Photo: Dan Ledbetter
FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year finalists

Dot Transportation named FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year

June 16, 2021
Airgas and Tyson Foods were also honored for their work as private fleets that went above and beyond for their customers and drivers during a tumultuous pandemic.

CINCINNATI — Dot Transportation Inc. was named the FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year during a presentation at the National Private Truck Council’s annual education management conference.

Airgas and Tyson Foods were also honored as FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year finalists. Bryan Langston, president of Dot Transportation, which is the private fleet for Dot Foods, accepted the award at the historic Hilton Netherlands Plaza in downtown Cincinnati on June 15. Chris Romig, a bulk delivery driver from Canton, Ohio, and his terminal manager Dave Saling, were on hand to accept the award for Airgas. Tyson Foods was represented by Don Kean Jr., a 10-year driver for the private fleet and member of its driver advisory board.

During a typical year, FleetOwner editors interact with hundreds of fleets around the country. This past year, of course, was anything but ordinary. While America’s truck drivers were out on the road, keeping the nation’s economy moving, our editors, like many office workers, were grounded at home for most of 2020 and the start of 2021.

These vital interactions with leaders in the private fleet industry help shape the annual FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year awards, which are sponsored by  McLeod Software. FleetOwner editors select winners of the annual award based on private fleets’ accomplishments, safety records, technology adoption, community outreach, and other factors. With travel limited this year, FleetOwner opened up the process this year to allow carriers and suppliers to nominate private fleets worthy of the distinction of being among the best in the industry. Dozens of nominations came in for private fleets, big and small, which were combined with other editorial nominations.

Three fleets stood out for how they persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic and their dedication to their essential drivers. All three finalists are among the largest private fleets in the U.S. and ranked on the 2021 FleetOwner 500 Top Private Fleets. All three dealt with capacity problems and changes in business and customer expectations during the pandemic. From shifts in the foodservice industry to where medical supplies needed to be as the COVID crisis surged last year, these fleets relied on tireless executives and staff to lead them through the other side of the pandemic.

Representatives of the 2021 finalists gathered together during the National Private Truck Council’s annual management conference and exhibition in Cincinnati. It was the largest trucking industry gathering since March 2020. 

With more than 200,000 companies operating private fleets in the U.S., these are the top fleets that have stood out to FleetOwner editors over the past year.

WINNER: Dot Transportation Inc., based in Mount Sterling, Illinois, is the private fleet for Dot Foods, a food redistributor with a presence nationwide. Dot took quick action as COVID took over the nation and its leaders realized it had to adapt to keep its freight moving. As a result, the company was able to shift transportation resources and fill empty miles to keep its driver workforce moving. And the 60-year-old company was able to keep one of its longstanding goals last year: It has never laid off any employees.

FINALIST: Airgas, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, is the largest packaged gas distributor in the U.S. During the height of the COVID crisis in New York City, the private fleet quadrupled its medical oxygen delivery. In April, the company’s fleet delivered 2,700 oxygen cylinders per day to the city’s area hospitals thanks to drivers who volunteered to leave home for months to focus on areas in the U.S. with the most need during the pandemic.

FINALIST: Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, Arkansas, has grown into one of the world’s largest protein providers. The private fleet for Tyson used what it learned during trucking’s capacity crunch last decade to help it continue to move its freight during the COVID capacity crunch and its customer base shifted as retail foodservice changed in 2020.

Look for more on these three fleets and why they stood out in the July edition of FleetOwner magazine and on by clicking on the links above. Subscribe to the magazine here

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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