Prime News

  • Prime Inc. Recognizes Millionaire Members (July 2013)

    Prime Inc. Recognizes Millionaire Members (July 2013)

    Gold Millionaires

    Two Million Milers

    • Denise Allen
    • Robert Conger
    • Curtis A. Fiedler
    • Jo Ann Totsch
    • Thomas H. Withers


    Click here to read more about Prime's Driver Awards.

  • Listen in on our July 2013 SAFETY MEETING online!

    Listen in iTunes
    Prime FeedBurner Safety Podcast
    Prime BuzzSprout Safety Podcast

     

    In this release: CSA Scores, Winter Driving, HoS Questions, Respect Customers, Routing Change, Get-Over Law, Tanker Endorsement, Tires, Pickup Reports, Convey for Special Olympics, Maintain Your Lane, Road Assist Improvements, Prime's Fittest Driver, Navigation and Mobile App, Respect.

     

  • Prime Inc. Driver Thomas Miller Appointed Captain for America’s Road Team

    Thomas Miller, an independent contractor who drives for Prime Inc., recently became a captain for America’s Road Team, the first person with Prime to receive this honor. America’s Road Team is a nationwide public outreach program, led by an elite group of professional truck drivers, to promote safety.

    Thomas is a professional truck driver with 17 years of experience (including 14 with Prime Inc.) and has accumulated over 2.5 million accident free miles. The Missouri Trucking Association also named him Driver of the Month in August 2011 and again in September 2012. Those are just a few of the safe driving awards bestowed on Thomas, a clear indication why he is a perfect captain for America’s Road Team.

    The America’s Road Team motto is “Safety is Our Driving Concern.” Thomas Miller says, “Our main focus is talking to trucking companies, trucking organizations, state legislators and anyone else who will listen to our information about trucking safety.” Thomas credits Prime Inc. for having a strong focus on safety and continuous training which helped him achieve this prestigious honor.

    The American Trucking Association created America’s Road Team in 1986. Every two years, the organization chooses drivers they consider to be exceptional to serve as Road Team Captains. Each month captains spend a few days meeting with the public, news media, transportation officials, and legislators to discuss trucking safety. Thousands of drivers apply to the ATA for the position each year, which requires submission of a video, a letter, a list of accomplishments and certifications. Thomas was one of 18 drivers chosen out of 2,400 applicants to represent America’s Road Team.

    “I am the first driver Prime has nominated,” Thomas said. “Steve Fields came to my safety supervisor, David White, and said, ‘Hey, you really need to nominate Thomas for this road team,’ and with the support of John Hancock and Jennifer Pierson—who was a godsend in the entire process—I was successful in being appointed to this prestigious team.” Thomas says he has presented information for America’s Road Team at the Mid-America Truck Show and plans to head to Minnesota to speak at their state capitol, then to Maine for more presentations on trucking safety.

    “We are proud to call Thomas a Prime associate and congratulate him on this prestigious honor,” said John Hancock, Director of Training and Driver Recruitment at Prime Inc. “Thomas exemplifies the hard work, dedication, and commitment to safety our company strives to meet every day.”

    Thomas has also competed at the Missouri State Truck Driving Championship where he placed first in the tank class in 2006 and in 2012 and went on to compete at the National Truck Driving Championships those years. He placed second in 2002 and placed third in his division in 2007, 2011, and 2013.

  • Prime Inc | What Makes Our Training Different From Other Programs?

    If you want to start your truck driving career with an industry-leading carrier, look no further than Prime Inc.  We have grown and expanded tremendously since our inception in 1970. Drivers with Prime Inc are some of the most qualified and highest-earning truck drivers on the road, and it all begins with our exceptional training program lead by top instructors. With outstanding incentives during and after training, there’s no reason to look anywhere else.

    Prime Inc. Training

    What makes our training program so different from other carriers? Consider the process of our Prime Student Driver Program:

    • Obtain your CDL permit: Study for the test and obtain a CDL permit in your state.
    • Train on-site: Your training begins at Prime Inc’s Training Center in Springfield, Mo. Here, you experience hands-on simulator training as you work toward a minimum of 40,000 training dispatched miles.
    • Train on-the-road: Drive for three to four weeks in almost-new equipment with a CDL instructor at your side. Real-world experience driving is the way to earn 75 hours of time behind the wheel. In addition, this is how you earn the first 10,000 miles of the 40,000 miles you need to graduate the program.
    • Train one-on-one: Whether you’re in a driving simulation or getting experience behind the wheel, you can expect one-on-one training with the best instructors the industry has to offer.
    • Pass the final skills test: Back in Springfield, you must pass the final CDL exam, obtain a Hazmat endorsement (if you wish), and receive certification as a B2 company driver trainee.
    • Earn a guaranteed income (provided you are able to work): After you have acquired your CDL and are hired, you earn 12 cents per mile or $600 weekly guaranteed. This is your income as you finish off the final 30,000 miles you need to complete the program.
    • Take ACE Orientation at the Prime Inc Training Center: With all 40,000 miles complete, you must pass the upgrade skills test to boost your income to 34 cents per mile. This earns you $650 to $750 per week.

    Trainer, John Callahan, whose teaching and driving records are impeccable, has only praise for his company. “I started out as a regular driver, gained experience on the road, went through the necessary courses, and ended up Prime Inc. Instructor of the Year three years later,” said John. “That’s probably one of the best things you could say about a training program.”

