VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1
LEARN HOW PRIME CAN HELP YOU LAUNCH OR GROW YOUR OWN FLEET ON P. 24.
DRIVING IS FOR THE DOGS. LITERALLY! MORE CANINE CO-PILOTS ARE JOINING DRIVERS ON THE ROAD. THIS ISSUE, WE MEET A FEW MEMBERS OF THE PRIME TEAM WHO TAKE THEIR PETS FOR A DRIVE.
Driver Referral Program $100
Earn $100 when referred driver hauls ﬁrst load.
$500 1/4 cpm $1,000
Earn $500 when referred driver stays months.
Earn cpm on every mile referred driver runs after months.
Earn $1000 when 3 referred drivers stay months.
Earnings Example: Refer 3 drivers who stay at least additional mileage pay
months at Prime, and you would earn $2800, not including the
Program Rules: The person that is referred must run under Prime s operating authority A, 1, 2, C, or D Seats as a company driver or independent contractor. All active Prime Driver Associates under Prime s operating authority A, 1, 2, and C Seats are eligible to receive Prime Inc Driver Referral Program pay. To earn bonus at
months longevity pay and mileage pay, referred driver must be an A Seat.
o driver referral bonus will be earned for referring a rehire previous Prime Driver . To earn referral, referred driver must list Prime Driver s name or driver code on online application or be provided to Recruiter prior to processing application for approval. For more information, contact Prime s Recruiting Department at 888-
Program is e ective as of an 25, 201 until further notice or cancellation. Prime reserves the right to modify the program at any time. 2
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ON THE COVER Nancy Brown is just one of the Prime drivers we meet in this issue who brings her pet on the road.
Prime Ways PRIME WAYS| |February MARCH 2021 2017
18 BEST BUDS There’s a reason more drivers are bringing their pets on the road. Now it’s time to meet some of the furry co-pilots who ride shotgun.
Driving a truck isn’t the only ride that matters to Thomas Miller.
Ken BeBout’s truck stands out, especially when the light hits it just right.
32 FOCUSED ON THE FAMILY
24 BIG BUSINESS Meet three drivers who have launched their own fleets and gone from driver to business owner.
10 FIT FOR LIFE Danny Crisp is on a mission to make sure the drivers he trains know how to stay fit on the road, and he’s not alone.
16 IN THE FAST LANE Prime’s new assessment bays are open for business, and they’re helping drivers fix maintenance issues faster.
This young family is more than connected to Prime. Both the mom and dad work at Prime’s Salt Lake City terminal, and now their 2-year-old daughter will be able to spend her days at Prime as well.
Photo by Zackary Miller, Andrea Mueller, courtesy Nancy Brown and Antonette Clark
Driver trainer Danny Crisp doesn’t just teach drivers the rules of the road. He also shows them how to make their health and fitness a priority.
Chat All the numbers, programs and announcements we think deserve a little extra attention in this issue of Prime Ways.
$500,000 Tyler Yarborough started working for Prime’s parts department part-time in high school. His experience handling old and unused parts gave him an idea. He got the green light and started selling those parts on eBay. Now, he has sold nearly $500,000 in parts. Turn to p. 4 to learn more about Tyler’s online adventures.
10 The Prime company store is always stocked with must-have items that can keep you warm, full and ready for anything. In this issue’s Guest Blog, Maintenance Advisor Tyler Patrick shares his top 10 company store purchases for every day on the road and at the office. Turn to p. 7 to see what made Tyler’s Top 10.
$200,000 When COVID caused Prime to cancel its usual Christmas celebrations, Robert Low decided to take the money the company would usually spend on the festivities and donate it to charity. In the end, Prime donated $220,000 to seven charities including Truckers Against Trafficking, Harmony House, The Warrior’s Journey, iPourLife, Good Dads, Wounded Warrior and Eden Village (The Gathering Tree Inc). You can learn more about how COVID changed this year’s holiday celebrations on p. 7.
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
rime’s business model is really structured around the idea of intraprenuership and entrepreneurship. Many people are familiar with entrepreneurship and what defines the term. Intraprenuership, on the other hand, isn’t typically as familiar. Intraprenuership is simply a system that allows an associate to act like an entrepreneur within Prime and have an opportunity to be rewarded as such. Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented people who take the initiative to pursue an innovative process, product or service. Prime, through trial and error, has created a system that allows each associate to develop professionally, act like an owner and be rewarded proportionately on a weekly basis. The feature story in this magazine takes that intraprenuership system at Prime and elevates it to true entrepreneurship for our professional driving associates. We have been able to offer a natural progression for a professional driver from driving within our company truck offering to owning their own fleet under Prime’s authority and many options in between . ach step in the driver carrier path at Prime comes with a little more risk to the driving associate, but there is a little more reward that goes along with that risk. Those who can educate themselves on the process we have some of the best in the business teaching and show initiative toward that goal are the ones who can and will be successful. Turn to p.24 to read a few of Prime’s many success stories.
