Trucking Elite May 2011

May 1, 2011

Gordon Team Earns First Ever 5 Million Safe Miles Award

Gordon Trucking Inc. team drivers Jim and Jo Bailey will be awarded with the first ever 5 million safe miles award on April 8, 2011 at the Emerald Downs Racetrack in Auburn, Wash. Jim and Jo, residents of Eugene, Ore, have been teaming for GTI since 1994, with James starting as a solo driver in 1984. The achievement recognizes the team driving accident free since their first dispatch. This is the first time a GTI driver has been awarded with this highest honor.  In 2009, solo driver Frank Kopp was awarded with the 4 million safe miles award.

“There’s no real secret to it,” said Jim. “You just have to be on your toes at all times and know what’s around you. There’s nothing really special about us, we just do our jobs as safe as we can and enjoy what we do.”

In addition to James and Jo, GTI will proudly honor 636 driving associates in 2011 with awards of 100,000 to 5 million accident and incident free miles.  Of the 636 drivers being recognized, 42 will be honored for 1 million or more. In all, GTI currently has 117 drivers on the road who have driven more than 1 million accident free miles.

Chief Operating Officer Steve Gordon and Safety Vice President Scott Manthey will proudly present Jim, Jo and the other 636 driving associates with their safety awards at various GTI terminals in 2011.

“We at Gordon Trucking are so proud of Jim and Jo for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Steve Gordon.  “Having known them and worked with them closely for more than 20 years now, I can say that nobody embodies the spirit of professionalism and the get it done safely attitude that it takes to achieve something like this.  We’re honored to have them as a part of the GTI family.”

Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc., and Paramount Freight Systems Named Overall Winners of 2011 Best Fleets to Drive For

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), an organization dedicated to representing the interests of truckload carriers, and CarriersEdge, the leading provider of online driver improvement programs, are pleased to announce the overall winners of the third annual Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest. Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc. (FCC) of Fremont, Nebraska, was selected as the Best Fleet for Company Drivers, sponsored by Marsh, Inc. Paramount Freight Systems (PFS) of Ft. Myers, Florida, was selected as the Best Fleet for Owner Operators.

Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey and contest identifying the North American for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experiences for their drivers. Nominated carriers are evaluated on the range and depth of offered programs, the overall effectiveness of those programs across key metrics, and the responses of surveyed drivers. The top finishers are identified as Best Fleets to Drive For, and the highest scoring fleet in each category is named overall winner.

Both companies were officially presented with their awards on March 15, 2011, as part of the TCA Annual Convention at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and San Diego Convention Center in California.

In 2009, when the first Best Fleets to Drive For program was launched, Fremont Contract Carriers was named the overall winner in the “Over 100 Power Units” category (the contest no longer classifies carriers by size). Today, the company continues to excel, boasting one of the most comprehensive bonus programs of any fleet in the 2011 survey. FCC rewards its drivers for mile production, customer service (on-time performance), fuel performance, minimizing out-of-route miles, and company profitability, in addition to the standard safety and referral bonuses. It balances compensation with strong driver/dispatcher relations, solid maintenance programs, and continuing investments in safety technology.

As one of FCC’s drivers commented: “Every time I think about the grass being greener elsewhere, all I have to do is make a mental checklist of the things I want out of a company. FCC has nearly all of them. Definitely more than any other company I have worked for or am familiar with.”

Paramount Freight Systems stands out because of the exceptional way the company takes care of its independent contractors. In addition to providing steady miles and home time, PFS also serves its owner operator partners by providing a range of different insurance options at reasonable rates, quarterly surveys to collect input on the effectiveness of company programs, and an innovative “buddy” system that ensures a smooth transition for new contractors.

As the company’s nominating contractor stated: “They are a 100% owner operator company that knows how to treat owner ops. Dispatch is pro-driver and gets it done. They have 120 trucks, and everyone I talk to gets the miles and home time they need and want.”
The Best Fleet to Drive For survey and contest was open to any fleet operating 10 or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status. Fleets had to be nominated by at least one of their drivers (either a company driver or an owner operator). Nominated fleets were evaluated against a broad range of criteria reflecting current human resources best practices, such as driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support, and safety record.

Mark Murrell, president of CarriersEdge, said, “The 2011 overall winners of this contest are clearly doing all the right things to provide a desirable workplace for their company drivers and owner operators. The testimonials that were collected through our survey demonstrate that despite a recession, innovation and high standards can still attract and retain satisfied drivers.”

