If you are doing things the right way, then you are doing them the Wright way! L.L. Wright Trucking is a small company based in Akron, OH that steps up big to accommodate their customer’s needs. Going above and beyond what is expected to keep the customer happy is what they do best, and Ross Wright is at the forefront of that attitude. Customers know they can call Ross in a pinch, and he will try to get it done just as quickly as possible, if he can.
L.L. Wright Trucking Company, Inc. / Wright Maintenance, Inc. is a family run business that was started in 1985 by Frank and Leslie Wright. Their son Ross Wright has now taken the helm and runs the daily operations. Starting with one truck – a 1984 Kenworth W900B – they leased it on with Sons Transportation of Worchester, MA. Around the early 90s, Sons Transportation sold their equipment to A&R Transport. The older trailers that A&R decided they didn’t want, Frank and Leslie bought up. From there, the business has gradually grown.
In 2016 they filed for their own authority and then the business doubled immediately. L.L. Wright has been serving the plastics industry for 25 years, and currently has a fleet of 14 trucks, which are all Peterbilts, except one 1992 Kenworth T800. They have 30 trailers, which are primarily bulk pneumatics. Although they typically operate in an area within 500 miles of Akron, OH, their trucks can be seen as far as New Mexico. Again, L.L. Wright will go wherever and do whatever it takes to accommodate their customer’s needs.
Ross was 11 years old when his parents formed the business. Starting out washing the trucks, he eventually moved up to changing the oil and wrenching on them. Ross wasn’t involved in sports when he was younger, and his life pretty much revolved around trucks and the family business. At one point, he thought he might want to be a carpenter, but after getting a job in that field he quickly realized that he was just a “gofer” (go for this and go for that)! After that, he got a job at a heating and air conditioning company doing residential installs.
Working 52 hours a week at the heating and air conditioning company, Ross’ employers and fellow workers told him, “If you work more than that it will put you into a higher tax bracket.” At the time, he was making $15.00 an hour! He would work at the heating and air conditioning company all day and then work nights and weekends in the family business. With the trucking company growing fast, there was always plenty to do in the office, so Ross didn’t get to drive as much as he would have liked.
As an interesting side note, while talking to Ross about his past, he told me about the Limited Edition brown and gold Kenworth “Golden Nugget” his dad purchased back around 1992, which they owned until 2009. I have seen that truck several times and a picture of it appeared in my report from the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree called “Picture Perfect” in the August 2018 issue. The truck is still working, and at one point the current owner offered to sell it back. But, Ross passed on the offer, saying it just had too many memories attached to it.
Over the years, Ross has attended a lot of truck shows, including the Shell Rotella SuperRigs Truck Beauty Contest, but he has never won any of their five categories. However, in its 36th year, when the annual event was held at White’s Travel Center in Raphine, VA in June 2018, he was selected for their 2019 calendar. The theme of the show that year was “A Tribute to Toughness” and Ross considers it his crowning achievement to have made the calendar (he was their October 2019 truck).
The truck itself is a 2016 Peterbilt 389 with a 72” flat top sleeper. Bought as a glider kit and sitting on a 300” wheelbase, the truck was then fitted with a 550-hp Caterpillar C15 6NZ motor, an 18-speed transmission, and 3.36 rears. Painted Radiant Red with a gloss black frame, the rig also features a 20” bumper, a stainless drop visor, 5” painted side window chops, 7” dual exhaust with Pickett elbows, a rear light bar, painted cab and sleeper drop panels, and LED projector headlights from United Pacific. Behind the truck is a polished 2017 Heil J&L vacuum trailer. Weighing in around 10,660 pounds, Ross can load about 48,000 pounds legally on this combination.
Finding the Peterbilt for sale on Facebook by Charlie Gerdes from Nebraska, the man who built it, Charlie was building another Peterbilt, so he no longer needed this one. After buying it, Ross’ father drove the truck back from Nebraska. At that time, it only had 120,000 miles on it. The truck number (525) on the side of the truck today has a significance, as it was the month and day Ross’ father was born (May 25). Not long after getting this truck, Ross’ father passed away, so that number was chosen and placed in his honor and memory.
Meeting the love of his life Angie at a party with friends, she was on a blind date, but that did not stop Ross. Five years later they were married in September of 1999. A few months later, the couple was blessed with the news of a young baby boy on the way. Today, Ross and Angie have two boys – Wyatt (20) and Walker (15). Although Ross was very busy running the business and being out on the road, he made it a point to not miss any special events that involved his family or the boys.
After attending college for about a year and a half, Wyatt figured out that college wasn’t what he wanted to do. Wanting to drive instead, Wyatt recently enrolled in truck driving school (his dad is teaching him a few tricks of the trade, as well). Driving was not what Ross wanted Wyatt to do – he envisioned Wyatt running the day-to-day operations of the company, so he could get out and drive more often. However, truth be told, Wyatt has been around the trucks since he was born and has always loved them. And even though Ross wishes Wyatt were on a different path, he has been supportive (he is even teaching him how to shift gears in the yard in one of their old tractors). Their younger son Walker plays video games and does sports and is doing what every 15-year-old should be doing – enjoying their youth.
Last summer, Ross bought a small yellow boat, which they affectionately called Old Yellow. Not knowing a thing about boating, he jumped all aboard. He only had Old Yellow for two months, and then was ready to upgrade. He listed it on Facebook and it sold in a day!
I just happened to call Ross the day he picked up his next boat. He and Angie drove over 300 miles to look at it, and the pictures didn’t lie – it was in stellar condition. Getting out on the water every chance they get, Ross and Angie enjoy spending time at Portage Lakes State Park, just south of Akron. Their dog Chewy, a goldendoodle, is always with them, and the two boys join them when they can, as well.
We did the photo shoot at Ravago Manufacturing’s new facility in Medina, OH. One of L.L. Wright’s biggest and best customers, Ravago is one of the largest distribution partner for polymers, rubbers and chemicals, and also provides distribution, resale, compounding, and recycling services for plastic materials serving in sophisticated functions that improve our quality of life. Ravago invested up to $36 million in this large facility. With over 500,000 square feet of warehousing space and the ability to park over 100 pneumatic railroad cars, this new facility also created over 70 new jobs when it opened.
Ross would like to give special thanks to his mother Leslie for all that she has done, and his beautiful wife Angie, who helps a lot with the daily business operation. I would like to thank Ross for taking the time to do the photo shoot. If Ross’ level of success proves nothing else at L.L. Wright Trucking, doing business the Wright way has definitely been the right way!