Driver Cary Nickolson has 12 trucks on his fleet, and he’s been driving with Prime for as many years. But before he started his own fleet, he was an ordinary driver. Now, he’s got a growing business and a team of drivers. Turn to p. 24 to meet Cary and two other drivers who have successfully launched their own fleets with the help of Prime.
R obert Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder PRIME WAYS
LIFE | FEBRUARY 2021
Tyler Yarborough found a new way to get rid of old truck and trailer parts—he sells them on behalf of Prime on eBay.
Tyler Yarborough got his start in trucking before he could drive. But his knowledge about computers set him on a road to sales success. BY REN BISHOP 4
IT ALL STARTED WITH A $62 SEATBELT. In 20 , Prime e panded its online eBay account and started selling odd and old parts from the Pittston terminal. Tyler Y arborough, Pittston’s warranty manager, was overseeing the effort from one computer in the back of the parts room. “I was trying to get rid of the obsolete inventory in the parts room, where I had worked for a long time,” he says. “I spoke with Sam Messick, who was overseeing our inventory numbers, and he gave me the go ahead to start an eBay account to minimize some inventory. I did some research, and I started selling stuff online.” For much of his career, Y arborough has combined his knowledge of trucking and computers to make an impact.
Photo courtesy Tyler Yarborough
THE LONG HAUL Like many drivers on the roads before him, Y arborough got his start in trucking before he could drive a car. His father R ichard Y arborough worked at Prime when Y arborough was growing up, and at , arborough got a trucking ob nearby. At , he got his start at Prime in the truck wash, where he worked for just two weeks before he was asked a question. “ erry came up to me and asked me if I was good with computers, and I was , so of course I’m good with computers,” Y arborough says. “Then he moved me to the parts room as a part-time parts guy because their inventory system needed work done. It’s all history from there.” arborough finished high school and went on to college, but even while in school, he continued working part-time in Parts. He pursued a college degree in an unrelated field, but when he graduated, he was offered a job to oversee the Warranty program. But he was still in Parts and saw a problem to solve, he says. “I had been in Parts for so long, I knew parts, and I knew there was a way to get rid of these old parts,” he says. “So we tried eBay.”
THE SHORT SALE At the end of 20 , arborough got the keys to @ primeinc on eBay. He listed parts that were usable and salable, and researched what old and outdated trucking parts were going for on eBay and what sold for what price. He marketed the parts, updated listings and managed Prime’s online inventory. He posted a few things, and didn’t get too many bites. So Y arborough revved up his efforts. “I really started posting a lot,” he says. “At one point, I had about 00,000 worth of items on eBay, and then it real-
Prime Inc. has a variety of assets and properties, including the Preserve Golf Course in Biloxi, Mississippi. The golf course needed a new fleet of golf carts, so Yarborough got a call to sell the old ones. A couple of calls, a listing on eBay and a couple of weeks later, Yarborough landed his biggest online sale: 69 used golf carts for $117,000.
lyzed the optimal price for the best and fastest sale. R eefers, trailer tandems, engines and tandems became his go-to items to find and list. And they just kept selling, he says. “ Bay is an interesting beast,” he says. “It’s all digital, so you can’t really communicate any way besides messages, and most want to pick up their items. Anyone who’s sold anything on the Internet knows that you deal with some interesting people. It’s been a wild time.”
“At one point, I had about $300,000 worth of items on eBay, and then it really started picking up. There were BIG PAYOFF certain things that were THE On one long spreadsheet, Y arborough has the details of every item sold on eBay. As really hot sellers, and he scrolls to the bottom, he finds his totals then people started items and nearly 00,000 in sales. He’s overseen every transaction and has requesting to pick up even called brokers to see if he can add an items from the yard. So engine or refeer unit to a load heading that direction. Along the way, he’s developed a they’d stop by and stay reputation for being the guy who can sell unique items or assets for the company. a while, look around He’s also developed a talent for truck sales. “It started because people who stop by the and ask if we were sellyard also happen to see a truck they like,” ing something.” he says. “Ultimately, it’s the people stop—Tyler Yarborough
ly started picking up. There were certain things that were really hot sellers, and then people started requesting to pick up items from the yard. So they’d stop by and stay a while, look around and ask if we had anything else for sale.” After selling dozens of items on eBay, Y arborough started seeing patterns of items that would sell quickly, and he ana-
ping by the yard because of eBay who got me into truck sales.” Y arborough still works in Warranty, but he loves the thrill of the sale. He has sold nearly . million in trucks and trailers since 20 . “I’d like to say that it’s me as a salesman, but it’s the company and customers knowing the quality of our trucks,” he says. “Everyone knows how well Prime takes care of its fleet and its units. It’s not ust my sales pitch it’s the truth. People already know what they’re buying and why. I ust help them find it.” PRIME WAYS
A simple salute Meet Angela Justice and John Barrett, two U.S. Army veterans whose careers span nearly 30 years combined. Here, they recall the highlights of their military careers and highlights of their careers since they joined the Prime family. BY JESSICA HAMMER