    In 2012, instructors worked to help over 1,000 students earn their CDL license through the Prime training program. Callahan, who said he was a casualty of the economy, joined Prime for the income. After signing, he realized the organization was great from top to bottom. Callahan’s first trainer, Danny Gibbons, remains his greatest inspiration. The best thing about being an instructor, the newly honored Callahan says, is that you get to see the country and you get to help students with their careers.

    He describes his training experiences with new drivers out on the road as fun and readily admits to being stuck in a sticky situation once or twice along the way.  Overall, he says, “I pretty much think the more boring, the better, especially when it comes to driving.”

    Like John Callahan, having completed this comprehensive training program, you can then say, “I’m Prime!” To learn more about the training you can receive from Prime Inc, be sure to visit our website. Then, connect with us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

  • Fitness Friday with Siphiwe Baleka (7/19/2013)

    Trucking Jobs1 Fitness Friday with Siphiwe Baleka

    During the Friday morning Safety Meeting at Prime on July 5th, there was a very good discussion about the various issues Prime instructors and trainers are facing. After that meeting, I received the following email from Terrence McLaurin, an example of one of the outstanding drivers we have here at Prime. Below, Terrence discusses how he works with his students on driver health and wellness.

     

    From: Terrence McLaurin

    Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 3:39 PM

    To: Siphiwe Baleka

    Subject: Hygiene & Fitness

     

    Hello Siphiwe,

    First, it is my opinion that it is a trainer’s responsibility to provide a safe and clean work/sleep environment.

    I talk with potential co drivers concerning their goals during their driving career as well as their personal goals before accepting the obligation of mentoring them.

    A major part of this conversion includes their expectations of me and mine of them. Ground rules from hygiene, work ethics, diet and fitness are also discussed at this time.

    When a potential co driver and I agree on the ground rules and expectations of one another; then, he or she is allowed access to my truck.

    Secondly, I never arrive to meet a potential driver while under a load. My co driver and I need time to bond, put personal items away, shop for supplies and acclimate them to the truck. This process takes a minimum of 24 hours.

    Please note I use the term co driver, not trainee or student. I view mentoring as a team effort. Both parties contributing equally.

     

    Hygiene & Safety:

    Co driver given at least 30 minutes to prepare for shift.

    No loose items overhead & on dash board.

    Dash board including gauges/controls & Qualcomm wiped with anti-bacterial wipes before swift change.

    Sleep gear switch. Fold and store your gear & prepare co drivers sleep gear.

    Floor swept and air blown every 24 hours/mopped during every live load or unload.

    Cross over talk concerning weather, route, fuel & pick up or delivery times.

    Diet & Fitness:

    Supplies and food are agreed & purchased for 7 day supply.

    Cooking responsibilities are divided by ability & allotted time.

    Exercise done before showers. (every other day)

    Details of diet and exercise:

    My co driver and I agree on a diet before leaving terminal. The first week I cover all costs and prepare food.

    Typical diet includes turkey bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, skinless chicken, pork chops, fresh veggies, instant stuffing, scallop potatoes and popcorn.

    Each driver can have any snack items and drink they choose. I like potato skin chips, popcorn and cookies with V8 Fusion.

     

    Breakfast:

    2-4 pieces of turkey bacon

    2-3 eggs with choice of carrots/broccoli/onions

    2 pieces of fresh fruit

    1 bowl of cereal (driver choice)

     

    Lunch/Dinner

    1-2 pieces of skinless chicken or pork chop

    1 serving of stuffing or scallop potatoes choice of veggie (broccoli/carrots/asparagus)

    2 pieces of fresh fruit

    The truck has a 20″ griddle, 2 tier steamer and microwave. I don’t use disposable plates or cutlery. Glass plates and bowls are used for eating. Plastic bowls are used for storing food. Silverware includes knives, forks and spoons. Plastic serving spoons and tongs are provided.

    Drivers alternate washing dishes with each shift change. Supplies provided.

    Exercise is for 15 minutes every other day using a MMA workout band and jump rope. I wear a 20lb weight vest and 5lb ankle weights while exercising. The video from the MMA band and Prime are provided. Exercise and showering are NOT optional.

  • Where Can a Career with Prime Inc. Take You?

    See what Mike Crawford, one of Prime’s success stories, has to say!

    Mike Crawford began driving for Prime Inc. as a company driver in 1994 just to see if “things worked out.”  Today, Mike has accumulated more than three million accident-free miles in the same truck he leased just weeks after he joined the company.

    “I have an application in to the Guinness Book of World Records because we cannot find any evidence of another driver in one truck who has gone three million miles without an accident,” Mike said.  He reached the three million mile mark on his odometer on December 21, 2012, at 10:35 p.m. at mile marker 110.5 on eastbound Interstate 10 near Buckeye, Arizona.

    Mike says he will forever be grateful to Prime Inc. for the opportunity he says provided a good life for his wife of 49 years, his eight children, 25 grandchildren and “6.2 great-grandchildren.  I say 0.2 because we have two more on the way.”

    “When I started the truck driving job with Prime Inc. as a company driver, my credit rating was terrible,” Mike said.  “After being with the company a few weeks, Prime Inc. allowed me to lease the truck I am driving today, and then, four years later, I exercised the option to buy that same truck and continue to use it as an independent contractor.”

