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KATIE POLLOCK ESTES Editorial Director ETTIE BERNEKING Editor PAIJE LUTH Creative Director JENNA DEJONG Assistant Editor JAMIE THOMAS Staff Writer

Springfield, MO Salt Lake City, UT Pittston, PA


SARAH PATTON Art Director BRANDON ALMS Senior Photographer & Designer

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lucia Amberg, K aren Bliss, Tessa Cooper, J uliana G oodwin, Susan Atteberry Smith, R ae Snobl, Lillian Stone

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Danielle Chapman, Andrea Mueller, J essica Pena

GIVE US A CALL 417-521-3814 (MO) 570-602-4793 (PA) 801-977-5903 (UT)

Use your Prime Reward Points here!

LOGAN AGUIRRE President/ Associate Publisher MEGAN JOHNSON V P of Custom Publishing AMMIE SCOTT V P of Strategy and Senior Account Executive LANDRA BUNGE Finance Director COLIN DENNISTON Administrative Assistant GARY WHITAKER Founder JOAN WHITAKER Founder




ON THE COVER Curt Martin is a huge fan of the KC Chiefs, and his new truck has the design to prove it.

Prime Ways 2020 PRIME WAYS| |November MARCH 2017

The new cafeteria at the Salt Lake City terminal was designed to look similar to the cafeteria in Springfield with bright, open spaces and seating that can be moved around as needed.

18 THE BIG REVEAL The wait is over! Prime’s new amenities building in Salt Lake City is about to open, so take a look inside.

9 TECH TALK This 18-year-old knows his way around an engine, and he has the awards to prove it.


14 CHIEFS FANDOM Meet the driver whose love of the KC Chiefs influenced the design of his truck and his tattoo.





Eating Keto and need new recipes to try? This driver has a secret ingredient she adds to her bean-free chili.




Meet three Prime associates who are taking their physical fitness to a whole new level. From races and runs to dragging logs up hills, these guys know how to stay in shape on the road.

Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to stock up on the tools needed to stay safe on the road. Get tips on what you’ll need this winter from Prime’s Tyler Patrick.



Driver Brian Howe might not be able to cheer on his daughter in person at her cheerleading competitions, but he’s found a way to show his support while he’s on the road.

Photos courtesy Prime, Brian Howe and Ed LaPlante, by Ettie Berneking



Chat All the numbers, programs and announcements we think deserve a little extra attention in this quarter’s issue of Prime Ways.

$$$ Jonathan Brown came up with the idea of gathering up the coins people toss in the fountain at the Oasis hotel in Springfield, Missouri, and donating them to local charities. Now Prime matches the amount raised in the fountain, and in 2016, Brown was recognized nationally as the Innovator of the Year by Wyndham Hotels. And in 2019, the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association granted him the Hero of Hospitality award. Read more about Brown’s efforts to give back on p. 4.

155 TANKERS When it comes to Prime’s tanker division, keeping these trailers clean is top priority. And out in Decatur, the terminal washes around 155 tankers, and Savannah washes between 55 and 60 tankers and 20 to 30 reefers each week. Learn more about what a typical week looks like for these two terminals on p. 8.

508,000 MILES Driver Curt Martin’s first Chiefs-themed truck cruised for more than 500,000 miles before he got a new rig and a new Chiefs design. See the new ride Martin is cruising around in on p. 14.

61,000 SQUARE FEET The new amenities building at Prime’s Salt Lake City terminal features 61,000 square feet. It includes new bunk rooms, showers, a spa, sleep lab and much more. Take a peek inside and see what all the excitement is about on p. 18.

Photo courtesy Prime Inc.





alt Lake City, Utah, is ready, and we are excited to show off the new digs! What’s special about this terminal upgrade are the amenities that were strategically put in place to improve the efficiency, comfort and operations for our driving and non-driving associates. The facility houses a doctor s office, daycare learning center, weight room, basketball court, spa/ salon, orientation rooms, atbed boot camp, sleep lab and more e are e cited to have this terminal option out west for our many associates who work and roll through there on a daily basis. Turn to p. 18 to learn more about what we are adding out in Salt Lake City. s many of you kno first-hand, this industry isn t easy. Time a ay from home can unfortunately be part of the working conditions in our industry. Prime understands this and will always look for ways to improve ork life balance through efficiencies and facilities that can feel like a home away from home. We hope you enjoy the feature in this Prime Ways edition and have an opportunity to visit our newest terminal addition when in Salt Lake City.

Ed LaPlante is 60 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him racing. He’s competed in more than 40 Spartan races—a series of obstacle races of varying distances and difficulties. Learn what inspired LaPlante and two other Prime drivers to put their fitness first starting on p. 24.

R obert Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder



LIFE | NOVEMBER 2020 Jonathan Brown is always looking for ways to give back and help others. When he saw all the loose change in the fountain at Oasis in Springfield, he came up with a way to put that money to good use.


Philanthropist Jonathan Brown, a maintenance technician at the Prime-owned Oasis Hotel & Convention Center, gives back in more ways than one. In celebration of his recent 10-year work anniversary, we chatted with him about his time as a volunteer firefighter and how he came up with a creative way for the company to give back. BY TESSA COOPER




Photo courtesy Jonathan Brown


or J onathan Brown, giving back to the community isn’t simply an act; it’s a lifestyle. This is even apparent in ho he fills his spare time. ou on t find ro n on the golf course or on one of the lakes and rivers around the O zarks. Instead, when Brown isn’t working at rime, you ll find him serving as a volunteer firefighter and emergency services technician in Willard, Missouri. It’s a role he s been filling for five years no . “Being able to help people on literally the worst day of their lives and doing all you can is a feeling that is indescribable,” Brown says. “Some days are better than others for sure, but on the days that you’re able to go and help somebody out, that creates just an amazing feeling.” After seeing the difference he was making in the community, he decided to begin orking full-time as a firefighter this past summer. He made this move while still maintaining full-time employment at O asis. “It’s amazing that my general manager and

my boss are generous enough to give me the opportunity to write my schedule around the fire station and be able to stay full-time here by doing so.” But Brown isn’t just making a difference as a firefighter. e s also found a ay to make a difference through his job at the O asis. In 20 12, he was working on treating the water in the hotel’s fountains when an idea came to him. He realized all the wishing coins in the fountain could really add up and benefit the community. “When people throw the coins in, they traditionally make a wish, especially children,” Brown says. “They get some enjoyment out of making a wish when they throw their coins in, so I just kind of tied it together and thought it would be awesome if we could actually make some wishes come true with the money that’s being thrown in.” He pitched the idea to donate the fountain coins to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the O asis general manager, Missy Handyside, loved the idea. So did R obert Low, president and founder of Prime. Low loved the idea so much, he decided the company would match the donations. While Prime initially donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it later began sending the funds to rotating local charities that benefit children, including arks Food Harvest and Wish I May. To date, the fountain coins initiative at O asis has raised thousands of dollars. O ther organizations have taken notice of Brown’s idea and of his drive to help others. In 20 16, Brown was recognized

Get Involved

“When people throw the coins in, they traditionally make a wish, especially children. They get some enjoyment out of making a wish when they throw their coins in, so I just kind of tied it together and thought it would be awesome if we could actually make some wishes come true with the money that’s being thrown in.” —Jonathan Brown G rowing up, Brown was often on the nationally as the Innovator of the Y ear by Wyndham Hotels. And in 20 19 , the receiving end of giving. He and his brother Springfield otel odging ssociation were raised by a single dad who provided granted him the Hero of Hospitality award. for the family by offering HV AC services in Brown is also an active member of the a small town. “There for a while when I was O asis G ive Sq uad, the hotel’s outreach task growing up, he was making 5 or 6 dollars an force. The G ive Sq uad regularly meets to hour and raising two kids,” Brown recalls. plan philanthropic fundraisers and events. “My grandparents helped a lot, but not havO ne of his favorite charities he has volun- ing a whole lot helps me relate to people teered with through the O asis G ive Sq uad is who struggle.” For Brown, giving back is a daily effort Habitat for Humanity. “We did some drywall work at a Habitat that fuels him, and he truly believes it’s alfor Humanity home they were remodeling,” most addictive. “I think a lot of people also he says. “I have done a lot of construction have the drive to give back, but they just hain my past, so I enjoyed being able to do ven t gone out and taken that big first step something I was fairly skilled at and do it to of helping,” he says. “I think if more people help somebody else. Helping people seems were to do that and experience that sense to give you the biggest reward in your of helping somebody else, they would get hooked on it.” personal life.”