“Making people smile is probably my biggest accomplishment because life is so stressful. If you don’t smile, and you’re not happy, then why do it? You’ve got to learn to enjoy life no matter what you do.” —Angela Justice
Military History Prime Service Angela Justice’s military career began when she In 2003, Justice heard about Prime at a truck stop. was just 17 years old. It all started when she was At the time, Justice says she was hardly getting at the military base in Fort Leonard Wood, Missou- work from her current company, so she dropped ri, the day after her high school graduation. But her load, her truck and her trailer at her next stop, despite her young age, she says she wouldn’t then went straight to Springfield to apply for a job. change a thing. For Justice, Prime proved itself to be a famiThroughout her nine-year career, Justice ly-oriented company and really came through for earned four Army Achievement Medals and a her in 2006. That year, she was able to make it Medal of Honor. She served in unit supply, the col- back to say goodbye to her father before he died. or guard and small arms repair, and was stationed “That’s why I say they’re oriented for the family,” at Fort Knox in the basic training unit where she Justice says. “We made it home and made it in helped introduce ROTC students to the Army. time to see him and say goodbye, and it gave me a chance to get my kids there.” And if you ask Justice what she’s proudest of, it’s that she finds ways every day to make others laugh. “Making people smile is probably my biggest accomplishment because life is so stressful. If you don’t smile, and you’re not happy, then why do it? You’ve got to learn to enjoy life no matter what you do,” she says.
“I would say that throughout my military career, I had a wife that was 100% behind me and has always been part of anything that I’ve done, for that matter. We’ve been married for 57 years, and I don’t think I would have been near as successful without her as I have been with her.” —John Barrett 6
Military History When he first joined the U.S. Army in 1962, John Barrett says he had no idea his enlistment would become a 21-year career. His original plan looked a lot different. “I had no idea I was going to be in that long,” he says. “I went in on a three-year enlistment, and my plan back then was to get out after three years. Well, obviously that didn’t happen. I found something that I enjoyed doing.” Barrett says during his enlistment, he was trained in military transportation and military logistics. He was one of only a handful of non-commissioned officers who received special logistics training and a special military occupational specialty designator, which meant he was only assigned to specific units at brigade level or higher. By the time Barrett left military service more than two decades later, he retired as a master sergeant in logistics and moved on to management roles where he worked with government contractors including Boeing and DynCorp.
Prime Service When his last government assignment ended, Barrett went to a truck driving school in Denver, then went to work for a company called ROCOR. When that company found themselves in financial trouble, Barrett says Prime’s founder, Robert Low, purchased ROCOR’s assets. Barrett followed and has been with Prime since. For a while, Barrett was one of the fleet drivers dedicated to Kodak. He traveled between Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, and a manufacturing plant in Windsor, Colorado. And if trucking has been constant in his life for the past 23 years, there’s one thing Barrett says has been steadfast even longer: the support of his wife, Olive. “I would say that throughout my military career, I had a wife that was 100% behind me and has always been part of anything that I’ve done,” he says. “We’ve been married for 57 years, and I don’t think I would have been near as successful without her as I have been with her.”
Photos courtesy Angela Justice, John Barrett
words from the field
My Store Favorites In each issue, we introduce a new guest blogger to talk about life on and off the road. This issue, maintenance advisor Tyler Patrick shares his top 10 company store purchases for every day on the road and at the office. BY TYLER PATRICK, AS TOLD TO REN BISHOP JUMPER CABLES It’s nice for drivers, especially in the winter, to keep roadside maintenance essentials in their truck. Jumper cables are the most useful and underrated items to have on your truck. Everyone should keep them on hand. I can’t tell you the number of problems solved just by having jumper cables around.
BY THE NUMBERS With tax season quickly approaching, Prime can help. Prime has long teamed up with Abacus CPA, and drivers and inhouse associates can turn to these pros for tax assistance. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
e have good and bad news for you. The bad news is tax season is coming up. The good news is, Prime can help. Well, actually Abacus CPA can help. Prime and Abacus teamed up several years ago to help Prime associates with their taxes and financial planning. “We work with anybody and everybody,” says Chase Probert, customer service coordinator at Abacus. “But we definitely work more with independent contractors.” Abacus has an office on the second floor of the illennium Building at Prime’s Springfield terminal, and conveniently, it’s right ne t to the driver’s lounge. or anyone who can’t meet in person, Abacus’ financial planners and tax experts can also schedule remote meetings. “We can help with end-of-the-year filings, uarterly estimates, bookkeeping, tax resolutions, retirement planning and savings,” Probert says. So if you’re looking at the upcoming tax due date with dread, Abacus can help. ust give them a call at - 0- 000.
