Self-sufficient attitude, along with the ability to expand and operate and adapt to working in different states and markets is what has made Roseberry Transport successful.
Roseberry Transport, Inc.
Crescent City, Oregon
By Darin Burt
Candice Roseberry is an intelligent businesswoman. She holds an MBA in Business & Public Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine. But as the owner of Roseberry Transport, Candice has had to learn much about logging and timber hauling on the job.
“I grew up in logging,” Candice says. “I’ve had to learn the trucking . . . it has a language all its own.”
Ninety-five percent of the hauls that Roseberry Transport makes are logs, chips or equipment for Roseberry Timber, the sister company owned by Candice’s parents, Terry and Debbie Roseberry.
Candice had agreed to come into the family business and help out for a couple of years following graduate school and then go and do her own thing. We all know how that typically works out. Terry and Candice jointly developed Roseberry Transport in 2005 with her leasing the two company trucks and then adding more to the new business.
“This was my dad’s way of getting me to stay around,” Candice jokes.
“He knew that I was young, but thought that I could start small and expand and maybe one day, he could pass all operations and corporations over to me so that I could keep the businesses and family name alive kind of like a legacy,” adds Candice, 33. “Family is big to him, and since I was an only child, it seemed natural. He wasn't scared that I was a girl; he knew that he had raised me in this industry and never treated me any different than he would have if I were a boy.”
Roseberry has bases of operation in Crescent City, Oregon and Chester, California. In California, Roseberry primarily logs for Sierra Pacific Industries and Collins Pine Company. In Oregon, the company tends to buy a lot of their own contracts, so Candice is charged with marketing the logs to the mills.
“I’ve been selling logs to the mills since I was 18 years old. At first it was easier because I think I reminded them of their daughters, and then as I got older, it was easier because they had worked with me for so long and they knew that I knew what I was talking about,” she says.
One of the biggest lessons Candice has learned in her dealings with the mills is that no doesn’t always mean no.
“There’s usually a way to work some sort of a deal,” she says. “As long as they know that you’re not out to pull the wool over their eyes, they will tend to work with you better than they will with companies that are trying to always get the best buck.”
“My dad and I have the same philosophy in that we want to make it beneficial for everyone involved,” she adds. “In the end, we tend to get more work. Also our quality of work and our quality of people speak for themselves, and we’ve gotten a lot of work because of that as well.”
And as a good (and smart) daughter, Candice listens and learns from her father’s experience. Such as with buying new equipment - with her masters in business, Candice automatically pulls out her calculator and lets the numbers sway her decision, where as Terry has learned overtime the long term benefits in the investment.
“He always tells me, you’ve got to spend money to make money . . . you’ve got to have good equipment. Sometimes you might be scared of the big payment, and you have to put in the work, but in the end you’re not as likely to be broken down. If the machine or truck is running, you’re going to be better off.”
Heading that advice, Candice upped her logging production with the purchase of a dangle head processor, and saved in repairs, maintenance and downtime with a new logging truck.
“I sat down and figured it out, and my two newest logging trucks ran year-round and I didn’t put one drop of money into them,” she says. “I looked at my subcontractors, and the ones that were trying to make do with older trucks, had broken down several times, just like we had with our oldest truck.
“I’ll be darned if dad wasn’t right.”
The logging trucks in the Roseberry Transport fleet are 1992 and 1995 Kenworth T800s, a 2005 Kenworth W900 and a 2013 KW T800 equipped with a quick-change option. The lowboy tractor is a 1998 KW T800 with a pair of 60-ton Trail King trailers, each spec’ed specifically for operating in either Oregon or California.
“We’re still making money off of the older trucks, but we’re preparing to have to upgrade them to new models to meet California emission rules,” Candice says.
“Having several trucks running, where one is covering my costs, another is covering payments and the others are given the excess; they are the ones that are preparing me to upgrade to new trucks and not have huge payments but still be able to meet the regulations,” she adds.
When it comes to logging trucks, wherever they are hauling, Candice prefers to spec’ them as if they were hauling in Oregon with either Super-40 or 46,000 lb rears.
“There are some places we’ve been pulling out of down here that is really nasty country, and our trucks don’t break down when every other truck on the mountain lost rearends or transmissions,” she says.
Being down the middle with lighter-weight and heavy-duty trucks, Roseberry’s trucks are typically lighter weight than those owned by the mills by which they use to set the haul rates.
“Since we have logging sides,” Candice says, “I have the negotiation point with the mills where I can tell them that I can’t make it with my trucks (based on the going rate), but they need my trucks, and they will usually agree which gives us the opportunity to come to an agreeable number that is realistic for me.”
“I have presented my points to the mills, and they understand what my fleet can and cannot do,” Candice adds. “If you can show your numbers and margins, the mills will listen.”
Along with good equipment, Candice insists that good drivers are key to having a successful trucking operation.
“A bad driver can take a good truck and wreck it quick,” she says. “We look for a driver with experience who knows how to drive the truck efficiently without beating it up on the dirt and how to pull up out of a hill without spinning and tearing out a rearend, and who pays attention to things and knows when there are issues with the truck that need attention before they cause major problems.”
As commonly happens with multi-generational companies, there’s a bit of an old versus new school quandary. And Roseberry, where two decades separates father and daughter, is no different.