Brown offers advice on how to make giving back a part of your daily life.

FIND A CAUSE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU “That is probably going to be the easiest decision you make in this whole process,” he says. “A lot of people already know what their passion is or what they feel in their heart needs help.”

RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS TO DONATE TO “Do some web research or ask around,” he says. “Churches have a lot of connections for great organizations.”

TRY BOTH BEHIND-THE-SCENES WORK AND FRONTLINE WORK “I definitely would suggest doing a little bit of everything and seeing which is the most satisfying for you,” he says. “Ultimately, if you’re not getting that self-satisfaction from it, you are going to lose interest. Giving back could turn into just a phase you went through. But if you can make it a lifestyle where you really enjoy it, then it’s going to benefit people long term.” PRIME WAYS


A simple salute In each issue of Prime Ways, we take a moment to highlight the veterans and service members who work at Prime. This time, we salute Shaun Mason and Richard Sallee. If you know a veteran who deserves some time in the spotlight, email us at KAREN BLISS

Shaun Mason

“I respect rules and regulations,” he says, “and I learned to do the right things. You have to be on time and be respectful.” —Shaun Mason

Military History: Shaun Mason’s two-plus decade career in the military began in 1992. Back then, Mason was looking for structure, and he joined the Marines as an infantryman, E1. He eventually advanced to a corporal E4 and served in the Marines until 1997. During his time in the Marines, Mason was deployed to Somalia, Japan and Haiti. He also served in the Army in 1998 and retired in 2020 after spending a total of 25 years in the military. During his time in the armed services, Mason received two bronze stars and defense medals. By the time he finally retired from the armed forces, Mason had moved up to special services. After more than 20 years in the service, Mason learned a lot. He learned the importance of rules and hard work, and he learned the value of respect. All of those life lessons came in handy as Mason left the military and returned to life as a civilian where he hopes to soon share those lessons with new drivers at Prime.

Prime Service: Mason was interested in working at Prime after doing some research on trucking companies. He liked that Prime offered a flatbed division, a tanker division and tanker trucking. Mason says he found Prime to be a “fresh” and “exciting” company that’s up-to-date with the industry. Mason joined Prime in May and started driving within the flatbed division. He says in that time frame he has logged 6,000 miles and doesn’t have a typical territory. “I can drive anywhere,” he says. “If I could drive to the moon, I would probably do it. I don’t do a specific area. Right now, I am mostly in the Northeast and in the South.” Mason says he is looking forward to training new drivers as soon as he is able to advance to that point and says life in the military prepared him for work at Prime in several different ways. “I respect rules and regulations,” he says, “and I learned to do the right things. You have to be on time and be respectful.”

“I love the freedom that this job gives me and also being my own boss.” —Richard Sallee



Military History: Sallee served in the Army from 2003 to 2012 and was medically retired at the rank of sergeant. He worked on both the Apache and the Chinook Helicopters where he was a crew chief and was deployed three times, once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. During that time he was in charge of up to 12 other soldiers and received several Army commendation and service medals. Sallee says anyone who is interested in the military should do their research before joining, to understand what it’s really about. “Seek out people who have been in the military and ask as many questions as you can,” he says.

Prime Service: Sallee has been at Prime for just over a year and is now a lease driver in the refrigerated division where he travels all over the lower 48 states. “I love the freedom that this job gives me and also being my own boss,” he says. Sallee says the military helped teach him time management skills and taught him not to be afraid to ask questions. He says in the trucking industry, you have to be prepared to soak up as much information as possible from veterans in the industry. “I talk almost daily with my trainer Justin Deaton,” he says. “Don’t think that you know everything because I can assure you that you don’t.”

Photos courtesy Shaun Mason, Richard Sallee

Richard Sallee

words from the field

HEADED BACK TO SCHOOL A partnership with Bethel University allows Prime associates and their immediate family members to go back to school for less. BY JULIANA GOODWIN


THE JOURNEY AHEAD In each issue, we introduce a new guest blogger to talk about life on the road. This issue, Prime driver Juliana Castro talks about how she knew she wanted to travel, but she never dreamed that goal would land her in a big rig. BY JULIANA CASTRO, AS TOLD TO LUCIE AMBERG

ow would you like to earn a college degree at a discount? Thanks to Prime, you can. Trish R obey works in Human esources for rime in Springfield, Missouri, and says the company has a really strong partnership with Bethel University in Tennessee. Prime team members and their families can enroll online at a discounted rate. The discount is steep: up to 50 % off for associates and 3 0 % off for their spouses and children. The partnership came about because R obert Low’s mother was heavily involved with the university. R obey says many Prime members have utilized the discount over the years. “Several have graduated and some have even gone on to get their masters,” she says. Some ust ant to better themselves or they have a dream of finishing their degree.” Thanks to this partnership at Prime, that dream can become a reality at a discount. To learn more visit

Photos by Jessica Pena and courtesy Prime

Photos courtesy Shaun Mason, Richard Sallee


am the daughter of Jimmy and Josie Castro. My parents are a prime example of hustlers. What I mean by that is they worked very hard to provide and raise five strong daughters. Watching them work their butts off gave me the kind of mindset I have today. I’m a Texas kind of gal. Goliad, Texas, is home base. It’s a small town, the kind where everyone knows everyone. At a point in life, Goliad became too small for me. I wanted to see what was out there, and I always wanted to travel. For a while, I thought I’d be a flight attendant, but here I am driving a truck. It actually makes a lot of sense. Just today, my dad and I were working on my Jeep, and I noticed how natural it all felt. I’m not intimidated to get under the hood and fix something; that’s how I learn. I get it from my dad. Even though driving feels so natural to me, it wasn’t originally my idea. My ex-fiancé suggested we do it. He found Prime, and we jumped on a Greyhound bus for 22 long hours to Springfield, Missouri, where we completed our training and testing. I was nervous. We planned to drive as a team. But what if he made it and I didn’t? So I worked really hard. Of course, my class was filled with guys, but we all had the same goal: learn, study, stay safe. When I took my tests, I could hear them cheering me on. I was lucky to have a couple of female trainers, Sherina McConneyhead and Lisa Miller. They taught me everything I needed to know to survive in this trucking world. When my ex-fiancé and I set out on the road, people warned us about driving together. I thought we could do it, but we couldn’t. When our relationship fell apart, Prime was there for me. I remember my dispatcher Steven Wray telling me I could do this on my own. So I got my own truck and named her Black Cherry. I still drive on my own, well — sort of. I have a really cool beagle named Journey. Whenever we get on the road, I’m like, “Come on, Journey. We’re doing this.” It’s a mindset. When I go to truck stops, I know people are surprised to see this 4ʼ11” woman hop out of a big truck. I love seeing other women express interest in this career. I tell them, “Yes, you can do it. You can do anything you set your mind to.” There are times when I have my music on, and Journey and I are driving through a really pretty place up in Tennessee or somewhere green. And I just think, “Wow. I’m really doing this.” So it was a love story that brought me here, just a different one than I imagined.

