The LinkeDrive Driver Spotlight series continues today with Mark Raatz! Mark is the Owner Operator (OO) at Marlee Enterprises based in Darien, Il. We wanted to put the spotlight on Mark for a few reasons. His obvious enthusiasm for improvement is one, but also because of what he contributes to others in the industry.
Before starting Marlee Enterprises, Mark had his own computer programming business where he built custom software applications for his customers. A neighboring business heard about him and asked him to develop an application that could help track the fuel costs of their reefers. The owner was frustrated because his business was not profiting as much as he needed, and fuel was his biggest expense. Mark’s fuel tracking application worked so well that the owner was able to achieve the needed profit margins, and sold the business. Soon after, Mark decided to make a career change into an industry for which he already had a lot of personal passion for. He sold his programming business and started Marlee Enterprises.
Like everyone, when he got started it was a tough balancing act managing the demands of a growing business with a vehicle that was wearing out too fast and costing too much. “This is where fuel economy became front and center,” said Mark. In an effort to improve, he started tracking his fuel usage via pen and paper but that required him to never miss a trip and was too hard to maintain. This approach also didn’t provide him much insight into specific areas of improvement that he could address for immediate gains. He had no way to narrow down WHAT about his driving was affecting his MPG or wear and tear on his vehicle.
Being no stranger to technology, Mark incorporated an ELD, but it still wasn’t giving him the level of detail he needed to make noticeable, deliberate changes to his driving style. “It took months to get that information, I had nothing to measure my fuel economy on a daily basis. Until now…”, Mark said, speaking about PedalCoach. “Your system gives me the ability to see, first-hand, the changes I make and how they impact me going forward… it inspires you to do better because it teaches you how!”
With PedalCoach giving Mark detailed coaching information, he started to see some significant gains. We were curious to know how much improvement he was able to make and asked if it was a full MPG or better. Mark replied “Real close, since I don’t have a dedicated route my fuel economy tends to be all over the board but over time, I am seeing about a full MPG improvement. This is on a 1,500,000-mile motor that has never been touched!” We’re glad Mark is so happy with the results he has been able to get with PedalCoach. Today, Mark regularly achieves 9+ MPG and coaches others on how to so the same. If you’re on LinkedIn or part of the 9 MPG club on Facebook, you’ll see his posts.
As we wrapped up our conversation with Mark, we asked what some of his secrets to success have been as an entrepreneur and driver. Mark shared, “It’s the combination of technology with the right mindset,” Highlighting the importance of always learning, being coachable and having an open mind. At LinkeDrive, we couldn’t agree more!
A big thank you to Mark for his time and for being a great example for owner operators, fleets and any driver that wants to get better results on the road.
LinkeDrive’s PedalCoach is the only industry leading, sustainable, Driver Performance Management program that helps drivers and fleets save fuel, improve safety and retain drivers. Click Here to see what we can do for you!