Standard Logistics
“Our driver culture is a competitive advantage. We’ve more than doubled the number of drivers hired in the past 18 months. The best part of my job is talking with drivers. I love being their advocate, helping them any way I can.”

Petty: A drivers' champion builds up private fleet

April 2, 2024
“Our driver culture is a competitive advantage," said Standard Logistics' John Robbins. "We’ve more than doubled the number of drivers hired in the past 18 months."

“Our driver culture is a competitive advantage,” John Robbins, CTP, told me. “We’ve more than doubled the number of drivers hired in the past 18 months. The best part of my job is talking with drivers. I love being their advocate, helping them any way I can.”

Robbins is senior director of operations at Standard Logistics and a member of the National Private Truck Council Board of Directors. Trained as an 82nd Airborne paratrooper and combat infantryman, he served his country honorably for twenty years in the U.S. Army, with multiple deployments from Ft. Benning, Georgia, to the country of Panama.

In high school, John wrestled, joined ROTC, and graduated from Plano High School with 1375 students, the largest graduating high school class in Texas. Shortly thereafter, John enlisted for military service.

“I always wanted to be a Marine growing up,” says John. “My grandfather was in the Marine Corps and I expected to follow the family legacy. When I went to the Marine Recruiting Office to sign up, however, the recruiter came off as a complete jerk. I walked to the nearby U.S. Army Recruiter and never looked back.”

See also: Standard Logistics: Creating a driver-focused culture to spur growth

After ten years of active military duty, John joined the Army Reserve and spent the second half of his Army career in transportation. He started out in a civilian job for Safety-Kleen (now Clean Harbors) as a transportation manager focused on third-party carrier relationships, and eventually moved up to Director of Logistics and later Vice President of Logistics and Transportation.

In 2021, John joined Standard Logistics in a fleet management role. Standard Industries owns the company, which is the private fleet and logistics transportation services partner for GAF, North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing company. The fleet’s primary business is moving raw materials and finished products, mostly for roofing replacement of commercial and residential projects.

“When I started, we had 140 drivers—all leased-- and 15 support staff,” Robbins said. “Today, our ratio is 60% employee drivers and 40% leased drivers, which gives us better control and flexibility. Now we have 400 drivers operating out of 18 locations, 75 support staff, 375 tractors, and 675 trailers. We are slowing taking over inbound freight, and new customers have added growth to outbound shipments. We are growing deliberately in areas where we can add value and reduce risk within the supply chain.”

“The best part of my job is talking to drivers, being their advocate, helping them any way I can. The care and respect we show our drivers is a differentiating selling point in recruiting and retention. Turnover is very low. We provide excellent pay and benefits, a high-quality work environment, and company-paid in-service training.”

See also: Petty: It’s never too late to change direction

“A mentor is assigned to help each new driver get off on the right foot. Our driver culture is a competitive advantage. Creativity and transparency have been key to attracting new drivers and building our fleet out. As a result, we are attracting a top-quality class of seasoned and younger drivers.”

Robbins said the key to their success is an amazing team that works miracles. “The way our people come together to help or boost one another is just incredible. We have doubled our business in the past year, and we’ve only gotten closer as colleagues as the work volume grows.”

Engagement with NPTC also contributes to the team’s success. “We have sent several people through the Private Fleet Management Institute and Certified Transportation Professional® programs. The Institute is probably the best consolidated educational program in transportation I’ve ever seen. NPTC’s annual conference is a great event because everyone is open, willing to share, and learn from one another. The one-on-one networking conversations are incredibly valuable.”

2023 was a banner year for the company. Standard Logistics was one of three companies awarded Fleet Owner 500 Private Fleet of the Year honors in a special ceremony at the NPTC annual conference in Orlando. Standard Logistics also became a Five-Star Member of the NPTC and Robbins was elected to the NPTC Institute Board of Governors. Recently, he was also elected to the NPTC Board of Directors.

About the Author

Gary Petty

Gary Petty has more than three decades of experience as a CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. Since 2001, he has served as president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council, the national trade association founded in 1939, representing the private motor carrier industry. Petty is the Private Fleet Editor and columnist for FleetOwner, where he writes monthly articles about successful managers and business models in the private fleet market.

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