It’s not often that someone gets a second chance, but sometimes it happens. Such is the case for trucker Bert Greene (63) of Gardnerville, NV. Not long after taking the plunge to become an owner operator, after decades of driving company trucks, Bert had a medical emergency that looked like it was going to sideline his driving career and force him to sell his dream truck and trailer, which he had just purchased. Thankfully, his condition improved, and he was able to get back into the driver’s seat before the truck went to a new home. Sadly, his matching trailer sold in just days, so once he was cleared to get back on the road, he had to find a new gig – and a new trailer – to continue on. But that is exactly what he (and his wife Lisa) did!
Born in 1959 into a trucking family, Hubert (Bert) Greene started life in Gridley, CA, a small town about 50 miles north of Sacramento. At that time, Bert’s father Hubert Greene Sr. (AKA Hugh) was running a transfer for a company called Shifflet Brothers. When Bert was four years old, his father transferred to Clearlake, CA (about 80 miles east of Gridley), so the family moved there in 1963. Working at Clearlake Truck and Crane Service, Bert’s dad was a trucker’s trucker. Growing up, Bert went out on the road with his dad whenever he could, and actually learned to drive in his dad’s two-stick truck.
In school, Bert played a lot of sports, and at one time, he had hopes of playing baseball in the big leagues. But during his senior year of high school, he decided he had other interests and walked away from a future in sports, and instead began focusing on other things, including driving a truck. Graduating in 1978, he went to work for a local construction company doing underground and pipe work. In 1983 he began his driving career in a 10-wheel fuel tank truck. In 1985 he went to Benito Tank Lines and began hauling fuel in a tractor-trailer. Benito was known for having nice equipment, and Bert was blessed to get a brand-new, fully polished, 1986 Peterbilt 359 to drive while he was there.
A few years later, in 1987, Bert switched over to Unocal in Richmond, CA, driving one of their orange 1988 Peterbilt 379 fuel trucks locally around the Bay area. But after just about a year and a half of driving at night in that terrible Bay area traffic, Bert left there and went to D. Dolan Trucking in Petaluma, CA, and began running a really nice 1987 Peterbilt 379 transfer. A year later, in 1989, he went to Ted Moore Trucking in San Jose, CA, and drove a transfer for them until 1993, at which point he decided to move to Las Vegas, and took a job at Bonanza Materials in Henderson, NV, hauling powdered gypsum in a set of aluminum belly dumps.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, or stay at any one job for too long, in 1995 Bert left Bonanza and took a driving job at Gold Rush Motorsports, hauling motorcycles and cars in an enclosed Kentucky trailer, with a Kenworth W900L. Following the bike rally circuit and doing hospitality work for Gold Rush Motorsports, which took him out on the road for long periods of time, Bert stayed there until he got burned out in 1999. Taking a local job in Las Vegas, Bert began working for Paul DeLong Heavy Haul, driving a 1996 Peterbilt 379, hauling all sorts of equipment in California and Nevada.
After a few years of throwing chains and strapping down loads, Bert started tearing up his shoulder, so he left Paul DeLong and moved to Reno, NV, and took a job at Q&D Construction driving a triple transfer. A few years later, he went to Cappuro Trucking, where he continued driving a triple transfer. From 2004 to 2005 he took a break from truck driving and went back to work in the underground construction field, then he went back to driving a transfer for a company called Klassic Rock (Floyd Johnson) driving a nice 2002 long hood Peterbilt painted black.
Running from Reno to Sacramento on a daily basis for Klassic Rock, Bert did this until 2006, when he took a job at a paving company called Qualcon Contractors in Minden, NV, where he hauled the paving equipment and the asphalt to the job sites. He stayed at this job until 2012, and then moved to Hunewill Construction in Winnemucca, NV. While at Hunewill, he ran end dumps and belly dumps, hauled some heavy equipment, and eventually got back into a triple transfer. Doing a lot of work in the gold mines, he stayed there until 2017 – after years of living out of a suitcase and in motels, he was done with that – but he did get good at cooking all his food, including vegetables, in microwave ovens.
After a short stint at a local company in Gardnerville, NV, driving a triple transfer, he decided to try something new and took a job hauling bulk commodities in a belt trailer for a friend in Big Pine, CA. Driving a 2016 Peterbilt with a flattop sleeper hooked to a nice Western belt trailer, Bert hauled various items such as perlite (a type of fertilizer), potatoes, onions, yams, and roofing granules. In 2018 he met his soon-to-be wife Lisa, and wanting to be home more to spend time with her, he took a driving job at ITS Logistics in Reno, NV. This company only had trucks with automatic transmissions, and Bert just could not get used to driving them, so he asked the owner if he could buy his own truck and then pull their trailers. The owner agreed, so the hunt was on for the perfect truck.
