Meadow Lark’s first Owner Operator
It was considered by most the hay-day of trucking. Doug Stark started in the industry in 1973 at the age of 26 when the pay was high, and the work was plenty. He began running his own authority hauling cattle and went off the physical load boards in truck stops that were placed by the wall of pay phones to coordinate shipments. It was a different time that called for another level of work ethic and later, Stark would make the decision to join Meadow Lark in its infancy.
Hearing about Meadow Lark though various brokers, he decided to keep his authority as an owner operator but drive for them in 1984. With a tiny family company located in a small office in downtown Billings, Montana he joined the whopping three office personnel team and began his journey.
Pulling flatbed and step deck since the beginning, he stuck with the company through the years. Back then, trucking was a bit easier in some respects but in others, the truckers of today may have it a little, well, a lot better. There were less stringent regulations to stay on top of and drivers had a bit more freedom in how they ran their truck - all to say, the work in those days called for more effort.
Imagine a time before Google Maps let alone a cell phone. Stark explains that “to find your way around town it was common practice to hunt down a local driver, you can spot them by whether they drove a day cab or not, and they would give you directions to your destination.” Needless to say, before the cellular phone, if you were new to an area, you had better brush up on your communication skills.
Doug is now retired as of 2021 and resides in his home near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, visiting family in Texas when he can and takes on his new life one day at a time. For someone who has seen Meadow Lark through since the beginning, he believes that the growth of the company was done the right way and not too fast. As a dedicated former driver, committed to doing the right thing, and always up for a conversation, he’s a brilliant example of who we would like to be as a company.
Thank you for your 35 years of service with us Doug, and may retirement give you that well deserved rest!