A CONVOY WITH A CAUSE Prime is always looking for ways to get involved in its communities and give back. One way it gives back in Missouri is through the Special Olympics. BY RAE SNOBL


ince 20 13 , Prime has sponsored the Truck Convoy in J oplin, Missouri, hich benefits Special lympics Missouri. s a G old Sponsor, Prime donates $ 2,50 0 and gets to have 10 Prime trucks participate in the convoy,” says Andrea Mueller, Media and O nboarding Manager for Prime. Each year, drivers who want to take part in the event enter a drawing to earn 1 of the 10 Prime slots in the convoy. In past years, the truck show and convoy took place live in the fall, but this year the event went “virtual.” Drivers registered, raised money for athletes, logged their miles and participated in a daily scavenger hunt. “G iving back to the community is important to us and this event lets our drivers get directly involved,” Andrea says. For more information visit convoy. PRIME WAYS


week in the life

Keeping it


A Day in the Life of Tanker Cleaning. BY RAE SNOBL

PREP WORK Upon arrival, the managers look up every trailer number in the yard and determine what product it has inside. “Every customer has different wash req uirements based on what was hauled in the trailer,” Bowers says. The managers make a list with load times for each order and put the wash schedule up. With two bays in Decatur and one in Savannah, staying on schedule is extra important.



▲ Niki Bowers (left) and Sam Steiner (right) are facility managers in Georgia and Indiana, respectively. At both terminals, these women are in charge of making sure each tanker trailer that comes through is cleaned up and ready for its next haul.

WASHING AND REPAIRS Every trailer is kosher washed leaving no residue in the tanker for the next load. “We use scrapers and 5-gallon buckets to remove hard oil before washing,” says Niki. All washes are req uired to use fresh water, and each cycle averages between 25 and 3 0 minutes. The first to minutes use a food grade, USDA-approved detergent injection, and the water temperature is above 20 0 degrees during the entire wash. After the wash cycle, the trailer must also be dried. Due to the oil and residue that comes from the tankers, an onsite, licensed wastewater treatment operator begins to separate the product from the water immediately and continues to treat the water biologically through several steps that can take between 24 and 48 hours before sending treated water back out to the city.

Shuttles also run clean trailers out to customers and take trailers with larger mechanic work out to shops around the area. The managers often get called in to assist with washes, mechanical repairs or maintenance on machines. They also manage parts orders and inventories as well as schedule changes.

WRAPPING UP Toward the end of the day managers enter wash tickets into multiple systems with detailed descriptions to prepare for possible audits. Then, they check emails to plan the next day’s schedule. During an average week, Decatur washes around 155 tankers, and Savannah washes between 55 and 60 tankers and 20 to 3 0 reefers.

Photos courtesy Niki Bowers and Sam Steiner


veryone loves a clean truck, but Niki Bowers and Sam Steiner take clean to the next level. As the facility managers of Savannah K leen in G eorgia and Decatur K leen in Indiana, they oversee the meticulous cleaning process of tanker trailers. Prime tankers haul liq uid food grade products ranging from oils to chocolate. “It’s important to thoroughly clean all parts of the tanker so there is no risk of cross contamination or bacteria growth,” Bowers says. Both facilities also perform routine maintenance on tankers and provide on-site facilities for drivers while they wait for their trailers to be cleaned. We decided to take a look at a typical day at a tanker wash facility where, we learned, there is never a dull moment.

close to home

Nikolas Ridgley knew at the age of 16 that he wanted to work with diesel mechanics. Now, at 18, he’s a full-time associate at Prime.

Young Talent Nikolas Ridgley is an 18-year-old tractor-mechanic at Prime, but his knowledge exceeds his years. BY TESSA COOPER

Photo by DF Gardner

Photos courtesy Niki Bowers and Sam Steiner


or those around age 20 , a q uarter-life crisis often centers around occupational woes. After years of traditional schooling, young adults begin their careers and sometimes falter or second guess their job choice. But not Nikolas R idgley, a tractor-mechanic at the Prime Pittston terminal. At just 16 years old, he already knew he wanted to pursue a career that involved diesel mechanics, and he even earned accolades that demonstrate his talent in this field. e on multiple academic achievement awards at his high school, but most impressively, he took home a Skills USA award for diesel mechanics in his district. Participating in the competition req uired R idgley to show his knowledge through different charging tests, safety tests and valve adjustments on engines. He was looking forward to competing at the state level, but unfortunately, the state competition got canceled amid the CO V ID-19 pandemic.

In a way, his training really started when he was old enough to watch his dad, a car mechanic, at work. “I wanted to stay in the line but do something a little bit different,” R idgley says. “I just like working with my hands and being able to fi things that some people can’t.” With a padded resume, he applied for a tractor internship at Prime and landed the job during his sophomore year of high school. R idgley enjoyed the balance of getting to try new things under supervision while also getting to practice independently. “I worked alongside other mechanics, and they started showing me a few things,” he recalls. “Then, they slowly let me work more by myself. O ne thing that will stand out from my internship is how well the others continued to help me. Everyone works with each other.” Balancing being a high school student with being an intern was challenging at times, but he says he enjoyed every min-

ute of it. “Prime is a really nice company to work for,” he says. “They worked with me a lot through high school. I did a lot of sports, so they always helped me out with hours.” R idgley graduated at the top of his class at Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center and didn’t waste any time. He already has his ct 0 lean ir ertificate, ennsylvania State Inspection ertificate, and O ccupational Safety and Health dministration certification. Now a full-time Prime associate, R idgley plans on staying in the field, but he s not done learning. He now has his sights set on college where he plans on earning a welding degree this year. So if you happen to stop at the Prime terminal in Pittston for some repairs, you might run into R idgley, and if you do, be sure to ask about the best area pizza joints or scenic walks. As a Pittston native, R idgley can navigate area attractions as well as an engine. PRIME WAYS





losing battle One driver finds the support she needs through Prime’s health program. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH


atherine Poteat says her job is like being paid to be on vacation. “I get to drive across the United States and see all kinds of things,” she says. Unfortunately, after Poteat started driving for Prime four years ago, she also discovered that just like any vacation, being on the road at all hours can mean eating all kinds of food— and not much of it was good for her. “It’s very easy to gain weight out here because you know we’re sitting, so we’re not very active, and the food choices that you have here on the road tend to be less healthy, so it’s really easy to add those extra



