Ike Thornton is the epitome of a road warrior. Throughout his 38-year career, he has crisscrossed the United States thousands of times and logged in millions of miles. The first time he gripped the steering wheel of an 18-wheeler, his future was set. He immediately set a goal to one day become an owner operator. A standout loader at OK Moving and Storage in his hometown of Norfolk, VA, Ike quickly separated himself from his contemporaries with his strong work ethic and knack for fitting a full size sofa in a hole the size of a love seat. Deemed a once in a generation talent by the industry old-timers, he was not only a capable loader, he could drive with the best of them! The writing was on the wall. Ike was destined to be an owner operator. In 1979, Arpin Van Lines took a chance and offered him the opportunity of a life time. Under the alias “Cool Dude,” which he would eventually make famous, Ike hit the road vowing to bring the sun up the next morning.
A few road trips into his career, Ike made the ultimate pick up—his beautiful wife Lorraine. Better known as Lola, she stole his heart, became his business partner, and the newlyweds established a home base in San Diego, California. In 1981, his dream of becoming an owner operator was realized with the purchase of his first truck, a Ford L9000. Ike is the first to admit that he owes Arpin Van Lines a tremendous debt of gratitude for the faith they showed in him. In his rookie year, Ike returned the favor with his productivity and gained the respect and trust of his colleagues. A natural charmer with a healthy obsession for professionalism, dealing with customer demands came with ease. Whether business executive, professional athlete, or military top brass, Ike’s “I treat yours like its mine philosophy” left every customer satisfied. When your company’s reputation is on the line, Ike Thornton is the driver you want pulling up to residence. With every passing year, Ike consistently exceeded expectations and collected countless safety and productivity awards.
The once aspiring owner operator turned master mover is now the industry’s sage. Hundreds of drivers, young and old, seek out his advice. He routinely counsels them on practical matters ranging from the quickest route to their destination to the most opportune time to invest in a new truck. In the face of advancing technology and stricter rules and regulations, Ike continues to find ways to work smarter. Thousands of people recognize Ike by his iconic sun shades, neatly trimmed beard and jean jacket. Over the years his trucks, like his personality, got bigger and brighter. If you ever saw his bright white Pete rolling down the highway with chrome shining, you would swear you saw a unicorn. It’s no secret that Ike is approaching retirement, but his larger than life personality and legendary career will roll on forever.