    In 2010, Mike began to operate under his own authority and now runs his own trucking company while continuing to partner with Prime.  He credits the carrier with giving him the support he needed over the years to reach his professional goals.

    Prime Inc. gives you the opportunity to start out with nothing and grow to an  independent contractor with your own authority.  The door was always open if there is something I needed to discuss with anyone in management, including the owner, Robert Low,” Mike said.

    “We are extremely proud to have been a part of Mike’s success over the years,” said John Hancock, Director of Training and Driver Recruiting.  “Mike was always a hard-working, loyal, and dependable operator who took pride in providing the best in customer service.  Mike always put the customer first which has always been the key focus of Prime.”

    Mike was named 2010 Trucker of the Year by Overdrive magazine and credits Prime Inc. for helping him get the award. He also received a recommendation for the award from a competitor trucking company which illustrates just how widely respected Mike is throughout the trucking industry.  Mike has won several awards from the Missouri Trucking Association and Prime Inc.

    When reflecting on his years with Prime, Mike has high praise for Robert Low. “I feel that Robert Low sometimes cares more for his operators than for himself,” Mike said.  “I cannot say enough good about the man and his company.  He not only believes that his professional drivers are his most valuable asset but shows it in the way he treats them.  For years, he made it fun for me to come to work and encouraged me to eventually start my own company.”

  • Truck Leasing a Hedge against Uncertain Economic Times

    The recent recession left its mark on many industries in the U.S., and America’s truck fleets and companies didn’t escape the pressure. Yet the trucks kept rolling down America’s highways during those lean years.

    How?

    Darrel Hopkins, director of the Success Leasing program, credits the entrepreneurial spirit of the industry’s independent contractors.  “We’ve gone through a fairly tight period of time as far as our economy is concerned,” Hopkins said, “and not once during that period of time do I know of the trucking industry having too many drivers or too many independent contractors. It’s a tough profession, everybody knows that, but it’s one that offers great opportunity.”

    You should never sugar-coat the risks involved in trucking: the time and miles away from home, the nasty weather, the deadlines, the price of fuel. However, there are few businesses that can reward hard work and individual initiative faster than trucking.

    “The true entrepreneurial spirit has to come out and override the ‘I’m just in it for the job’ approach. It requires someone who wants to take ownership of their business, their fuel, their time, and their responsibilities. This is a chance. What other business, will let you walk into it with no money down and step into a $140,000 piece of equipment so you can start your own business?”

    That’s the kind of beginning Success enables. Like those contractors who have used the opportunity to jump-start their economic lives, Success Leasing has also come a long way since its launch in 1985. It started with offering one truck and one type of leasing arrangement; now contractors can choose from four different brands of trucks—with more than one make/model under each brand—and three different types of leases, all with purchase options.

    Those trucks, by the way, aren’t scaled-down, thinned-out versions. “We spec our trucks to true owner-operator specifications,” Hopkins said. “If you walked into a dealership interested in buying a truck, these are the kinds of truck you would look at to buy.”

    Industry-leading warranties, opportunities to customize trucks, and a chance to run freight for anyone—including Prime—are also part of the Success Leasing story.

    In 2012, 828 drivers were paid out with the Success Lease Completion Incentives, totaling a whopping $6,729,022.84. This is an average of $8,126.84 per driver.

    Then, there are the drivers who earn incentives to complete the full term of their lease; they’re the ones honored during Friday driver’s breakfast meetings, holding $25,000 checks and grinning with anticipation of buying a house, a motorcycle, a trip with the wife to Cancun.

    Of the 5000+ trucks running with Prime on the highways, more than 3,000 are independent contractors taking advantage of the Success Leasing program. Many of those could end up like the drivers Hopkins talks to every once in a while—the ones who started leasing a few trucks and eventually built up their own fleets or bought trucks through the Success program and then run them for Prime or other companies.

    “They’re building their small fleets and now they are truly trucking company owners,” Hopkins said. “They’re not just being independent contractors. They’re hiring employees and drivers and managing their own businesses.”

    You don’t get much more entrepreneurial than that.

  • Resetting Your Metabolism

    Trucking Jobs1 Resetting Your Metabolism

    The reason why most diets fail is because they attempt to get you to change your diet and reduce your calories. This will result in some weight loss. However, weight loss has as much or more to do with other factors including hormones, stress, and especially your metabolic set point. If you change the way you eat by eating less, for example, your metabolic set point will, over time, prompt you to put the weight back on. That’s because your body is programmed to maintain your body weight over time. If your body is used to weighing 280 lbs., and you lose 30 lbs. your body will try to get back to 280 lbs. through biochemical and hormonal responses. So to lose weight, and keep the weight off, you have to change the programming. That means resetting your metabolism. It’s relatively easy to reset your metabolism. All you have to do is “spike” it or raise it well above its normal level for four minutes every day. Let’s look at an example.