pounds,” Poteat says. “Part of my problem was when I would drive at night, I would eat while I drove. I’d go back and forth between salty and sweet, and I think that’s a lot of what did me in.” After too many snacks and late-night stops at fast food restaurants, the 52-year-old G eorgia native had almost 10 0 pounds to lose when she joined Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Program in 20 18. Fifteen months later, she had lost 3 5 pounds. In an earlier program, Poteat lost 13 pounds, but she’s mainly a vegetarian, so sticking to the suggested lo -carb menus as difficult for her, as as recording everything she ate. Poteat’s knees also disliked the prescribed exercises. When she regained that weight— and then some— after a two-week cruise in 20 18, she was ready to try a new company program. Prime Health and Fitness Coordinator Matt Hancock and Prime’s R egistered Dietitian Nutritionist Sarah Waterman gave her the accountability and support she needed. “They didn’t really push a lot of exercise, which was fantastic in my view, because I’m lazy,” she says. “They started talking about making little changes, like cutting out sweetened drinks, trying to eat more vegetables and trying to do more cooking on the truck.” For Poteat, these changes made a difference. Fourteen pounds lighter, she came in second place in a Prime weight loss challenge, and then won a Simply Fit competition for weight loss by drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables and trying more healthful recipes. Learning to pressure-cook recipes in her truck, then portion them out for more than one meal, has been key to her success. O ne Simply Fit favorite is an Asianinspired dish of shrimp, carrots and mushrooms in a honey-ginger-soy sauce over a bed of rice. With lower blood pressure and a new resolve to get healthy, today Poteat’s truck kitchen steers her toward healthier choices. “I’ve been on vacation, and I’ve gained a little bit, but as soon as I get back on the truck, I get back on my own program,” she says. “My downhill trend is staying.”

Photo courtesy Katherine Poteat

Poteat knew she needed to focus on her health, but as a driver, she needed tips on how to eat better while on the road. With help from Prime’s fitness team, she has lost weight and found a new healthful lifestyle.

Instead of beans, Danielle Chapman adds raw zucchini to her chili. The squash gives the dish a nice crunch and is plenty filling.



Bean-Free Chili When Keto kicked beans out of this driver’s diet, she found a creative and nutritious substitute. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

1 tbs olive oil ½ white onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 medium zucchinis, chopped and unpeeled 1 lb ground beef 1 lb chicken or ground pork or sausage 4 tbs chili powder 1 tbs cacao powder 1 tbs paprika 2 tbs cumin 1 tsp oregano 2 tbs garlic powder ½ tsp chili flakes 15 oz. garlic fire roasted tomatoes 4 oz. can diced green chiles 15 oz. Rotel 1 tbs cornstarch


Photo by Danielle Chapman


ith colder weather setting in, drivers are starting to plug in those crockpots and Instapots more than ever, and team driver Danielle Chapman is sharing her go-to chili recipe. This is one of those recipes that’s been carefully created through plenty of trial and error and the blending of several family recipes. It also came about thanks to K eto. Danielle drives with her husband, Mike Baker, and when she was in the middle of the eto diet, she had to find a ay to replace beans in her husband s favorite comfort food— chili. “I subbed in the zucchini, and it’s great,” she says. The ucchini soaks up all the avor of the chili, but it still has some of the snap thanks to the skin.” Even better, for those drivers who are also living the K eto lifestyle, all that zucchini is carb-free. O riginally, Danielle and her husband would cook in their truck almost every day, but now she preps 12 servings of this chili before they head out on the road.

Heat oil and saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Brown the meats, then add all spices to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Add in tomatoes, chiles and Rotel and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or pressure cook for 10 minutes in Instapot. Thicken with cornstarch as needed by mixing the cornstarch with a cup of the cooking liquid and mixing back in.

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share in an upcoming issue of Prime Ways? Send your favorite recipes to:



PRIME GOOD DAD Anthony Eck Check out his feature on the blog & podcast on! Many long haul drivers wonder about the impact of their absence on their children. While over-the-road (OTR) dads may not be physically present with their children as much as they would prefer, it doesn’t mean they are absent fathers. It may not be easy to be a good dad while also driving over-the-road, but it is possible. Good Dads provide for their children. Good Dads communicate with their children. Good Dads take an interest in their children’s activities. Good Dads model responsible, respectful behavior in caring for themselves and others. Prime Inc. cares about its drivers and their families. With the launch of Prime Good Dads, Prime is initiating practical, day-to-day strategies and activities to help dads stay connected to their kids, whether or not they’re driving across the country.


Visit to sign up and learn more.


Congratulations to the 2019 highway Diamond award recipients! Excellence Award Reba Homan

Emerald Cut Award Angie Sinnes

Highway diamond OF THE YEAR Sherina McConneyhead

Highway Diamonds is a program run by Prime, Inc. that oers support and recognition to their female drivers. The mission of the Prime Highway Diamonds program is to employ and support female drivers at Prime while recognizing and reducing challenges women may face in the transportation industry.

StRong. driven. women.

Visit to learn more.


how we roll

Welcome to Chiefs Nation Driver Curt Martin has transferred his love of the KC Chiefs and Arrowhead Stadium to his latest truck. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH


or Curt Martin, choosing a design theme for his third truck was a no-brainer. The avid football fan and O klahoma native fell in love with Arrowhead Stadium and the K ansas City Chiefs more than 3 5 years ago when he saw q uarterbacks Steve DeBerg and Warren Moon sq uare off in a Chiefs vs. Houston O ilers game. Later, as manager of the stadium’s coal bin, Martin watched every home game for seven years and, driving around the grounds on a golf cart, got to know players including late NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas. Martin even went on to own a sports 14


card shop, so after he joined Prime in 20 13 , it seemed only natural to turn his truck into a R aider Hater Express hiefs-inspired rig. In fact, he says, the first admirer to snap a photo wore an L.A. R aiders shirt. As that truck covered 50 8,0 0 0 miles, coaxing NFL spirit along the highway, Martin dreamed of even more ways to show Chiefs allegiance on his next truck. K eeping the first truck s decals and adding a fe features to his yellow 20 21 Peterbilt Ultra Loft, he couldn’t wait to get back on the road in September. “Anybody who saw the first truck ill be able to tell it s still me, he says.

HIS FAVORITE PLAYERS The headdress band sports numbered footballs of Martin’s favorite players: defensive tackle Chris J ones, No. 9 5; safety Tyrann Mathieu, No. 3 2; wide receiver Mecole Hardman, No. 17 ; wide receiver Tyreek Hill, No. 10 ; tight end Travis K elce, 87 ; and q uarterback Patrick Mahomes, No. 15. “My objective is to get their autographs on the footballs, he says. His all-time favorite, though, was Thomas, whose record of seven sacks against the Seattle Seahawks in 19 9 0 remains unbroken. “He as a onderful person, Martin says.

FIRST, A FULL HEADDRESS When Martin designed his last truck, Stripes & Stuff didn’t own scaffolding tall enough to support installers to apply a Chiefs headdress decal to the roof. Today it does, so a full headdress of bright red, white and blue feathers covers the top and sides. “I had pictured this in my mind for three years,” he says.

FROM JERSEYS TO A TAT O n the hood, an arrowhead surrounded by feathers matches the Chiefs tattoo Martin designed for his right arm. His fandom begins at his K ansas home: “I have Travis K elce’s jersey on as we speak, and I just purchased a Patrick Mahomes autographed framed ersey. It s hanging on the all.


Photos by Ettie Berneking

ROAR OF THE CROWD O n the passenger side is a photo of Arrowhead packed ith fans a sea of red ith fire orks above. For Martin, it brings up the memory of a place he loves. The first time I alked into rro head, that as it, he says. I as a hiefs fan from that moment.

Martin is a longtime driving trainer, so the driver’s side bears his business logo: R aider Hater Express, LLC. Driving his new truck to the stadium for R aider Hater Day would be a challenge, he says, yet he’s done it: “Prime sent me to Arrowhead in my other truck twice on aider ater ay.



