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LTL Fleet of the Year: Pitt Ohio

April 26, 2018
“If we expect to have happy customers, we must look at the people who take care of our customers.” —Jim Fields, chief operating officer of Pitt Ohio

It’s not every day that you encounter a company whose philosophy is summed up in three words: people, planet, and profit. It’s even more unusual to discover that philosophy forms the underpinnings of an LTL motor carrier’s approach to the freight-hauling business. But that’s exactly what Pitt Ohio believes—and it’s paid off handsomely.

Start with the fact that the carrier nabbed “Top Workplace” designation in 2017  for three of its 21 locations. This was the result of a far-reaching employee feedback survey administered by Workplace  Dynamics,  a research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement.  

“The Top Workplace award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits,” noted Doug Claffey, CEO of Workplace Dynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.”

This is the seventh year in a row that Pitt Ohio has won this award.

“If we expect to have happy customers, we must look at the people who take care of our customers—the people who interact with them every day,” said Jim Fields, Pitt Ohio’s COO. “They are our front-line employees. How they feel about our company is projected every time they speak to our customers, our suppliers, and companies with whom we have business relationships. Happy and engaged employees are the most effective at taking care of our customers.”

Pitt Ohio, which employs 3,200 people across a network of 21 terminals and a corporate office, operates about 800 tractors and 450 straight trucks as a regional LTL carrier. And that “people, planet, and profit” philosophy plays a central role in its fleet operations, Fields stressed.

“One of the things we strive for is to be the employer of choice with our people; to provide a workplace that is attractive, especially for young kids out of college,” he told Fleet Owner. “We are very focused on engagement; they are the people that take care of our customers. We focus on honing in on what makes them engaged in our business. They like to have a say, and they like to be heard by top management.

“Thus, we make sure drivers always have access to our top management,” he continued. “Because of that, our employees actually help us recruit new workers. We want drivers out there saying good things about our company. We respect what they do, so in turn, they are out there helping us recruiting other drivers and selling more business.”

Yet none of that interferes with achieving another core value Pitt Ohio holds dear—safety.  In 2015, for example, it took home the Ohio Trucking Association Fleet Safety Award for the Large Division, Over 20 Million Mile Category. Co-sponsored by Great West Casualty Co., the award is given to a trucking company with the lowest accident rates per million miles traveled within Ohio, but that also demonstrates significant community involvement and makes contributions to overall truck safety in the state.

“This is the kind of outstanding accomplishment that reflects the type of drivers we have at Pitt Ohio and what they do every day keeping our highways safer,” Fields explained.

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