The towing and recovery industry is synonymous with family to this tower.
To John Brinkley, owner of Brinkley’s Wrecker Service LLC in Suffolk, Virginia, the towing and recovery industry is synonymous with family.
“My grandfather was in the wrecker business and I rode around with him as a kid, so I started out very young,” John said. “I continued working with him throughout my early years, and once my grandpa was ready to retire, I opened up another wrecker service in 2004 under my own name. We have 11 employees and have remained true to our family-centric tradition. My wife and I co-own the business, her cousin works with us as a secretary, and nearly all of our other employees have been with us for at least a few years.”
One aspect of John’s business that is changing? The makeup of his fleet. “I currently have 11 trucks in my fleet, two of which are Jerr-Dan vehicles, and another Jerr-Dan on the way,” he said. “We have a Jerr-Dan 50/60 rotator, a 50-ton Jerr-Dan integrated wrecker, and another 50-ton Jerr-Dan integrated wrecker that is being built. When it comes time to swap out my equipment, I’m replacing everything with Jerr-Dan. In the old days, I went with competitor vehicles, but I’ve learned over the years that Jerr-Dan is the brand to trust when I want to get the job done.”
For John, using Jerr-Dan equipment has facilitated difficult jobs and helped to keep his operators and everyone else on the scene safe. “The Jerr-Dan rotator platform is so good – it doesn’t lean, it doesn’t rock, it doesn’t crack and pop,” he said. “We provide everything from light- to heavy-duty towing, and we also do a lot of recovery work. Once we were working on a gas tank that turned over and was leaking gas. The tractor and trailer came apart in the wreck and there were about eight inches of gas spilled on the side of the road. The Jerr-Dan rotator had to reach across and grab the tractor to bring it to a safe location. There’s no piece of equipment I’d put more trust in for a job like that.”
John is impressed with the improvements he has seen in product engineering and technology within the towing and recovery industry over the past few decades. “Nowadays, the operators know a lot more about the mathematical side of towing, from getting the right angles to tow load capacities,” he said. “Our operators have apps on their phones that connect to our system in the office. Those apps allow the drivers to take pictures of a wreck as soon as they get on-scene and allow receipts to be sent to customers and signed on-scene, which decreases the chances that something could be contested later. I’d say the biggest need within my business and for the industry as a whole is ongoing training so we can stay up to date on the technology and the equipment to keep the business running more safely and efficiently.”
In addition to quality vehicles, John says training is one of the biggest benefits of working with Jerr-Dan. “The equipment has evolved so we can be faster and safer, and I love working with the Jerr-Dan team. Richie Guttman, one of the product specialists, has demoed products for me and shown me how they work before I buy them. Over the years, he’s become an extended member of my family. Richie is trustworthy and loyal, and to me, trust is everything. That’s the embodiment of the Jerr-Dan brand.”