For more driving tips, head to Prime’s YouTube channel. You can watch helpful videos including this one, Pro Maintenance: Winter Trucking Tips.


on the Road It’s that time of year when cold weather settles in and road hazards increase. Tyler Patrick, Road Assist Advisor at Prime, knows drivers take the winter season seriously, and he has a few tips for staying safe on the road this winter. BY JULIANA GOODWIN

STAY ON TOP OF MAINTENANCE Make sure the truck is in top condition before winter. “Winter is really hard on eq uipment and that is when a lot of issues start to surface on trucks, atrick says. rime runs a inter service special so keep an eye out for that, he says. Before a trip, drivers should do a pre- and post-trip inspection. Make sure you do a thorough pretrip inspection of the truck and trailer.

GET SUPPLIES FOR THE TRUCK Sometimes, the right supplies can be a driver’s best friend. K eep jumper cables on the truck all the time. In winter, Antigel is key. “Antigel can be hard to locate on the road so we suggest they stock up at a terminal. We get a great deal



on them, so we sell them at a great price that’s cheaper than you can get on the road, atrick says. Also, stock Diesel 9 11 because if fuel does gel, the product will bring it back to liq uid state. Tire chains for the truck and trailer are essential. “These are needed for safety, but they’re also legally req uired. Some states, like Colorado, have different roads or passes you have to have chains for, atrick says. It might sound odd, but keeping a bag of kitty litter in the truck can help if you get into a situation where it is slippery. J ust throw some of that down under the tire to gain traction. Speaking of extra supplies, snow and ice can break a windshield wiper, so it’s important to keep a spare pair in the truck. Also, have e tra indshield iper uid. These supplies are not easy to come by on the road so plan in advance. It’s also a good idea to keep a set of basic tools on the truck.

STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES FOR THE DRIVER Have you ever been pulled over in a blizzard? It’s not fun. “As far as for their own personal safety, be sure you have a good pair of boots, proper winter clothing, blankets on the truck, good gloves and a inter coat, atrick says. e get a lot of roads out est that shut down. At times, we have drivers getting shut down for multiple days, he says. l ays plan ahead and stock up on plenty of water and food, so you have it if needed.

PLAN AND BE SAFE Before you hit the road, check weather forecasts. Plan your route and check for alternative routes. But always remember, your safety is paramount. “O ur slogan for these situations is you are the captain of this ship, atrick says. If you don t feel safe in this situation, you make that judgment call and say this is not a good time and pull over.

Photo courtesy Prime


tech update The new EPU runs on batteries, which means drivers don’t have to keep their trucks running all night to power up their devices.

Going Digital Can’t find a current issue of Prime Ways? Just open up the My Prime app.

Tech Upgrade While an APU and EPU serve the same purpose, there are several benefits of an EPU. Here’s why drivers should be interested in this new technology. BY JULIANA GOODWIN

Photos courtesy Prime

Photo courtesy Prime


ife on the road is so much easier than it used to be thanks in large part to technology. O ne little piece of that evolving world is the use of the Electric Power Unit (E PU), explains V an G ertner, who works on site at rime s Springfield terminal as a strategic account manager for Peterbilt. An EPU is a battery powered version of an APU, a small diesel engine that powers a truck’s heat and air conditioning unit. SmartAir is an EPU by Peterbilt, and it’s used in conjunction with Peterbilt’s auto start/ stop function. It provides AC to the cab and bunk area when the engine is turned off, just like an APU. The difference is an APU is powered by diesel, and the EPU uses auxiliary batteries. “These four batteries are a deep-cycle battery used to run the AC in the cab for many hours, ertner says. nce the truck detects the auxiliary or the truck’s normal lead acid batteries have depleted to a spe-

cific level, then the truck ill uto Start the main engine and recharge both the auxiliary batteries and the trucks primary batteries. There are several benefits to the SmartAir. First, it saves on space because it’s smaller, lighter and is tucked away on the passenger side. This also means it’s less weight for the truck. It also saves fuel and req uires less routine maintenance since there is no diesel engine powering the unit, which also makes it more emissions friendly. O n top of that, SmartAir is a q uiet unit. nother benefit is that it is factory installed, meaning less new truck prep time, and it can be serviced if needed at your eterbilt dealer, ertner says. So far, the response from drivers who have made the shift to SmartAir has been great. Some drivers are hesitant at first, but once they understand it and try it, G ertner says they love it.



id you know Prime Ways is about to celebrate six years of publication? It’s hard to believe, but we have been putting together this magazine for more than half a decade. The idea started when Robert Low wanted to find a way to communicate company successes and team highlights to the Prime family all across the country. Sending out an email wouldn’t cut it, so we created Prime Ways. Over the years, the magazine has evolved as have the stories inside. More and more of you are sending in story ideas and photos of your travels. We love it all. We love getting photos of your pets who travel with you. We love hearing the advice and stories you’re eager to share with fellow drivers, and we love discovering the recipes that you all are trying out while on the road. Prime Ways serves a lot of functions for Prime, but one of the goals of the magazine is to serve as a platform to share Prime success stories with the entire team no matter where our readers are located. To achieve that goal, we have uploaded every issue of Prime Ways online. That means you can find our archive online and on the My Prime app. If you were featured in a past issue, it’s now a whole lot easier to pull up your story and share it with family and friends. If you read a story that inspired you or that you want to revisit, now you can! As you flip through our digital archive, be sure to send in your own story ideas. We are always looking for new success stories to share, new adventures to highlight and new tips and advice to run in the next issue. If you have a story you’d like us to consider, email



The Big



Photo courtesy Prime Inc., Shutterstock







15 61

144 500

15 new bunk rooms are included in the amenity building. 61K square feet of space make up the new amenity building. 144 people work at the SLC terminal. 500–800 trucks pass through the SLC terminal each week.

Photos courtesy Prime Inc.


y the time you’re reading this, Prime’s new amenity building in Salt Lake City should be opened. It’s one grand opening Prime has been working on and eagerly awaiting for several years. It all started back in 20 15 when Prime purchased Swift Transportation’s terminal in Salt Lake City and the land adjacent to it. The goal ever since then has been to build a bigger and better terminal that can meet the needs of Prime’s growing team in SLC. Surrounded on three sides by national forests and a mountainous horizon, Salt Lake City might not sound like the obvious spot for a major trucking hub, but then again, neither does Springfield, Missouri. ut, much like Springfield, Salt ake ity s strength is in its pro imity to major interstates including I-15, I-80 and I-7 0 . And as the freight industry has grown throughout the West Coast, SLC has become a major part of Prime’s strategic plan. ver the years, the S in-house team has gro n as traffic through the terminal has ramped up, and to keep up with the needs of that growing team, the terminal has slo ly been updated. or e ample, the old plaza and fuel inspection bay that used to only be covered by a canopy, is no a 100,000-s uare-foot comple ith a ne tractor shop, trailer shop, paint and body shop and 10 -bay fueling center. The new facility also meant the team wasn’t stuck working outdoors throughout the summer and winter. As updates were made, the list of amenities at SLC continued to grow, but it as obvious to rian Singleton, manager of the S terminal, that more needed to be done. Then the big ne s finally came rime as going to break ground on a new 61,0 0 0 -sq uare-foot amenity building, and it was going to be located on that stretch of land it purchased back in 20 15. Now, after two-plus years of construction, the amenity building is ready for its big reveal, and to give you a better idea of what drivers and in-house associates can look forward to, we’re rounded up the major improvements and ne perks you can e pect to find at S .

