Photo: Stockton Ports/Twitter
Mateo Make A Wish Delivers Hope

Five good things that happened in trucking this week – May 7

May 7, 2021
Sneak peek: Make-A-Wish, UPS follow through with Mateo’s big wish, Allison Transmission recognized on TV show Military Makeover Operation Career, Sisu Energy offers $14K a week to experienced drivers, and more.

Week after week, month after month, the transportation industry continues to make a positive impact — and not in a small way. With television appearances and global initiatives, trucking proves that it’s a leader in making a difference. Here are five good things that happened in trucking this week.   

Make-A-Wish, UPS follow through with Mateo’s big wish

Last week, Make-A-Wish foundation, in partnership with Macy’s and UPS, granted a wish for Mateo, a young boy whose dream is to be a delivery person with a big reveal on April 21.

On May 6, Mateo’s dream became a reality with a functioning, custom-made UPS truck, with which he was able to make deliveries all over his Stockton, Calif., hometown.

Mateo got to practice driving his own truck with personal driving lessons from his favorite UPS driver, Dave, with sign dubbed #MateoDeliversHope along his journey.

Watch Mateo's delivery route through Stockton below.

Allison Transmission recognized on TV show 'Military Makeover Operation Career'

Allison Transmission will appear on "Military Makeover Operation Career," a special edition series capturing the stories of military veterans who are transitioning to civilian life and the organizations providing employment opportunities to these veterans to ensure a successful transition.

The episode, which aired on April 29 and will air again on May 7 on Lifetime TV, chronicles the stories of Allison employees who have excelled with the company after accomplished careers in the U.S. military through Allison’s veteran recruitment program dedicated to hiring veterans seeking civilian employment.

“Allison’s long history of supporting the U.S. military dates back to 1917, when we first began engineering and production support for World War I aircraft engines,” said Dana Pittard, U.S. Army veteran and VP of defense programs at Allison Transmission. “Today, Allison provides transmissions for all wheeled U.S. Defense vehicles larger than the [Humvee], and more than half of the U.S. military’s tracked combat vehicles so a career at Allison is a very natural fit for veterans. We are proud to give back to those who have served our country in uniform through our recruitment initiative.”

With an estimated 200,000 U.S. service members transitioning to civilian life each year, creating new opportunities for veterans is an ongoing challenge. Allison believes that the unique experiences and skillsets that military veterans bring to the organization make them valued members of the Allison team. The company attributes its continued success to the diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds each professional brings to the organization.

Caterpillar Foundation partners with One Tree Planted

The Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic division of Caterpillar Inc., has invested $1 million with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through global reforestation initiatives. Through this collaboration, the Caterpillar Foundation and One Tree Planted will participate in tree planting engagements in 95 communities across the globe.

“Our partnership with One Tree Planted is not just about planting trees – this is part of a larger journey contributing to restored forests, cleaner air and water, stabilized soils, improved biodiversity and more,” said Caterpillar Foundation President Asha Varghese. “From California to Brazil and South Africa to India, this work will help catalyze the importance of natural infrastructure around the world.” 

Through the Foundation’s support, One Tree Planted will work with community-based watershed and conservation organizations and municipalities to ensure ecological restoration outcomes that include planting approximately 290,000 trees, restoring approximately 620 acres, and an estimated 7,000 metric tonnes of CO2 sequestered per year. 

“The impact of these reforestation initiatives will be far-reaching and long-lasting,” said Matt Hill, chief environmental evangelist at One Tree Planted. “We appreciate the Caterpillar Foundation's thoughtful vision in connecting the environment, employees and local communities to create a healthier future.” 

Sisu Energy offers $14K a week to experienced drivers

Imagine making $14,000 a week. That's what Sisu Energy, a Texas-based trucking company, is offering experienced drivers to combat the truck driver shortage.

When the pandemic hit, many truckers left the industry because there wasn't as much product to haul and the rates to transport products like gasoline tumbled. Now that demand is back up, but with fewer truckers to haul products like gasoline, a massive shortage is looming.

"And it's not just going to be gasoline. It's not going just going to be wood. You're talking about all your retail goods just like clothing, food, toilet paper, you name it," said Jim Grundy, CEO and owner of Sisu Energy. 

According to Grundy, the shortages aren't going to only take place this summer, but well beyond that.

"That's the narrative that you're hearing," he said. "That this thing is going to last anywhere from two to four years. And it could be longer because the population's getting stronger."

At the end of 2018, there were an estimated 60,000 truck drivers needed. As the demand for shipping increases, the industry will need to hire about 1.1 million drivers over the next 10 years. That's an average of 110,000 each year, according to the American Trucking Associations. Grundy says changing laws are also having an impact. 

"I think the proposal is an 8% corporate tax increase in the past couple of weeks was introduced. We're making it more and more difficult for these guys to get back on the road and these businesses open back up."

That's why Sisu Energy is offering experienced drivers $14,000 a week. That is just over $60,000 a month, and approximately $728,000 a year — for experienced drivers. 

"Insurance companies won't insure you if you're not twenty-five years old, if you don't have two years of experience,” Grundy said. “So as a new driver coming out, these opportunities aren't available to you.”

Former trucker bikes across country raising awareness about health

As truck drivers continue to put their health on the line – as they have for the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic – truck driver Wayne Cragg from South Haven, Mich., decided to hit the road for a 2,000 mile trek to promote driver health along the way to Seattle.

“I started in South Haven two weeks ago,” Cragg told 9 & 10 News. “I got to Traverse City, Mich., yesterday  — 225 miles alone getting up here.”

Cragg used to be a truck driver, but in September he had a health scare that forced him to quit.

“When COVID hit, I actually spent about seven months and two weeks out on the road. The healthy eating – I quit doing that. I quit doing a lot of things before September 19th,” said Cragg.

Now, he’s biking to Seattle to raise awareness and remind truck drivers about the importance of maintaining their health. He says he’s already faced several challenges.

“I really in my head was questioning whether or not this was even smart to do because I am out of shape,” said Cragg. 

Luckily, he’s pedaled through the doubts thanks to some friendly support. Tami Stagman, a friend of Wayne’s, is joining him on part of the journey.

“I think Wayne- he is doing a great job to try to get himself back on track and I hope he can get some other people back on track too,” said Stagman.

“We’re going to bike, pack, and camp out and take three or four days to get to the Mackinaw bridge,” said Stagman.

But once he bikes over that hurdle, it’s a one-way path to Seattle.

“Getting over the Mackinaw bridge then I’m going to take US-2 the rest of the way to Seattle,” said Cragg.

He plans to make it to Seattle by the end of July.

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