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A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks
A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks
By Brad Bentley
This is the time of year when Americans reflect on the things for which they are most thankful. Earlier this week, I was reminded of how thankful our country should be to have people with purpose like Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Worcester Wreath Company, who began the non-profit group Wreaths Across America in 2007 with the goal of honoring military veterans by placing wreaths at the grave sites of fallen soldiers.
Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor, Teach is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December. For years, this occurred only at Arlington National Cemetery, but has recently expanded to veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
Part of Wreaths Across America rapid growth is the result of the generosity of the trucking industry, and this year they’re counting on truckers for a little more help. That assistance will come in the form of the trucking industry’s first annual rolling tribute, which kicked off this Tuesday (November 26), when the Worcesters teamed up with Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Pilot Flying J to hand out 100s of free wreaths to any professional truck driver who wanted one at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Conn.
Pottle’s Transportation’s Bob Sousa, an Army veteran, delivered several pallets of wreaths to Connecticut for the event, where local volunteers joined in the efforts to reach as many drivers as possible. I was in Washington, D.C. on Monday for the unloading of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, so I decided to make the trek up I-95 as well.
In between trips back and forth to the fuel island to talk to drivers, Morrill Worcester told the various media outlets present that we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today if it wasn’t for what the veterans have done. “They’ve stepped up time and time again, all down through history,” Morrill stated.
I asked Karen Worcester why they chose to drive to a location nine hours away from their headquarters in Maine instead of choosing a truck stop that was closer. “We knew this was a busy truck stop and are trying to get as many wreaths as possible to veterans’ graves,” Karen said. “We wouldn’t be doing trucking or anything else we do without the sacrifices of those men and women, so embracing those families at the holidays is important for us to do.”
Nationwide, donations to Wreaths Across America are up by 20%, but the Worcesters said support for Arlington has dipped as more people get involved with wreath-laying ceremonies in their local communities. The rolling tribute was a way to create more awareness for Arlington National Cemetery, where the Worcesters will travel for this year’s Wreaths Across America Day on December 14.
There was a steady flow of traffic all day at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, where drivers received zip ties to attach a wreath to the grill of their truck onsite as an immediate show of support. Many drivers were shocked that the wreaths were free, but all were appreciative of the efforts to honor our veterans.
“We gave the wreaths away with one stipulation – that on National Wreaths Across America Day they take that wreath off their truck and find a veteran’s grave to place it upon. This idea started after seeing many of our volunteer professional drivers participating in the annual escort to Arlington remove the wreaths affixed to the grill of their rigs, and place it on a headstone once we made it to the cemetery,” Morrill said. “This very personal expression of gratitude was shared in pictures and online and became a symbol of how dedicated the trucking industry is to supporting our nation’s military.”
Drivers participating in the rolling tribute were also asked to photograph and share their experience online using #rollingtribute. Each driver’s wreath is one half of a Patriot Pair, with an additional remembrance wreath donated by the Worcesters set will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery. Worcester Wreath Company is donating the first 2,000 wreaths in the hopes that all professional drivers will want to become part of the rolling tribute.
Another new option of support for all professional drivers this year is called Trucking’s Patriot Pair, which can be ordered online at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com and shipped directly to the driver’s specified address. With a donation amount of $30, drivers will receive one wreath and fasteners for display on the grill of their tractor, and a second wreath will be placed on a veteran’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition, all drivers who donate will receive a Wreaths Across America window decal.
I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the one day that is purely American, and I left Connecticut with a renewed sense of patriotism, as did hundreds of truckers that are now using their big rigs to deliver a strong message this holiday season.
Because of the efforts of Morrill and Karen Worcester, these specially-adorned trucks are rolling down America’s highways with wreaths to pay tribute to service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
For that, we should all be thankful.
Shannon Smith Puts Female Drivers In The National Spotlight
Women In Trucking Member Featured In Oprah Magazine
In 2008 Shannon was interviewed by Career World magazine where she talked about her childhood desire to drive a truck. The story was discovered by Jeanne Marie Laskas, who is writing a book about people who work in the unrecognized jobs that support America. Laskas wrote the article for O Magazine that appears in this month’s (June 2012) issue.
Shannon runs solo for a small fleet leased to Landstar Inway. She hauls everything from caskets to ketchup with her International 9400 Eagle, but her dream is to drive Navistar’s Lonestar model.
