I was one of the 1st owner/ops that went to work in Cottage Grove. I was a former carhaul teamster, and a very proficient and able carhauler. I took a lease on a brand new sterling/delavan unit and things went well... for a bit.
I started to work in July of 2001 and for a few mos everything went the way it was planned. Then we got a new manager; Dave from Texas. He pulled in sub hauler 3 car guys to pull the proffitable city freight, then the 10 car guys were put on the road pulling 4-way Des Moines-Souix Falls splits for $800. Then it started to get bad.
Those of us with competent logistics experience tried to calmly talk with Dave and to show him how he was destroying the morale and work base he had. He was beligerent and really messed up the freight base. The company never had a plan to deal with the less than profitable "road" freight. It had been bid uber cheap and it was stacking up. As a city driver I was turning out 4-5 8 unit loads per day, 5-6 days per week. When that freight started to go to the sub-hauler 3 car guys It really dug into all of our pockets.
I worked with Leonard, very smart and competent operator, I worked with Tim Chapman, same for him as well. We said it then, and I believe that its been proven out, that the absentee management at the top, and the incompetence at the terminal level would strangle and kill the company.
I eventually started running my own freight and tried to recoup my losses that way, but I still wound up in bankruptcy and lost my house.
In the last few mos Ive seen Jack Cooper trucks that looked an aweful lot like former SME trucks. Anybody know if they are still in business?