TOOL KITS There are tool kits available to help you do minor fixes out on the road. It’s incredible how much shops over the road can charge drivers for repairs, especially if you have to send somebody out to the truck. You’re talking $120/hour just for labor. Being able to do minor repairs with your own tools can literally save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. ROAD WEAR A good rain coat, a good winter coat, a pair of boots and gloves— these are essential. You need to be able to protect yourself so that you don’t get cold or hurt on the road. The store’s got clothes that are good for all seasons, including high-visibility clothes. GYM CLOTHES Staying active is important to everybody, and I’ve bought gym shorts from the store before. But for drivers, having gym clothes to stay active on the road is really important. HATS I always like to grab a variety of Prime hats when I travel to different vendors. It’s a really nice gift for someone that isn’t very expensive, but it still represents Prime.
Photos courtesy Prime Inc., By Mark Harrell
Photos courtesy Angela Justice, John Barrett
WORK ACCESSORIES Pretty much anything I could need at my desk, I can go run down to the store and get. I’ve grabbed an extension cord for my job, but I know there’s all kinds of truck accessories that make the job a little easier for drivers. GUM If I run out of gum, that’s a problem. I always like to have it at my desk, and it’s always nice to be the guy who has gum. A couple of packs in my pocket when traveling is essential, too. ASPIRIN Trucking can be stressful, so you can get a headache now and then. Aspirin is a go-to for me. DE-ICER I bought de-icer for myself because after work one day, my truck’s windshield was frozen, and I had to deice it myself. I ended up buying an ice scraper another time. GIFTS TO GO When you’re on the go, the store has great last-minute gifts and cards for holidays, birthdays, any time for friends and family. The store really has everything—all that easy, convenient stuff that you buy when you need it, and it’s just always there.
A NEW WAY TO CELEBRATE With travel restrictions in place, Robert Low had to figure out a new way to celebrate the holiday with the Prime team. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
hristmas looked a little different this year at Prime. Typically, the company spends more than a quarter of a million dollars each year to throw parties for all the associates across the country during the holiday season. But with C I - threatening the health of the team and making travel difficult, Prime decided to change its holiday plans this year. That meant the usual parties— hosted in lorida, eorgia, Pennsylvania, ichigan, Indiana, issouri, Te as, Utah, California and Oregon— were canceled. Typically, R obert Low travels to at least six of these parties each year, but the whirlwind travel schedule was not possible this year due to C I . That meant the usual holiday celebrations looked a lot different this year. With the festive dinner, cocktails, live entertainment and company highlight reel no longer on the calendar, Low knew he had to come up with a way to still celebrate the year, so he decided to do something entirely different— instead of throwing the usual festive parties, Low took the money the company would have spent on the events and donated it. When everything was said and done, Prime was able to donate 220,000 to seven charities.
week in the life
Jack of All
Trades BY JESSICA HAMMER
f you ask N olan Skiby, a truck and trailer sales representative for Pedigree, what a typical week looks like for him, he’ll tell you right away— it’s a busy time for truck and trailer sales. “I wear multiple hats,” Skiby says. “I’m not only in charge of selling trucks and trailers I’m in charge of coordinating trucks and trailers through all my shops.” Skiby joined Pedigree a short time ago August 20 , but he says he has watched demand for trucks and trailers continue growing at his Salt Lake City location. According to Skiby, a big part of Pedigree’s popularity is due to the high quality of the equipment the program offers. “Our goal is to have the customer come in and be able to jump in that truck and go right to work,” Skiby says. “He wont go have to go home and make a repair or put on some new tires or anything like that. That tractor is ready to go to work it’s ready to make money for him.” Over the course of his week, Skiby says he sometimes feels like a jack-of-all-trades as he covers everything from tracking sales to coordinating equipment as it passes through multiple layers of quality control before ending up with a satisfied customer.
PREPARING EQUIPMENT FOR SALE OR FINAL DELIVERY When equipment is removed from the Prime fleet and brought to Pedigree for sale, it goes through multiple shops for updates and any needed repairs. Skiby says this is
Nolan Skiby is a truck and trailer sales rep for Pedigree.
easily how he spends most of his time each any temporary permits he’s written up for week since it’s his job to coordinate and customers this happens every 0 days . schedule each piece of equipment to go Through all the hard work he puts in, through these different areas. Skiby says he loves his job and his team. The body shop removes all Prime logos “It’s a great group of guys, great teammates, and decals while the engine shop checks the great co-workers, great managers,” he says. engine and au iliary power unit AP , and “I would describe it as a family, honestly.” it makes repairs as needed. Brand new tires and a full interior detail are also included. Once those steps are complete, Skiby says he gives the e uipment a final inspection before the customer takes delivery.
ADVERTISING AND MARKETING In addition to fielding fre uent phone calls from interested customers, Skiby says he also spends time each week photographing new equipment. Due to high demand, Skiby says much of his inventory is already sold to customers by the time it arrives at his shop. But when trucks and trailers aren’t spoken for, Skiby is responsible for helping advertise that equipment. The pictures he takes are used online and in other publications to spread the word about what Pedigree has to offer.