John Kaburick, outgoing chairman of TCA and the president of Earl L. Henderson Trucking Company, Salem, Illinois, said, “All twenty of the companies named as Best Fleets finalists in January have outstanding driver programs, but FCC and PFS, in particular, have risen above the rest. We are pleased to be able to honor them for excellence within the trucking industry.”

Marten Transport Named Innovator Of The Year

Breaking away from “the usual” has netted Marten Transport the Randall-Reilly/CCJ 2011 Innovator of the Year award. As part of its focus on saving fuel and money in recent years, Marten simply examined the way it had always operated and took up the challenge to make a change.

In 2008, Marten Chief Executive Officer Randy Marten tasked Douglas Petit, Marten’s executive vice president of operations, to find additional ways to save fuel. At that time, unprecedented high diesel prices were forcing many carriers out of business – a fate the Mondovi, Wis.-based refrigerated carrier was determined to avoid.

With a firm goal set to control fuel costs, Randy Marten and Petit began to consider new solutions. Petit turned his attention to the fleet’s frozen food shipping operations and the standard practice of transporting frozen food at -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Petit proposed setting the temperature slightly higher to place a lighter demand on reefer diesel engines but wanted further testing to ensure that moving to a higher shipping temperature would not affect food quality in any way. During initial and secondary testing, Petit says they saw “zero” food quality control issues when shipped using the higher temperature settings.

Today, Marten Transport ships 78 percent of all frozen foods at that setting compared to just 10 percent when the process first began.  
This simple change has translated to a fuel savings of about 130,000 gallons per quarter. At today’s national average of $3.07 a gallon that results in quarterly savings of $399,100. Additionally, maintenance costs for reefer engines have dropped.

“We’re thrilled to receive this award,” says Robert Smith, Marten’s chief operating officer. “It’s rewarding to us as a company to be resourceful in our operations but to have those efforts recognized by the Innovator of the Year designation is an enormous honor for us. We’re very proud of Douglas Petit and everyone who took up this challenge.”

Avery Wise, Randall-Reilly/CCJ Editorial Director, says this award recognizes what he calls “the essence of innovation” which is a clear challenge to conventional wisdom. “Strip away the specifics of each Innovator of the Year and what you find is a creative spark — a leap,” says Wise. “It’s the mindset that says we aren’t going to do things the way everyone else does just because that’s what everyone else does.”

According to Wise, Marten Transport exemplifies this approach to management. “One day not so long ago the [Marten] management team questioned a standard industry practice and in doing so saved the company lots of money without compromising the quality of its service,” he says. “This company recognized that while at some point in time there might have been a legitimate reason to follow a particular practice, times change. Tools and technology change.”

Marten Transport specializes in transporting food and other consumer packaged goods that require a time and temperature-sensitive or insulated environment. For more information on services or opportunities at Marten Transport, call 800-395-3331 or visit us online at
www.drive4marten.com.

Boyd Bros. honors driver for reaching two million safe miles

Boyd Bros. Transportation, a top 20 finalist in the Truckload Carriers Association’s 2011 Best Fleets to Drive For, recently recognized company driver Stevie Verges for reaching two million miles of safe driving during his 16-year career with the company. This achievement, which requires drivers to have a record free of accidents or incidents, takes many years of hard work, commitment and a solid relationship with their company.

“I tell other drivers that it’s important to keep their trucks between the lines and upright,” said Verges. “If you pay attention, you’re able to react to what the other drivers on the road are doing.”

The company threw a large celebration for Verges’ accomplishment and presented him with a trophy, company patches, a belt buckle and plaque. Verges also received a bonus check from Boyd, thanking him for his hard work and dedication.

“My trainer at Boyd challenged me to at least get a million safe miles,” said Verges. “After I reached the first million, I figured I might as well go for the second. It’s a great feeling having achieved that goal.”

As a company that is extremely supportive of its drivers, Boyd Bros., says Verges, helps drivers with whatever they need while teaching them how to be professional and creating a family-oriented atmosphere.

“Boyd does exactly what they say they’re going to do,” said Verges. “You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Verges especially appreciates the flexible home time he receives from Boyd Bros., which allows him to return to his family in Ypsilanti, Mich., often. Verges and his wife Angela have three children who are extremely active in school and sports. The home time Verges receives from Boyd Bros. allows him to see his children’s competitions.

For more information on the driving opportunities available at Boyd Bros, contact recruiting at 800-543-8923 or visit www.driveforboyd.com.