July 29, 2019

Maintaining the Highest of Standards


Benny Whitehead Inc. sets the bar high for its customers

“When my father and mother started this company, they understood that quality service was directly related to dependable equipment. Their dedication and commitment to providing high-quality and on-time transportation services has earned Benny Whitehead Inc. (BWI) an ever-growing customer base and successful service routes that cover 20 states and take our drivers from the Southeast to the West Coast,” said Benny Paul Whitehead, vice president of operations.

The company has evolved from one truck hauling timber in 1963 to a mix of 20 dry and refrigerated trucks and trailers by the mid-1980s, and today, the Eufaula, Alabama-based trucking company runs a fleet of 95 refrigerated trailers and tractors and 85 dry trailers. All are model year 2015 or newer.

“Our company focuses on one thing:  providing unrivaled customer service with dependable up-to-date equipment and cutting edge technology,” said Whitehead, who is one of three Whitehead children now leading the company alongside their dad.

BWIs experience, integrity and solid track record have earned them a reputation as one of the nation’s leading transport companies in both temperature and dry products. The family-owned business employs 140 drivers and 20 supporting staff that enables the company to guarantee 40-hour coast to coast delivery.

High Technological Standards

Hauling primarily produce and some poultry, BWI relies on its 100 percent Thermo King Precedent® S-600 trailer fleet with web-based TracKing® telematics technology to not only protect the loads but also satisfy laws concerning food safety by providing quick data downloads, meet EPA regulations, and help schedule routine maintenance.

“Having the latest in temperature control technology is not only important to our business, it is important to our customers,” said Whitehead. “Maintaining high cargo safety standards and ensuring on-time deliveries are the value proposition we offer customers. Dependable temperature management, easy downloads and 24-7 cargo tracking are how we prove it. And we can’t do it without Thermo King’s partnership.”

A 100 percent Thermo King customer since 1993, BWI migrated toward Thermo King’s Precedent trailer unit platform in 2014 and added another 50 this year, choosing the breakthrough system for its double-digit fuel savings, maximum reliability and compliance offerings that do not compromise performance. 

The Precedent’s REB embedded telematics communication platform integrates with the TracKing system, enabling BWI to manage its fleet both over-the-road and in the yard, and also allows remote access and control of the OptiSet Plus features like Cycle Century Modulation, another option the company utilizes to provide better, customized temperature control for the various commodities it hauls for customers.

Trusting partnership

BWI has worked with Thermo King of Montgomery and Thermo King of Dothan, both part of the Mid State Thermo King family of dealerships, since they entered the refrigerated trucking business.

“I still remember the day clearly. It was a callout on a Saturday in the summer of 1978, and I was an aspiring mechanic at the dealership. Benny was driving a 1950s model Mack tractor that was pulling a trailer with a Thermo King NWD 30. We patched some Freon leaks and replaced a bad compressor to save the load of produce. We’ve been doing business ever since and have become good friends over the years,” said Steve Stinson, vice president and general manager of Mid State Thermo King.

“My dad and our company has believed in Thermo King from the start, choosing them for proven product quality, reliability and resale values, as well as the outstanding reputation of both our local dealer and the national dealer network, which is always ready to provide dependable service if needed when our drivers are on the road. Working with Mid State Thermo King has always been easy and makes our ownership a pleasure.” 

Resale value on all equipment is important for a company like BWI, which maintains a lifecycle of 30 months on tractors and three years on trailers. The disciplined trade-in cycle is a key to sustaining its reputation for offering a dependable fleet.

The company is steadfast on keeping a regular maintenance schedule as well, performing all equipment maintenance in house at its Eufaula facility. Every piece of equipment comes through the shop for a detailed bumper to bumper inspection before every trip out.  BWI chooses only genuine Thermo King aftermarket parts to ensure reliable, long component life on its Thermo King units.

Taking care of drivers

Despite today’s industry challenges, which include food safety issues, ongoing EPA regulations concerning new equipment and emissions, and driver shortages, BWI is prospering. The company enjoys dedicated driver tenure and works to retain drivers by providing amenities such as QUALCOMM on its tractors, which helps maximize hours of service while ensuring safety and compliance, and provides GPS tracking. In addition, they’ve begun adding Thermo King’s TriPac™ EVOLUTION APU to provide in-cab comfort while simultaneously saving on idling pollution and fuel.  BWI is also a proud partner with SmartWay to help reduce fuel consumption, protect the environment and improve air quality. Drivers enjoy a fuel mileage bonus program that has helped BWI meet safety and fuel goals by offering incentives to drivers to drive within certain speed parameters and achieve above average fuel mileage.

“Benny Whitehead maintains the highest of standards … for both its customers and its employees,” said Brien Repp, sales manager at Mid State Thermo King. “This is indicative by the dependable fleet it has invested in and the commitment it has made to provide the best, most efficient technology available to protect loads. We are proud to partner with them.”

Learn more about Benny Whitehead Inc. at www.bwitruck.com

Family-owned and operated, Benny Whitehead still serves as president of Benny Whitehead Inc. today, while his daughter Amy Whitehead DeFee is chief financial officer, and sons Benny Paul Whitehead and Jason Eddie Whitehead are vice presidents managing fleet operations, sales and maintenance. There is also a third generation now working the business; Benny’s grandchildren Cory Culpepper and Jase Whitehead both work in operations.

BWI has been a Thermo King customer since the summer of 1978 when Benny Whitehead’s 1950s Mack tractor pulling a trailer broke down with a full load of produce – shown here restored to its glory days. Steve Stinson, vice president and general manager of Mid State Thermo King, was a new mechanic at the time and helped get Benny back on the road. “I remember that the phrase, ‘Don’t worry about the mule, just load the wagon’ was painted on the back of the trailer. To this day, that saying holds true for Benny Whitehead and his company … They are always ready for a challenge or opportunity.”

Benny Whitehead (left) pictured with Steve Stinson in front of several BWI Precedent units. 

Customer: Benny Whitehead, Inc. (Eufaula, Alabama) | www.bwitruck.com

Dealer: Mid-State Thermo King (TK Montgomery and Dothan)