Seizing Opportunities

Shannon Crenshaw Knows the Secret to Success

With success, no one is ever completely self-made – everybody gets some help. The key to success is seizing the opportunities you are given and then working hard to turn those opportunities into real success. Rick “Shannon” Crenshaw has been given a lot of opportunities, but at only 26 years old, this young man has worked hard to create two very successful trucking companies – JD Specialized Transport, which hauls time-sensitive and over-dimensional loads all over the country, and JD Delivery, which is more of a local operation. Together, these two outfits, based out of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, have about 30 trucks, and Shannon runs the entire show. And, when he can, he also gets out of the office and pulls some loads with his nearly-new, super-clean Peterbilt, too.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Ray Charles Crenshaw (AKA Rick), Shannon is a second generation trucker. His father, who had 11 siblings, was born in Taylor, Texas in 1954 and then raised in Giddings, Texas (just outside of Austin). Once he got old enough to leave, he headed to Houston and got a job working at a steel company. Starting at the bottom, Rick worked hard and eventually became what was called a Troubleshooter – he was the guy they called in when a branch was not doing well to clean things up and get it back on track. In those days, Rick traveled a lot, and in 1977 he found himself in Tulsa, OK. Liking it there, he eventually moved his family to the Tulsa area permanently.

After being denied a promotion in 1983, Rick decided to go out on his own. He had a lot of contacts in the steel industry and had worked closely with the delivery drivers, so he bought a pickup truck and a 16-foot trailer and started hauling steel as Roadrunner Delivery Service. His business grew rapidly, forcing him to move up to a one-ton truck and a larger goose-neck trailer. A year later, he bought his first semi – a 1981 GMC Astro. Hauling mostly steel on flatbeds, this company eventually grew to 100 trucks. Most of these trucks were extended-hood Peterbilts and W900 Kenworths – the trucks were all different colors, but they were basically all ordered the same (with big Cat power, big bunks, 270 inch wheelbases and owner operator specs). When the recession hit in 2008, Rick was forced to downsize and, ultimately, decided to let his son Shannon take the reins.

Shannon was born on May 3rd, 1987. Growing up around trucks, Shannon was always at the yard and he loved to wash the trucks and add chrome pieces to them. For some reason, he loved Mack trucks, and when he was about five years old, his dad bought him a brand new 1991 Mack CH613 conventional daycab. Shannon was in heaven! Of course, he could not drive that truck, so his dad put a driver in it, but, technically, it was still Shannon’s truck, so he took great care of it. Moving trailers around their yard with a Ford CL9000 cabover, Shannon learned how to drive when he was only eight years old. While Shannon was still in high school, his dad bought a hotshot truck and trailer from a friend who had cancer, and with this truck came a company called JD Delivery Service. Wanting to help Shannon get started on his own (and not really having a use for this little rig), he gave the hotshot truck and the company to Shannon.

Throughout his last couple years in high school, on weekends and in the summer, Shannon not only worked with his dad in the office and shop at Roadrunner Delivery Service, but he also hauled hotshot loads around town to make some extra money. After graduating from high school, he continued to run the hotshot for another year, then, at 19 years old, he bought a brand new 2005 short-hood Peterbilt, hired a driver for it, and continued running the hotshot. In 2007 he bought an extended-hood Peterbilt with a big bunk and added another driver to his operation, which was still JD Delivery Service. At this point, Shannon was only 20 years old!

When the U.S. economy tanked in 2008, Shannon’s dad sold off many of his trucks and, eventually, shut Roadrunner Delivery Service down. Having about 40 trucks left, he signed them all on to Shannon’s company, JD Delivery Service, and Shannon, with his mom Geralyn as a partner, took the lead (his dad is still involved with the company as a driver, manager and consultant). Looking to be more diverse, Shannon formed JD Specialized Transport in 2011 to focus on time-sensitive and over-dimensional freight. Today, JD Specialized has 20 trucks and JD Delivery has 10. Doing whatever needs to be done, Shannon dispatches trucks, works in the shop, talks on the phone to customers and, when he’s lucky, gets out and does some driving.