Photos courtesy Prime Inc.

The number of drivers passing through Salt Lake City is on the rise, so Prime’s new amenity building has features like bunk rooms and an in-house primary care clinic to help drivers while they’re on the road. ▼ Along with a new workout facility and an in-house personal trainer, SLC’s amenity building includes a basketball court.

Focus on Fitness If you ve spent any time at rime s Springfield head uarters, then chances are you’ve passed through the terminal’s workout center. The basketball court is especially popular with the team including R obert Low who freq uently hits the court for some friendly pickup games. So when plans were being drawn up for SLC’s amenity building, R obert and rime s river ealth and itness oordinator Matt ancock knew the facility needed a workout center. Throwing in a full-size basketball court was an added bonus. Not only will SLC team members be able to attempt a few dunks during the day, but now they’ll have access to three treadmills, two ellipticals, a recumbent bike, a rowing machine, two arc trainers and much more including an in-house personal trainer who can help address issues regarding diet, orkouts and fitness goals. This really mirrors hat e have in Springfield, ancock says. “We wanted to make it more uniform between terminals, and we wanted to include eq uipment that

meets the needs of a range of people from beginners to advanced trainers. s drivers become more conscious of their health, Hancock says he’s seen an increase in Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Program, which helps drivers set health and ellness goals. dding a full-scale fitness center and personal trainer in SLC now means drivers can check in with a pro if they have q uestions or concerns about reaching their goals, and they have a workout facility they know they can stop at. So far, Hancock reports that Prime’s DHF program has been utilized by 1,0 3 7 drivers and 7 0 0 in-house associates and their spouses. Some of those folks have tapped in to the program’s mental health services or weight loss programs, while others have sought advice for back pain and strength training. “We’re constantly learning about things e can add to our program, ancock says. nd e re continuing to reach new drivers. It’s pretty cool to offer so much for them.



▲ The new cafeteria in SLC is much bigger with plenty of natural light and seating.

It’s hard to beat a good night’s sleep, and getting plenty of rest is especially important when your job puts you behind the heel of an 0,000-pound cruiser. eather Moenkhoff with Cardinal Sleep Lab says there are some pretty serious risks associated with a lack of sleep. “If you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect your re e and response time, she says. “It can also impact your decision making, and that’s a big deal hen you re behind the heel. Sleep deprivation and sleeping disorders have also been linked to an increased chance of stroke, congestive heart failure and Type 2 diabetes, so when drivers are worried about their sleeping habits, they can schedule an appointment ith Moenkhoff and Cardinal Sleep Lab to see what’s going on. The sleep lab has long been a part of Prime’s terminal in Springfield, but no the ne amenity building in S will feature its own sleep lab. “The idea was to make sure that if anyone needed a sleep study done and they’re on the est oast, they can easily take care of that, Moenkhoff says. “Usually, if a driver is referred for a sleep study at an outside lab, it can take 0 days to get in. y providing an in-house sleep lab, Prime is making sure drivers can reduce that wait time and get back out on the road. To make an appointment, drivers simply need a doctor’s referral, which they can get through Trinity Health Care. O nce they ve completed the sleep study, Moenkhoff says results are usually in by the ne t afternoon, meaning drivers don t need more than 3 6 hours to complete their sleep study. 22


Moenkhoff has orked ith rime s Sleep pnea program for 10 years, and Cardinal Sleep has been the vendor on site for close to si years. Moenkhoff says the ne amenity building in SLC is just one more way she’s seen Prime invest in its team. “We’ve watched Prime constantly provide for their drivers, she says. ut the sleep lab is more than a convenience for drivers; it’s part of Prime’s dedication to driver health and wellness.

Easy Access to The Doctor Along with the new sleep lab, the amenity building is welcoming Trinity Health Care to SLC with an in-house clinic. The office ill offer fully primary care service ust like in Springfield, so drivers can take care of T physicals, receive injury care and acute care while passing through Utah. “We’ve been with Prime since 20 13 , and we’ve seen an increase in demand, says r. ohn braham. ith us being a full-service primary care clinic, we are a one-stopshop for drivers. The teams at both Trinity ealth are and Cardinal Sleep Lab work hand-in-hand with Prime’s DHF program, so they can help drivers with a well-rounded approach to wellness that includes focus on diet, sleep and lifestyle. And since drivers spend most of their time on the road, both Trinity Health Care and Cardinal sleep offer telehealth consultations, so drivers can have q uestions answered without having to visit the clinic.

Photos courtesy Prime Inc.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Some 144 people work inhouse at Prime's SLC terminal, and that team continues to grow.





On average, Prime trains 20 drivers per month at the SLC terminal. By the end of October, 206 drivers earned their CDL in SLC in 2020. At press time, Prime had 100 Western domiciled flatbed drivers and had to plans to grow that number.

A Bigger & Better Company Store No amenity building would be complete without the company store, and Prime is nearly doubling the store’s footprint in SLC. And like so much of the new amenity building, the store will mimic hat drivers can find in Springfield. e try to push the same products at all locations, and this gives us an opportunity to offer more to the S team, says icky Morrison, assistant controller at Prime. That means all that Prime swag you love including the line of Highway iamond gear ill be available in S . rivers can also find kids gear, toiletries and items they can send back to their families to let them know they’re thinking of them while on the road. So far, store hours are Monday through riday a.m. to p.m. and Saturdays a.m. to noon. Morrison says as store traffic gro s, those hours might e pand to include Sunday.

Room to Train To accommodate the growing number of new drivers on the West Coast, the SLC amenity building features a much-improved orientation facility. For the past two years, orientation classrooms were housed in what was originally storage space above the shop. Now, classrooms have an official home that s much bigger, and the simulation lab also no has dedicated space. O n top of that, the upgraded orientation facilities mean trainers can pick up new students in S . e can no handle bigger driver orientation classes, says aron ard, training and orientation manager at SLC. “We can train anyone who comes to us from totally new drivers to e perienced drivers ho need to refresh their training. lasses are held Monday, ednesday and riday, and ard says the ne building ill allo rime to e pand its recruiting and orientation efforts since it can accommodate more people in the amenity building.

Flatbed Boot camp There s big ne s if you re ne to rime s atbed division. Thanks to the amenity building, you will no longer have to head to Springfield for training. The boot camp teaches drivers ho to safely manage atbed loads, ho to secure and tarp loads, and it goes over the many la s and challenges uni ue to the atbed division. Tyler Setzer, who has been driving and training with Prime for three years, is the new boot camp trainer in SLC and sees the training as a big opportunity for Prime. “Freight overall has been really strong, he says. y us offering these classes, e ill encourage drivers in this area to come to rime. The boot camp lasts two full days from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is offered as needed.

The new amenity building features dedicated classroom space so new drivers have a comfortable place to train.




