Photo: Jetco Delivery
Jetco Truck Working

'Best Fleet' Jetco Delivery

Oct. 15, 2021
Jetco Delivery’s CEO stresses the importance of advocating on behalf of the industry.

Over the past year or so, Jetco Delivery’s CEO and professional drivers have made numerous mainstream media appearances to discuss topics such as keeping shelves stocked through the pandemic, ongoing challenges for drivers, safety, autonomous trucks, and retention best practices.

For Brian Fielkow, Houston-based Jetco's CEO and EVP of The GTI Group, it’s the duty of carriers of all sizes, as well as commercial vehicle suppliers and OEMs, to publicly advocate on behalf of the industry.

“You can turn on the TV any time of the day you want, and you get those ambulance chasers whose mission is to vilify the trucking industry,” Fielkow said. “Through these ads, they’ve purchased a platform. So, if we’re not out there telling the real story and our story as an industry, then who will?"

Jetco Delivery, which provides intermodal, open deck, heavy haul, dry van, asset-backed freight brokerage, and warehousing services, got its start like many other fleets. It was a family run business that started in 1976 by four brothers and a couple of trucks. The company grew over the years and eventually was acquired by Fielkow in 2006.

In 2019, Fielkow sold Jetco to Montreal-based The GTI Group, and today, the company operates in the U.S. and Canada. Fielkow continues to serve as Jetco’s CEO.

When Fielkow first took over Jetco leadership, he implemented a game plan that continues today. The carrier focuses on hiring the best people, investing in a newer fleet, and using technology to make the business stronger. But surrounding all of that is an unconditional commitment to safety.

“Safety is part of our core value proposition,” Fielkow told FleetOwner. “I believe safety is the cornerstone of an operationally excellent company. We talk about safety nonstop with our employees and our customers. If the business is running safely, chances are everything else is running well, too.”

That commitment to safety and building an employee-centric culture helped Jetco land a coveted Top 20 spot on the CarriersEdge and TCA 2021 Best Fleets to Drive For list. Jetco applied for Best Fleets for the first time in 2020 and learned a lot about itself during the application process.

"Going through the process makes you a better company because you learn so much,” Fielkow said. “The data we provide is confirmed with driver interviews and driver survey data. I would strongly recommend the Best Fleets process because it’s about becoming a better company and continuous improvement.”

An advocate for drivers

Going back to the early days of the pandemic, rest stops closed, restaurants closed, and commercial drivers had a tough time finding places to eat or take showers.

“The most important thing operating through the early phase of the pandemic was to let our drivers know we had their back, to give them tools they needed to stay safe, and to be empathetic,” Fielkow said. “One thing I personally learned during this COVID era is how different risk tolerance is from one person to the next. The more our drivers knew that we would work with them and accommodate them, the more they could operate with a clear head.”

Throughout the pandemic, Fielkow and the Jetco team also worked closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provided comments on COVID-related safety and guidance for the hygiene sheet the CDC released for long-haul truck drivers.

As a fleet executive who wants to see more drivers enter the commercial vehicle space, Fielkow expressed some of his concerns around the hype of autonomous trucks.

"I’m not a horse-and-buggy person. I love technology, and I love what the truck manufacturers are doing to incorporate technology to make it safer, but in a normal road/normal highway scenario, I just don’t see the day in the next 20 years where you have autonomous trucks, no driver,” Fielkow pointed out. “We have to look at autonomy as changing the driver experience, making the driver experience better, and creating a safer environment for the public and for the driver.”

His main concern is that if a younger person is interested in driving a truck, they might hear of autonomous trucks taking over and rethink their career path.

“If you’re in your 20s and you want to get in the noble profession of driving a commercial motor vehicle, I think it will carry you through your career if you enjoy it,” Fielkow advised. “With public perception making its way down to a young person considering whether to drive, I am just afraid that a completely false perception could impact decisions."

“Technology is redefining the role of the driver in a good way,” he added. “I think we have to celebrate technology and how it’s changing the driving experience not by the hype that down a crowded freeway there will be a truck with no human being in it; it’s just not going to happen in the foreseeable future.” 

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!