Shannon joined Women In Trucking Association because she enjoys meeting fellow members, who she refers to as her sisters. She makes it a goal to attend the annual “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel,” at the Mid-America Trucking Show each spring.
The number of women who are professional drivers consists of only five percent of the industry, or about 200,000 and the number of black female drivers is even smaller. “I consider everyone the same, regardless of whether they are black or white, male or female, or young or old,” Shannon said. She feels that as long as everyone is doing his or her job, they should just be considered the same.
As a child, Shannon watched the trucks along the highway in her home state of Georgia, and she imagined herself at the wheel of one of those rigs, tugging on the air horn to the delight of the next generation of children. “One day I’m gonna blow that horn,” she said.
Shannon’s dad, a diesel mechanic, advised her to learn how to fix an engine if she wanted to drive a big rig, so when a recruiter called her one day, she asked him if the Army could teach her to fix trucks. He said they could, so she spent the next six years with the Reserves as a heavy-duty mechanic.
At the age of 23, Shannon attended truck-driving school and began her career as a professional driver. She currently lives in Cleveland with her boyfriend, Michael, and her two cats.
“Shannon’s story has done more to show women that they can have a great career as a professional driver by sharing her story in O Magazine than this industry could have imagined,” said Ellen Voie, Women In Trucking’s President/CEO. Watch for Smith’s story in Laskas’ upcoming book, “Hidden America,” to be released in September by Putnam.
The article can be read at http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Shannon-Sputter-Smith-Female-Truckers
Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as sixteen percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generous support of Gold Level Partners; Bendix, Daimler Truck NA, Frito-Lay North America , Great Dane Trailers, Hyundai Translead and Walmart and Silver Level partner: C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. For more information visit www.WomenInTrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.
The Encroaching Indulgence Factor
By Dan Baker
For the past couple of years, I have been writing this article with the generational process in mind. We have talked about the old timers, the Boomers, the X’ers and the millennial group, and have tried to make sense out of how we can each deal with the other. We have talked about how:
- We have moved from the giving generation to the receiving generation.
- From the work ethic to the leisure ethic.
- From a sense of deferred gratification to a sense of immediate gratification.
- From inner motivation to reward based motivation.
- From learning and remembering to storing and accessing.
- From one-on-one relationships to the Facebook generation.
- From accountability to accommodation…………
And I could go on for a long time talking about all the differences between the older versus the emerging generations.
Also, I think that many of our current problems in trucking can be traced to this whole generational evolution that is so prevalent in our world today. In many industries, the evolution seems to have been rather seamless. But in those industries that depend on interpersonal relationships, and people skills, the generational evolution has been huge.
Our newer generations have been raised in a much more permissive environment, where people skills and common sense were not primary requirements for success. They are high tech – low touch people, who are smarter than most of us put together.
But the real problem is that they are an entitlement generation, who expects to be given what the older generations had to earn on their own. And in fact, we accommodate that need by re-structuring our companies to serve those millennial expectations.
But the result of all that recalibration to fit their needs is that the older generations see that, and realize it’s not a bad way to live. So, all of a sudden, a lot of the old work ethic folks are expecting the same treatment as we are having to give to the younger folks, and that “creeping indulgence factor” is starting to affect us all.
And as one who works the people side of the street in this industry, I think it’s a good change. Today, whether you are dealing with an old timer, or a new millennial, you have got to move from telling to asking. You have to change over from demanding to suggesting.
Today, top leadership people from all over the country have to re-think how they work with their people. And though we old timers love to talk about the old “kick-butt-take-names” culture we were raised in, we expect more from our company today.
Like the guy that said to his fellow worker, “the only difference between my boss and the Pope is that all the Pope wants you to kiss is his ring!” Today, the days of kissing up are over. Today, we build cultures that include, support, encourage and build the best out of our people, regardless of their age or generation.
So, for all you old guys and gals that complain about the newer generations, stop a moment, and realize that they have brought us a better world that demands that we all realize what we should have known all along: If you’re in the trucking business today, first of all, you’re in the people business. And then, secondly, you’re in the trucking business.