    Joe Driver is a full time independent contractor who is 5’10” and weighs 250 lbs. That gives him a BMI of 36 and classifies him as “obese” (which is now a disease according to the American Medical Association). An average day for Joe is as follows: wake up and walk into the truck stop to use the bathroom, get a little breakfast, and then walk back to the truck. Joe starts driving for a few hours then decides to fuel. He stops at another truck stop, fuels, walks in to the truck stop to get receipt, gets some fast food, then walks back to the truck and starts driving. A few hours later, Joe arrives at the receiver. He parks the truck, checks in with security,  drives to the dock, opens the trailer doors, backs in to the dock, dollies down the landing gear then sits in his truck while getting unloaded.  Once unloaded, Joe walks in to the shipper, gets bills, walks back to the truck, puts the landing gear up, pulls out of the dock, closes the trailer door, then drives to the nearest truck stop, and parks the truck. At some point, Joe will get out of the truck and walk into the truck stop to get dinner, and then return to the truck and eventually go to sleep. Joe does not get out of the truck to exercise. Does this sound like you?

    After monitoring the metabolism of one hundred and fifty drivers, I have learned that the average driver, who follows a similar routine as described above and does not exercise, will have a metabolism that fluctuates between 1 and 4 METS. METS is a unit of measurement used to quantify how hard your metabolism is working. 0 to 3 METS is light activity, 3 to 6 METS is moderate activity, and anything over 6 METS is vigorous activity. That means that the average driver who does not exercise only spikes his or her metabolism to about 4 METS which is “moderate” activity. Most of the time the average driver is in the “light activity”, and that’s where the metabolism sets itself. Every day, every week, every month, every year that Joe Driver drives, his metabolism goes from 1 (sleeping/ driving)  to 4 (walking, working the landing gear, opening/closing trailer doors)  back to 1 back to 4 and back to 1 and so on. To reset his metabolism, Joe Driver will need to spike his metabolism above 4. How can he do that? EXERCISE!

    If Joe were to exercise for 15 minutes and exercise to the point of breathing really hard for four minutes, Joe would spike his metabolism above 6 METS which is vigorous activity. The true benefit of exercise is not just the extra calories burned but raising your METS. By exercising every day, Joe “trains” his metabolism to go from 1 MET to 6 METs every day. In that way, Joe increased his metabolic set point. The higher metabolism burns more calories (and fat) every day. This is how you lose weight and keep it off!

    The problem with diets is that they don’t target your METS. Changing what you eat doesn’t affect your METS that much.  So if you want to lose weight and keep it off, spike your metabolism by exercising for 15 minutes every day and make sure that at least four minutes is vigorous!

    Want to learn more? Get the DHF DVD in through the Prime company store. For only $14.95, you get two discs full of information and exercises that you can do right from your truck! Give the company store a call to order the DVD at (417)521-3814.

    Want help? Enroll in the DHF 13 Week Program. Go to www.driverhealthandfitness.com and click “Get Started”.

  • Prime Inc. Contractors of the Month (May 2013)

    May 2013 Awardees include:

    Calvin Holmes

    Refrigerated Division

    Robert F. Saling

    Flatbed Division

    Howard E. Triplett

    Tanker Division

    Jeffrey Lee Fisher

    Company Tanker Division

    Luther Smith

    Company Refrigerated

    Ronald C. Miller

    Company Flatbed Division

    William T. Wells & Clarence Schumaker

    Refrigerated Team Division

  • Prime Inc. Recognizes Millionaire Members (June 2013)

    Gold Millionaires

    Three Million Miler

    • Vincent Kirk Allen

    Two Million Milers

    • James L. Conover
    • Thomas E. Miller

    One Million Miler

    • Ted D. Auten

    Click here to read more about Prime's Driver Awards.

  • Fitness Friday | Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) Program

    July, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) Program. Normally, you will hear me talk about the successes and benefits of the DHF Program (see links below). However, I want to talk about the “failure” of the DHF program. In spite of the phenomenal results of the first eight classes in which the average weight loss was 19.3 lbs. in just 13 weeks, the number of applications for the program in the first year (through June 2013) was just 203 out of 6,151 drivers in the entire Prime fleet. That’s just 3.3% of the fleet. In the first eight classes, 109 drivers actually enrolled in the program and 54 drivers successfully completed the program. That’s just 0.8% of the fleet. This is the failure of the DHF program. The question is: why are so few drivers taking advantage of the DHF program? Do the drivers still not know about it or know enough about it? Is it too expensive?  Is the perception of the program that it is too hard? Do drivers just not care? Quite honestly, I am perplexed.

    No one wants to be obese. The American Medical Association voted on Tuesday of this past week to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. National statistics state that 57% of America’s truck drivers are obese, and I don’t think Prime is any different. So that means 57% of the Prime fleet is suffering from a disease, and the cause of that disease is called Metabolic Syndrome. According to the Center For Disease Control Obesity Cost Calculator which estimates that 38% of Prime’s fleet has a BMI greater than 30 ( a very low estimate in my opinion), the total medical and work loss costs attributable to High BMI is $2,923,000. That’s 83% of the total estimated medical and work loss costs for all drivers. And since the majority of Prime’s fleet are lease operators responsible for paying their own health care insurance, a large percentage of those costs are passed directly to the drivers. So why would anyone want to be diseased and lose money?

    So Prime decided to do something about this. First, it hired me, one of its own PSD- trained and successful independent contractor with a sports fitness background and a state-of-the-art metabolic-boosting fitness program designed specifically for long haul truck drivers. And then Prime set it up so that completing Prime’s DHF Basic 13 Week Program costs drivers $0/day. It’s a free benefit offered exclusively at Prime! You put skin in the game to signal Prime that you are serious, and then Prime pays you back for successfully completing the program. So, basically, IT’S FREE! And, you get to keep the equipment!

