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Owner-op takes trucking to reality TV

Dec. 14, 2016
You may know him from A&E’s “Shipping Wars.” He’s the guy with the white handlebar mustache, the one who tells it like it is, and drives the now recognizable royal blue T600 Kenworth.

You may know him from A&E’s “Shipping Wars.” He’s the guy with the white handlebar mustache, the one who tells it like it is, and drives the now recognizable royal blue T600 Kenworth.

His name is Marc Springer. He’s a 59-year-old owner operator who owns Snortn’ Boar Transport, a Seattle-based transportation company that serves the U.S. and Canada.

Springer has been on his own since he was 14, and had led a pretty nomadic life before starting his own trucking company and eventually making his reality TV debut. He pursued a professional hockey career, worked for a state Teamster union driving trucks, traveled the world in his 20s, sold Harley-Davidsons until the 2008 Recession, and ended up started his own trucking company at age 50.

Springer was working as an independent owner-operator, filling the empty space on his truck via uShip, an online transportation marketplace connecting shippers and carriers, when he got an email from uShip asking him if he wanted to be on A&E’s new reality show.

The show, which aired January 2012, followed independent carriers competing to make the most profit hauling unique loads. Each episode followed the truckers from the bidding process to the delivery point, calculating costs of operation along the way.

Springer initially thought it was a joke.

“I considered deleting the email, but instead wrote a smart ass email back,” Springer said with a laugh. “And they said, ‘Well, this guy’s perfect.’”

“I thought it was a neat opportunity,” he added. “I would run my business and they’d film this show.”

What he didn’t anticipate was that reality T.V. and the operational nature of the trucking business don’t exactly go hand in hand. Daily trucking operations require efficiency, safety, and putting the customers’ needs first, Springer explained. But working efficiently is nearly impossible when multiple takes and scenes are needed for editing and production.

“I enjoyed the experience. It was stressful at times,” Springer noted, adding that there were certain things he refused to do for his own integrity. “It was hard to operate my vehicle with a film crew in the truck. It didn’t fall in line with how I wanted to run my truck and my business, but I signed up to do it.”

“To me it was important for the other drivers in the industry to understand I was a driver and I was a professional and I cared about my customers and doing a good job,” added Springer, who ended up filming all 100 episodes with the show. “I’m not going to portray the trucking industry as anything other than what I believe it to be: a super professional, important part of our country. And I wanted that to come through.”

Overall, Springer says he feels the show portrayed the industry in a positive light and opened people’s eyes to uShip. Next time, though, Springer says he wants to focus on something that depicts a more honest view of trucking.

“What I’d really like is to do my own show,” Springer said. “I’d focus on what these people in the industry do on a daily basis and how it benefits our country and how important it is. There would be a lot more solid fact. It would be more like a documentary.”

Since the show, Springer has made public appearances with companies like Cummins, where he was able to drive a truck with the new Cummins X15 engine and Eaton transmission. He explained he feels fortunate that he is able to discuss new equipment and technology with some of the largest fleets in trucking, while still maintaining to promote a positive image within the industry.

“We need more drivers, and we need good drivers,” Springer noted. “The public has this terrible opinion of truck drivers. The public needs to be educated on how important [trucking] is and how professional it is.”

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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