Distance Staying healthy on the road is easier said than done. But for drivers Ed LaPlante, Robert Kaufman and Danny Crisp, fitness is more than a daily practice: It’s a lifestyle that takes them to places some athletes only dream of going. BY LILLIAN STONE




Photo courtesy Shutterstock

t s no secret that staying fit on the road can be a challenge. According to the National Institute for O ccupational Safety and Health (N IO SH), long-haul truck drivers experience higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity— and it’s not hard to see why. Faced with long hours on the road, limited healthful food options and irregular sleep schedules, a lot of drivers struggle to make health and wellness a priority. This month, e re profiling three Prime associates who have managed to take their fitness to the ne t level— a competitive level, in fact— while juggling responsibilities on the road. Whether their routines were inspired by health scares, an e isting passion for fitness or a natural drive to compete, these drivers all have one thing in common: They’re living proof that a long-haul trucking lifestyle and a commitment to fitness can go hand-in-hand.





t 51, Ed LaPlante found himself with a heart condition known as a cardiogenic syncope, which basically means his heart rate became dangerously slow. LaPlante was diagnosed with the condition after a harrowing day on the road when he, feeling a bit woozy, pulled over to the highway shoulder and eventually passed out. He took a year off driving to recover, at which point he realized he needed a change. “I was far too young to be messing around with things like that,” he



says. Fast forward to today: LaPlante is 60 , and he’s competed in more than 40 Spartan races— a series of obstacle races of varying distances and difficulties. It’s been a wild journey for LaPlante, and it all started with an app. “I recommend everybody try this free app called Couch to 5K , or C25K ,” LaPlante says. “It helps you work up to 3 0 minutes of running in about eight weeks, which works out great for drivers who have to take mandatory 3 0 -minute breaks every eight hours.” In 20 14, shortly after building up his fitness level ith the

app, LaPlante signed up for a Spartan race in Boston’s Fenway Park. According to LaPlante, Spartan races are characteri ed by three things mud, fire and barbed wire.” During a Spartan race, competitors are tasked with sprinting long distances, climbing over obstacles and, of course, completing the signature fire ump obstacle at the end of each race. So, how does it feel to leap over those ames and cross the finish line It s hard to describe it, a lante says. specially your first finish— you don’t know if you’re going to make

Ed LaPlante has competed in more than 40 Spartan races, which include a trifecta of mud, fire and barbed wire.

Photos courtesy Ed LaPlante

▼ LaPlante spends months training before a race, and he has traveled all over the world to compete.

it. It’s like, ‘ I can run a 5K , but can I climb that wall, get up that rope and lift that heavy ob ect for an e tended distance His new hobby has taken LaPlante all over the country— and even to Sparta, G reece, where he competed in the Spartan Trifecta World Championships. There, he raced a total of 3 0 miles in one weekend and traversed Sparta’s craggy mountains and ancient olive groves in an ultimate test of his endurance and willpower. O f course, Spartan racers req uire months of training before they can successfully complete a Trifecta. LaPlante acknowledges the training can be tough with a driver’s schedule, but he says it’s all about the mindset. “I try to train every day during my mandatory break,” he says, outlining a regimen that involves running a minimum of 6 miles every other day and completing TR X and dumbbell exercises at truck stops.

“Especially your first finish—you don’t know if you’re going to make it. It’s like, ‘I can run a 5K, but can I climb that wall, get up that rope and lift that heavy object for an extended distance?’” —Ed LaPlante PRIME WAYS


Robert Kaufman runs almost every day to stay in shape for the Spartan races he competes in.



nother Spartan competitor is driver R obert K aufman. When K aufman isn’t driving, he’s pushing his body to the absolute limit by competing in Spartan obstacle races and 10 0 -mile ultramarathons. But K aufman wasn’t always an athlete. “In 20 10 , my older sister had a stroke due to high blood pressure,” K aufman says. “I made the decision to do something about my lifestyle, so I didn’t have similar health issues.” At the time, K aufman was in what he describes as “decent shape.” He played recreational hockey, but then he saw an advertisement for a Spartan obstacle race in G lenrose, Texas, and decided to challenge himself by signing up. There was just one problem. “When I registered, the only race that had spots open was something called The Beast,” K aufman says. “It was a 19 -mile race, and it almost killed me. O nce I made it through and could feel my legs again, I was hooked.” Now, K aufman trains by running close to 3 miles every day with long 12-mile runs on the weekends. He alternates between Spartan races and 10 0 -mile ul-



tramarathons, even competing in the Spartan World Championships and the O bstacle Course R acing (O CR ) World Championships. He explains that his athletic feats are physically exhausting, but it’s really all about the mental commitment it takes to run for up to 3 4 hours at a time. “The mental part comes in once the 3 0 and 50 K runners drop off the course,” K aufman says. “There aren’t a lot of insane people like me who want to run 10 0 miles, so it’s up to you to tell yourself to keep moving.” For K aufman, pushing his body to the limit is part of the thrill. “The real pain sets in around mile 40 or 50 ,” he says. “But once you get up to mile 7 0 or so, you’ve used up all of your glucose— so you might start to have hallucinations. I’ve seen things like unicorns while running at night.” It might sound bizarre to some, but to K aufman, it makes perfect sense. It s about an internal drive to find my limits, he says. To find that limit, I have to find a challenge that pushes me to the point of failure. I cannot better myself until I know my full potential.”

Photos courtesy Robert Kaufman, Danny Crisp


DANNY CRISP A s a founding member of Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness (D HF) Task Force, CDL Trainer Danny Crisp is proud to serve as an outspoken advocate for driver health and wellness. He takes that to the next level as a driving instructor. In fact, Crisp is the 20 20 recipient of Prime’s Instructor of the Y ear award. “It’s important to me to set an example for students who are interested in a healthy lifestyle on the road,” Crisp says. As a trainer, Crisp works with a new student every two to three weeks, and he often invites his trainees to join him on his freq uent road runs. “Trainees come through very excited about this new adventure they’re on, risp says. So I get to in uence them

at this really crucial period.” To accomplish that, Crisp spends his downtime scouting out running routes near trainee trucking routes— although he hints that the DHF might have a collective resource in the orks that ould allo drivers to find a network of running or biking paths across the country. O verall, Crisp urges drivers to get creative when it’s time to move and make the most of their schedules to find built-in fitness time. There s a lot of sitting time hen you re of oading your truck, for e ample,” Crisp says. He also points out that atbed operators have the e uivalent of a weight training gym attached to the back of their truck, with plenty of heavy eq uipment

to use instead of traditional gym eq uipment. Finally, Crisp recommends drivers join nationwide gyms like Planet Fitness to make working out easier in the winter months. f course, fitness on the road also comes down to making healthy choices on a day-by-day basis. “People should be aware that, out here, it is a marathon and not a sprint,” he says. “Y ou have to think about how you can incorporate exercise into your routine, but you also have to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to your diet.” For that reason, he advises trainees never go into a truck stop hungry, and keep healthful snacks on hand to make it easier to make smart choices during mealtimes. Finally, he urges everyone to use the DHF team as a resource. “I think DHF really sets us apart from other trucking organizations,” Crisp says. “It shows that we put our drivers health and ell-being first. If you want to follow Crisp and his students in their CDL journey, you can follow him on Instagram at @ CDL_ yeah.

▲ Having healthful food on hand is a big part of how Danny Crisp stays healthy while on the road. As a driving instructor, Crisp even gets some of his students to join him on runs. He hopes to inspire other drivers to live a healthy life while behind the wheel.