    Now imagine you were diagnosed with another disease – let’s say “cancer” or “diabetes”. Now imagine Prime offered an expensive program with proven results that could significantly help cure you of the disease at no cost to you. . . . A program that could potentially save your life . . . . So why haven’t you enrolled in the DHF program?

    So I welcome all serious comments from drivers to help me figure out how to increase participation in the DHF program. Let’s get past the idea that “drivers are too lazy” and “it’s too hard” – neither of which is true. Let’s have a real dialogue about what it will take to get every driver at Prime to enroll in the DHF program whether they are obese or not. If living longer, reducing your risk for 60 medical disorders and 12 cancers, getting off medication, saving money, sleeping better, getting the best equipment and coaching available to drivers for free, and setting the example of healthy living for your family isn’t enough to motivate YOU, what will?

    Benefits of the DHF Program:  http://driverhealthandfitness.com/benefits-of-primes-driver-health-and-fitness-dhf-program/)

    DHF Top Fifteen Performers: http://driverhealthandfitness.com/dhf-top-fifteen-performers/

    DHF 13 Week Program Requirements: http://driverhealthandfitness.com/driver-health-and-fitness-13-week-basic-program-requirements/

  • Prime Inc. Recognizes Millionaire Members (May 2013)

    Gold Millionaires

    Two Million Miler

    • James W. Smith


    One Million Milers

    • Stanley P. Lentini
    • George A. Shuck, Jr.

    Silver Millionaire

    • Matthew P. Damm

     

    Click here to read more about Prime's Driver Awards.

  • More Fleets Are Implementing Formal Health and Wellness Programs

    More Fleets Are Implementing Formal Health and Wellness Programs - Trucknews.com

    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Siphiwe Baleka was a world-class athlete before deciding to embark on a career as a professional driver with Prime Inc.

    “I’d never been overweight,” he recalled, when speaking at a recent Driving for Profit seminar on health and wellness. “I put on 15 pounds in the first two months. I got scared. I realized if I didn’t take responsibility for my health, I was going to end up like the statistics say: overweight.”

    Baleka began developing a health and fitness plan specifically designed for professional drivers like himself, reflecting all the challenges drivers face, including an inconsistent schedule and nomadic lifestyle.

    “I had to figure out what was the most effective, least time-consuming way to stay in shape on the road. I spent three years developing a program that any truck driver could do. I’m not asking you to grill asparagus in your truck,” he said.

    Baleka’s fitness regimen can be done in as little as 15 minutes per day. Prime drivers are given a DVD outlining the workout and are also offered the opportunity to participate in a 13-week health and wellness program that teaches them how to exercise and eat well while on the road. There’s a $300 cost for the program, which drivers pay up-front and is reimbursed by the company upon completion.

    The program, said Baleka, was built with the realization that drivers wouldn’t be prepared to radically adjust their eating habits. For example, drivers who like to eat a footlong sub are advised to order a six-inch with double the meat; it’s just as filling with half the carbs. Carbohydrates are a major culprit in weight gain for truckers, Baleka said. Carbs are energy, which if not burned off immediately is stored as fat, leading to “trucker gut.”

    The best approach to healthy eating is to start with a breakfast and eat small portions of high-protein foods frequently throughout the day, Baleka said. Avoid carbs whenever possible unless you’ll be exercising soon after.

    Truck drivers are predisposed to gain weight because of the nature of their jobs, Baleka noted. A sedentary lifestyle causes hormonal changes that disrupt the body’s ability to regulate hunger, meaning drivers often feel hungry all the time or never, with both scenarios leading to overeating and, ultimately, weight gain.

    “The average person will say (truckers) eat too much and are lazy,” he said. “That’s not true. There are biochemical and hormonal changes as a result of the occupation they are not even aware of.”

    In the US and Canada, more carriers are beginning to offer health and wellness programs for their drivers. As the driver population ages, progressive carriers realize they need to help their drivers stay healthy. Asked why companies should take an interest in the health of their workers, Dave Dietrick, vice-president of human resources with Erb Group said simply: “It’s the right thing to do. We have to be involved. We have to provide programs for them to become healthier.”

    Erb has had an employee health and wellness plan for nearly five years, which started after company founder Vernon Erb suffered a heart attack and began discussing driver health with hospital staff during his stay at St. Mary’s Hospital. Upon his release, Erb partnered with the hospital to develop an employee health program.
    Brian Kurtz Trucking became proactive about driver health when the Truckload Carriers Association announced its first Weight Loss Showdown. The program involved support from the Lindora Clinic, which provided a weight loss blueprint and then gave personal advice and support to drivers and office staff who participated in the 10-week challenge.

    General manager Trevor Kurtz admitted he was initially wary of broaching the subject with drivers, unsure of how they’d react.

    “I wasn’t sure how it would be received,” he said. “I threw it out there during a driver meeting. There were 100 guys sitting there and more than 20 put their hands up right away; some guys I didn’t expect. They knew we cared and there was an overwhelming response.”

    Interest in the TCA Weight Loss Showdown was so high, that Kurtz formed two teams of 10: an official team that took part in the competition and another that participated internally. Brian Kurtz Trucking ensured the drivers had the tools necessary to succeed, including fridges in all the trucks.

