The trucking industry has an image problem. Pride in one’s truck and in one’s company, seems to have become a historic concept. For Henry Hersh Trucking of Fort Collins, Colorado, and their clean fleet of Kenworth dump trucks, pride is anything but historical. Henry Hersh Trucking is no newcomer to the industry. Started in 1947 by the company’s namesake, Henry “Hank” Hersh Sr., the company stands as one of the oldest operations in Fort Collins.
With humble beginnings, Hank Sr. began trucking with a K8 International. Powered by a 180-hp Cummins diesel, Henry Sr. began hauling hay, and then eventually Army packs and equipment manufactured in Loveland, CO, which he took to Lathrop, CA, where it was then shipped overseas during the Korean War. Following the K8, Henry bought a West-Coaster International.
In 1955, Henry began working with Fritz Sterling, who operated Sterling Sand and Gravel, and began doing dirt work, as well as more of the oversize and machinery loads. That West-Coaster was also the first truck to carry the outfit’s original fleet paint scheme – which is two-tone cherry red and black, separated by horizontal white breaker stripes. During this period, Henry began to expand his operation, and by 1960 he had four trucks. It was also during this time that Henry began a family, and the next generation of Henry Hersh Trucking. Henry “Hank” Jr. (now 58) and brother Scot Hersh (56) began their career at the company with no special favors, working in the wash racks as kids.
During the 1960s and 1970s, as bridge laws came into play, the Henry Hersh Trucking fleet was largely made up of International cabovers. The maxim was, “shorter trucks, longer trailers.” Throughout the following decades, Henry Hersh Trucking’s fleet became largely International (though, at one point, Henry Sr. had a Mack LTL in the fleet). The face of the fleet changed, however, in 1987 when International began refusing to build trucks spec’d out the way Henry Sr. wanted them built. At this point, they switched to Kenworth. By 1992, wanting to retire, Henry Hersh Sr. turned the company over to his sons, Henry Jr. and Scot. Unfortunately, in early 1998, Henry Hersh Sr. passed away at the young age of just 73.
By 1999, Henry Hersh Trucking had started operating independently of Western Mobile (which had bought out Sterling Paving). Though the company still works with Martin Marietta (who had bought LaFarge, which had bought out Western Mobile), Henry Hersh Trucking is now a common carrier. With their primary focus on dirt work, they also haul oversize loads, and even had a truck hauling beer, at one point.
Throughout the decades, Henry Hersh Trucking has worked on numerous projects. Henry Hersh has helped build runways at Albuquerque International Airport, tracts of I-70, I-25 and C-470, the Blue Mesa Reservoir, and did the dirt work on reclaiming roadway following the 1977 flooding of the Big Thompson River. During the 1980s, Henry Hersh Trucking also hauled hot-oil for a short time, as well as all of the other dirt work and oversize loads.
Today, Henry Hersh Trucking still operates an all-Kenworth fleet comprised almost exclusively of W900L Kenworths (they also have one T800W four-axle tractor). The fleet runs all Cummins or Cat power, 18-speed transmissions, and 40-44,000-pound rears, all sitting on 250-inches of wheelbase. The one oddball T800W Kenworth, their serious heavy-hauler, features a 600 horsepower 6NZ Caterpillar engine, 18-speed Eaton transmission, 20,000-pound steer and pusher axles, and 48,000-pound, 2-speed (3.90/5.27) rears, all on a double frame. Painted their hallmark two-tone red scheme with white accents (originally a factory scheme from International), the trucks are always kept clean. Running primarily Ranco and Precision belly dumps, as well as Travis aluminum end dumps and one Travis aluminum belly dump, the trailers are kept just as clean as the trucks. The fleet also has several lowboys and flatbeds for their varying construction work, as well.
The driver’s, however, are the one’s responsible for keeping the rigs clean (as well as performing minor maintenance). A day is rarely finished without a good wash-down of the truck. By only hiring drivers who honestly care about their equipment, it comes as no surprise that their company is so well-represented on the roads of Northern Colorado.
Henry Hersh Trucking’s logo, a colorful array of lettering and palm trees, may seem out of place in Fort Collins. Aside from trucking, the Hersh family had a long-time involvement with midget sprint racers. John Pugh, the painter they had do the work on their race cars, always managed to hide a palm tree somewhere in the scheme, whether it be in a number or elsewhere. Eventually, this palm tree became a bit of a hallmark for the Hersh family, and since then, it’s been included as part of their company’s logo.
A family operation through and through, Henry Hersh Trucking currently employs ten people, including Scott Hersh (31), who is the son of Henry Jr. and his wife Annette. A driver at the company for 13 years, like his father and uncle before him, Scott began working in the wash racks as a kid at the company. Currently owned and operated by Henry Hersh Jr., Annette Hersh and Scott Hersh, the company has stayed in the family.
The Hersh family would like to thank all of their employees for their dedicated service to the company, as Hank Jr. put it, “Without employees, we have no company.” The driver’s pride in their trucks is a big part of Henry Hersh Trucking, and it shows. Scot and Hank Jr. would also like to thank their father, who taught them everything they know about the trucking industry. Henry Hersh Trucking would also like to thank Bill Persichette (he was the one that originally helped switch the company’s fleet over to Kenworth trucks). We at 10-4 Magazine would like to thank all at Henry Hersh Trucking for taking time out of their work schedule to make sure the trucks were clean and ready for the photo shoot. As always, we salute that sort of pride.
A truck, above all else, is a working machine, but in today’s world, image is of equal importance. Presentation is not simply about cleanliness, it is also about work. A clean truck shows care and dedication. It is not just a piece of simple equipment, it is your calling card. And just because you haul dirt, doesn’t mean your trucks have to be dirty all the time. The folks at Henry Hersh Trucking know this, and live it. To paraphrase the words of another veteran driver which pretty much sums it all up, “Shine it must!”