Whether it's the satisfaction of a job well done—and safely at that—charitable giving, or innovation, there's always something to celebrate in the trucking. Here's five good things from the industry this week.
J.B. Hunt awards 84 drivers over $1.2M in safety bonuses
J.B. Hunt recently celebrated 84 company drivers for achieving two-plus million safe driving miles in 2022 at its annual Million Mile event in Lowell, Arkansas, where it is headquartered. The company awarded the drivers a total of more than $1.2 million in safe driving bonuses for their achievements.
“These drivers are the pride of our fleet,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt. “The amount of hard work, commitment, and attention to detail that goes into achieving a million safe miles is such an impressive accomplishment, and these drivers have surpassed that at least twice. Our drivers never cease to amaze me."
In total, J.B. Hunt has awarded more than $37 million in safety bonuses through the Million Mile program. Bonus amounts start at $5,000 for achieving one million miles and double for each million after that, up to $50,000.
Drivers and their families were in Lowell this week for the celebration, an event the company has hosted since 2001.
“This is such a great time to reflect on our safety culture by putting our heroes— the drivers who represent the best of the best—in the spotlight," said Shelley Simpson, president of J.B. Hunt. "Day in and day out, these drivers are dedicated to delivering for our customers with the highest level of precision and caution. They are some of the most trusted people in the company and the reason why our fleet is one of the safest on the road.”
ATA's Trucking Cares Foundation adds the Ruan Foundation to its Founders Club
The Ruan Foundation has committed to joining the American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Cares Foundation, ATA’s charitable arm. The Ruan Foundation will be the 14th member of the TCF Founders Club, a class of donors that have given $100,000 in contributions over a 10-year period.
“Ruan was founded in 1932 by my grandfather to support his family after the untimely passing of his father,” said Rachel Ruan McLean of the Ruan Foundation. “Our company came into existence to support others, and, since that time, Ruan has been committed to bringing value and support to the communities where we operate. Supporting the Trucking Cares Foundation allows us to continue our tradition of giving back in a coordinated and impactful way. We are proud of our nearly 80-year history with the ATA, and are so pleased to recognize our shared humanitarian values by pledging our support to the Trucking Cares Foundation.”
“With the support of The Ruan Foundation, and all of our Founders Club Members and other contributors, TCF is set up to support countless important causes and relief efforts domestically and abroad,” said TCF President John Lynch. “By building up the Foundation’s resources, we are able to further our mission of providing coordination and focus to the trucking industry’s works of service, while demonstrating the essentiality and giving spirt of our great industry.”
Membership in the Founders Club will close on May 8—the two-year anniversary of its launch.
With Ruan’s commitment, the 14 members of the TCF Founders Club are:
- ACT-1, the Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry
- Covenant Transport
- Cummins Inc.
- Tommy and Dean Hodges
- J&M Tank Lines Inc.
- LaunchIt Public Relations
- Greg and Val Owen in memory of Josh Owen
- UPS Inc.
- Charles “Shorty” and Ro Whittington
- Yellow Corporation
- Scopelitis Law Firm
- Bridgestone Tires
- Dave and Betsy Manning
- The Ruan Foundation
Established in 2018, the Trucking Cares Foundation focuses on several core areas, including humanitarian and disaster relief; eradicating human trafficking; leadership development; strengthening the industry’s relationships with law enforcement and military and veterans’ organizations; and safety and research opportunities.
Women in Trucking Association recognizes Michaela Nejaime
Nejaime’s career began at a technical recruiting and staffing company, where she quickly learned some hard lessons experienced by women in business. In meetings, Nejaime noticed that she was typically looked over and questions were directed at her male counterparts. As a result, she would often defer to suggestions submitted by others, knowing it was wrong to not make her voice heard.
After her career transition to TruVideo, a heavy equipment dealer contacted the company, as he had mistakenly received a TruVideo link meant for an automotive dealership nearby. Accidentally clicking the link, he was impressed by the high-definition video of RO being performed, combined with the capability of texting updates back and forth between dealer and customer. The dealer asked TruVideo if the same solution could be implemented at his dealership, however, at the time, this could not be done because TruVideo was co-founded by a retail automotive dealer and lacked visibility into the trucking industry.
Immediately recognizing the opportunity to enter a new market, Nejaime pitched the transportation industry to her leadership team, which agreed to give her the chance to prove her instincts correct.
“The trucking industry is the lifeblood of our country,” said Nejaime. “There isn't anything that we touch that hasn't been brought to us by a truck.”
Taking on this initiative by herself with no additional resources, Nejaime began asking dealerships questions regarding their goals, customer experiences, and areas that needed improvement to better understand how they conducted business. It didn’t take long for Nejaime to discover the value TruVideo could bring to this industry, expediting the service process and ensuring trucks were back on the road sooner rather than later.
By following her instincts, Michaela discovered a new sales channel for her. TruVideo has now been implemented by several hundred similar dealerships within the industry in the U.S. and Canada. One dealer, for example, averaged $3,100 more per RO in a 30-day period with TruVideo.
“Typically, there are only a few women sitting at the same table with you during business discussions,” said Nejaime. “As a woman in this space, it is sometimes natural to doubt yourself and to doubt your ability to contribute. We need to remember we have a lot to offer.”
Highway Angel protects trucker from inferno
On February 24, 2023, around 7 p.m., Kent was driving on Highway 77 through Rocky Gap, Virginia, when he spotted the danger.
“I could see smoke from a distance,” Kent said, as he drove closer to what ended up being a truck on fire. He stopped his truck to see if he could help; he was the only one who stopped. The flames were so intense, it destroyed the truck and the driver lost everything. Fortunately, the driver was uninjured and able to exit the vehicle.
“My biggest fear was that someone was trapped in there,” Kent said. “He blew a rear tire—it sparked—and caught fire.”
He was able to give the driver a blanket from his own truck because he had nothing.
“That could’ve been me,” Kent said. “I just want to be helpful.” He stayed with the driver until emergency personnel arrived.
PGT Trucking wins Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association safety awards
The annual PMTA Fleet Safety Awards, presented in association with Great West Casualty Company, recognizes motor carriers for their safe vehicle operations, based on verifiable data from the previous year. Participants must submit an application reporting all mileage and DOT-reported accidents from domiciled fleet vehicles in Pennsylvania, and winners are announced at the yearly PMTA Membership Conference in April. PGT Trucking participated in the over nine million miles division, with the President’s Trophy awarded among fleets with more than four million miles.
“These recognitions are a testament to PGT’s comprehensive safety program, solidifying our position as a 2023 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For® company,” states Joseph Newton, PGT trucking director of safety. “We are proud of the dedication, hard work, and continued safe driving focus by our fleet of professional drivers as we strive to be the safest flatbed carrier.”