Over the years, Shannon has bought a lot of new trucks, but he had never bought one for himself. So, in November of 2011, he ordered a brand new Peterbilt 389 glider kit for himself. The build was originally slated for August of 2012, but since glider kits got very popular, his build date was moved up to May 3rd. And since Shannon was born on May 3rd, too, he and his truck share a birthday! Going to the factory and watching his new truck get built made for a great birthday. If the truck would have been built four days sooner, it would have been a 2012, but everything after May 1st is considered to be the next model year, so his truck came in as a 2013.

Shannon ordered his new glider kit with a 63-inch flattop, a 325-inch wheelbase, and a double frame from front to back. Painted an unpublished turquoise color with a black frame, the rig also features a car hauler front axle, low low AirLeaf suspension, and a Platinum interior. When the truck arrived, Shannon and his crew dropped in a fresh Cat 6NZ with about 700 hp and an 18-speed transmission. Wanting the truck to have that “classic” look, Shannon installed old-school air cleaner lids, a polished visor and half-fenders, air-bagged the front, changed the lights to “watermelon” lenses, and added some tasteful pin striping here and there. Shannon put the truck on the road in July of 2012, running three or four loads a month with it.

On October 30th, 2012 in Stringtown, OK (just south of Tulsa), a pickup truck hooked to a travel trailer pulled right out in front of Shannon. With nowhere to go, his truck crashed through the back of the pickup and the front of the trailer, and then came to a halt in a ditch. Shannon had no injuries, but his nearly-new Peterbilt was pretty trashed. Taking the truck to Joplin Peterbilt to get repaired, Shannon decided to switch out the flattop with a 70-inch standup and do a few other modifications. In addition to getting a whole new front end and various other pieces, Shannon had three-inch cab and sleeper extensions installed, as well as a new six-inch exhaust, extra-long painted half-fenders, and a smooth deck plate, complete with a built-in chain box with an electric lid that opens at the flip of a switch inside the bunk. To finish off the classic “old-school” look, Shannon had three diamond-shaped windows
installed on the back of the new sleeper and then painted a turquoise-colored diamond on the front grille. The truck went back on the road in March of 2013, and Shannon loves it.

With two young daughters, Boston (5) and Dayton (almost 2), Shannon likes the extra space the standup sleeper affords. Set to get married to his fiancé Ashli this coming September, the two have been together for several years. The truck number for Shannon’s turquoise ride is 711, which signifies the years his daughters were born (2007 and 2011). To better illustrate that number, Shannon used the famous 7-Eleven convenience store logo and had it put on the sides of the truck. This logo causes a lot of funny questions to be asked by other drivers as Shannon runs up and down the highway.

Since, as noted before, no one achieves success purely on their own, Shannon wanted to thank his parents for all of their help and support, saying, “My parents taught me all of the good things – I learned all of the bad things on my own!” He also wanted to give some props to a couple of his friends and trucking mentors, Charles Love and Herman Jones, as well as his fiancé Ashli, who has always been supportive. He also wanted to thank Ron Pettijohn (Trucker Ron) for helping to get his truck on the cover of the magazine. We at 10-4 would like to thank Shannon and his driver Danny Castillo for coming all the way out to Yakima, WA for us to shoot the truck. A big “thank you” also goes out to “Ranger Mike” at Yakima Sportsman State Park for allowing us special access to closed areas to take our pictures without being disturbed.

If seizing opportunities is the secret to success, this young man is already gettin’ it done. So, when failure is not an option, be sure to call JD Specialized Transport, because Shannon and his devoted crew of hard-working drivers are ready to seize the opportunity. With a promising future ahead, Shannon Crenshaw, with a little help, is proving that it is not what you are given that matters most – it’s what you do with it!

About Daniel J. Linss - Editor

Daniel J. Linss has been with 10-4 Magazine since the beginning in September of 1993, and has been the Editor and Art Director since March of 1994. Over the years, he has also become one of the main photographers for 10-4 and is well-known for his insightful cover feature articles and honest show reports. Married for over 20 years with three children, Daniel operates a marketing and production company (Daniel Designs) which produces 10-4 Magazine each and every month from his office in Squaw Valley, CA.