2022 Wit Top Workplace For Women Group (2)

Five Good Things: Truckers' relief fund, slam dunks, and respect for trucking

Nov. 18, 2022
One travel stop chain raises thousands for truckers. An OEM shows support on the basketball court. A truck manufacturer is honored for its support of women. Millions are earned for EV expansion and training. Trucking is more respected than ever.

Every week we bring you the latest good news from the trucking industry. This week see thousands raised for truckers and their families, and millions raised to train electric vehicle technicians. Also, the public has a newfound respect for trucking post-pandemic.

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Six figures for St. Christopher's Truckers Relief Fund

Over $100,000 dollars were raised for the St. Christopher’s Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) during TravelCenters of America’s annual Round Up Campaign. The nationwide Round Up campaign ran from July 1 through Aug. 30, offering customers the opportunity to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar to donate to SCF, a nonprofit that helps professional drivers and their families with financial assistance when an illness or injury causes them to be out of work.

“Professional drivers are America’s heroes and we are proud to support SCF in their mission to help these individuals during times of hardship,” said Jon Pertchik, TravelCenters CEO. “We thank our guests for their tremendous generosity and our team members for championing this initiative.”

Donna Kennedy, executive director of SCF, said, “We are so thankful for TA and their guests for supporting truck drivers through the Round Up campaign. As you can see from the total donated, each person’s few cents collectively make a huge impact on the SCF’s ability to continue providing assistance to our highway heroes. We are grateful to everyone that helped make this campaign a success.”

TravelCenters of America has raised nearly $3 million in contributions to SCF since 2010.

See also: Five Good Things: Veteran's Day 2022

Truck manufacturer makes a slam dunk

Birmingham, Alabama-based Autocar, manufacturer of heavy-duty vocational trucks, has entered its second season as a sponsor of the Birmingham Squadron basketball team. Birmingham’s newest professional sports team is one of 30 teams in the NBA G-League.

Established in 2019, Birmingham Squadron is backed by a list of companies and organizations that support the Birmingham community through their involvement with the team. Autocar is the only five-year sponsor, with its first announcement of the partnership in March of 2022. Autocar is an 100% American-owned original equipment manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks.

“Autocar is proud to support our Birmingham community and sports team by sponsoring the Birmingham Squadron again this season,” said Andrew Taitz, Autocar chairman. “We believe that supporting the community where so many of our team members and customers live is essential to our success. Our partnership with Birmingham Squadron is one of the many commitments we have to the city and a way we demonstrate our pride in being a Birmingham-based company. We are excited for the upcoming season and look forward to cheering on the team and its players at Legacy Arena.”

The OEM joins a list of 31 other corporate sponsors, including Coors Light, Sheraton, and Alabama Power. The team’s home stadium, the Legacy Arena, was outfitted with two Autocar logos on the basketball court during recent renovations to represent the sponsorship. In addition, the Squadron’s games include Autocar-sponsored events, including the Squadron’s Autocar Truck Race of the Game and the Always Up Dunk. 

Birmingham Squadron’s season began on Nov. 6 with a home game against the Lakeland Magic NBA GLeague team from Lakeland, Florida

Peterbilt recognized by Women In Trucking

Peterbilt has been recognized as a 2022 “Top Company for Women to Work For in Transportation” by the Women In Trucking Association (WIT). The organization’s mission is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize the obstacles they face.

Peterbilt joined WIT in 2016 to support its mission. Peterbilt’s Diversity Council was also created in 2016 to cultivate an inclusive environment that fosters creativity, productivity, and mutual respect where all people feel like they belong and can succeed. Within the Diversity Council, the Peterbilt Women’s Initiative Network (PBWIN) has more than 100 members dedicated to championing the empowerment of women within Peterbilt through education, support, networking, personal growth, and development opportunities.

See also: Breaking down the disparities between carriers and drivers

This is the fifth time Peterbilt has received this recognition. “I’m very proud that Peterbilt has been recognized as a Top Company for Women to Work For in Transportation. Our efforts to cultivate a diverse workforce and champion the development of women leaders within the organization remains a critical part of our success each year.” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar VP.

Eight million for EV expansion and education

Calstart, a nonprofit focused on clean energy and transportation, has been selected as one of three grand prize winners in the Electric Truck & Bus Challenge, part of the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program, winning $8 million for its Freight Electrification-as-a-Service for Transformation (FEaST) proposal. Calstart was selected after a review of more than 90 initial submissions and five finalist submissions.

One reason truck fleets have been slow to transition away from diesel-fueled vehicles is the upfront cost associated with electrification. FEaST aims to spread out the cost of electrification for fleets to achieve an affordable way of electrifying truck fleets in cities, according to a Calstart press release. Additionally, FEaST plans to establish a workforce partnership that includes paid training for the next generation of electric truck and charger technicians. By packaging together vehicles, charging infrastructure, utility interconnection, energy management, and maintenance, this initiative offers fleets a bundled opportunity to embrace electric trucks and unlock adoption at scale.

“This award will help to advance electrification of heavy-duty vehicles, reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities, and expand economic opportunity throughout New York State,” said Ben Mandel, senior director for the northeast region at Calstart and program lead for FEaST.

FEaST will include 10 Class 8 electric trucks deployed by Anheuser-Busch from its Hunts Point depot in the Bronx, with trucks and chargers financed by Zeem Solutions. The program also features four class 8 Freightliner eCascadia trucks leased by Daimler Truck Financial Services to NFI Industries for its operations in lower New York from its distribution center in Wurtsboro, NY. Daimler will finance the trucks and Ideanomics will provide charging-as-a-service, inclusive of charger financing, installation, and energy management to offer a turnkey lease product for truck electrification.

In addition, FEaST will offer paid training and job placement assistance for up to 440 individuals to become technicians for electric trucks and chargers. The Consortium for Worker Education will administer the truck technician training program in conjunction with Bronx Community College. BlocPower will administer the EV charger technician training program in conjunction with ChargerHelp.

Trucking more respected than ever

Trucking’s image is at an all-time high, with 87% of voters reporting a favorable impression of the industry, according to the survey results from a new national poll by Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF).

Only 67% of respondents indicated they felt positively about trucking prior to the pandemic.

“Our latest polling shows that the image of the trucking industry is stronger than ever,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF, and VP of government affairs and sales at Martin Transportation Systems. “The public perception of trucking is at an all-time high with our poll finding that the majority of Americans—87% of voters—have a favorable impression of trucking, which is the highest public opinion has been since TMAF began tracking industry views in 2014.”

About the Author

Scott Keith

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