Danny Baker, CEO of Two Tigers and a Truck, is expanding the company's services to El Dorado, Wichita and the surrounding areas.
Two Tigers and a Truck is a moving and lawn care company that's part of the President's Opportunity Challenge (POC) at Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) in McPherson.
Students who cannot afford to attend college and/or wish to graduate with no debt can apply for the POC program. The program offers students a job to help pay their bill and a grant that allows them to graduate in four years with no debt. The student would earn a degree and leave school with a résumé. The college benefits by having a committed work force with which to operate various small businesses like Two Tigers and a Truck.
Two Tigers and a Truck is one of a few work opportunities associated with the POC program for CCCK students. In addition to POC students, Two Tigers and a Truck also hires any students who want to work while attending CCCK.
The difference between POC and work-study is simply that the college pays the grants for POC, and work-study grants are available to those who qualify and are funded by the government. In both work-study and POC, all students are compensated for their work in accordance with federal law.
If Two Tigers and a Truck turns profit from expanding to El Dorado, the company can put more money back into the POC program to be able to continue to help people. Baker would like for Two Tigers and a Truck to become established in El Dorado and generate revenue so that the POC program itself can grow. Yet, Baker sees El Dorado as more than just an expansion of coverage.
"Ultimately, my goal would be to not be based out of McPherson. It would be great to be based out of El Dorado. But that's going to take a little time, you know. We're building something in El Dorado, and so it's going to take a little bit to where El Dorado can be its own separate entity. We'll get there," he said.
Currently, the vehicles and equipment used for Two Tigers and a Truck are stored at a few locations on or near the CCCK campus in McPherson.
"I would like to buy another moving truck and buy some more lawn equipment and have a place here [in El Dorado] that we call home. And, you know, have a local person that would kind of drive it and create a few local jobs to go along with it. That would be good," Baker said.
Two Tigers and a Truck, while associated with the POC program at CCCK, isn't exclusively a program-based company; it exists outside of POC as well. The business is an LLC established and owned by CCCK.
"The reason it has to be a separate company, and the reason that it has to be a for-profit company is because we have a moving industry. With a moving industry, you know, you can't just go out and load up a truck and start moving people's personal belongings. You've got to have DOT [Department of Transportation] numbers. You know, you've got to have federal authority. You've got to have state authority. Well, Central Christian College is a not-for-profit group. And the only way that I could get the authority to do this and get the DOT numbers is to be a for-profit because they don't issue DOT numbers to a not-for-profit group. And so, it is a separate company," Baker said.
Baker can hire employees who aren't CCCK students when he needs the extra help. Of course, he would still seek out students involved with POC to work for him whenever possible.
"Even so, we get so much work in town that we use all the students that we have available. And then, after we use up all of our students and we still have work, we use locals in town to do the balance of the work. And so, it would be the same scenario here. You know, if I can bring POC students down here to do a moving job, that's what I'm going to do. But whenever I can't because we have so much work there, we're going to be using locals. And it will help the students, but it will also create jobs here, too," Baker said.
Baker took over running Two Tigers and a Truck in March of this year. He credits the original vision for Two Tigers and a Truck, and its involvement with the POC program, to CCCK President Hal Hoxie. The company started about two years ago, and it's name comes from the CCCK mascot – the tigers.
"It's a good service for the community, and it gives students a sense of responsibility," Baker said.