FORT MILL, S.C. (Press Release)
John Lawson keeps his trucks light and his loads heavy. The 75-year-old founder and CEO of Lawson Rock and Oil in Fresno, Calif., spec’s his Western Star 4700s as light as possible.
“That’s so we can haul more weight. We get paid by the ton,” he said.
Lawson Rock and Oil delivers gravel and liquid asphalt throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. In addition to headquarters in Fresno, it has operations in Bakersfield, Stockton, Gilroy, Sacramento and Reno. The operation is a far cry from how Lawson got his start 52 years ago, hauling pigs from Iowa to California. He attributes his success to keeping an eye on the bottom line, a preoccupation that led him to Western Stars, which are the newest and fastest-growing segment of the company’s mixed 125-truck fleet.
The 20 trucks he bought last year were the first Western Stars he’s owned. “I’d always heard good things about Western Stars and they were very competitive in price,” he says. “I liked them and had good luck with them, so I ordered 20 more.” The Western Star trucks haul gravel in double-trailer bottom dumps. They have Detroit™ DD13® engines, which Lawson said have proven to be efficient and durable. They average 7.1 MPG with a GVW of 80,000 pounds, he said, nearly 1 MPG more than the Peterbilts with Cummins engines they’ve replaced. He spec’s aluminum fifth wheels, rear end housings and cross members, as well as super single tires and single axles in order to save weight and improve mileage. “I’m very, very weight-conscious,” he says. “I order the lightest of everything. With the Western Star and a set of double bottom-dump trailers, we can haul 28-and-a-quarter tons.” In fact, one of the reasons he chose Western Star is because they were lighter than the competition.
Lawson plans to order more Western Star 4700s this year. That’s welcome news for his 70-plus drivers, who enjoy driving them more than the other makes.
“My guys travel all over the Southwest with these heavy loads and they like the performance and the handling of the Western Stars. They tell me they’re real comfortable,” Lawson says.
For more information, go to www.WesternStarTrucks.com.