SALES REPORTING, ACCOUNTING AND RECONCILIATION In addition to marketing available inventory, Skiby says he spends time each week checking sales data he’ll use to write a monthly sales report. He reports on the number of trucks and trailers delivered each month and how many trailers are ready for sale. e’ll also step out of the office routinely to deposit funds at the bank and visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to reconcile
everyone should know about Pedigree 1. Teamwork – Skiby says Pedigree salespeople from other locations often sell trucks from his yard and vice versa. 2. Great customer service – Pedigree can help its customers from start to finish, including financing. Plus, team members are eager to make the buying experience a smooth one. 3. Top-notch product – After working with other truck dealerships, Skiby says what Prime does to get trucks ready for customers goes above and beyond anything he’s ever seen. 4. Equipment Accessibility – When customers are looking for something specific, Skiby says Prime can pull directly from its fleet to fill that request. 5. Best variety of inventory – Since demand for trucks and trailers of all kinds has increased, Skiby says Prime regularly retires equipment from its fleet that gets added to Pedigree’s inventory.
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
Demand for quality truck and trailer equipment has increased for Pedigree over the last year, so it’s no wonder Truck and Trailer Sales Representative Nolan Skiby has his plate full. In addition to chatting with customers, Skiby spends his time each week getting equipment ready so drivers can pick up their new rigs and hit the road.
Passion Thomas Miller’s truck is dedicated to Sam Biggs. He uses it as a way to share his passion of defeating childhood cancer with others everywhere he goes, which drives him to do more. “If you don’t have a purpose or goal in life, then all you’re doing is spinning your wheels. Make a difference. Giving back is so fulfilling. The world will be better, and you’ll be happier.”
The Sam Biggs Memorial Poker Run & Bike Show was started by Thomas Miller’s daughter Mackenzie and her friend Alexis. The ride started as a fundraiser for Sam Biggs who was diagnosed with cancer and who died at age 6.
close to home
The Longest Ride For 21 and a half years, Thomas Miller has been driving for Prime. But two rides each year are his heart’s true calling. BY REN BISHOP
Photos courtesy Thomas Miller
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
homas Miller has been driving the idwest region for 2 and a half years. When he shares stories from the road, he always adds that half year, and he always shares why he still drives. “I’ve had what a lot of people call a very storied career,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win way more than my fair share of awards, been on America’s R oad Teams and won several Prime Trucking Championships. It’s been an incredible ride, but at 0, I found my real purpose It’s Sam’s R ide.” Sam Biggs Memorial Poker R un & Bike Show is an annual fundraiser for Sam Biggs Memorial Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research and support for families facing a diagnosis. Sam Biggs was only 4 when he was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer. He battled the disease for two years before dying at age .
Sam Biggs was the son of Leeanne and Brian Biggs, iller’s first cousin. “Like many other families, when a child is diagnosed with cancer, it really affects a family monetarily,” Miller says. “His mother had to quit her job, and as family, we wanted to help. y daughter acken ie was 2 at the time, and she and her best friend Alexis would go on daddy day rides with their friends, whose fathers were all avid motorcyclists. They came up with an idea a ride for Sam.” n a typical Saturday in 20 , maybe four of Miller’s riding friends would gather and ride. But because of Alexis and Mackenzie’s persistence, 0 riders showed up. It was such a success in their hometown of Bunkerhill, Illinois, that acken ie asked her dad to promote a ride in Springfield the weekend of Prime’s annual picnic. “We had 2 people show up in Springfield, which really shows the heart of Prime drivers and in-house associates,” he says. “They
came out that day and raised money for a little boy and his family that they didn’t know. Then, we were off.” For its third year, the young founders of Sam’s R ide decided to add a poker run and bike show, which made Sam’s R ide an all-day event. Miller coordinates the fundraiser, but he’s not alone. Volunteers from Prime and family friends come year after year, event sponsors provide funds and materials, and all money raised goes directly to cancer research and families in need. Over the course of seven years, Sam’s R ide has raised more than 0,000. “Our second year, Sam’s dad came up and hugged me, and asked me what I wanted this event to turn into,” iller says. “I told him by year 0, I wanted to raise 0,000 in a day. This year was our seventh year, and we hit our 0-year goal and raised more than ,000. So now, the sky’s the limit. I ust think we need to get every penny we can, to help kids like Sam.” PRIME WAYS
WELLNESS | FEBRUARY 2021
anny Crisp, 2019’s Instructor of the Y ear, is a CDL instructor and flatbed operator. He’s also a founding member of Prime’s river ealth and Fitness Task Force as well as a member of Prime’s river Advisory Board. The DHF Task Force was created in spring 2020 with a goal of helping drivers live a healthier lifestyle. “The goal is to help drivers stay fit and mindful of a healthy lifestyle. In doing so, they established a community within our community at Prime. It has been instrumental in changing perspectives on health and fitness in the company,” Crisp says. The program launched last year in part thanks to the efforts of R egistered Dietitian N utritionist Sara Waterman and river ealth and Fitness Coordinator Matt ancock. The task force provides tips on exercise opportunities in and around the truck as well as suggestions for hiking and bicycling. The task force provides simple routines for exercise that take into account the constraints of T life. One of the workout routines recommended by the task force is one that Crisp created called the Sunday Seven. It’s a group of seven e ercis-
