CHESTER GRANT, N.S. - Brady Hennigar is a trucker with a radical formula for building and achieving success - he has purposely kept his operation small.But by being small, the 38-year-old Hennigar poi...
FLEXIBLE: Wood is just one of the many products Hennigar hauls.
CHESTER GRANT, N.S. – Brady Hennigar is a trucker with a radical formula for building and achieving success – he has purposely kept his operation small.
But by being small, the 38-year-old Hennigar points out, he can be flexible and operate his entire business with the same skill he uses to navigate his 1988 International S-Line down the road.
“I’ve seen too many fellows who’ve tried (to expand) and got in trouble,” he says, “somewhere along the line from there … to a fourth truck.”
He explains they always seem to over extend things and fall on hard times. Living with his wife and two small boys in an original, 1750’s-era colonial farm house on 220 acres of land, Hennigar enjoys the ‘simple life’; if there is such a thing in trucking.
“I’ve been content to stay with the one truck and be flexible about what I haul,” he says. “If somebody were to call next week and want something new, if I could do it for them I would try.”
Hennigar has been driving truck since 1986. After finishing high school in 1980, he began hiring himself out and doing work with a farm tractor.
Within a few years, the need for a larger vehicle capable of travelling farther and faster became apparent, so he bought his first truck.
Today he hauls practically anything: he has delivered salt used both on the highways and in the fishing industry; wood products, including logs harvested from his own tree lot; limestone and many other fertilizers; and even shrubs and peat moss, used in landscaping.
“Pretty much whenever the phone rings and someone wants something moved and I can do it, well, I’ll do it,” Hennigar explains.
The independent businessman lives in the small village of Chester Grant, just off Hwy. 103, about an hour’s drive down Nova Scotia’s eastern shore from Halifax.
The key to his management style is his ability to roll with the punches, and he brims with pride when discussing his own brand of prosperity.
Focusing mostly on Nova Scotia’s south shore, Hennigar will haul as far south as Yarmouth, north to Cape Breton and as far west as the Dieppe, N.B. industrial park just outside of Moncton.
“I really like to drive – I find it relaxing,” he says. “But I guess the thing that made me different when I started out, where a lot of guys got into long-hauling, my work is different here.”
He says he quickly got caught up in a routine of serving Nova Scotia shippers.
“The next thing you know I have a family, and if you got a family it makes it kind of difficult for this long-haul thing because you’re gone away so much of the time,” Hennigar says.
“It’s bad enough locally when you’re really busy.”
But Hennigar actually has two families he’s devoted to. The one he lives with and the one he works with.
In 1991 he first attended county meetings of the Truckers’ Association of Nova Scotia (TANS). Eventually he was named president for Lunenburg County and by late 1998, he was elected to TANS’ provincial board.
“The biggest challenge that faces the organization on a day-to-day basis is keeping a positive profile among the public,” he says. “We’ve been kind of tarnished as an exclusive club for dump trucks that costs the taxpayers more to get the highway work completed.”
In the last few months, TANS has weathered a very public fight with a rebellious member. The association was ordered by Nova Scotia Small Claims Court to pay renegade aggregate-hauler Leon Thompson $9,027 in lost wages. Thompson, a resident of Hants County, N.S., had been ejected from the association for consistently evading its dispatching system for government roadwork contracts.
“In actuality that isn’t the case,” continues Hennigar. “We’re just trying to organize the members and try to guarantee them an equal share of the work. The key words is, for the dump-truck part of it, it is equal opportunity to make sure that everybody with a truck gets a fairly equal amount of work.”
By trying to raise its profile in the general-public’s eye, as well as clarify its contributions to the province’s economy, TANS “is important, and, once in a while, we should be listened to if something needs to get done,” Hennigar points out.
After three engine rebuilds and more than a million miles in the salty air of the Maritimes, Hennigar is considering buying a new truck to replace his International. Ironically it was out of action, getting a brake job the day he met with Truck News.
But one thing is certain, this doesn’t mean he’s considering becoming a two-truck operation.
“I’ve got all I can do with one truck,” he says chuckling. n