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WINNIPEG, Man. - Playing professional football may seem like a lifetime ago for owner/operator Quency Williams, but it's clear he still carries the same intensity to work every day no matter what he's...

WINNIPEG, Man. – Playing professional football may seem like a lifetime ago for owner/operator Quency Williams, but it’s clear he still carries the same intensity to work every day no matter what he’s doing.

In addition to having his ’99 Mack leased to Winnipeg-based TransX, he is one of three partners in Nurses & More, a nursing and home health care placement agency, and he’ll take on any opportunity providing it’s worth his time.

“I’ll cut down a tree for $20,” Williams says chuckling. “I’m what you might call a Jack of all trades.”

What brought him to his life today? After playing college ball for the Auburn Tigers, Williams enjoyed stints in the now-defunct USFL and with the NFL’s then Los Angeles Raiders.

In 1986 he moved to Calgary and went from the Stamps to Winnipeg’s Bomber defense in ’88. His professional career ended after he was cut by B.C. in 1993 because his $110,000-contract was too rich for the CFL.

As many athletes quickly learn, life can get very hard very quickly once retirement is at hand.

“Comin’ outta football I had a celebrity name, so a lot of people assume, ‘you’re over-qualified,'” he remembers. “I worked for Hudson’s Bay carpet and upholstery cleaning … and Academy Construction … I even walked through three feet of sewage.”

Even though it was a tough transition he never lost sight of his goal: To be a good provider for his family, including sons Marcus and Cedrick. After a stint as an O/O with a courier company, Williams knew transportation was his ticket to renewed success and it was really like going back to his Winston, Ga. roots, too.

“My father was a truck driver with a number of companies,” Williams says listing Dunkin Donuts and Yellow Freight to name a few. “I actually learned to drive truck about the same time I learned to drive a car.

Lessons learned

Football is all about planning ahead. Teams work hard to ensure that come game day, all 12 (or 11 in the case of U.S. ball) individuals function as a single cohesive unit. Trucking is the same, Williams insists. He keeps his equipment in top shape at all times not wanting a blow out to cut his 13,000-mile months short. But for Williams, planning goes well beyond preventive maintenance.

“I always travel at a safe rate of speed so I can stop in time,” he insists. “What if you’re speeding and some kid chases a ball into the street and – Whack – you’ve suddenly killed somebody?”

He says planning is also the key to maximizing your earning potential.

“I take every load TransX dispatches to me, whether it’s New York, Detroit or Chicago,” Williams says. He laughs at the idea of shying away just because some folks think the, “Natives are restless.”

Calling ahead and talking to the shipper/receiver will tell you when it’s safe to arrive, whether the yard is secure, and let you know if you can plan to sleep there or not. While his massive frame would seem intimidating enough to offer plenty of protection he knows he’s no match for a bullet.

“I’ve seen people shot more than once, and I’ve seen people mortally wounded,” he boldly states. “People hijack trucks, sometimes the trucks are never seen again, sometimes the drivers are never seen again.”

He says playing by the rules you get by calling ahead makes it simple and removes almost any fear.

Role model

Growing up as just one of seven brothers and going on to greatness on the football field, Williams says the importance of being a role model can’t be underestimated.

“Sometimes you might overlook the little things, but you can’t,” he insists. “Somebody might come up to you wanting an autograph and – because he ran too fast or pushed too hard, you might just close your car door and drive away. Then that guy leaves thinking, ‘I hate that Quency Williams, I’d never pay money to see him play again.'”

Around children, he says the impact is doubly important.

“Kids look up to you and say, ‘Quency Williams smokes, I’m gonna smoke,'” he explains.

Even though he’s not in the public eye quite so much as before – which seems like an odd thing to say about any trucker – Williams welcomes the opportunity to set the example for future TransX truckers to follow.

Even though he doesn’t send his rig out with a driver, he does, from time to time, take trainees on the road with him.

The fleet’s future is in good hands if Williams’ actions – both in and out of the cab – are observed and emulated. In addition to a number of safety awards, the trucker was recently heralded as a hero (although he resists the title).

“People call me a hero just because I’m a member of society not licensed to rescue people, like a police officer or a fireman,” but Williams says anyone would have done the same thing. He and about seven motorists quickly ran into the icy waters and set to righting the vehicle.

“There’s rocks and boulders you can’t see and there’s mud that would move and slide, but you don’t think about those equations – you just do it.”

Including the water, which quickly rushed into the van, 12,000 to 19,000lb anchored the driver and passenger to the river bottom, but the would-be rescuers continued on undaunted.

“We knew if we couldn’t roll it over they’d surely drown,” remembers Williams. “The driver was killed on impact as it turned out, but we got the passenger out in time with only a couple of broken ribs and a punctured lung.”

He insists it was all part of being a member of a society that requires you to put your trust and faith in others on a regular basis.

Trust is earned

“You can be walking down the street and some man might ask you for a dime. I’ll give him a dollar and I hope he’ll use it to get on a bus and go to the doctor’s office, but he might use it to buy another beer,” he says philosophically. “You can never really be sure, but you’ve got to have hope that he’ll do good.”

That said, he insists those you choose to associate with have an impact on your future.

“If you walk beside someone who is greedy or dishonest they’ll either make you rich or make you a slave,” he says. “It’s a gamble.”

That’s why he’s only trucked with one company, Williams insists: They’re neither.

“I found a lot of good people when I signed up with TransX, some of them have moved on, but many of them are still there,” in particular he points to the company’s director of driver development, Norm Schultz.

“If I have a situation that’s percolating like a coffee pot, I know I can walk into Norm’s office and he’ll address it right away before it becomes a real problem,” he says.

That, coupled with the company’s policies of providing counseling and help to truckers in need, not only makes it a positive member of society, but they make him proud to be associated with the carrier.

“You’ve got to trust in somebody,” he concludes.

“First impressions are important, pick your friends carefully and stick with those who’ve got a positive vision for the future,” is what he says will ensure success.

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