The Week's Features
MDOT holds media event highlighting first responder safety
Creativity and eccentricity are the themes of this unit
Are you holding your own against the industry changes?
Towman gets ’em to the church on time
Capacities of 16-20,000 lbs. allow lifts to service most trucks
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 14 - November 20, 2018
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration and the Maryland Transportation Authority kicked off its National Traffic Incident Response Week with a media event at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Nov. 13

Traffic Incident Response Week Begins

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration and the Maryland Transportation Authority hosted first responders and the media to kick off their National Traffic Incident Response Week. The week is an annual observance to raise awareness of safety for first responders and managers who assist hundreds of thousands of motorists each year.

The event took place Nov. 13 at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Incident responders work along high-speed traffic and have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, said MDOT SHA Deputy Administrator for Operations Tim Smith. "Each day, these brave men and women risk their lives to help others, so it's incumbent upon drivers to move over or slow down when driving past a responder assisting with a crash or disabled vehicle on the side of the road."

A somber reminder of the danger associated with incident response and management was observed with the presentation of American Towman's Spirit Ride. A mock incident demonstration involving an overturned tractor trailer was also shown to attendees.

Speakers included: Major Michael Tagliaferri of the Maryland State Police; Baltimore Fire Chief Joe Wade who lost his brother while he was helping a motorist on the highway; Jenna Schreiber, whose towman husband Jim was killed on Maryland Highway 10; and MDOT SHA Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Tim Smith, among others.

Sources: MDOT, AT Staff

Towman Rescues Father and Daughter of Bride

Eric Schmidt, a driver for R&J's Towing in Minot, North Dakota, is commended for going above and beyond when he helped father of the bride, George Lowther, and his granddaughter with a vehicle having mechanical problems on the day they were going to a wedding.

With Schmidt's help, they got to the wedding.

Lowther said his granddaughter was driving the car that stalled that day. "She was just getting off work at the Y and was on her way home to change clothes. The car stalled and she called me," said Lowther. "I went out there and tried to jump it and wasn't able to get it going."

After spending 15 minutes trying to get the car started, Lowther suggested calling AAA.

Schmidt from R&J's Towing in Minot arrived shortly "to the rescue," Lowther said.

"I asked him to jump the car first," Lowther said. "It just kicked over right away. There was a little bit of charge on the battery so it was running," Lowther said.

The car only made it a few blocks before stalling again. However, Schmidt, who offered to follow the Lowthers, was right behind the car and put it on the tow truck to take it the rest of the way to Superior Auto. Lowther followed in his vehicle and picked up his granddaughter because they had a wedding to attend.

"He saved the day," Lowther said of Schmidt.

Schmidt didn't know the Lowthers were on their way to a wedding that day until the towing company received a notice from AAA. Lowther had responded to a survey from AAA asking him how he liked his recent service.

"He stayed with us until everything was resolved – until we got to the repair shop," Lowther said.


Profits Improve After Expansions

Buoyed by $54 million of plant upgrades and investments at its plants in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, Miller Industries boosted its sales this summer by nearly 28 percent and nearly doubled its third quarter profits.

Miller Industries said it has completed the $20 million expansion of its Ooltewah production facility, which added 175 jobs in Chattanooga over the past two years, and other major expansions at its plants in Greeneville, Tennessee and Hermitage, Pennsylvania., helping to grow the company's total staff to more than 1,000 employees.

Jeff Badgley, co-CEO of Miller Industries told industry analysts that after the aggressive expansion effort, the company has boosted its capacity and improved its work flow and will be spending less in the near term on more capital projects.

"We are very pleased with our new facility improvements and are proud of the impact it has on our community," Badgely said in an announcement of the completion of the company's 30,000-square-foot addition to its paint facility in Ooltewah earlier this year. "With these additions, our Ooltewah, Tennessee, facility now contains approximately 331,000 square feet of world class manufacturing and administrative space."

Badgley said demand for towing equipment remains strong and "our outlook for the remainder of 2018 remains positive, as backlog, economic conditions and demand remained strong in both domestic and international markets."

While demand and production capacity is improving for the company, Badgley said the tariffs imposed this year on aluminum and steel imports are boosting commodity prices and the impacts from the import duties "are increasingly noticeable." Miller raised its prices in August and, if tariffs continue to grow, could raise them again, Badgley said.


Towmen Retrieve [b]U-Haul from Pool

Police were called to the back yard of a Las Vegas, Nevada, home to help a tow truck driver hoist a U-Haul truck out of an empty swimming pool.

The Las Vegas Police Department said officers were dispatched about 8:50 a.m. Wednesday on a request to keep the peace while Jose Norena of Big Valley Towing worked on getting the moving truck out of the empty pool.

"You never realize what people do until you become a tow truck driver," Norena told a local television station.

"When we got the call originally, we kind of didn't believe it. We needed some visual evidence, so we asked for a picture. In fact, the truck was in the pool," he said.

Big Valley Towing said the driver's shoelace became stuck on the accelerator when he was pulling into the driveway and the truck ended up in the backyard pool.

"The set-up is really time-consuming," Norena said. "Luckily, there was no water in the pool, so it made the recovery a little bit easier."


Beacon Software, Xpress-pay [b]Begin Joint Venture

Beacon Software Company and jointly announced they have successfully integrated their respective software solutions. Xpress-pay is currently integrated with Beacon's Dispatch Anywhere for Drivers Mobile App to enable drivers to accept Xpress-pay payments. Full integration with Dispatch Anywhere is projected by Dec. 31, 2018.

The partnership makes the online and mobile payment features of Xpress-pay available to all of Beacon's towing industry clients.

The joint venture is designed to streamline transactions, reduce the risk of gone-on-arrivals (GOAs), and make towing safer in general. As a web application, the companies said tow operators can use Xpress-pay to accept payments on any device in their office or in the field. The companies also stated dispatchers can send callers an email or text message allowing payment from their mobile device.

Xpress-pay is offering Dispatch Anywhere customers a limited time discounted enrollment until December 31, 2018. Dispatch Anywhere customers can sign up at The two companies have also opened up access to towing professionals not currently running on either system.


Towman Driver Dies While Towing Cars

A longtime Dover, New Jersey, tow truck driver died Nov. 7 after suffering a medical event while hauling two cars, and veering across Route 46 before he came to a stop, police said.

Police responded to the scene at 10:08 p.m., where they found the driver, Dimitrios "Jim" Paliatsas, 71, owner of Jim's Mobile Garage, unconscious inside his truck, Public Safety Director Daniel DeGroot said.

Paliatsas was administered emergency medical care and transported to St. Clare's Hospital in Dover, where the Dover resident was later pronounced dead.

DeGroot said the police investigation indicates Paliatsas suffered a medical event that rendered him unconscious just before the crash.

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