After some searching on the internet for a truck that would fulfill Bert’s wants and needs, they found a really nice, brand-new, white and purple 2019 Peterbilt 389 in Davenport, IA. The truck, which had a 280” wheelbase and a 70” flattop sleeper, was brought home in March of 2019, and then Bert, while still driving a company truck for ITS Logistics on the weekdays, worked on accessorizing his new ride on the weekends and getting all his legal stuff ready to go. The truck was put on the road in late April of 2019, and this was the beginning of his new life as a truck owner and operator.
Pulling for ITS for only about a month, it didn’t take Bert long to realize this deal was not going to cut it. Looking around for something else to do, Bert found a guy in Missouri who told him that he could keep him busy if he had a hopper, so he immediately ordered a Timpte all-aluminum hopper trailer, got it a few weeks later, and began hauling various ag commodities throughout the United States – and really began stretching his legs. It was going well, but after hearing a few guys talk about how much better the rates were with a belt trailer, Bert decided to order one from Western Trailers in Boise, ID, and then began pulling that.
One day while he was at Boise Peterbilt getting some work done on his truck, one of the salesmen told Bert about how Peterbilt was going to discontinue the old-style dash with switches and gauges and change to an all-digital design instead. This got Bert thinking about ordering a new truck – one that would be exactly what he wanted. After some discussion with Lisa, who was now his wife, they ordered the new Peterbilt 389 in March of 2021, and it got delivered in late September of that same year. This is the truck you see on our cover and centerfold this month, and on these pages here, as well.
Since their plan was to have Boise Peterbilt fully customize the truck, they ordered it with the bare minimum of accessories. The truck, a 2022 Peterbilt 389 with a 565-hp Cummins X15 with 2,050 ft-lbs. of torque, an 18-speed, 280” wheelbase, 3.26 rear gears, and a 78” standup sleeper, was ordered with the purple and white two-tone paint job and a white chassis. After the truck arrived at Boise Peterbilt, the first thing they did was pull the engine and transmission and paint them purple to match, which was a pretty major task. After that, they added a chrome air intake kit from Dynaflex to the engine, and then continued to add accessories and customize the rest of the truck.
The exterior features stainless full fenders, painted purple, with the edges left stainless, (4) smooth step boxes from 12 Ga. Customs with billet step plates and painted inlays from Iowa Customs, 8” Dynaflex pipes, and a custom painted deck plate. The dealership also installed a 14” painted drop visor and window chops, added mirror lights on Shift brackets, painted the fuel and air tanks, chopped the air cleaner screens, painted the DEF tank but left two strips unpainted to look like stainless straps, and mounted a 21” tapered bumper from Valley Chrome. All of the Peterbilt emblems were painted purple and gel coated by the shop foreman’s wife, which she does as a little side gig.
The lighting on the truck is extensive and well thought out. Everything was placed in groups of four, including the breather lights, eight evenly spaced cab lights (four on each side), and the load lights on the back of the sleeper. Underneath the truck, over 100 button lights were mounted from front to back to give it that nice under-glow at night. The rear stainless steel bumper from 4 State Trucks features 14 lights – seven blink left, seven blink right, and they all light up when the brakes are applied. The LED Projector headlights up front are from Trux and feature blacked-out lenses, and the breather light panels are from Trux, as well.
Inside the cab, most of the interior was left stock, but the truck does have a two-stick shifter kit from Spare Time Fab (in honor of his dad’s truck that Bert learned to drive in), a Forever Sharp steering wheel, and floor plates from Iowa Customs to get the seats a little further back for more leg room. The dash features 20 gauges, and Lisa was able to find perfectly colored purple hand towels to hang on the armrests. After nine weeks at the dealership, the truck was ready to be taken to their sign painter.
Taking it to Lane Walker at Solo Signs in Reno, NV, on Thanksgiving weekend in 2021, the truck spent about a week at Lane’s place getting all the final details. The purple stripe had been designed by Lane, but Boise Peterbilt painted it. Once at Solo Signs, Lane used aluminum flake for the breaker stripe between the purple and white, and also for the company logo. He also outlined the purple stripe with thin teal lines, painted the “Double 0” bloodshot eyeballs on the sides of the hood (because truckers are always tired from running hard), added the deck plate striping with more aluminum flake, and then put Bert’s name on the driver’s door and Lisa’s name on the passenger door.
After everything was finally completed, the truck was put on the road on December 1, 2021, and it began pulling the Western belt trailer. Bert pulled that trailer until March 2022, but then the rates began crashing, so Bert parked the trailer and began pulling a dry van for our friend and past cover trucker (October 2010) Jeff Barnes of J&S Enterprises in Rochester, WA. Bert did this until September, at which point a routine DOT physical became a medical emergency!