es that drivers can do with flatbed e uipment on the truck. “It’s e citing to see how you can use your everyday surroundings and make them part of your routine,” Crisp says. Another issue drivers face is making good food choices on the road, so there are suggestions for healthier choices at truck stops, restaurants and more. But the group does more than ust provide information. It has created a community of drivers who support each other and are also held accountable to each other. “That peer accountability is vital as well,” Crisp says. When it comes to taking control of your health, Crisp recommends not focusing on weight loss because the end goal is to improve overall health, not shed a specific number of pounds. ob Palevac is a flatbed driver, and he joined the task force after seeing posters about it at Prime. “The healthy driver initiative provides dietary guidance, cooking methods and recipes as well as access to a licensed dietitian,” he says. “These healthy eating habits have helped immensely. If I’m eating fast food, I won’t feel nearly as energetic or positive about the fuel my body is provided than if it were made myself. omemade is
cheaper, infinitely healthier and often tastier than the more convenient alternatives.” As Crisp sees it, this health movement within trucking has gained momentum and is growing “e ponentially.” As a trainer, Crisp tries to encourage new drivers to oin and start healthier habits, including smoking cessation. “When you start a new career, you can start a new habit. I’ve had students who were smokers and wanted to quit, and I always suggest that they quit when they start driving because if you don’t, you will associate driving the truck with smoking,” he says. “It’s a good time to break a habit because everything is new.” For those who aren’t as excited about living a healthier lifestyle, Crisp tries to appeal to their business sense. “It’s about your drive endurance, not ust being fit,” he says. “It’s about your pocketbook. If you can drive longer because you feel better, you can make more money.”
Want to follow online? Check out Crisp’s YouTube channel: CDL Yeah Instagram: @cdl_yeah
Photos courtesy Belle of the Kitchen, Emily Plummer
BY JULIANA GOODWIN
Photo by Zackary Miller
Danny Crisp is a founding member of the Prime Driver Health and Fitness Task Force, and he helps his trainees learn how to incorporate fitness into their lives on the road.
A task force that was created to help drivers live healthier lifestyles is growing exponentially.
Emily’s Mississippi Roast is a quick dish drivers can make in a crock pot and store in a mini fridge.
EMILY’S MISSISSIPPI ROAST Ingredients Chuck roast, 3-4 lbs. 1 packet of ranch dressing mix 1 packet of au jus mix 8-9 whole pepperoncini peppers 1 stick of butter Instructions Plummer adds all the ingredients above to a slow cooker, turns it on high, and lets it cook eight hours. She says this pot roast is a favorite of hers because it can easily be reheated in the crock pot and feeds her and her husband for five days. “You can start it in the morning, and then by the time your shift is done, your meal is ready,” Plummer says. “So it’s pretty convenient.”
Prime driver Emily Plummer has found quick recipes she can make on the road that are healthful and filling.
Photos courtesy Belle of the Kitchen, Emily Plummer
Type II diabetes is enough of a challenge for Prime driver Emily Plummer. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and homemade, healthy options quickly became necessary for staying on track. BY JESSICA HAMMER
rime drivers aren’t strangers to getting creative when it comes to making mindful food choices when they’re out on the road. or mily Plummer, the challenge is heightened both by the C I - pandemic and her Type II diabetes. Plummer has been driving with Prime for 2 years and currently drives as a team with her husband. While she loves her ob, she didn’t always reali e her health could end her career. About four years ago, Plummer found out her blood sugar levels were out of control and was on the brink of a ma or health crisis. er doctor warned that her situation would only get worse unless she made a change.
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done,” Plummer says. “But once you focus more on eating healthy and moving more, then everything at that point ust falls into place.” Plummer chose to follow a keto-based diet and says she focuses on avoiding sugar and making sure she gets plenty of protein and vegetables in her meals. But, during a pandemic, Plummer says it is harder than ever to find healthier options in a pinch. “ ou can’t get to a Walmart in the middle of the night like we used to,” Plummer says. “A lot of the fast-food restaurants are closing around or p.m., and then a lot of the enny’s or TA travel centers, they’ve completely shut down.” Instead of relying on fast food, Plummer says she and her husband look for meals that can be made and reheated easily, even when out on the road. ne of her favorite on-the-go meals is her Mississippi R oast because it’s an easy and delicious slow cooker recipe. “That’s the main thing,” she says. “We look for recipes we can make in the crock pot. ne simple dish, and we’re done with it.” PRIME WAYS
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TRUCKS & TECH | FEBRUARY 2021
how we roll
turns heads Ken and Linda drive team, and these two have more than invested in the interior and exterior of their third truck. Now, they’re having a ball driving for Prime.
