Kenworth Trucks
U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Truck

Five Good Things: XPO workers help and U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Update

Nov. 17, 2023
This week in good trucking news: XPO workers build a bus hut for kids, and the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stops at Kenworth's Chillicothe plant.

It may only be November, but the trucking industry is already in the holiday spirit. See how the industry is making spirits bright in this week’s Five Good Things.

Please pass along good news for our weekly Five Good Things blog by email or through our LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.

XPO workers build bus hut to keep kids safe

In Searcy, Arkansas, XPO workers saw a need across the street from their trailer manufacturing facility and filled it, according to The Daily Citizen newspaper

Mike McChristian, maintenance manager at the XPO trailer manufacturing facility, explains what prompted this act of charity: “Back in August, we just happened to be leaving out one morning about 7:15, and we saw the four kids waiting out in the rain for a school bus, so they are right there on Benton Street. And, of course, we get a lot of big truck traffic anyway, so I just had the idea of building them a bus hut stop, and it will get them further off Benton Street and give them a place to be in the warm and dry, especially this winter.”

The XPO workers built the bus hut out of materials in their facility, siding donated by Lakeside Siding Supply, and additional materials the employees purchased themselves. They even equipped the bus hut with a key, so the children could lock and unlock the hut as needed for additional safety and cleanliness. 

Kimberly Throckmorton, the mother of the children at this bus stop, said she's thankful for the time and care the XPO employees took to keep her kids safe, and it was just a huge blessing. "This was about a month ago that they got it done, and we have some little thank-you cards and stuff we want to give to them. I just thought it was a really, really, really thoughtful and kind of them to see my children out there and to take time out of their day and do something like this."

See also: XPO cranks up capex to capitalize on Yellow opportunity

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree visits Kenworth Chillicothe plant

A Kenworth 100th Anniversary T680 Signature Edition, assembled by employees at Kenworth's manufacturing plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, recently returned to the plant with special cargo—the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Operated by Werner Enterprises drivers Tim Dean and Jesus Davila, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stopped at the Kenworth Chillicothe plant for a private event on Nov. 8 so Kenworth employees could see "The People's Tree" before it completed its journey to Washington, D.C. This year's tree, a 63-foot Norway Spruce, was harvested from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia on Nov. 1. Since its harvest, Davila and Dean have transported the tree to communities throughout West Virginia for special events as part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. 

See also: Gallery: 100 years of Kenworth engineers getting muddy

"Our employees take a lot of pride in building Kenworth trucks, and for the T680 Signature Edition to return to where it was built with this year's U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was really special," said Doug VanZuiden, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager. "This event was a great way for us to kick off the holiday season, and we look forward to the tree lighting ceremony at our nation's capital later this month."

This year marks the 10th consecutive year a Kenworth truck will deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree will be delivered on Nov. 17 to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The annual tree lighting ceremony will be held after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Trucking Cares Foundation donates $20,000 to South Dallas Driving Academy 

The Trucking Cares Foundation has donated $20,000 to South Dallas Driving Academy, a non-profit that provides free driver education courses to low-income teens and young adults. TCF previously donated $15,000 in seed money to SDDA, which helped launch the program in 2021.

"By removing barriers and opening new career pathways in trucking, the South Dallas Driving Academy is empowering young Texans and lifting them out of poverty," said TCF Chairman Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express. "The Trucking Cares Foundation is proud to continue our support of this transformative program that invests in people and the future of our industry."

Nearly 40 percent of low-income individuals in urban areas in the U.S.—and almost half in South Dallas—do not have a valid driver's license, principally because accessible, affordable driver education is lacking.

"Because of the support of the TCF, we have been able to expand from serving 15- to 17-year-olds to also helping adults obtain their Class C, CDL-A, and connect with trucking companies that are looking to hire drivers and technicians," said Von Minor, president of the South Dallas Driving Academy. "In addition to financial support, we need more of these pathway partners to engage with students in our classroom or on a field trip to their truck terminal or shop to help promote job opportunities within their companies and throughout the industry."

The South Dallas Driving Academy is a non-profit organization that provides a dual program pathway for residents of South Dallas to obtain their driver's license in preparation for a career in transportation. The only program of its kind, SDDA is offered at no cost to Bonton and South Dallas residents with a student course completion and program graduation rate of 90%.

Four fleets honored at the Isaac Horizon 2023 User Conference

Isaac Instruments recently honored four fleet clients for their commitment to safety and compliance, and driver happiness. The award winners were announced at a banquet during the Isaac Horizon 2023 User Conference, which took place at the company’s headquarters just outside Montreal.

Canadian National Transportation Limited (CNTL) earned the top prize in the safety and compliance category, recognizing fleets using the Isaac Solution to elevate their safety and compliance programs. CNTL has recorded a 79% reduction in speeding events and a reduction to zero in hours-of-service violations in the U.S. with the aid of the Isaac solution. Transpro Freight Systems was named the second-place winner. It also has seen dramatic improvements in nearly every measurable safety and compliance category, from crashes and other critical events to vehicle maintenance.

Titanium Transportation claimed the Driver Happiness award, which honors fleets leveraging Isaac’s solution to elevate the on-the-job experience. The fleet’s average Isaac Coach score increased to 75 by mid-2023 from 61 at the start of 2021. Quebec-based Papineau International was named the second-place winner of the driver happiness award. The judges praised Papineau’s efforts to develop a stronger bond and seamless communications with its drivers through the Isaac solution.

Both first-place winners received $5,000 CAN, and the second-place winners received $2,000 CAN. All four honorees also received a video highlighting their tremendous achievements, paid for and produced by Isaac.

“The entire Isaac team congratulates these fleets for their tireless dedication to safety and focus on serving their drivers,” said Jacques DeLarochelliere, Isaac’s CEO and co-founder. “Hearing the positive stories from the award nominees is inspiration for us to continually innovate and help all of our valued fleet clients reach higher levels of success.”

Pilot Flying J is making miles merry with giveaways for drivers

Pilot Flying J is bringing holiday cheer to professional drivers with its annual "Hauliday Giveaway," part of its Make the Miles Merry campaign. The giveaway begins Dec. 4, offering drivers 12 days to win prizes, including Bluetooth headsets, truck gear, gift cards, and more exclusive items. Drivers can comment on each day's post through the Pilot Flying J Facebook page for a chance to enter and win. 

Travelers can also benefit this holiday season, as Pilot Flying J is bringing back specialty coffee flavors and more ways to save on every drive.

"Whether you're visiting family or hauling goods to communities across North America, we have something for everyone who comes through our doors this holiday season," said Brad Anderson, COO at Pilot Company. "From winter favorites and great gifts to ways to save and win, Pilot Flying J is here to make your travels merry."

In the spirit of giving, Pilot Flying J is offering 5 cents off every gallon of gas and daily deals through the myRewards Plus app. Professional drivers can also earn up to four points per gallon of commercial diesel through the PushForPoints program in myRewards Plus app. Points earned may be redeemed on holiday gifts, food, beverages, coffee, gear, and more.

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