    “Every truck has a fridge in it and our guys fill the fridge before they leave. We have to cross the border, so that became a hurdle we had to work on. They’d leave a little earlier so they could stop at a grocery store when they cross the border and fill their fridge,” Kurtz said. The competition built camaraderie among drivers and before long, Kurtz said, they could be heard at the terminal comparing shopping spots along their routes.

    It’s also possible to eat healthy at truck stops and restaurants, Kurtz noted.

    “It’s picking healthy choices,” he said. “There’s always something on the menu that’s going to be good for you. If you ask them not to deep-fry the chicken breast, they don’t have to.”

    Erb is currently compiling a healthy cookbook of recipes that can be prepared before or during a trip. Those 150 recipes are now being evaluated by a team of University of Guelph nutritionists, who’ll rate their nutritional value.

    “It provides them with some options,” Dietrick said. “Our goal is to have that out to all employees this year, so they can make those recipes to take out on the road.”

    Baleka said drivers are advised to eat breakfast, and small meals every three hours when driving, which may seem counter-intuitive. But Kurtz and Dietrick said they’ve both followed the advice themselves and found it worked, eliminating late-evening food cravings.

    Eating well is important, but so too is exercising. In developing his workout regimen, Baleka said he realized it had to be fast and simple if truckers were to buy in.

    “The further you have to go from your truck, the less likely you will be to work out,” he acknowledged. “The longer it takes to clean up afterwards, the less likely you’ll be to work out. And it can’t be the kind of thing where you have to do it every day at 7 o’clock. I learned you can get the benefit of a one-hour workout in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes is long enough to be effective for weight loss, but short enough and portable so you can fit it in anywhere, anytime. As a driver, you don’t know when you’ll have time, but you know you’ll have time.”

    The 15-minute workout is vigorous, Baleka admitted, and Kurtz pointed out the word “vigorous” has different meanings to different drivers.

    “Vigorous for one guy may be walking from the back of the truck stop parking lot to the front. We have guys who, by the time they’ve hooked up and done a circle check, you’d think they’d run a marathon. As long as they pick it up week by week – park a little further away, walk a little faster, walk around the truck a few more times,” Kurtz said.

    The company also encourages drivers to get in shape by paying lumper fees to the drivers themselves if they choose to handbomb their own freight.

    Equally important is to have a “cheerleader” in the office to offer support and encouragement. Kurtz keeps a scale by the door. When drivers who are participating in a weight loss program return to the terminal, they hop on the scale and their results are entered into a spreadsheet.

    Dietrick said getting drivers’ families involved is also important. Erb offers the programs to drivers’ families and Brian Kurtz Trucking sends home information packages for family members.

    Fleets also can help out by ensuring the necessary tools are available. Kurtz said his company has installed bike racks on some drivers’ trucks. Prime offers foldable bikes that can be carried in the cab and encourages drivers to log their miles using a smartphone app. Some of the most avid cyclists in the fleet have biked close to 350 miles in a single month during their travels, Baleka said.

    Once a health and wellness program has been initiated, Kurtz said it’s important to keep the program going. Continue to celebrate achievements well after any formal program has concluded, he stressed.
    “You’ve gotta stay on top of it,” he said. “A big mistake we learned is when the program runs out, you need somebody to keep it going.”

    At Christmas time, Kurtz said drivers who kept the weight off that they lost through the formal TCA program were given monetary rewards.

    If you don’t know where to start in developing a wellness program, Dietrick suggested turning to local experts at nearby colleges, universities and hospitals. Often, student groups will be available to provide expertise and guidance at no cost.

    All three panelists at the Driving for Profit seminar said they’ve seen many success stories. But what defines a successful health and wellness program varies. Kurtz said “We’ve seen 20% of our staff lose more than 5% of their body mass and keep it off for a year so far.”

    Five employees have reduced in half – or completely eliminated – the medications they were on, he added.
    “Keeping it front and centre is the biggest hurdle right now,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier with the way our staff has responded.”

    And it’s not just drivers. Kurtz said 50% of the company’s operations staff has collectively lost 10% of its body mass.

    Erb’s Dietrick admitted it’s tough to measure a return on investment. However, he said 40% of Erb’s employees have participated in the programs it offers.

    At Prime, in 10 months, 130 drivers have enrolled in the program and 63% completed it and are in compliance, meaning they wear monitoring devices to prove they’ve stuck to the program and they log their food intake.
    “Ninety per cent of those drivers lost an average of 19.3 lbs in 13 weeks,” Baleka said, noting that equates to 1.6 lbs/week, which is better than the fitness industry average of 1.3 lbs/week.

    “This whole idea that you can’t do it in the truck – we’re smashing that, we’re doing better than the average,” he said.

    In addition to those who’ve enrolled in the full program, another 500 drivers have used the workout DVD and they’ve lost 5,000 lbs – or 10 lbs per driver. Prime has set up an athletic division that helps drivers get to fitness events they wish to participate in. Baleka said the target at Prime is for participants to shed 7% of their body weight in 13 weeks. Those who succeed are offered the opportunity to become mentors for others, and they’re paid extra to do so. While there’s no shortage of individual success stories, Baleka agreed it’s difficult to define a return on investment. He said Prime is studying data to see if there’s a correlation between body mass index and preventable accidents.

    “We know there are soft returns, but it’s going to take another two to three years to have Prime-specific data on results from our program,” he said. He encouraged carriers to look at their fleet’s BMI profile and see if it correlates with slips and falls and other lost-time injuries.

