SKOWHEGAN, Me. – Trucking company president Jimmy Carrier knows his Western Star trucks are up to the job because he helped improve them.
Carrier, president of Richard Carrier Trucking (RCT), has advised Western Star executives and engineers on the designs of the 4900 and the 5700XE models, the two trucks which compose RCT’s 168-truck fleet.
“We know what we need in a truck,” said Carrier. “I was impressed with the way Western Star listened to me and then made the changes. That shows a real dedication to making the best truck they can.”
RCT bought its first Western Star 4900 in 1992 on a trial basis. The company was growing and Carrier, who was then running RCT’s maintenance shop, was looking to reduce repair costs.
“We tested the 4900 for a year and we were impressed by the low maintenance costs, the durability and the reliability,” he said. So RCT began stocking its fleet with dependable Western Star 4900s to better serve customers and its growing and interrelated operations.
The company has grown enormously since it was founded in 1974 by Richard Carrier, James’ father and an immigrant from Canada. Originally a log hauler, RCT has grown to include “anything having to do with wood,” including lumber and pallet manufacturing, pulp and fuel chips, landscaping chips and mulch.
Based in Maine, where it owns 33,000 acres of forest, RCT also has facilities in New Hampshire and Vermont and operates throughout New England and Canada, where it has two trucking companies. It employs about 650 people and uses another 120 contractors, Carrier said.
When RCT first began buying Western Star 4900s, the company would make its own modifications to them, based on what they’d learned about operating logging trucks in Maine’s harsh conditions. On trips to Western Star’s former headquarters in Kelowna, British Columbia, and its current base in Portland, Ore., Carrier and other customers shared their hard-earned knowledge with Western Star executives and engineers, working with them to make the trucks more capable and reliable. In almost every instance, Western Star made the suggested changes, Carrier said.
For example, he advised equipping the dashboard of the 5700XE, which launched in 2015, with traditional gauges rather than digital readouts.
“I like the look of needle (gauges),” he said. “It makes a truck look like a truck. Drivers like that.”
RCT has been using the new 5700XEs for long-haul and heavy haul and the truck is performing well in both instances, Carrier said.
RCT’s trucks are bright yellow, but their most visible vehicles are two Western Star trucks the company has turned into rolling tributes, one for veterans and one commemorating 9/11. The Support Our Troops truck is assigned to a driver who is a Vietnam veteran. Both trucks are purposely assigned to a Rhode Island-to-Quebec route.
“They run that road so everyone can see them,” Carrier said. “The whole Northeastern Seaboard sees them.”
RCT has never been shy about expressing its opinion, whether it comes to patriotism or truck design.
Western Star Truck Sales, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Ore., produces tough custom trucks for highway and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.
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