CLIENT OF THE MONTH: Three-generation Trucking Firm, a True Family Business

Gordie Archer grew up in the family business, learning to drive, repair and spray water from water trucks, getting his commercial drivers license at just 16.

He is walking in the footsteps of his father Red Archer, working for his father alongside his brother Jeff in the 1970s. Both of them got their commercial driver’s licenses at 16 and would later inherit the business from their father, F.B. (Red) Archer Jr.

Eventually, Gordie and Jeff split the company in two, with Jeff and his wife Shellie keeping the highway truck operation in Ukiah, while Gordie and his wife Janice set up shop in Southern California as G & J Heavy Haul, Inc. in May 2005.

In keeping with the family tradition, their son Jesse grew up in the trucking business and just like his dad Gordie, began to drive and repair trucks when he was only 10 years old. They run the operation from their home office and Jesse is the shop manager and diesel mechanic. When Jesse got married, his wife also joined the company, working as the dispatcher.

Now this small family business looks very different. It has grown into not only a trucking company but also a dirt contractor. Jesse Archer working alongside his dad Gordie, started to take over management in 2015, then went on to get his contractor license in 2016. This allowed the company to grow with the purchase of several pieces of heavy equipment.

CoreMark Insurance Services admires family operations like G & J Heavy Haul, hard-working and honest people who have made this country what it is today. That’s why we chose them as our Client of the Month.

COREMARK: Please tell us about the history of the company and what it’s like to have a multi-generational family business.

G&J Heavy Haul: As the economy changed in the 1990s and early 2000s, the work became more diverse and all over the state. Gordie was traveling to southern California weekly. The kids were grown so he and Janice decided to move south.

There were some great job opportunities in Glendora, removing sediment from reservoirs and moving dirt to build the 210 freeway were our first big jobs. Gordie & Jeff split the company in two. Jeff and Shellie kept the highway trucks in Ukiah and Gordie and Janice moved south with the off highway dirt trucks. G & J Heavy Haul, Inc. was born on May 1, 2005.

Since our start as a small family business we have managed to grow our company to what it is today. This was only possible with the team we have both internally and externally, like great service providers like CoreMark.

Please discuss how your services have evolved over the years (like from water trucking to vacuum trucking, hazardous waste removal and dirt and rock).

Our services have evolved through the years to service all of California and out-of-state operations. We have also grown in size from being just a small trucking company that could operate with a small home office and just a few employees to a large company with 3 offices within the state and nearly 50 employees and 250 subcontractors/subhaulers.

In terms of workplace safety and risk management, what are the biggest challenges in running a trucking business?

One of our biggest challenges in running our company is minimizing risk and being aware of current and new rules and regulations for our industry.

How about regulations for trucking, particularly environmental regulations. Have they affected you and how did you cope?

One of the biggest challenges in environmental regulations has been subhauler compliance. With so many changes from the state and new regulations, it’s difficult for the owner operators to adapt as fast as the laws enter the industry.

How has your relationship with CoreMark been beneficial to you or your business?

Coremark keeps me updated with current and new regulations to keep me on the right track. This helps our subhaulers and our company stay compliant.