A detour, and then a new route
It would have been easy for Darrion Geiger to become one of the countless statistics of 2020.
Instead, the 2011 Blue Springs South High School grad is the rarest of commodities – a success in the age of COVID-19.
His personal journey began when he was laid off from his lucrative drilling job in Colorado.
"The price of gas and oil was so low, they laid off a lot of us drillers – a lot of my friends still haven't found jobs," Geiger said. "They just stopped drilling, so I knew I had to find something, and find something quick.”
"I'm not the type of guy who can just sit around waiting for something to happen."
He made a call to his mother, Deneane Hyde, and they had a conversation he will never forget, one that has made him one of the lucky individuals to not only survive in the age of the pandemic, but survive. (Hyde is an Examiner employee.)
“I was not surprised to get the phone call from Darrion. He's talked about starting his own company for a while, oil rig, trucking etc,” Hyde said. “And with his work ethic, (my husband) Steve and I have no problem supporting his decision.”
Her son’s work ethic dates back to his days of playing basketball at Blue Springs South High School.
“Remember in high school being part of South basketball, he was small, and he knew he'd have to compete for varsity time, he worked and worked and worked, shooting at home, and we did tell him if you want something you have to work hard for it.”
That praise comes as no surprise to Geiger, who played collegiate basketball at Midland University in Fremont, Neb.
"My mom's the best," Geiger said. "She's so positive, such a hard worker, the type of mom you can talk about anything with. So I call her, and tell her I want to start a trucking company. And she said, 'Let's do it!'''
That was the birth of DM Geiger Trucking, LLC.
"I had her blessing, so I had to find out how to start a trucking company," he said, with a chuckle. "And boy, did I learn a lot."
He began searching for his own rig, and found out he needed a Class A commercial drivers license before he could take his next step.
"I had a buddy with a rig and we went out so I could practice," said Geiger, who soon discovered driving an 18-wheeler was second nature.
"We went out and I parallel parked the rig the first time I tried," Geiger said. "He asked me 'How long have you been driving?' And I asked him, 'How long have we been out here?' That was the first time I'd driven a rig, and it all just came naturally."
Before you could say '10-4 good buddy,' George had his Class A CDL - passing the test with flying colors – and soon, he and his mother owned a rig.
“We were both 'green' going into the trucking business, we made lots of phone calls, and did lots of research,” his mother said.
Using the same type of teamwork that made him a standout prep basketball player, the trucking dream is now a reality.
"My home base is Dacono, Colo., which is just north of Denver, and I drive basically from Denver to Dallas to Kansas City. But I can also carry equipment to Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas."
He hauls general freight, building materials, lumber, oil field equipment, paper products, agricultural and construction supplies .
"Looking back on all of this, it's all pretty crazy, pretty amazing," he said. "I was laid off in March, bought the truck in the beginning of July and now we're looking to add another truck. I know a lot of hard-working oil workers who are still out of work, and I'd love to have them come work for our trucking company."
He paused for a moment, and added, "That sounds pretty good – our trucking company. Thanks Mom! I couldn't have done it without your help, and I'm going to make you proud - and, let's hope, a lot of money."