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A rising fleet star's journey

May 24, 2024
From ice delivery to fleet compliance manager: The journey of a rising star in the transportation industry.

NPTC-member company Home City Ice was founded in Saylor Park, Ohio, in 1893. The Sedler family acquired ownership of the business in 1924 and has operated it continuously for almost a century, now in its fourth generation. During its early years, Home City delivered ice blocks to homes with “ice boxes,” the refrigerators before electricity was introduced. Home delivery was discontinued in 1958.

Today, the company is one of the country's largest and most successful regional ice producers. It provides ice for specialty retailers, industrial use, restaurants, bars, and special events. Through acquisitions, Home City now operates 70 plants and 80 terminals in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa, generating annual revenues exceeding $200 million. The company’s private fleet has more than 1,200 medium-duty trucks, a year-round team of more than 1,200 drivers, and some 2,000 drivers during the summer peak season.

The private fleet is managed by John Gillenwater, CTP, VP of transportation and CSO of HC Transport Inc., Home City Ice's transportation subsidiary. He is a long-standing volunteer leader of NPTC and currently serves on the NPTC board of directors. Gillenwater encourages his management team members to participate in NPTC programs and services and to become Certified Transportation Professionals. One of the rising stars of his team is Sydney Reveal, CTP, fleet compliance manager.

Reveal was raised in greater Cincinnati and graduated from Oak Hills High School. Before she got into trucking, she saw herself as a future police detective. “In 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology with a minor in forensic science from Mt. St. Joseph University. I thought law enforcement was what I wanted,” she said.

“However, I started my co-op in 2016 and for several semesters through college worked at Home City Ice under John. I did background checks on drivers and really loved the work,” Reveal continued. “It’s something like detective work only in transportation. I came to appreciate how complex the safety aspect of transportation really is.”

“This was a great experience,” Reveal said. “It changed my career outlook and in a completely different direction. Also, having to watch an actual autopsy gave me second thoughts about the real-life work of a police detective. I was offered to stay on after graduation working full time with the title of fleet operations administrator.”

See also: Top CTP grad ‘beyond excited’ to take career to next level

As fleet compliance manager, Reveal is responsible for all background checks for the company, Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and drug testing (pre-employment, random, SAP). In addition, she oversees the Driver Qualification Files, ELDT submissions to the registry, and roadside inspections.

“My job involves processing roughly 6,000 background checks a year with the assistance of two full-time staff reporting to me,” she explained. “Since our drivers are mostly college students working just for the summer, we have 100% turnover every year.”

“When John encouraged me to attend the Private Fleet Management Institute and go through the CTP program, I was nervous and a bit apprehensive. Not being particularly outgoing, I worried about what to expect,” she said. “At PFMI, you are forced to interact—and I loved it. The institute was well-structured over the entire five days, and the people were all just terrific. The CTP exam preparation was very stressful, but I was fortunate to get a lot of trial exam practice with Tom Moore, CTP, who does such a great job running the institute. He gave me a lot of confidence.”

After passing her CTP with flying colors, Reveal was inspired to engage with NPTC as a volunteer. “The annual conferences are a tremendous resource for new information and contacts,” she said. “I can’t believe the amount of information I take back to work and put into practice.”

“I was a CTP grader for the Class of 2023, and Tom has asked me to be on the faculty for the PFMI of 2024. Earlier this spring, John and I were the fleet presenters for an NPTC/J.J. Keller webcast on the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.”

“The thing is, we are a growing company. When I was hired, we had three fleet managers. Today, we have a great team of 10! John has made safety a major priority. We’re looking for anything we can do to get better. The council is a great resource for continuous improvement,” she emphasized. “I’m proud to be a CTP and engaged in the NPTC culture.”

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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