Last Word September 2013

Letter to the Editor

The industry suffers from a 90%-plus turnover rate and recruiting headaches simply because drivers don’t like the low pay, lack of respect, and long hours spent away from home—when too many of those hours are wasted unnecessarily.

Much of that blame must go to uncooperative shippers and receivers who make drivers and equipment wait too many hours to be loaded and unloaded.

Government regulations also force drivers to waste hours—and sometimes a full day—out on the road away from home.

And finally, trucking companies aggravate the problems when they try to keep drivers out on the road as long as they can before getting those drivers home. The companies do that to compensate for the shortage of drivers. Instead, they make the problems worse by increasing turnover.

There is no shortage of truck drivers. It is just that many of them are doing other types of work in other industries because they felt abused when they were still driving.

Many former truck drivers enjoyed the work—and would return to that work—if they felt that they would no longer be abused, that they would be compensated appropriately for their time and receive the respect they deserve.

I see this problem being resolved only when everyone, including the managers of shippers and receivers, trucking company operators and government regulators, realize they are paying more for everything they buy because of their failures.

A most appropriate comment comes from a comic strip that was published many years ago. In one of the panels, [Walt Kelly’s] Pogo Possum says: ‘We have seen the enemy, and they is us.’

—Darrell Berheimer, Butte, MT (Mr. Burkheimer tells us he was a newspaper editor/writer for some 30 years and a coast-to-coast truck driver for over 13 years. )

Flying Salute

Flying salute One fine Wisconsin day, 10 Schneider National representatives—all military veterans or military spouses—took wings into the sky and back in time flying aboard Aluminum Overload , a circa-1945 restored Boeing B-17G-VE Flying Fortress bomber. Delivered too late to see action in WWII, the plane was sold as surplus for just $750 in 1946. It then flew over a million miles doing everything from hauling cargo to aerial mapping. In ’83, the would-be warbird went under the knife for over 10 years of extensive restoration.

The Schneider Foundation helped bring the vintage aircraft, owned by the Experimental Aircraft Assn., to Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport for two days in July. Before the flying military salute, one of Schneider’s Ride of Pride trucks— which the motor carrier said “visually represent our long-standing and steadfast support of the military”—pulled alongside the plane.

Off and running

Andrew Rosebrook, a commercial truck service technician at Diamond Idealease of Topeka, has been awarded a $2,500 vocational-training scholarship from the Truck Renting & Leasing Assn. (TRALA). TRALA annually awards up to four such scholarships.

Rosebrook, pictured with his parents and Richard Sweebe, president & CEO, Diamond Companies, joined Diamond Idealease in January to begin his career as a diesel-engine tech. He is attending Linn State Technical College to earn an associate of applied science degree in medium/heavy-truck technology.

“We are proud of Andrew and the commitment he has made to the commercial truck industry,” said Daniel J. Murphy, president & CEO of Idealease. “TRALA awards these scholarships to the most promising vocational students so they have an opportunity to pursue their career. I’m pleased that one of our Idealease technicians has been chosen this year.”

Grandpa was in the war

This original Ford GPW “Pygmy”—one of several vehicle models known today as a WWII “jeep”—popped up this summer during a oneof- a-kind classic car show organized for “Living History Day” at Sugar Pines State Park on Lake Tahoe.

It was Willys-Overland’s blueprint for a small, go-anywhere 4WD combat vehicle that actually won the U.S. government contract in 1941. Ford then agreed to build the Pygmy from the original Willys design plan. By 1945, Willys and Ford together had pumped out over 600,000 of the scrappy warhorses.


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