n a fleet of trucks, en BeBout’s stands out. en and his wife, Linda, are team drivers for Prime. After 0 years in the restaurant industry, Linda decided to switch to driving when she attended en’s orientation at Prime. “The leadership is great, the facilities are top notch, and there’s a daycare and salon,” she says. Linda fell for Prime’s amenities and then en became her trainer. ow, they’ve been on the road for the past si years and still love the company that attracted them years ago. “We couldn’t be happier with Prime,” en says. “ aving an owner who cares
about his team, instead of working for a company that only cares about profit,” en says. Several years into driving, the couple has added their own personal style to their ride. They ordered their third truck through Success Leasing, and it’s a showstopper. “The last one was a pretty nice truck, but this one we went all out on,” en says. “ veryone goes for the same sports theme or patriotic or military. I went with carbon fiber. It is half wrapped in carbon and half wrapped in black holographic chrome. It was done by Stripes and Stuff. very day, I get stopped a couple of times a day. very day.”
Photos by Brad Zweerink
BY JULIANA GOODWIN
INTERIOR UPGRADES While the truck is impressive on the outside, the inside has a plethora of upgrades. Between the wrap and interior upgrades, the BeBouts have sunk an e tra 0,000 into the truck. A few highlights include lowBelow, which helps reduce fuel consumption, upgraded orthStar batteries, oil and transmission fluid life monitor, upgraded alternator and fuel water separator and full aerodynamics and front air ride suspension, so the couple can raise and lower the rear suspension for heavy loads and high hook loads.
DECKED OUT en got the idea for the holographic wrap at a car show. e saw the treatment applied to a Lamborghini and decided he wanted it for his truck. There are pinstripes and black reflective tape in all the seams, which creates a Tron effect when the lights hit it. “ y truck goes every bit of the rainbow so it has a prism effect,” en says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, as long as there is light on it.””
LANE KEEP ASSIST ne of en’s favorite features is Lane eep Assist. “I can set cruise control, and it helps the truck maintain the lane. It is driver assisted driving. I can rela my hands on the steering wheel. It works well when the wind blows hard because you don’t have to fight the wind,” en says.
LIFE SAVER The wrap was pricey, about ,000, but the treatment will actually e tend the life of the truck’s paint ob. “The wrap will last three to five years, and I can pull it off and I will have brand new truck paint underneath,” en says. “It completely protects the paint.” In high-wear areas, such as the bottom fairing, en has carbon fibers and a thick wrap. That helps protect the truck from road debris.
GETTING A DEAL
espite the e tra cost, they actually saved money. “The salesman at reightliner said I could get a better deal with Prime,” en says. “It was actually less e pensive by ,000 ,000. ur last truck ran million miles in five years. I hope this will, too.”
Prime’s new assessment bays give drivers a chance to talk with senior techs to see what’s wrong with their trucks.
ere’s how it works. Prime appoints a senior technician as the driver’s point person. This tech is then tasked with creating a detailed list of the driver’s concerns. “This write-up is then given to techs throughout the shop for repair,” oltmeyer says. It also gives the tech team the chance to spot issues that only a dealer can address. This way, the driver and the maintenance team To help drivers communicate their maintenance needs better, Prime set up new don’t have to waste time getting the truck in assessment bays and assigned senior techs to serve as tech translators. the shop only to reali e the truck needs to BY ETTIE BERNEKING go see the dealer. The senior tech should be able to spot this and send the driver directly to the nearest dealership. “If a driver comes in and makes the noise he’s been hearing, et’s be honest. ven those of us who nightmare that needed to be fi ed. The that senior tech can convert that noise are great drivers the kind of driv- solution Prime put into place was a sim- into something meaningful for mechanics,” oltmeyer says. “ r we’re able to say, this ers who make a career of it are not ple one. It set up new assessment bays at always great at communicating our car’s each main terminal that allow a senior tech is normal, and this is what these trucks do. issues, noises and shortcomings to the me- to transcribe driver concerns into a proper That will circumvent the driver from comchanics we visit. We might try to desperately write-up mechanics can understand and ing into the shop when they don’t have to.” Prime’s assessment bays were put in recreate the noises and describe the barely work with. noticeable erks and bumps we e perience Chris oltmeyer, manager of fleet main- place in April 2020, and with more than 00 trucks passing through the Springfield while behind the wheel, but it’s usually in tenance at Prime, says these assessment in Pittston and 2 vain. ost of the time, us drivers ust don’t bays are nothing new in the industry, but shop each week, and have the vocabulary or knowhow to effec- most drivers aren’t used to seeing them at in Salt Lake City, the senior techs tasked tively communicate our car’s issues with a Prime terminals. “These are widely used with transcribing drivers’ maintenance mechanic. And that’s e actly the problem at truck dealerships,” oltmeyer says. “By issues have their work cut out for them. Prime technicians were running into. having this bay, we create the opportunity “What we’ve done is pulled some of our best rivers were showing up who needed to have one-on-one dialogue with drivers techs off the floor,” oltmeyer says. “It crework done to their trucks, but they weren’t and break down communication barriers ated a short-term loss for a long-term gain. sure what kind of work was needed, and between drivers and technicians. ur o. We’re able to harness that e perience and sometimes it turned out that no work was goal is to ensure our drivers are satisfied use it in a way that passes that e perience throughout the shop.” needed at all. It was a communication and have all their concerns addressed.”
