NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – August 8, 2022 – Back in 2020, Howes Products, the leading developer of lubricants and additives, launched the Howes Hall of Fame; a digital platform designed to honor outstanding people, places, and things in the trucking and farming industries. Since its inception, the Hall has been populated with amazing inductees across a spectrum of categories. Today, Howes is honoring another incredible individual whose impact on the trucking industry has been nothing shy of marvelous: Eric Harley.
Eric will join an impressive list of prior inductees including:
- Ellen Voie – Founder and President of Women in Trucking
- The Iowa 80 Truckstop – the world’s largest truck stop
- Tony Justice – truck driver and country music star
- Truckers Against Trafficking – training truckers to spot illegal human trafficking
- Peterson Farm Brothers – a family depicting the challenges of modern-day farming
- Billy Stone – an all-American driver representing the heart of the trucking industry
With a name you may recognize and a face you may not, one thing Eric has always been known for is his voice. He is currently the immensely popular co-host of Red Eye Radio Network, an overnight trucking radio show, which can be heard every morning between 1am – 6am ET on over 240 radio stations. A beacon in the night for millions of drivers, Eric’s top priority lies in keeping truckers awake and alert over the long stretches of dark, lonely highways.
Beginning his career in radio right out of high school over 35 years ago, Eric began his venture into trucking radio in 1996 when he joined legendary Bill Mack, known as The Midnight Cowboy on The Midnight Cowboy Radio Network. This was no accident. Eric has a very prominent family history in the trucking industry. Both of his grandfathers were truckers, one who started before the Great Depression and the other who drove before, during, and after World War II. His father was also a truck driver, delivering crucial pharmaceuticals after his military career. Today, his brother in-law runs his own business driving a truck out of Oklahoma. So, it’s easy to see that truckers, and the industry itself, hold a special place in Eric’s heart.
Given his family history in trucking, throughout his career Eric has always understood that the audience he plays to relies on him deeply. Not just an entertainer, Eric delivers vital news on changing equipment and regulations, giving truck drivers the information they need to stay up-to-date and make important decisions about their livelihood. He is also mindful to not simply talk at drivers, but to include them in conversation as these processes unfold. Listening to and engaging with truck drivers allows him to put his finger on the pulse of the people who make up the industry; what Eric calls an “interesting and continuous learning experience.”
While Eric has spent plenty of time rubbing shoulders with famous personalities, such as Willie Nelson and Lee Greenwood, it is the opportunity to speak with drivers that he appreciates the most. He explains, “I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with celebrities, but wow, I really cherish the time, the moments, that I can share with the drivers and the information that they share with me.” Eric continues, “The ones I’m most proud to meet are the truck drivers because I learn so much every time I have a conversation with them.” His family ties to the trucking industry and the relationships he has built with such an abundance of truckers over the years have helped Eric to learn all about the job and what it takes to do it. This nonstop education has proven to fuel his passion and devotion to America’s drivers. Eric stands in awe of these dedicated people and carries no misconceptions about “what it takes in terms of sacrifice” and “the many sacrifices that they make being away from home for so long and all of the issues they have to deal with while driving a truck.” All these things help Eric to always keep truckers at the front of his mind and never take a single one for granted.
“My brother Rob and I have had the opportunity to be interviewed by Eric on a number of occasions and we always come away feeling like we just had a conversation with a friend or co-worker,” said Erika Howes, Vice President of Business Development. “His pointed questions, great listening skills and thoughtful responses make his interviews feel casual and relaxed but always professional. Eric has a knack not just for understanding people, but for finding a way to connect with them.”
Eric is a true advocate for the trucking industry and specifically for the truckers themselves. He knows first-hand the importance of truckers and works tirelessly to help remind others. He has met and spoken with countless drivers, all of whom he sees as an extended part of his family and is ever mindful that without them the economy stops. He knows what it takes to move America’s freight and that it would be a tremendous hardship on our way of life if these drivers were to stop rolling.
Though Eric sees himself as an advocate who often speaks on the behalf of truckers, he feels that the strongest voice for America’s truck drivers is their own. With today’s social media and online presence, he feels their voice is louder than ever before. He loves to watch their voices being heard and is proud to be able to use his show as a way to help amplify them. It is just one of many important things that Eric has managed to accomplish in his career.
Honored with several awards over the years, including the Dallas Press Club award for best talk show, Eric has remained extremely humble. Never one to be complacent, Eric strives to always do the work and be thoughtful in his presentation. While he sees and appreciates each award and recognition as an acknowledgement of a job well done, he also sees them as a reminder that he is not done yet. He takes every milestone as an indication that there is more work to do. He clarifies that with each show, “we have to start at zero and earn our audience. Something that is always a challenge.”
Along with his impressive values and constant commitment to sharing only truthful, quality information, Eric plays another crucial role in his listeners’ lives. With so many solitary hours on the road, there are times when Eric may serve as the only human voice a driver hears for large stretches of time. Sometimes a solitary touchpoint to the world at large, Eric helps to remind drivers they are not alone. He engages them in conversation, allowing them to feel included while confined in such a secluded situation. For all the good that Eric accomplishes, there is one feat that surpasses all the rest, keeping drivers awake. Eric’s top priority for drivers is always safety. Often, he is able to provide that with his voice alone.
For his steadfast commitment to being a voice for truckers, for bringing information and entertainment to countless listeners, and for helping to keep drivers all over the country safe and awake, we at Howes are proud to welcome Eric Harley into the Howes Hall of Fame.