Semi-retirement beckons for Rolf Lockwood
Well, strange as it seems to me, I have retired. Mostly. After 41 years of writing about trucks and trucking, 33 since launching Today’s Trucking, I’ve pulled into the yard and parked it. This is not my very last column, but future contributions may be somewhat irregular. And now I have the lofty title of Editor Emeritus.
In those four decades I’ve seen more changes – some of them mighty dramatic – than there were in the previous 41 years. By far. Hell, there have been more changes in the last 10 years than in any other such stretch.
Trucking has never been easy but now it’s mighty difficult, on everyone, no more so than on owner-operators and small fleets. My first editorship was on the long-lost owner-op magazine Canadian Driver/Owner, and I guess that’s where this loyalty was born. Those people have always been my main target, always the ones who seemed to be most in need of what I could provide by way of information about the technologies, the rules and regs, the business savvy required to make it all work. I certainly have never had all the answers, but I’ve had the benefit of an eagle’s-eye view of things and access to information that the ordinary truck operator doesn’t have the chance to see and absorb. The fact is that all I’ve ever wanted to do is serve, which may sound like so much apple pie, but it’s true.
It was at my very first truck show in Winnipeg back in 1979 that I grasped the role of an editor in this industry. I was at our booth when a Hutterite family approached – husband, wife, and three girls – and the man thanked me for providing articles that helped him in running the trucks on his farm. His gratitude has motivated me ever since.
I’ve won quite a few awards over the years, including a couple of lifetime achievement honors, but they were all as judged by my peers. I’m immensely grateful, of course, but the only approval I’ve ever sought is yours, the reader’s. Happily, I see that approval at truck shows and events all the time when strangers stop me to say thanks for what I do. A couple of years ago a 40s-something guy said he’d been reading me since he was 16, learning all the way. I was touched, to say the least, and a little shocked to realize how old I was!
I’ve had the opposite, too, not surprisingly. Last summer I had a mighty nasty message from a reader who called me names that can’t be printed here. Incredibly, he said he wanted to watch me die by hooking me to a CPAP machine and connecting that in turn to a truck’s exhaust pipe. Really. I was stunned at first but then I laughed because the fact is, I could breathe in diesel exhaust without doing myself harm. He must have meant a pre-2010 truck.
I won’t thank that fellow, but there are many others who deserve my gratitude, too many to name. Except for the late Merv Orr, a smart, tougher-than-nails little guy with a Grade 4 education and a boatload of experience in trucking. I met him within just a month or so of entering this game and we became fast friends. He also became my mentor and was utterly invaluable in teaching me the ins and outs of our industry. Taught me to drive truck too.
That knowledge was instrumental in helping me make a success of Today’s Trucking, and of Highwaystar too, in its short 10-year life. To say that I’ve enjoyed my time here is an understatement. So thanks, dear reader, for your support.
If you have the urge, drop me a line and tell me what you think of the last 40 years in trucking. Or however long you’ve been at it. Get in touch via email@example.com.
Have your say
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Congratulations, Rolf. Sound like you had a wonderful career, driven so powerfully like mine by concern for the owner operator. Enjoy yourself, and I hope to read your occasional contributions and perhaps even see you once again at a major show!
Congrats on your semi retirement Rolf, always enjoyed reading your articles!
I’m slow here but thanks, Mike.
Congratulations Rolf I have always enjoyed your articles and the magazine enjoy your well deserved retirement.
Many thanks, Don.
47 for me since retirement last year, started turning wrenches and driving as a college grad with a BSME cuz it was fun and interesting and the people, VP maintenance to driver to tech just the best (99.9%). From truck rodeos to rules/regs it all has a draw. And thx to editors such as urself we still try to keep abreast of it all. Enjoy the e-coast of life!
Thanks, Chuck. A voice from the past! Jim Park were talking about you just the other day. Enjoy your own retirement.
Thank you for your outstanding contribution to trucking! You identify as an editor but I always thought of you as a technologist and captivating story teller.
Thanks for all the years of great articles. I always appreciated your ability to diplomatically and politely cut through whatever BS a gov’t official or OEM was spinning and with a wink and a nod let us know the real story was a little different. We always got the best. Enjoy!
You saw the real stories! I’m very glad to see that my little subterfuges worked. Thanks, Dave.
Congratulations Mr Lockwood. As a reader since I was a kid, to me your retirement really signifies an end of an era in trucking. The final good by to “old school” trucking and the separation of a new future beyond 2020. Heres an idea if you are up for it…how about publishing some old articles and repost them as a “blast from the past” segment from time to time. To be honest that “golden era” stuff keeps many like myself motivated among all this uncertainty. Even a personal facebook or instagram stream of all your work over the years would be awesome! Once again thanks for the support and information all these years. There are three generations on this end that have enjoyed your work. Happy Retirement!
Wow, Jimmy. Such kind words. Thankyou. And three generations? Wow again. That warms my heart. And I rather like your idea about re-publishing old articles in some form or other. Workin’ on it…
Thanks a ton, Robin. You flatter me.