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June 22, 2011 Vol. 7, No. 13

This isn’t exactly a place you’d go if you had the urge to hear a heart-warming tale, and I’m not about to change your mind. Truth is, I do know such stories, and in some abundance. Like the one about a wiry old heavy-hauler who routinely terrorized truckstop waitresses. He’d rip your face off if you looked at him funny but he once delayed a delivery by a full day to save a bunch of newborn birds whose mother had the poor sense to build a nest in some cubbyhole on a little-used lowboy. No lie.

Customer can wait, I’m savin’ them chicks, he probably snarled.

Yeah, well, I do have a nice little story for you but it’s not exactly in that category. It starts almost exactly four years ago when in this very space I wrote briefly about a fledgling company with what seemed to me like a good idea. A small one, but good.

Jeff Halberstadt was about to launch Magic Touch Decal Removal — a mobile enterprise that would have him rolling around the Toronto area stripping old graphics off trailers and truck bodies with an almost-patented tool of his own design. It sounded viable so I gave him a small leg up by way of digital ink, declaring that I hoped it worked as well as he claimed!

Turns out it worked very well indeed, and a couple of days ago I had a lovely long e-mail from vice president John Campbell — Jeff’s original partner, I think — with a progress report. My brief mention generated a few phone calls and e-mails, including one from a large fleet that offered a contract. That proved pretty challenging, apparently, but Jeff and John made it work and that led to more jobs.

They even managed to grow through the recession, after starting with just one 14-ft trailer that held the steam removal unit, pressure washer, and a 150-gal water tank. They’ve grown from that one small trailer and two employees to a company that now has three mobile units and six employees. Still Ontario-centered, they’re looking to expand across Canada. And who knows where else?

We’re not talking about a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs sort of business miracle here, obviously, just a couple of guys with a good idea and a strong work ethic. And I’m mighty happy that I played a tiny little role in moving them forward.

Your heart’s temperature may not have changed, but mine’s a little warmer. Sometimes my inbox is kinda fun.

JACOBS HAS AN INTERESTING BRAKE to talk about. Jacobs Vehicle Systems, that is, the Connecticut-based engine-retarding specialist. And I’m intrigued.

The company has launched "the next generation of engine braking technology," which is said to deliver half again more power compared to traditional compression-release braking products.

They call it HPD, for High Power Density, which aims to provide big-bore retarding power in small- and medium-displacement engines.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to

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