    “If a disproportionate amount is coming from obese drivers, then obesity is costing your company,” he said.
    Kurtz said a wellness program can be implemented without a lot of cost. He estimated it to be about $300 per driver, using the Lindora Clinic/TCA formula. He also suggested finding a cheerleader within the office to administer the program and provide support.

    While it may seem that living healthy on the road is impossible, drivers who’ve made the lifestyle changes report they now find it easier to live healthy on the road than at home. “They go home, and they say they can’t wait to get back in the truck,” said Baleka. “They’re losing weight when in the truck because they have the opportunity to focus on themselves.”

    What drivers can do:

    • Reduce carbs, increase protein
    • Like subs? Substitute footlong with six-inch
    • to reduce carbs. Still hungry? Add double meat.
    • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
    • Park at far end of the parking lot and walk
    • Do laps around the truck on breaks
    • Exercise vigorously at least 15 minutes a day
    • Keep truck fridge packed with healthy choices

    What fleets can do:

    • Encourage participation
    • Celebrate, recognize achievements
    • Install bike racks on trucks upon request
    • Equip trucks with fridges
    • Provide incentives
    • Solicit an office “cheerleader” to provide support
    • Pay lumper fees to drivers who handbomb own freight
    • Work with local schools, hospitals to develop exercise/nutrition programs
    • Extend program to office staff, drivers’ families
  • Prime Drivers Compete In Month Long Bicycle Challenge

    PrimeShorts.com
    Jeff Schmid

    June 6, 2013 (Springfield, Missouri) – Mario Almendarez, a lease operator at Prime, Inc, rode a total of 538.99 miles to win Prime’s 2013 May Bicycle Challenge. Mr. Almendarez took the lead from Ange Mwiseneza during the last week of May by riding an incredible 204.59 miles. Mr. Mwiseneza finished the competition in second place with 488.5 miles, while Jeff Schmid finished in third with 155.34 miles. The month long competition was designed by Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coach Siphiwe Baleka in an effort to further the culture of fitness among Prime’s drivers.

         Twice a year, Prime, Inc. sponsors a month long bicycle challenge to encourage drivers to be more active as part of its award-winning Driver Health and Fitness program. Drivers who carry a bike on their truck can participate, and they use smartphone apps to track their rides. Commenting on how he was able to ride so many miles, Mr. Almendarez said, “It all comes down to location and trips. I was lucky to be in the south last month with a lot of short trips and good weather. Up north where I usually run I probably wouldn’t have done as well.”

         Roy Romo, who finished second last year during the September Bicycle Challenge, finished fourth this year’s May challenge. “As a Prime Student Driver Trainer,” said Mr. Romo, “I found riding a bike an enjoyable way to see and explore more at the places I travel to, as well as a way to exercise. The bike challenge gave me the incentive to ride more often and farther than I would have otherwise. I encourage every driver to find a way to get out of the truck and exercise as often as you can.” 

         Last year, Prime and bicycle manufacturer Montague partnered to provide high quality fold-up mountain bikes to the fleet. “Twenty-eight drivers now carry a mountain bike inside their tractor cabs,” said Baleka, “and more and more drivers are riding. Mario and Ange had an epic battle and pushed each other in friendly competition. I am very impressed and inspired by their efforts,” said Baleka.

        Final results: 

    1.                       Mario Almendarez – 538.99 miles
    2.                       Ange Mwiseneza  - 488.5 miles
    3.                       Jeff Schmid – 155.34 miles
    4.                       Roy Romo – 62.9 miles

     

  • Prime Inc. Contractors of the Month (April 2013)

    April 2013 Awardees include:

    Anton J. Webster

    Refrigerated Division

    Janine & Paul Hackman

    Flatbed Division

    Benjamin Johnson

    Tanker Division

    Douglas Adams

    Company Tanker Division

    Henry L. Vance, Jr.

    Company Refrigerated

    Toby Richardson

    Company Flatbed Division

    Tye L. Woodward & Stacey S. Woodward

    Refrigerated Team Division

  • Prime Inc. Recognizes Millionaire Members (April 2013)

    Gold Millionaires

    Two Million Milers

    • John Barrett 
    • John J Penders


    One Million Milers

    • Benjamin L Barrett
    • Chris Laudenslager
    • Bill H Whoberry
    • Joyce A Zeuschner



    Silver Millionaires

    • Bejamine Furlow
    • Andrew Napier

     

    Click here to read more about Prime's Driver Awards.

  • Stuff The Truck for Moore, OK

    STUFF THE TRUCK FOR MOORE, OK.
    WITH MIDWEST FAMILY RADIO & PRIME, INC.

    http://www.q1021.fm/Stuff-The-Truck-for-Moore--OK/16405684

    With the recent devastation of an EF4 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, Mid-West Family Radio Stations (104.7 The Cave, 92.9 The Beat, 105.1 BOB fm & Q102.1)  and Prime, Inc.,  have teamed up to provide needed items to the affected area overseen by the assistance of The Convoy of Hope, Springfield, MO. All collected items will be used for Disaster relief Efforts in Moore, Oklahoma and the Convoy of Hope.
    Any assistance in sharing this information is greatly appreciated!
    Details are listed below.

    When: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 from 7am until we stuff the truck!

    Where: Mid-West Family Radio Station parking lot.
    (Food 4 Less Shopping Center, 319 East Battlefield).

