Minnie and Edwin Gilmore aren’t the average couple.
Since they met in 2010, this husband-wife team have built a successful trucking company: Gilmore & Long Enterprises. On a typical day, you’ll find Edwin driving the company truck, while Minnie finds and dispatches the best loads for him. Their partnership provides them a greater sense of appreciation for each other’s work and gives them the freedom they want — Edwin is able to get home almost every night. Minnie’s adventures on the road with Edwin have shown her what truck drivers go through on a daily basis and have helped her understand the trucking industry, which she knew little about before meeting him.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we chatted with Minnie to get a glimpse into what she loves about the trucking industry, being a dispatcher, and what it’s like to work with her husband.
Let’s start from the beginning — how did you two meet?
We actually met at the gas station in Memphis. I was having some issues with my car and couldn’t figure out how to get the gas cap off! He helped me with that, and that’s how we ended up meeting. It was 2010 and we’ve been together ever since.
And now you run a business together. How has that changed your relationship?
When we first met, Edwin was a truck driver for another company, and I was an engineer. Then he bought his own truck and switched to being an owner-operator. But being an owner-operator meant that he would spend a lot of time on the road, and he’d be gone often, sometimes for weeks at a time. Now he has his own authority and I dispatch him, so he mostly just drives regionally. He might be gone one or two nights a week, but that’s it. He’s home a lot more now so we can hang out, watch movies, and have family time. He likes cars and race cars; he is actually in the process of restoring a Firebird right now. He likes doing that kind of stuff. I might help out and order a part online or something, but mostly I just watch him!
Do you know other couples who have met through the trucking community?
I don’t know any others who have done that, and Edwin has never mentioned it. He has a lot of friends who drive trucks, and a couple of them have their own authorities. Their wives don’t dispatch for them and they do their own paperwork.
So how did you get into the dispatcher role?
He doesn’t like the check calls and talking to people. When we signed up with Uber Freight there was a contract agreement we had to sign. He doesn’t like doing that stuff, so I ended up doing it for him and that’s how it started! Everytime you sign up with a new broker you have to fill out the new carrier packet. And then with most other brokers, when you get a load, you have to call and talk to them, negotiate a price, and then they send you the rate contract and you have to sign it and send it back. When he’s out driving on the road he doesn’t have time to do all that. He can’t stop to fill out a document and send it back, sign a rate contract and send it back. It’s easier if I just do everything for him, so he’s just driving. He likes being his own boss.
Is that freedom what you love about being a dispatcher and working with Edwin?
I like keeping an eye on Edwin and I like learning more about the industry. Seeing all the different technologies that the brokers are using and also just watching the trends — how things are going and what markets are hot. You can kind of tell by the number of loads and stuff up there, how it’s fluctuating, and how things change.
And dispatching is just a different type of work from what I was doing before this. When you’re working for a company, you have all these tasks and performance reviews. And when you’re a dispatcher, you’re in control and don’t have to answer to anybody.
Changing gears a bit, do you have any favorite memories on the road?
One of them was when I was on vacation. I work full time, but it doesn’t take much to put out loads, especially because he uses the Uber Freight app a lot, so sometimes he can sort his own loads. Because I was on holiday, I joined him on the road to Memphis. It was a very interesting experience — I had never done that before. I’d never experienced life on the road, having to be at truck stops, staying in hotel rooms overnight — it was just… different.
So you got a behind-the-scenes experience. Did the trip make you see Memphis differently?
The eye-opener was actually following all of the DOT (Department of Transportation) rules — when you have to stop and take a break. I didn’t really understand that side of driving before. It was interesting to see that when you use the ELD (electronic logging device) it will give you a countdown of when you need to take a break and when you need to drive and all that kind of stuff.
As a final question, did watching Edwin drive and manage all of that make you appreciate truck drivers more?
I definitely appreciate their perspective more. A lot of the time when you’re in a car, you don’t pay truck drivers much attention. But when you’re in a truck, you think “Why did that car try to squeeze in there? Do they not realize this truck is transporting a heavy load?” He was happy I got to see what his life on the road was like… and so was I.
Thank you, Minnie!