Going in for his annual DOT physical exam in September of 2022, Bert was shocked when the doctor checking him out told him that he needed to head to the emergency room right then and there. Apparently, his heart rate was off the charts, and in that condition having a stroke or heart attack is highly probable. Although Bert felt perfectly fine, the doctors were concerned for his very life. With his heart pumping at 125-150 beats per minute, Bert was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and sent home with medication to treat it. The DOT doctor gave him a 3-month extension on his medical card to get the situation dealt with and corrected, if possible, but told him he really shouldn’t be driving – and Bert took that advice to heart (no pun intended).
At this point, Bert’s driving future wasn’t looking good, so they decided to put the truck and trailer up for sale. Surprisingly, the trailer sold in just two days! A few guys were hot and heavy to buy the truck, but thankfully none of them panned out. This was Bert’s dream truck, and he hadn’t had it that long, and the mere thought of selling it was really making him sad. He decided to focus on his health and began eating better and walking every day. Three months later, when he went for his follow-up DOT physical, this doctor found no signs of any of the problems he was having three months before. The doctor said, “Keep doing whatever you are doing,” and gave him a passing grade on his physical. He was now cleared to get back behind the wheel, but he still took it slow, not trucking at all between September 2022 and April 2023. This was his second chance, and he didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.
In February 2023, Bert and Lisa started researching what type of trailer they should buy for Bert’s return and decided an aluminum end dump would have lots of work, so they found a dealer that had a build slot and ordered a new MAC half-round end dump. The trailer arrived in June, but they didn’t get it on the road until July. This beautiful polished 2024 MAC end dump features a painted purple ram, a liner inside that can accommodate up to 5-inch river rock without denting the side walls, 242 mini watermelon “Hero” lights from RoadWorks, and two purple stripes along the rails down each side of the trailer. Jamie Crytzer at TarpStop installed the trailer’s purple Side-Lok cable tarp system.
The truck and trailer combo recently made its truck show debut at the Soza Memorial Truck Show in Turlock, CA in September 2023 and did really well, earning four big trophies, including 1st Place in the Construction class, Best Engine, Best Lights, and Competitor’s Choice! Having met Bert and Lisa previously at a show in 2022, we were so relieved and happy to hear of his recovery and return to trucking, and knew it was a story that needed to be told (and a truck and trailer that needed to be featured). Getting to know this nice couple at the shows and at our photo shoot, which took place at two different dairies near Kerman, CA on a very hot day, we really enjoyed our time with Bert and Lisa.
Both Bert and Lisa have been married three times prior, and both have grown kids from these three previous marriages. Bert and Lisa met in November 2018 and had their first date in December 2018. After moving things forward and moving in together, the couple got engaged on Christmas Day in 2019 when Bert surprised Lisa with a ring, wrapped in a giant box filled with hundreds of pieces of crumpled newspaper, and then proposed in front of all the family right then and there. Married on November 13, 2020 (on a Friday the 13th during the covid pandemic) in Boise, ID, at Bert’s sister’s house, the couple will celebrate their third anniversary this month.
Lisa holds two master’s degrees that were conferred within two weeks of each other back in 2014 – one is an MA in Psychology and Addiction Counseling and the other is an MS in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy. She primarily worked with children aged 3-10, and did Sand Tray Therapy, which she really enjoyed. However, covid put a damper on that as “Zoom” meetings with that age group was impossible, especially when they were used to play therapy. She also did drug and alcohol counseling during her master’s programs at a troubled youth camp. These days, her passion is fitness, and along with working out a lot, she is currently in the process of getting licensed to become a fitness instructor at a local senior center.
As with most truck owners and operators, there is not a lot of time left for hobbies, but Bert and Lisa do enjoy getting out and riding their 2019 Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle, and also like driving and taking care of their Ford F250 diesel pickup, which is painted purple and white to match the big truck. The couple also loves their dog “Frankie” and takes her just about everywhere they go. The three-year-old pug pup loves going in the truck and was with Bert and Lisa at the photo shoot, too.
A few people Bert wanted to thank include everyone at Boise Peterbilt (especially Sales Manager Drew and Paint Shop Foreman Mel), Lane Walker at Solo Signs for all his amazing paint work and detail, Billy at Double E Trucking, his wash and detail guy Junior at JMD, and Billy’s driver (and nephew) Andrew, who not only helped us find our photo shoot locations, but also hung out with us all day and helped out, as we took the pictures for this feature. And, of course, last but not least, his wife Lisa for all her love and support. Without her, none of this would have been possible, and Bert wanted her to know that she means the world to him.
As for the future, Bert is content to remain a one-truck owner operator, but as Bert has recently realized, the future is guaranteed to no one, so it is important to live every day to its fullest. He loves pulling the end dump and plans to continue doing that. Bert wishes his father was still alive to see all that he has accomplished (he passed away in 2014), because he would have loved this truck. Bert has been told many times that he’d never make it as an owner operator, so he is proud of what he has been able to do and is excited to be featured on our cover. Not everyone gets a second chance, but Bert and Lisa Greene did – and they are not taking anything for granted anymore!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Big thanks go out to Bert for providing the cool night shot of the truck!