Most truck drivers will tell you that once they get behind the wheel and make a few hauls, the freedom of the open road and being your own boss gets in your blood. When you combine this with a passion for trucks and heavy machinery, a career in trucking is the only choice. Probably the most difficult thing for most drivers is being away from their family but each career path has certain drawbacks.
Joe Leopardi has always been interested in heavy machinery and big trucks thanks to growing up on a farm and he’s been driving since he was 17. Joe is an Ohio native and his early career saw him hauling steel coils around the Cleveland and Warren, OH area. He worked for several companies but always wanted to be an owner-operator. Joe got married and moved to Columbus, OH and was able to get his own truck in 1983, and realize his dream of owning his own truck. As he and his wife Karen began planning having a family, Joe realized that his time at home with his wife and children was most important to him. Not wanting to give up his passion for trucking, Joe was able to find a local haul that only takes him 150 miles from his hometown in Columbus, OH. He knew that his children would only be young once and he didn’t want to miss out on their childhood years.
Joe’s pride and joy while he’s out on the road is his 1994 KW W-900L. The truck has 1,988,000 miles on it and he’s the second owner. Joe has repainted the KW and has added new aluminum fenders, Alcoa Dura Bright wheels, and a set of straight pipes. The truck’s engine, transmission, and front rear have been completely rebuilt and this old KW is better than new! Power comes from a red top N-14 Cummins engine along with a 13 speed transmission. Joe enjoys attending local truck shows when he’s not out on the road but he certainly puts on his own show every day while making his deliveries!
He certainly represents the trucking industry with class and estimates that he’s logged 2,850,000 miles in his career without a speeding ticket or an accident! After logging all those miles, Joe said that his most memorable experience came while trucking with his wife, who was his girlfriend at the time. Joe was driving a GMC General loaded with corn and needed directions, since there were no cell phones or GPS systems at the time. He stopped to get his directions and didn’t realize he was parked so close to a telephone pole. When he went to leave, he took the pole and the wires with him, but nothing else was damaged and nobody was injured. Joe’s pride might have been hurt but he married his girlfriend Karen and they’ve been together for 33 years since. He also realized the importance of safe driving and began his nearly 3 million accident free miles after that.
Joe Leopardi has certainly had a long trucking career and plans on driving for many years to come. He wanted to thank God for all that He’s given him, because without Him nothing would be possible. Joe is especially thankful for his wife Karen for all of her support and letting him do what he loves doing. Both his daughter Rae Lynn, and his son Joshua (a staff sergeant in the air force) mean the world to him along with his granddaughter Lily. Joe also wanted to thank Bryan Goodfleish; whose father George was the truck’s original owner. Lastly, he wanted to thank Chris & the crew at Roberts Run Truck Wash, Cahill Painting, Moss Trucking, and the repair shop at AMS Express.
Joe Leopardi has been able to balance family and his truck-driving career and has enjoyed the best of both worlds thanks to his hard work and determination. He’s a credit to the trucking industry for sure and Movin’ Out salutes him & his outstanding KW as our July Working Show Truck of the Month.