Lori and Mitch Broderson Trucking and Living Their Way
Some truckers appreciate the variety of irregular routes, going wherever freight – or a dispatcher – takes them. Others, however, prefer life to be more predictable. They like the consistency of managing dedicated freight on predictable routes.
“I don’t think I would want to be out there looking for different delivery locations every day besides finding a place to park and sleep,” said Lori Broderson. She enjoys the familiarity of serving a dedicated account for quality carriers.
Oddly enough, an Electronic Recording Device (ELD) is partly responsible for getting her behind the wheel of her 2003 Western Star Lomax. It wasn’t her ELD, however – it was her husband, Mitch.
“I was on a run where I ended up an hour or two from home,” Mitch explained. Most of the drivers who were there when the paper logs ruled know that drivers in this situation often just finished the race, making the paper log look like it takes place later. Being with your own family and sleeping at home instead of taking another break in the truck was a big motivation. A common anecdote was that the driver got home at a certain time, but his logbook “came home” much later.
“When they put the electronic journals on, I had to close for my break instead of going home,” he continued. “Lori got her CDL so she could come with me and finish the race home.
This is how the Brodersons began to team up. Mitch started trucking much earlier than Lori, when the couple first married.
“I couldn’t find another job when our store closed,” he said. “When we got married, I moved furniture for United Van Lines. I first got my Class B driver’s license, then my CDL.
Mitch has worked in the restaurant business for about a decade, a very physical job that provides daily time at home, but often after a long shift. Then he switched to transporting an oil tanker. Lori’s father and grandfather had experience in pulling tanks.
“Lori’s father carried gas for 30 years, and her grandfather carried bread, molasses and was also a gas transporter,” he said. “I bought my first truck in 2000, an International. I have been carrying molasses for years.
In 2003, Mitch joined Quality Carriers. A few years later he bought his first Western Star truck, a 2006 Lomax.
“I think these are the nicest trucks on the market,” he said. “Almost as soon as it was delivered I put it on my first truck show just ‘plain jane’. He made the cover of the Shell SuperRigs calendar in ’09. “
How did Broderson celebrate?
“I bought more chrome,” he says.
This 2006 Lomax is the truck Lori joined her in once she got her own CDL.
“For a while we did 24 hour turns as a team,” said Mitch.
Since multiple loads are dispatched each night, the Brodersons decided they would benefit from adding another truck and driving separately.
“We saw this gorgeous ’03 Western Star at the St. Ignace, Michigan Truck Show. A few weeks later, when we started looking for another truck, it was there, listed in the Truck Paper, ”recalls Lori.
“Mine has a Detroit Series 60 engine and his has a Caterpillar D15,” said Mitch. “Both have 13-speed transmissions.”
The couple quickly devised a system to maximize their time together, operating on the same account.
“She charges an hour earlier and starts on the road; then I am, ”Mitch explained. “We meet for meals and to sleep. It’s a lot of work. We do four races a week, or approximately 2,900 miles, most of the time at night. “
Lori quickly helped with more than just transportation.
“Lori’s truck went into Rig of the Week first,” said Mitch. “2003 was the first year for the Western Star Lomax.”
The couple have since registered their Western Stars at various truck shows. They have since added a third Western Star to the fleet.
“We bought a Western Star 2018 glider kit and put a pilot in it,” Mitch explained. “It has a Detroit engine and a 13-speed transmission, but we couldn’t make the Lomax model because it was discontinued.
Lori and Mitch have children who are now adults.
“We have a son in Nashville and a daughter who is studying to be a surgical nurse and has just moved to Jacksonville,” boasted Lori.
As for their free time, Lori said, “We are really homebodies; (there is) a lot of work in the yard. We love a beautiful yard.
Some time is also spent preparing for next week on the road.
“Lori prepares meals and freezes them so we can microwave them later and have home-cooked meals when we’re on the road,” said Mitch. He takes care of the maintenance and upkeep of the trucks.
However, the couple do not spend all of their free time in the yard.
“I like to do an antique store when I get the chance,” Lori said.
Mitch’s tastes are more musical.
“I like concerts,” he says. “I’ve been to KISS, Bob Seger, Eagles, lots of bands from the 70s. There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere you find at a live concert.
Both have concerns about the industry they work in.
“Drivers are underrated,” Lori said. “They don’t get the credit they deserve for the work they do.” Mitch added: “A lot of drivers don’t do what they should.”
Future plans call for more boating and fishing.
“Lori catches all the fish,” Mitch laughs. “I can’t catch a fish for nothing.”
These plans will get a little easier with another recent purchase by the couple.
“We’re talking about our cabin in (East) Tennessee,” Lori said. “We bought a place by the lake and we will be moving here soon.”
However, there is no question of withdrawing into the cabin yet.
“I didn’t go to school to be a doctor, so I guess I’d better keep on trucking,” Lori joked.
Whether it’s driving Western Star trucks, tankers, dedicated routes or fishing from the cabin, Lori and Mitch Broderson plan to continue living their own way.