Honor a Driver: Kent Pacacha of Crowe Transportation

Honor a driver - Kent Pacacha

The love of trucking started as a kid for Kent Pacacha, our featured driver, when he looked out the car window and saw a semi-truck going by. He told his mom he would drive a big truck one day. He earned his CDL at age 20 which started this lifestyle of trucking. He started with dump trucks, then to OTR (over the road) and now drives more local runs. 

What Kent loves most about driving is the freedom of it. He will occasionally help with dispatch duties, but prefers to be out driving his truck. When asked what characteristics you need to have to be a successful driver, he replied, “you have to love it or you won’t last”. You can tell he loves it. He kept saying, “You have to take this on as a lifestyle or you will quit. This isn’t a 9-5 type job. Your life revolves around the truck which is both good and tough. You have to be able to independently figure things out, be forward thinking and alert about what coming up on the road, at your destination and adjust as needed.” The GPS isn’t always right, so you need to be able to calmly figure it out. 

Ken Pacacha and his custom-designed tractor

Kent drives 50-70,000 miles per year and has the luxury of driving a tractor he helped design. The ownership at Crowe Transportation, where he now works, goes above and beyond to give their drivers trucks they can have input on and take extreme pride in driving every day. Kent drives an International HX 520 with an X15 Cummins, 13 speed, custom pipes, deck plate, custom chrome front bumper and flush mounted accent lighting. The orange and metal flaked black paint really pops and you could use the front bumper as a mirror. Kent loves to polish and you can tell. “You can’t be known for polishing and drive around in a dirty truck,” he says. His rig won the Sponsor’s Choice at this year’s Keystone Nationals. He is pretty proud of that well-deserved trophy. 

When asked what the toughest parts of driving in 2022 are, Kent said, “traffic, horrible traffic, lack of parking space for rigs, burnout and lower respect for each other in the trucking community”. He attributes this to a lower caliber of training for new drivers than there used to be. Things are designed to get barely qualified drivers on the road too quickly. They aren’t equipped to handle themselves out there. Automatic transmissions magnify this issue because you don’t have to pay as much attention to driving and it’s easier for new drivers to feel too comfortable and start using their cell phones and other things as they drive. It’s not good. 

When Kent was OTR and stopped for the day, he would use FaceTime a lot to help the girls (Raygan, 14 and Chloe, 16) with homework. This would also allow his wife Kendra and the girls see his rugged face that does smile once in a while. Everyone in the family has to understand the reality of life on the road for Dad. You maximize the time when you are together but there has to be an understanding of what the job takes in order to last and succeed as a driver and as a family. Kent did make the recent decision to drive more local runs so he could see his wife and go to the girl’s activities. This was a move he is glad he made and had earned the credibility with Crowe leadership to ask for this option. 

Kent Pacacha has been driving for 25 years and the last six with Crowe Transportation in Elizabethtown, PA. He describes himself as an “old school” driver and is a no-nonsense kind of guy. “We are here to do a job for Brian and Cindy Crowe, so go get the job done.” 

Charles Crowe started Crowe Trucking in 1968 as a milk hauling operation. For more than five decades the family-owned business has been dedicated to meeting the unique needs of food industry clients along the east coast. They are 100% a food-focused carrier. In 1980 Charles’ son Brian joined the team and is the current owner and president. His son Austin is being mentored and trained to lead the company after Brian steps down, keeping the family-run business in the family. 

Last December a terrible thing happened to Kent and the girls. Kendra, his wife of over 12 years passed away suddenly due to blood clot issues related to Covid. Kendra was in dispatch with UPS for 22 years, so she was also in the industry. They were home together when she started talking weird and fell to the ground. Kent tried CPR, called 911 and a friend all in the blink of an eye. It was too late. They could not revive her. Following this tragedy, the benefits of a supportive workplace really came through. Brian Crowe came back from deer hunting to go see Kent at his house. Cindy, Brian’s wife, was so comforting. Kent says he is so thankful for them and the employees of Crowe. He specifically mentioned gratitude for Marlin in dispatch and Michelle in administration. You could tell from his body language as he shared that it meant a lot. The grieving process is far from over, but having people like those he mentioned around you is a blessing from God. Driving is still something he loves and is glad for the distraction in dealing with the loss of Kendra. 

As the interview ended I asked Kent one last question: “What message would you like to give the trucking community?” He quickly replied, “Be kind. It’s tough out there for everyone so be kind.” He also said, “Take your time and pay attention. Be patient. Get home safe because things can change in an instant”. You could tell he was referring back to the loss of Kendra with that comment. So let’s take that advice from the 6’3, bearded, and buff Kent Pacacha. Be kind. Pay attention. Be patient and get home to your family and friends.

Kent and his wife, Kendra who passed away last December

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