    What we are collecting for donation:

    • Work gloves
    • Bottled water
    • Diapers
    • Baby wipes
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Non perishable foods with pop tabs

    Residents of the Springfield area along side Mid-West Family Radio and Prime, Inc. were able to fill two 53 foot trailers with donations for the Joplin Tornado of 2011.

     

    Prime, Inc. has several Drivers who are from the Oklahoma area and are prepared to help in the recovery efforts.


     

  • Prime Example at the Healthy Trucking Association of America 5th Summit

    (Springfield, Mo.) – Prime, Inc. recently received the Trailblazer Award for the Driver Health and Fitness Program at the 5th Annual Healthy Trucking Summit sponsored by the Healthy Trucking Association of America (HTAA) in Atlanta, GA.

    During the event, held April 30-May 2, Prime Driver Melissa Fort was named the Female Healthy Trucker of the Year. The creator of the health and fitness program, former Prime Lease Operator Siphiwe Baleka, also received the Legacy Award.

    Presenting the Trailblazer Award, Dr. Karen Heaton of the UAB Medical Center, recognized Prime for their “comprehensive approach to the management of metabolic syndrome.”

    Accepting the award on behalf of Prime was Driver Health and Fitness Coach, Siphiwe Baleka. “Prime is a great place to work,” said Baleka. “They have every possible driver amenity you can think of. More than 130 drivers have enrolled in the program and since its inception, more than 600 drivers have lost over 6,000 lbs. and 90 drivers have quit smoking.”

    For the first time, the HTAA named both a male and female “Healthy Trucker of the Year.” The honor of the first female award went to Fort who lost 10.1% of her bodyweight in Prime’s 13 week program. She is now coaching other drivers through the program while continuing to lose weight.

    “Melissa really deserves this award. She truly is a great example of what I call a ‘Fitness Trucker.’ It’s a lifestyle change and she made it while driving teams,” Baleka said.

  • Prime Intern Wins Community Engagement Intern of the Year Award

    (Springfield, Mo.) – Missouri State University awarded Lauren Whaley the “Community Engagement Intern of the Year Award” for her work in organizing and analyzing metabolic and nutrition data that was collected from fifty one drivers that enrolled in Prime’s ground-breaking and award-winning Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) program. Prime was also recognized for their participation in the first year of MSU’s very successful Dietetic Internship program.

    “Ms. Whaley’s respect for scientific principles was reflected in the organizing and reporting methods she created herself and used to produce accurate analysis,” said DHF Director Siphiwe Baleka. “Her work has helped to establish perhaps the most extensive, nutritional study of commercial truck driver over-the-road eating habits ever done and will provide knowledge about driver nutrition that the industry does not currently possess.” Ms. Whaley said, “I have learned a lot from this rotation. Before working with you and Prime, Inc. I only knew the bare minimum about truck driving and the actual effects of the road. The men and women in my profession can only speculate due to it being a whole other world.”

    Hillary Roberts, Dietetic Internship Director and Senior Instructor at the Biomedical Sciences Department at MSU commented, “It is hard to place Lauren in one nomination category, as she meets the criterion for all three!”

  • Prime Inc. Trainer Honored For Service and Teaching Abilities

    Prime Inc. Trainer Honored For Service and Teaching Abilities John Callahan and Danny Gibbons

    (Springfield, Missouri)-John Callahan, recently named the 2012 Instructor of the Year at Prime Inc. has never had an accident on the road. Like his teaching record, his driving is impeccable. A trainer at the company for three years, Callahan said "it was an honor" to be recognized for his efforts.

    "Becoming an instructor of the year is not a selection of the most popular by a group of peers. It is a medal won due to the commitment to wanting to help others achieve a goal," according to Stan Kasterke, Program Manager at Prime. "We call it being a team player. In reality, this person is the team captain who leads other instructors and apprentices to achieve a goal."

    Callahan, who is married, with four children, was raised in Colfax, Iowa. He has been with Prime for nearly four years. "We have a dinner to honor the top 10 instructors each year. I have made the Top 10 list twice," he said. "I started out as a regular driver, gained experience on the road, went through the necessary courses, and ended up Instructor of the Year three years later. That's probably one of the best things you could say about a training program."

    Along with being named the 2012 Instructor of the Year, Callahan received $500, a plaque, and will have his name added to the Instructor of the Year Wall of Fame at Prime. He also received a $50 gift certificate for Oasis Restaurant, a gift certificate for a free hair cut or massage, and a free truck detail.

    Additional instructors honored alongside Callahan for their service include: John Lewis, John Carrigan, Justin Humiston, Eddie Neblett, Scott Dahlstrom, Timothy Wiemer, James Fuller, Keith Luce, William Parkman, and Mark Gaines.

    All of these individuals worked to help the 1,355 students in the 2012 Prime training program earn their CDL license. Callahan, who said he was a "casualty of the economy," joined Prime for the income. After signing, he discovered the organization was "great from top to bottom."

    His first trainer, Danny Gibbons, remains his greatest inspiration. "The best thing about being an instructor," the newly honored Callahan said, "is that you get to see the country and you get to help students with their careers."

    He describes his training experiences with new drivers out on the road as fun and readily admits to being stuck in a mud hole once or twice. "Overall," he said, "I think the more boring the better, especially when it comes to driving."

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