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Louisville Switching Blog

Meet Louisville Switching's Chuck Duggins

Posted by Donald Robinson

May 16, 2013 2:22:00 PM

After 17 years at Louisville Switching, Chuck Duggins has handled thousands of service calls. From transmission to wiring, Service Manager Chuck Duggins has walked through countless mechanical issues attempting to offer a solution.  

How To Avoid The Most Common Yard Truck Injuries

Posted by Donald Robinson

Sep 13, 2012 1:04:00 PM

If companies could help their drivers avoid injuries, you can imagine how much could be saved in medical expenses. Think also about the loss of efficiency if your team is short handed because of injuries. The most common injuries truckers experience can be avoided by using an Ottawa yard truck. Here are three of the most common injuries.


Having to hand crank the landing gear often causes injuries because of repetitive motion, many times to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. This injury is common among drivers who work at terminals moving trailers in a truck yard.

Your Next Lease Of An Ottawa Switcher Could Get You a Free Hat

Posted by Donald Robinson

Aug 21, 2012 1:33:00 PM

Chris Troutt is a great guy! He is talented, service oriented, and would give you the shirt off his back. He would also give you a hat if you needed one. Chris never intended to collect so many hats, it just kind of happened. With his job, Chris is regularly meeting with new companies that can benefit from Louisville Switching’s Ottawa Switchers. When Chris has shared the amazing benefits of an Ottawa Switcher with new companies, it happens. Somehow, some way, Chris usually walks away with a hat. He doesn’t ask for them, he is like a hat magnet.

When you walk into Chris’ office and look up at his file cabinet, you cannot help but notice the rows and stacks of hats. The count was at 35 last we checked. There is every color you can imagine and every logo too. Occasionally one of the crew will pass by and tell Chris that their hat got lost or it is just worn out and Chris just says, “pick one out,” and points to the top of his file cabinet.

Chris jokes that he would give a hat to everyone who buys or leases an Ottawa Switcher. In truth, he knows Ottawa is the best in the business and our customers will thank him eternally for introducing them to the Ottawa brand. One of the frequent compliments Chris receives is when he pulls an Ottawa Switcher to demo for a new company and there is a little resistance from the drivers. When Chris goes to leave with the switcher the drivers demand that Chris leave it there. With a minimum of 3 to 1 ratio over a standard semi-truck, the Ottawa Switcher will dramatically improve your time-efficiency and save you money. You may even get a hat out of it.

Certificate of Authenticity

Posted by Donald Robinson

May 22, 2012 11:15:00 AM

Many times when a business transaction is about to take place, the seller of an item will offer to provide a Certificate of Authenticity. This certificate offers some comfort to the buyer, and the buyer has some additional level of security in having the certificate. The seller should have no problem providing the certificate if everything is as the seller represents it to be. You would not want to purchase something of value if you were not sure of the credentials of the seller. This is good common sense.

What would happen if you attempted to acquire a Certificate of Authenticity from your yard truck supplier? This would be interesting and could go something like this:

You: “So how long have you been an Ottawa Dealer?”
Potential supplier: “Well we don’t really sell Ottawa Trucks. We are a Brand X dealer. Brand X is cheaper but it is a better truck at least according to our salesmen. The occasional use of used parts in the building of new trucks also holds down the cost. Don’t pay any attention to the resale value of a used Brand X truck. We don’t actually believe in the old myth of maximizing your ROI. Remember, we are cheaper.”

The question of Authenticity could also go like this:

You: “So do you actually make your living being a yard truck dealer?”
Potential supplier: “Well we are actually a trailer rental company but we dabble in yard trucks. We are the cheapest in town and it is because we don’t know what we are doing and we don’t have any parts. The reduced investment in parts and expertise helps to keep our pricing low.”

For this answer you could also substitute forklift dealer, class 8 dealer or wheeler dealer.

So if you get past the first two questions and you haven’t hung up yet, then try this question:

You: “How long have you been in this business?”
Potential supplier: “We have been doing this for 5 months but actually saw one of these trucks operating about 20 years ago and we have been thinking about it since then.”

Some of these scenarios make me think about the old TV commercial where a man took his car to a garage to get the transmission worked on, and when asked about the mechanic’s experience working on a transmission He replied, “I always wanted to work on one of these.”

Cheap works for some things but when you make your living with a piece of equipment, you want that equipment to be the best and provide maximum ROI. If cheap worked best for all situations then we would all be driving Yugos.

A trusting relationship with a long-term reputable Ottawa Dealer is your Certificate of Authenticity. You can count on that and you can count on us.

