his vision that have kept them on the road for over 20 years.
“When Geary asks us to get something done, we get it done,” said Chuck. “We take care of our customers because we want them to call us again-- that’s how good business is done.”
Chuck recalled one of his first conversations with Geary before coming on board: “I had an old truck that was really worn out. I was struggling. Geary said ‘You can make a lot of money with an old iron-- as long as it’s safe.’ I’ve trusted him from then on, and he was right.”
The way Ronnie reflects on the early days illustrates an unparalleled respect for Geary, as well-- and the feeling is definitely mutual. “When I met Geary, he was working as an agent for another company, but things weren’t going well,” Ronnie recalled. “He said, ‘I’m done! I quit!’ and I said ‘What are you going to do now?’ He looked at me and said ‘Let’s go down and put my name on the side of that truck and see what happens.’ I’ve been with him ever since.”
“Geary is easy to work with,” Ronnie continued. “He tells us what to do and we do it. Simple as that. If I get mad, I can call and yell and he will listen. You can’t get that everywhere.”
When asked how they achieved 1 million miles accident-free, both Chuck and Ronnie said they never focused too much on the miles, rather they focused on helping Geary and Buchanan grow. You can’t get many repeat customers if you aren’t safe, so they always focus on safety. It’s just a part of who they are and how they run their business.
“I never dreamt it would be this big,” said Geary. “I never stopped to think about it-- we were just too busy taking care of our customers. I firmly believe good things happen to good people-- Chuck, Ronnie and Dean are good people.”
Geary continued, “Words cannot express this kind of accomplishment. When you get out on the highways, you never know what is going to happen, especially now with texting. People are not paying attention to what they are doing. Weather is challenging and road conditions are treacherous. It is mind boggling to think you can travel a million miles and not have an incident. It is one heck of a milestone.”