New York Highway Safety System Goes Live
Wireless Roadside Inspection Technology Promises Safety and Efficiency
New York’s commercial truck inspection program is getting a lot smarter because of a 5.9 GHz Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) Real-Time Clearance system developed by Kapsch TrafficCom North America, a subsidiary of Kapsch TrafficCom AG. Equipped-vehicles will be able to electronically report the driver’s identity, the fleet company’s safety record and the vehicle’s health. The system was developed for use by the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority and was funded through a cost-shared product development agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
“Commercial trucking is the backbone of our economy and provides the vital services of transportation and distribution to foster growth and prosperity,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “We are proud to join forces with Kapsch TrafficCom to develop the next generation vehicle transponder enabling increased efficiencies in both freight transportation and safety inspections.”
The key component for this project has been the development of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Aftermarket On-Board Unit (OBU). This in-vehicle device facilitates high-speed communication with the roadside transceivers of the 5.9 GHz DSRC system. The OBU functions automatically when approaching an inspection facility, and informs the driver of needed actions with audible tones and in-cab lights, eliminating issues with driver distraction.
The DSRC system is now live at New York’s truck inspection facility outside Schodack, NY. The current phase of the pilot involves twenty participating vehicles and drivers. The system focuses on accurately identifying the driver and his driving record. Future phases will report real-time truck safety issues including brakes, service records, mileage, etc.
Chris Murray, President and CEO, Kapsch TrafficCom North America said, “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to develop this DRSC system with the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) that provides game-changing technology that can greatly enhance traffic safety across the nation.”
DSRC systems create a technology backbone that will allow the NYSDOT to add multiple capabilities now and into the future. The real-time information capabilities provided by this type of an Intelligent Transportation System could deliver the State of New York millions of dollars in greenhouse gas emission savings, transportation corridor planning, and efficiencies in traffic management and commercial vehicle inspections.
This project is also supporting broader efforts by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as many of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle program goals. The New York State commercial vehicle inspection system is an extension of safety services now being developed under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle program.
NYSERDA offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. A public benefit corporation, NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975. For additional information, please visit www.kapschtraffic.com or www.nyserda.ny.gov/.
Con-way Truckload Fleet Gets In-Cab Navigation Equipment Upgrade
Company Installs Advanced NaviGo™ System in All Trucks
Con-way Truckload, a full-truckload carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), recently announced the installment of Maptuit® NaviGo™ technology in all company trucks and Qualcomm-equipped owner-operator tractors. The in-cab navigation upgrade follows a successful pilot study launched in September 2011.
Fleetwide integration will occur through a developmental period during which NaviGo systems will be individually tested in all trucks at the carrier’s Joplin, Mo., facility. The fleetwide installment and integration process will take an estimated six to eight months to complete.
“This is a significant upgrade of our navigation and communication capabilities that will raise the overall quality and efficiency of our operations,” says Saul Gonzalez, chief operating officer, Con-way Truckload. “By installing NaviGo in our trucks, we hope to improve safety performance, making life a little easier for our drivers and, in return, for our customers.”
The NaviGo system features several safety, accuracy, efficiency and cost benefits:
Increased driver safety
• Advanced GPS fleet tracking helps drivers avoid hazardous situations and truck-restricted routes, including residential areas, dead-end streets, low bridges, historically dangerous intersections and U-turns
• Clear 2D, 3D, and Driver Safety map guidance views
• Load-specific routing with 30 Hazmat road classes and categories
• Encourages hands-free directions and driver-centric features
Improved driver experience
• Includes an intuitive, large, touch-screen interface with dynamic, near real-time moving maps and easy to view buttons
• Displays route restrictions clearly with recognizable warning symbols
• Provides millions of points of interests (POIs) including truck services, truck stops, rest areas, weigh stations and CAT scales
• Spoken turn-by-turn truck-specific directions and automatic re-route calculation for missed turns
Increased driver efficiency
• Near real-time monitoring, alerting and re-routing capabilities avoid costly detours and areas of traffic congestion
• Route compliance and performance trend reporting features enable dispatchers to assess how well drivers are following route plans, improving on-time delivery and customer satisfaction
• Detailed route plans, based on vehicle size and load type, reduce tolls, fuel costs and ensure on-time deliveries
• Reduced out-of-route miles increase fuel savings and contribute to Con-way’s sustainability efforts
• NaviGo is compatible with existing Qualcomm dispatcher systems
Follow the company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ConwayInc
Con-way equipment images are available at www.con-way.com/en/about_con_way/newsroom