“My dad is definitely old school,” Candice says with a laugh. “He’s of the school that the business is your life. When I’m home on the weekend, I’m usually doing something at the shop or cruising a sale. But I’ll take vacations when I need them, and if I need to direct the trucks I can do it using ‘modern technology.’”
Dispatching for Roseberry Transport’s trucks is done through text messaging. By sending out specific orders there are no questions about what, when or where.
“There are times when we have up to 27 trucks, and if I had to call every one of them, it would take all night long,” Candice says. “If there are guys that don’t know how to use text messaging, I teach them. One of my truck drivers was in his late sixties; he texts all the time now.”
Rather than penciling in figures in an old-fashioned notebook, Candice utilizes OEC Load Tracker and Ticket Tracker software programs to track expenses, parts inventory and maintenance and repairs, and also allows her to compare prices from different vendors. During an audit, having accurate accessible records is also important to a smooth investigation with a positive outcome.
While in school she was the head student trainer for the Southern Oregon University football team. Her plan was to go into the healthcare policy field.
Her education gives her a solid understanding of the necessary requirements of obtaining business loans, grants and credit lines, and the ins and outs of contract negotiations – a skill that comes in quote handy when dealing with mills and timber companies.
For instance, getting a loan from Kenworth for the company’s new logging truck was a simple process. “If you know what they are looking for and they’re not feeling threatened,” Candice says, “then you can present your business plan quickly and easily and you’re out the door.”
To expand Roseberry Transport, Candice obtained a government grant that allowed her to purchase a horizontal grinder. Initially, the equipment was used to produce chips for Roseberry Timber, but within the last couple of years, Candice has branched out with her own logging crews and jobs. Because of the tremendous initial investment, she leases most of the logging equipment from her father.
For the last few years, the majority of Candice’s logging jobs have been in northern California, but her crews have also worked in Oregon and Colorado. The Roseberry Transport lowboy moves equipment in California and Oregon for the family operations as well as for other contractors.
An obvious question might be what does a college educated young lady know about logging and trucking?
“My dad was never really into the trucking; his CDL was grandfathered in. He didn’t want to take care of the trucks, and that’s where I came into it,” Candice says. “I had a really good truck boss who stayed with us for a long time and he taught me a bunch. From that point, I’ve really had to apply myself and learn everything that I could. Especially when we were in Colorado, you might call Kenworth and need to talk to them about things that are specific to logging, and they’re clueless because they don’t deal with it much.”
“I grew up around logging and I can run any of the equipment. My mom used to run a side with my dad, and during the summertime that was my job. I ran the skidder and stroke delimber. If there’s anything to do with computers, that’s me too.
“Many of the machines are so highly computerized now that I’m the one that’s called on to troubleshoot problems and fix it.”
Much of the knowledge to make those kinds of fixes comes from talking with factory technicians. Candice’s sports medicine background has also helped her make correct “diagnoses” and get to the root of the problems.
“Understanding the human body, and dealing with an injury, you have to start at the root cause, whether it might be an issue with a nerve or muscle. You look at things on a step by step basis so that you’re not running around in circles,” Candice explains. “Diagnosing a problem in a machine is the same thing. Wiring is like nerves, and hydraulic systems are like blood vessels.”
Roseberry Transport has a three-bay shop at their yard in California, but rather then full-time mechanics, they rely on the crew, and that includes Terry and Candice as well. Major repairs in California are sent to the local Cat dealers or Cummins West.
That self-sufficient attitude, along with the ability to expand and operate and adapt to working in different states and markets is what has made Roseberry Transport successful.
At the heart of the company is a bright and determined young lady. You might find Candice driving the pilot car ahead of an oversize load or moving trucks around the yard, but she purposefully doesn’t have a commercial drivers license.
“You can’t operate as much as we’ve got going on from the seat of a truck,” she says. “If I had my CDL I’d be in the truck all the time.”
. . . told you she was smart.
Dealing with a Different Kind of Challenge
Candice Roseberry was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 29. MS is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system, i.e. the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. This was a healthy young woman who had been a track & field athlete, and she was shocked and scared by the news that she had a debilitating disease.
MS affects each person with the disease differently. Candice’s symptoms have ranged from vision problems, cramping leg muscles to physical and emotional fatigue. A combination of drugs and a healthy diet have helped keep her alleviate her symptoms. But rest and a stress-free lifestyle? Those are luxuries she doesn’t always have in her business.
“I’ve since learned that with this disease, the hotter or colder the weather, and the higher the elevation, makes the symptoms come on even stronger. I told my doctor, ‘Do you realize what I do?’ Now he just laughs about it because he knows me and what I have going on,” Candice says.
“As he describes it, it’s more of a quality of life, and for some people, the problems that I have might not be a big issue. It makes it tough on me because most people get to focus on the illness, but I’m too young, I’m too active, and I’ve got too many people riding on me,” she adds. “Sometimes I think that this lifestyle might be part of what is good for me in a way because if I got to sit back and think about it, I’d probably dwell on it. . . I don’t have time for that.”
Candice also has the support of her friends and family to help her deal with the disease.
“If I’m out in the sun washing logging trucks, my mom will come out and put her foot down and make me put the pressure washer away and go home,” Candice says. “One of the problems is that it’s hard for me to get going in the morning, but I can make up for that by putting in a longer day.
“I’ve learned how to work with my MS and I’ve learned to live with it.”