In our most recent episode of Diesel Stories, Jacob and Chris sat down with Sebastian Brzek and Jose Hernandez, co-hosts of the Truck Yoo Podcast. Sebastian is the founder and CEO of Era Transport, and Jose is his lead tech.
Sebastian grew up in Poland, eventually following his parents to the United States. He didn’t speak English at the time, but in further proof that art transcends languages, he had seen The Matrix and understood everything the characters said. That gave him something of a baseline in English, and inspired him to learn more: “Okay,” he figured, “if I want to stay here and live here, then I better commit and work on my communication.”
Jose, meanwhile, grew up in Chicago; like Sebastian, his father drove trucks, along with several uncles. The two met when Sebastian bought someone out and was looking to hire technicians. “Jose was the only one who knew the answer to when the EGR emissions kicked in. I was like, ‘you’re hired!’”
These days, Era has a fleet of about 50 trucks and its own internal shop. Sebastian credits much of their success to his early understanding of trucks and maintenance. “That’s what usually makes or breaks an owner op, right?” he asks. “If you don’t understand what truck you’re driving and you have a high maintenance cost, it’s going to put you out of business, because on top of that, you have to learn how to actually run it as a business, [and] the truck is the key element in the entire game.”
Both of these guys grew up around trucks, so they bring a special passion (and a great sense of humor!) to the industry. Some of the topics they hit on include:
- The differences and similarities between running an internal shop vs. serving outside customers
- Why they decided to (for now) pause the work they did for outside customers
- What it’s like trucking in Poland vs. trucking in the United States
- Era’s biggest cause of downtime
- How are you going to get kids interested in trucking if the industry has a bad rep?
- Why relationships are so, so important in this industry