A Copier is a Xerox and a Spotter is an Ottawa

Posted by Donald Robinson

Apr 20, 2012 3:18:00 PM

Whenever you need to make a copy you Xerox the original. This is the common lingo that is used today in the business world. This is almost an expression of endearment. The copy machine that Xerox produced was superior in almost every way to all of the competing brands. Xerox dominated the market for this type of equipment. The impression that business people acquired over time was that your copy machine surely must be a Xerox, and, if it wasn’t, then it should have been a Xerox.

Some thoughts on the 2012 Mid America Truck Show

Posted by Donald Robinson

Mar 28, 2012 3:30:00 PM

Every year I look forward to the Mid America Truck Show held in Louisville, KY. We have been exhibiting there for the last 11 or so years. We spend a lot of time thinking about the upcoming show starting at the close of the current year show. As the show gets closer, the pace picks up and then during the week prior to the show, we are operating at full speed. There are final arrangements to be made. We have trucks to clean and shine and our booth to set up. We almost always have industry associates to welcome to town and with whom we coordinate our plans. Other dealers and factory representatives are always here. We love to work with them and also enjoy some social time with them.

When the show opens we can always count on many friends and customers to stop by and visit with us and discuss the latest trends in the industry. This is always enjoyable. We relive old memories as well as discuss the newest innovations with the Ottawa Trucks. As the days of the show roll on, the satisfying weariness of the pace begins to settle in. By the close of the show on Saturday afternoon, there are some sore feet and tired backs and we get a chance to relax again for a few days before we start thinking about next year’s show.

During the relaxation that follows the end of the show, I always relive the show in my mind and think about the recurring theme that played out in the conversations of our customers. Some years it has been new emission standards that are about to kick in. Other years it has been a slow economy that has affected our customers operating methods. This year had a different theme that encouraged me greatly. As I thought about the conversations carried out in our booth, a common story that we heard was about how the drivers had memories of driving an Ottawa Truck 30 or 35 years ago. These conversations were all contemporaneous in a relaxed and casual setting. We didn’t ask for testimonials, but this is what the drivers wanted to talk about.

The fact is that Ottawa Truck is the original terminal truck. The Ottawa Truck has endured much since the beginning in the late fifties. Many competing brands have come and gone in those years. The Ottawa brand has flourished through all of these times and attempts to unseat it as the premier terminal truck. Even now we see occasional upstarts that claim to be as good as the Ottawa Truck. The Johnny-come-latelies will build a knock off of our truck and then brag about being cheaper. The initial cost is sometimes cheaper but the cost of ownership is never less. Once you have ownership of a truck made by a company that is out of business or no longer making the trucks, then the question is always, where do you get parts and customer support? If the life expectancy of your off brand truck is half of that of an Ottawa Truck, then maybe a small initial savings in purchase price is not as sweet as it seemed at the time.

You can bank on your future with a truck that has proven itself for years and offers the absolute best in service and customer support over the long haul, or take a chance on a knock off brand that may or may not even exist next year.

This is the free market at its best. The strong survive and the weaker brands disappear into the night, taking your hopes for a positive ROI with them. I can think of at least 7 or 8 brands that have taken your hopes with them into the refuse pile of dreams that were based on “We are cheaper to buy” or “We have more glass” or “Our plastic cabs save fuel” or “Our trucks are GREEN” or “Our battery powered trucks are good for 20 minutes before a charge is needed.” Sometimes one of these claims will catch the attention of an unsuspecting buyer and then the disappointment starts to creep into the soul of the buyer as reality sets in.

The Ottawa brand has withstood the test of time. No one has built as many terminal trucks as we have or for as long as we have. The truck of choice is “Made in the USA,” by Americans, in Ottawa, KS. We are here to stay.

What a great show we had this year! It has only been closed for 3 days and I am already looking forward to next year’s show and wondering what common theme that we will be discussing. Well, back to the more mundane tasks that accumulate on my desk while I am out of the office. So long for now.

Kalmar/Cargotec will have quite the spread at the Mid America Truck Show

Posted by Donald Robinson

Mar 22, 2012 11:31:00 AM

The Mid America Truck show begins today.

We’ll see you at the Mid America Truck Show

Posted by Donald Robinson

Mar 15, 2012 11:35:00 AM

It’s time once again for the Mid America Truck Show in Louisville. This yearly event is always a crowd-pleaser for those in the trucking industry. It’s also one of the biggest events in Louisville, bringing over 70,000 trucking professionals to the state!