In 1990, Greg Dodson set out to write a trucking system. He was working for a small trucking company in Caldwell, Idaho, processing driver settlements and payroll. In those days there were only a few trucking software systems on the market, and the 10 truck company he was employed by simply couldn't afford their extravagant price tags. Greg had a computer background, achieving "Distinguished Honor Graduate" at his Army AIT training for "Computer Programmer / Analyst" (74F), so he figured that he could just write some software tools to make his job a little easier, since he was doing most everything manually at that point.
Soon thereafter, his employer was purchased by a rival trucking company in Lewiston, so Greg and the other office equipment were relocated to this small northern Idaho town. His new employer was impressed by the small collection of programs that Greg brought along with him, enough so that he was given permission to use the company's main server to continue development on them. He worked half days on his employer's books, and the other half working on his new "system".
It wasn't too long before Greg's boss was bragging to other companies that he worked with about what Greg had accomplished for him, and one such company wanted to take a look. Greg was given permission to take a few days off, and with borrowed gas money, drove to Great Falls, Montana, to show his wares.
The owners of this company were also impressed with what they saw, and offered Greg a deal to add features to it to make it work for them: use of their server to do the development on, room and board, and $1000. Greg jumped at the opportunity. He turned in his notice, and two weeks later loaded up and headed to Great Falls.
It took around 6 months of 16 hour days for Greg to make the additions and improvements that were required to make his first customer happy, but at the end he really did have the beginnings of a system. It had a primitive dispatching system, allowed invoicing, driver settlements, and limited payroll.
Meanwhile, word of mouth from this new customer, as well as Greg's prior employer, had lined up 4 new sales for Greg. He now was driving a continuous loop between Caldwell (where he attended National Guard drills), Lewiston, Great Falls, Billings Montana, and Yakima Washington, staying with one customer at a time for a week or two before driving to the next point. His early policy was to take improvements that one customer had paid him to develop, and pass it on to the rest of his fledgling "customer base", and this resulted in more and more sales in the western US and Canada. His system was quickly gaining a reputation, as was Greg for his relentless persistence to make his system the best available at the lowest price.
The companies he was selling to were very small, and he was always hesitant to charge them very much, so cash was limited. Many of his new customers were more than willing to let him stay with in their guest room as available, but he recalls that when this was not the case, he'd often sleep in his car, not having the means to purchase a hotel room.
In 1993, Greg made his biggest sale to date, to a 100 truck fleet in tiny Wendell, Idaho. This company needed many additions to the software, and Greg found himself spending more time in Wendell than any place else. He decided to rent a house there and call it his home base.
In late 1994, Greg sold a system to a trucking company in nearby Jerome, Idaho. So impressed was the owner with the system, and Greg's abilities, that he soon after offered Greg some financial backing so that he could hire a couple employees and start advertising. TruckMaster Logistics Systems resulted from this partnership.
TruckMaster now has over 600 users in North America, and employs some of the most talented people in the transportation industry. 18 years of non-stop development has resulted in what is easily the most feature rich, mature trucking system on the market, entailing accounting, billing, brokerage, dispatching, maintenance, payroll, safety, and settlements.
Greg still steers the developmental direction of the product full-time. Gone are the days of sleeping in his car, but one thing hasn't changed, his endless insistence to having the best trucking software product at the lowest price possible.