Driving in the Fast Lane New entrance lanes mean shorter wait times for bobtail drivers.


fter logging long hours on the road and in traffic, the last thing most drivers want to do is wait in a line to enter the Prime inbound bays, especially if they aren’t hauling a trailer. Bobtails (trucks with no trailer attached) used to have to wait in the same inspection lines as trucks with trailers before they could be cleared to enter the inbound bays in Springfield, Salt Lake City and Pittston. Like other drivers, bobtails come into the inbound bays for a variety of reasons. They might be picking up a trailer they dropped in the lot, or they might be between loads and need to do business on site. But one thing is definitely different between bobtails and other trucks—bobtails do not require the same extensive inspection process as trailers. When a truck and trailer comes to the inbound bay, Prime performs a DOT inspection, fuels up the truck and handles minor repairs. This inspection process for trucks with trailers takes around 15 to 20 minutes. So, imagine pulling in with a bobtail after dropping your trailer at the lot for a few hours to head to Walmart or lunch and then coming back to wait in an inspection line. “We always want to make the most use of our drivers’ time and they needed a way to 30


Photos by Andrea Mueller and Mark Harrell


bypass trucks with trailers who were waiting for inspections,” says Chris Holtmeyer, manager of fleet maintenance. “Sometimes bobtails pick the wrong lane, and they are stuck there for a while, when all they need to do is be waved through.” Prime saw a need to help out bobtails who need to enter the plaza, so the company took a few simple steps to make a huge impact on wait times. “We care about our drivers’ time,” Holtmeyer says. “It was important that we find a solution that not only helped bobtails, but also streamlined the inspection procedures.” The Prime Trucking Driver Advisory Board is the voice for Prime’s drivers and advocates on their behalf by meeting quarterly to address various issues drivers face. After noticing bobtails were having to wait to enter the yard, the board met with Prime owner Robert Low and management about a year ago to make plans to implement dedicated bobtail lanes. Now there is a separate bobtail entry lane at each plaza location. In Springfield, the bobtail lane is bay 9, in Salt Lake City it is bay 4, and in Pittston it’s bay 3. “Each terminal has a security and inspection entry point. It’s the only way on to the yard,” Holtmeyer says. “Since inceptions, these lanes have been widely accepted and have been proven to be a popular addition. This wasn’t any out-of-the-box thinking. It just made sense.” Converting the lanes did not take any new construction. Prime was able to add a few new signs pointing trucks in the right direction and implement a new process for receiving trucks. Now, an inbound inspector keeps an eye on the separate bobtail lane. Normally, this just involves a quick check and a wave through the entry. There was a little learning curve when the lanes were first added, and some operators pulled in the bobtail lane with a trailer, but Holtmeyer says everyone is used to the

 At Prime’s in-bound bays, new bobtail lanes have been added to help these drivers skip the long lines and get back on the road sooner.

procedure now. “We want to make it easy to come into the yard,” he says. “Security is more important at the exit to make sure each truck has a proper driver and drivers are leaving with the right truck and load, but getting trucks on the lot needs to be quick and painless.” The new bobtail lanes have been running smoothly, but now thanks to COVID, drivers in both lanes have a new step to the entry process. “We check to see if drivers are coming in from COVID-19 hot spots around the country,” Holtmeyer says. “We also do quick temperature checks and ask a few brief questions about where the driver is from and their health.” These screenings are adding a little bit of extra time to the plaza entry process, but the bobtails are

still entering much quicker. They used to have to wait up to 20 minutes or more, and now they can get through in a few minutes. Though traffic has been down a little this year due to COVID, the Springfield plaza still receives around 175 trailers each day and around 500 bobtails each week. Pennsylvania welcomes around 200 bobtails a week, and Utah admits around 100. Even though traffic is down about 16% overall lately, the dedicated lanes still make a huge difference in cleaning up the process and getting drivers through more quickly. “Our drivers have found these valuable,” Holtmeyer says. “They can pull through instead of waiting, and they can get back to hauling freight.”

BY THE NUMBERS 14 Prime has 14 bays at the Plaza building in Springfield to facilitate traffic.

1,359 20 Prime, currently welcomes 1,359 tractor/ trailers on a weekly basis in Springfield.

Bobtails used to have wait 20 minutes to get through the line.

<1 It now takes no more than a minute or two for bobtails to get through.

200 100 Pittston welcomes around 200 bobtails each week.

Salt Lake City sees some 100 bobtails each week.



Family Ties


Trucker Dads To stay connected to his kids, this Prime Good Dad gave his truck a new look. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL




▲ Brian Howe shows his support for his daughter Miley’s cheer competitions by adding Miley’s cheer logo to his truck. Now he can cheer her on and stay connected with his family even when he’s miles from home.

Miley isn’t always easy. “We started fostering Miley at age 1,” Howe says. “She was severely abused and neglected.” After more than a year with no contact from Miley’s mother, the Howes decided to start the adoption process. Miley became an official member of the Howe family two years ago. Since then, Miley has become involved in cheerleading with Dynamics Icon Cheer based in Springfield, Missouri. That gave Howe an idea, and he put Miley’s cheer logo on his truck this year. “I have had a lot of other drivers ask me about it, and they love it and the story,” Howe says. But what matters most is that Miley also loves the truck’s new look. “Miley thinks it’s super-awesome that I did this for her,” Howe says. While being away from home still isn’t easy, cheerleading logo aside, Howe is

grateful that Prime understands and supports his dedication to his family life. “I have a great dispatcher who understands family values and routes me through Springfield, so I can take my 10-hour break at home,” he says. Howe is also grateful for the way his family supports him through daily calls and staying in touch while he’s away. “Having a strong Christian foundation and an amazing family at home has really helped me get through the hard days,” he says. “They all keep me going on a daily basis. The kids call every day after school, and they all pick me up when I come home.” For other truckers juggling raising a family and being away from home, Brian offers this advice: “Time is precious, so make the most of the time you have.”

Photo courtesy Brian Howe

rian Howe started driving a truck 15 years ago when his former job laid off several managers. “I had been with them for 14 years when I received the cut,” Howe says. “I knew I had to provide for my family, but I wanted to start my own business at the same time. Truck driving gave me that opportunity through the lease program.” Now Howe is a CDL instructor for Prime and hauls a reefer trailer from coast to coast with a schedule that changes constantly. “I’m usually away from home three to four weeks at a time,” he says. “I could spend a week on either coast, and the next week I could be all over the other 48 states.” Even though Howe enjoys traveling and seeing the different landscapes across the United States, he misses his family while he’s on the road. Howe is a dad to seven biological, foster and adopted kids ranging in age from 26 all the way down to his youngest, Miley, who is 6 years old. He also has four young grandchildren. “The kids all think me driving the big truck is neat,” Howe says. “The little girls can’t wait to ride along.” To stay connected, Howe and his family talk constantly and often use FaceTime, but staying connected with 6-year-old

View From the road What awe-inspiring landscapes have you seen from behind the wheel? Submit a highresolution photo (usually 500 KB or higher) of your truck to Include your name and caption information about where and when the photo was taken.

Photos courtesy Timothy Keirn, David Motolla, Jose Sermeno

Driver Timothy Keirn was out with his flatbed doing some morning work when he snapped this photo. “Prime allowed me to gain my CDL and learn the industry,” he says. “I am very thankful for this opportunity!”

David Motolla has an unusual co-pilot who rides shotgun with him—his cat Mushki. “Since my first day solo, Mushki and I have been together for every load and every mile,” Motolla says. “I’m happy to be able to have the company she provides me on the road, and it’s fun to see the reactions from the customers and other drivers when they see a cat!”

After driving through some bad weather in Arkansas, driver Jose Sermeno made it to Springfield and was greeted with this sight. “Finally arrived at Springfield, and this is how Mother Nature said welcome back,” he says. PRIME WAYS



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