This month’s article is not about one particular creation, but instead about a pair of brothers, a family business, and a sweet fleet of Petes. Jason and Brad Hammes of Hammes Trucking and Hammes Repair are based out of Seneca, KS. Over the years, these gentlemen have bought several trucks from me, but more importantly, they have become great friends.
It all started with Grandpa Gene “Hummer” Hammes, who passed away in 1987, at 60 years old, doing what he loved – working. Grandma Eleanor (Gravel Gertie) had a CB base station in their home, and she is still alive and kicking at age 97. They had three boys – Dan, Doug, and Jim, and a girl named Alice. The boys were all involved in trucking, and Alice worked in the medical field in Michigan. Grandpa Gene started out as a custom cutter, and their oldest son Dan (Brad and Jason’s father), had bought his own combine by the age of 14 and began harvesting with his dad and a group of other people.
In the 1960s, Dan bought his first dump truck and went to work with his dad. After he married Shirley, he transitioned to more over the road trucking with Mike Bennett. He started Hammes Trucking in 2001 and Hammes Repair in 2008. In 2017, Dan retired due to his health. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2018. Shirley is now retired from the business, but she still carries on as a Wonder Woman and an amazing grandma and mom. Dan and Shirley had three kids – Jason, Traci, and Brad.
The oldest, Jason, is married to Jill. They have two children, Ashley (19) and Isabelle (17). Traci works in the education field. Brad is married to Amy, and they have four girls, Taylor (21) from a previous marriage, and three younger girls, Stella, Mallory, and Josie. The two brothers took different paths but ended up at the same place together. They are both Eagle Scouts, thanks to an amazing mom, family, and support group.
Jason grew up greasing trucks, changing oil, and eventually driving Bennett trucks while his dad worked there. After going to college, Jason landed a job with Frito Lay and stayed there for 15 years, bouncing between Texas and Topeka, KS. He eventually found his way home in 2010. Brad went to Votech after high school and then became a mechanic. When he needed to increase his income, he purchased a truck and went to work with his dad. He ran a truck with his dad until he needed to be home more, and that’s when they all started Hammes Repair.
The repair shop works on both outside trucks and their own and has grown to employ five full time technicians. Hammes Trucking started out with two trucks and now has 20, along with 35 trailers. Brad and Jason are partners in the business, but they would be nothing without the amazing family of employees they have. Their business model is based on their dad’s philosophy – hire people that are good, give them good equipment, treat them all like family, and it will all work out.
Hammes Trucking is a complete Peterbilt fleet. They have always felt like the old ads were correct, that CLASS attracts CLASS. They want their drivers to look over their shoulders as they walk in from the fuel island, thinking, “Man, my truck is cool.” When they are proud of what they drive, it makes Hammes Trucking proud, as well. Brad still drives almost every day, and Jason goes out once or twice a week.
One of their Peterbilts is actually how I met them. Their dad Dan ordered a super nice 2004 Peterbilt 379 with a 48” flattop in black and chrome from me. I’ll never forget the nameplate we ordered for it – Custom Built for My Mid Life Crisis. Their dad ran that truck until he was forced to retire, but it is still alive and well, and in the fleet today. Brad has a new glider kit that is built to resemble dad’s truck, and he took it on its maiden voyage to the Peterbilt 589 Reveal Party in Texas last May.
Over the years, I have kept in touch with Brad and Jason, and I consider them both friends that are customers. They purchased a lot of equipment from me, and have also bought a few elsewhere, as they could find what was available. But no matter where the equipment comes from, they try to have Pat the painter in our body shop put their signature Hammes stripes on the trucks, and sometimes I get to help pick the colors. They have their own shop and are a Hogebuilt dealer, so they usually install their own accessories and dress up their rigs themselves, after we put the stripes on them.
Sometimes it is about more than just a truck, it’s about friends, family, and fantastic customers. This month’s article honors and highlights not only a great company with a beautiful fleet of Peterbilts, but also some nice folks I am proud to call friends.