Working Show Truck Of The Month: Jerry Franco, John A. Marshall Jr., and J.A.M. Construction
By Robert Conrad
Since the early days of trucking, the name Mack Trucks has been synonymous with durability and an unmatched performance record no matter how severe the working conditions have been. Mack has produced a number of beautiful models thru the years from the AC, to the B-61, to the R-model, to today's Granites. No matter what the model may be, there's no mistaking the rugged, good looks of a Mack truck. With the right amount of annual maintenance, Macks will practically run forever and seem to get better with age.
Our March Working Show Truck is a prime example of the classic Mack styling that's combined with proven performance and durability. This handsome 2000 Mack RD tri-axle dump is owned by John A. Marshall Jr., who operates R.I.-based J.A.M. Construction & Excavating. John's truck is a true working showpiece thanks to the efforts of its driver, Jerry Franco.
Despite hauling loads of gravel, stone, and-worst of all-asphalt on a daily basis, Jerry manages to keep the truck looking like it just rolled out of the showroom. The truck's dump body is so clean that it's hard to believe that it hauls asphalt every day-but it does! The royal blue paint is complimented by custom pin striping and lettering and just enough polished "bling". Up front there's a custom Texas square bumper that needed to have special hand-made brackets to allow it to fit onto the frame. A classic "Rubber Duck" hood ornament seems to be smiling as it sits on top of the hood because it knows just how cool this truck looks! The fuel tanks have been painted to match the cab and Jerry had to shorten the driver's side tank by 1" in order to install the 6" straight pipes. Jerry has also changed all of the exterior lights to LEDs to make sure the truck shines at all times of the work day. There’s plenty of power thanks to the 400 Mack engine that's paired with a set of 44 rears and a Fuller 8LL transmission.
Jerry's hard work and attention to detail have turned this 12+-year-old Mack into the pride & joy of the J.A.M. construction fleet. The company was started back in 1966 with one backhoe and a 6-wheel dump truck. They have grown thru the years, as a result of quality work and competitive prices, to their present fleet of over a dozen trucks as well as a number of backhoes and excavators. John provides his customers with quality excavation work as well as site development. Projects include road paving, parking lots, driveways, and septic systems.
At 46 years old, Jerry Franco has been driving for over 28 years. He said his dad introduced him to trucking when he was just a young boy. Jack Franco, Jerry's dad, let him ride in his Newport Oil delivery truck, and from that day on, Jerry knew he wanted to be a truck driver. Jerry's dad eventually ended up owning his own tanker and always kept it clean which really influenced the way that Jerry takes care of J.A.M.'s Mack. Jerry said that his most memorable experience was sitting behind the wheel of his dad's 1970 White 9000 at age 13. The truck had 2 sticks and a 16-speed transmission and Jerry said his dad showed a great deal of patience as Jerry managed to "grind" his way thru all of the gears! With a little more practice on weekends, Jerry got the hang of things and was on his way to living his dream of being a truck driver.
In his nearly 30 years in the trucking industry, Jerry Franco has seen and done a lot. He wanted to thank several people for all that they've done for him. First was his girl, Heather (seen with him in our photo), for all of her love and support, and helping him get the truck ready for the shows that they attend. He especially wanted to thank his dad for those early driving lessons that were filled with support and understanding. Without his dad, Jerry wouldn't be where he is today! Finally, Jerry credits Ray Mello from R. Mello Trucking. He said that Ray has been a great friend and has shown him how to repair just about anything. Ray has also taught Jerry a lot about driving and trucks in general and this has helped with his success.
Jerry Franco was a quick learner and has turned his early lessons in trucking into a lifelong career. He represents J.A.M. Construction with style and class, and has turned John Marshall's 2000 Mack dump truck into a working classic that turns heads both on the jobsites as well as at the truck shows. Congratulations to Jerry Franco, John A. Marshall Jr., and J.A.M. Construction for being chosen as the March 2012 Working Show Truck of the Month.