Garner Trucking
Garner Truck (1)

Garner Trucking sets sights on continued success

Aug. 18, 2022
President and CEO Sherri Garner Brumbaugh says the company's commitment to its customers and employees hasn't changed—despite 60 years of growth to 90 tractors and 350 trailers since her parents founded the Findlay, Ohio-based carrier.

Bigger isn’t always better, but it is possible to grow without losing sight of the things that make for a successful business.

That is one of the immediate takeaways from a conversation with Sherri Garner Brumbaugh. For the president and CEO of Garner Trucking, one thing that hasn’t changed at the company her parents founded more than 60 years ago is the commitment to customers and employees.

Based in Findlay, Ohio, Garner fields 90 tractors and 350 trailers that serve customers in the upper Midwest. The regional truckload dry freight carrier has an average length of haul of 350 miles.

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“We’re a family company,” Brumbaugh said. “We have 150 employees, and everyone here understands that working together is what makes a difference for us, our families, and our customers.”

That approach, according to Brumbaugh, is what led Garner to focus on the health and wellness of all its employees. And in 2021, it took a step in that direction by making the Rolling Strong health and wellness app available at no cost companywide.

“I was looking at our shop,” Brumbaugh related. “There were trucks in every bay and units being serviced in the yard. Then it hit me—we may be taking better care of our equipment than our people, especially our drivers. We follow all the rules for [U.S. Department of Transportation] medical cards and screenings for health insurance, but what are we doing to help people make healthy lifestyle choices?”

“Rolling Strong’s program puts health and wellness front and center,” Brumbaugh continued. “Truck driving comes with unique challenges—some people say that sitting is the new smoking—so we see great value in a driver-focused approach on ways to stay healthy on the road.”

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Since the company made the decision to provide the Rolling Strong app free of charge to all employees, engagement has doubled. Brumbaugh also credits the contests it runs using app data with incentivizing more employees to participate.

But Brumbaugh doesn’t expect Garner employees to just take her word; she is an active participant in the program as well. “If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk,” she stated. Earlier this year, she was a top five points earner in the Women Driving Wellness competition sponsored by WIT for logging nutrition, fitness, hydration, sleep, and coaching sessions in the Rolling Strong app.

Garner’s focus on drivers doesn’t stop there, either. “Home time is important to drivers and their families,” Brumbaugh said. “We work hard to make sure drivers get home when they need to and do so safely.”

“Driver retention has been even harder in the last several years and the truckload segment continues to have the highest turnover,” Brumbaugh continued. “We’re always looking for good candidates, but we also realize that people have more choices today so it’s important to be very appreciative of drivers who stay in the industry.”

Garner’s efforts have been recognized by the industry. For the sixth consecutive year the company in 2022 was named a Best Fleet to Drive For in the program produced by CarriersEdge in partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), and it earned top honors in the annual contest’s small carrier category.

Other issues are presenting Garner with challenges as well, including high fuel prices, the cost of new equipment, and parts supplies. At GCM Truck, Trailer & Auto Repair, an operation that services the Garner fleet and outside customers, for example, there are a number of trucks waiting for parts.

“In those cases, we can’t get jobs done and that leads to more downtime,” Brumbaugh related. “It should be a wake-up call that our supply chain is not as solid as we thought, and that we need to manufacture more things at home so we can limit our exposure.”

With Brumbaugh at the helm, Garner is well-situated to weather all these storms. What she brings to bear is her lifelong experience in the family business. She also serves on the boards of several industry associations, and in 2020 was the second woman to be named chair of the board of American Trucking Associations.

“Garner remains a top-rated truckload carrier in our region,” Brumbaugh said. “That’s due in large part because I’m surrounded by people who care about Garner and our future like I do, and customers who know we will always value their business.”

About the Author

Seth Skydel

Seth Skydel, a veteran industry editor, has more than 36 years of experience at fleet management, trucking, and transportation and logistics publications. Today, in editorial and marketing roles, he writes about fleet, service and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues. 

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