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March 24, 2017 2:00 AM, EDT

ONE20 Charts Its Own Course for Expansion

Schenk, Barnett by Gary Kicinski/Transport Topics

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You may know ONE20 as the somewhat irreverent company that last year released TruckThat.com to provide a membership community for truck drivers to vent.

Well, now it offers an electronic logging device.

And its own energy drink.

And, has its own trucking company.

“We’re everywhere!” said ONE20 founder, president and CEO Christian Schenk, exaggerating only slightly.

At the 2017 Mid-America Trucking Show here, drivers flocked to ONE20’s 30x50 booth, where the attraction was not only free beer and a massive ONE20-branded recreational vehicle, but ONE20 services that are intended to improve drivers’ lives on the road.

The driver-focused ELD, being sold at the show for $99.99, is a plug-and-play device that wirelessly pairs with a driver’s smartphone or tablet. There are no monthly subscription fees, and an interface is being developed to integrate with PeopleNet’s system.

Gary Kicinski/Transport Topics

The energy drink is similar to 5-hour Energy drinks that ONE20 founder, president and CEO Christian Schenk says is the most popular product sold at truck stops. After doing its own analysis of the energy drink market, ONE20 determined it could make its own energy drink and sell it for half of what drivers pay for 5-hour Energy.

“It’s the perfect extension of the ONE20 Strong brand, which is healthiness and wellness and exercise,” Schenk said.

The ONE20 Strong energy shots come in four flavors and contain caffeine comparable to a cup of coffee. They contain no sugar and have just five calories each. Starting in April, a dozen bottles will be available for $18.99 on Amazon.com.

And perhaps to offset slapping its brand on the tiny energy drink bottles, ONE20 decided go big as well. What better way to take the pulse of truck drivers and small company owners than to become one themselves?

Gary Kicinski/Transport Topics

ONE20 has created a sister company, ONE20 LLC, and announced March 23 that it has officially started to provide transportation services and received authority from FMCSA as a legally operating, property-carrying motor carrier.

The fully wrapped truck, a 2005 Peterbilt 379, will be promoting ONE20’s services  but also will be hauling freight, with a pipeline haul from Ohio to North Dakota tentatively scheduled for a few days after MATS closed.

Schenk said by owning its own trucking company — which has just one truck for now — ONE20 is putting its money where its mouth is. But he wants to add more trucks and was recruiting additional drivers at MATS.

“If we’re in it [the trucking business], we’re going to know it,” he said. “We’re going to know how to go get insurance. We’re going to know how to mitigate risk. How do you go and set up a DOT [registration number]? How do we franchise trucking? How do we handle compensation? Our truckers will run on software that’s exclusively made by us. And will always be free. We can run a trucking company without any massive expense. Others should be able to, too.”

The husband-and-wife team of Lee and Lisa Schmitt pilots ONE20's truck. (Courtesy of ONE20)

So with expansion into ELDs, energy drinks and a trucking company, can ONE20-branded salad dressing, restaurants and theme parks be far behind?

Maybe not anytime soon, but Schenk did offer a glimpse at some features on the horizon, including:

  • The debut of the inaugural Top ONE20 list of America’s best and worst truck stops and travel centers, based on ratings from the ONE20 driver community, coming in April.
  • Additional healthy meal options inside truck-accessible locations, such as restaurants being able to submit menu items that would be endorsed by ONE20 Strong.
  • A truck parking partnership with Native American casinos that will open up truck parking exclusively to members.
  • A documentary coming this summer titled “The Secret Lives of Truckers” that is being shopped to networks. The film focuses on breaking stereotypes and revealing what it’s like to live life on the road.

ONE20 has seen explosive growth in one year’s time. It offers a driver tablet in addition to the free My ONE20 app, which the company says has had about 150,000 downloads. Senior Vice President Ryan Barnett says ONE20 has a reach of about 800,000 people per month. Members join ONE20 at one20.com to connect with other drivers, plan truck-specific routes and collect discounts on purchases during their travels.