Photo by Andrea Mueller
The new mandated Electronic Logging Devices mean drivers have to pay more attention to their daily logs.
New Fuel Optimizer Features Independent contractors now have more control over their fuel and route recommendations with new fuel optimizer technology. BY JULIANA GOODWIN
Photo courtesy Love’s Travel Stops, Prime Inc., Shutterstock
Photo by Andrea Mueller
uel anager for Prime, Sam essick is always trying to improve Prime’s uel and oute optimi er. “We are always striving to improve the uality of recommendations that operators receive from the optimi er,” says essick, who has been with the company for nearly seven years. The uel and oute optimi er selects which route is most cost effective on a driver’s current dispatch. The optimi er considers many factors when making a recommendation, including the value of time, cost of tolls, fuel costs, the cost of out of route miles and customer service. anhattan is the vendor partner that provides the uel and oute optimi er software. As part of anhattan’s ctober 2020 optimi er software upgrade, independent contractors with Prime can now select their preferred truck stop chains. perators can select a primary and a secondary chain of stops that they prefer fueling with. The three truck stop options are TA Petro, Love’s and Pilot lying . If pricing is within appro imately .0 per gallon, the optimi er will send a driver to their preferred chain.
“Previously the optimi er simply recommended the cheapest fuel stop even if it only saved 0 cents total on an operator’s trip,” essick says. “This new chain preference feature will send you to the truck stops that you prefer more often when pricing is close.” The preference option is only available for independent contractors, which accounts for appro imately 0 of the Prime fleet. To date, the reaction from drivers to the new feature has been positive, but as with any change, there are kinks to work out. “This new feature will not send you to your preferred truck stops regardless of cost the cost has to be very close as we are trying to ensure your truck stays very profitable,” essick says. In order to opt into the new chain preference feature, drivers should fill out a acro . ou can submit an updated acro at any time to update your preferred truck stop chains.
The latest update to the Prime mobile app lets you view and manage your emergency fund balance. BY BRIANNE MADURA
There’s a new feature on the Prime app that is especially helpful for independent contractors. The latest update now allows these drivers to move around emergency funds. Here’s how it works: Independent contractors can click through to the My Progress section of My Prime. From there, they can manage their emergency fund electronically. Not only can they make changes whenever they need, but they can do it at any time of the day or night with an extra layer of fraud protection. Changes to a driver’s emergency fund will still only be processed during Payroll business hours, but this is one of many features Prime is bringing about to help protect team members’ information and reduce the possibility of fraud. If you’re new to the Prime app, there are actually a lot of ways the My Progress tab can help you out when it comes to your E-Fund. From the Balances tab of My Progress there is now a Manage E-Fund Button, which will allow you to… •
Set up your E-fund
Request a withdrawal from your E-fund to be transferred to your Comdata Card or Settlement
Select a future payroll date (if you choose settlement).
Review and Change current E-fund contribution amounts
Contact: If you have any questions, call 1-800-641-4068 or email email@example.com. PRIME WAYS
When there’s nothing but long stretches of road ahead of you, it helps to have a furry passenger to keep you company. These ﬁve Prime drivers are in it for the long haul thanks to their canine co-pilots. BY CLAIRE PORTER
Photos courtesy Chris Haymond
Best Buds on The Road
Chris Haymond found his dog Oakley one Halloween, and the two have been driving companions ever since.
Oakley adapted quickly to life on the truck and now enjoys hitting the road.
Photos courtesy Chris Haymond
THE PEOPLE-PLEASER While most people are searching for candy on Halloween, lease driver Chris Haymond was looking for something more. Haymond had joined Prime in 2018 after a career in logistics management. “I was on the road for a year, and as time went on, and as any truck driver knows, you get lonely,” he says. That’s how he found himself at the R ockingham Harrisonburg SPCA on Halloween 2019. He had looked at almost 200 dogs at more than five shelters when he spotted Oakley. “He didn’t want anything to do with the other animals; he just wanted to kiss and hug and play,” Haymond says. Haymond adopted the lab-greyhound mix, and now Oakley hardly leaves his side. “This dog’s personality is so loving,”
Haymond says. “When you’re having your worst day, he will get out of his seat, come sit right next to me and put his nose on my lap like he knows what’s going on.” Haymond’s three young daughters are timid around most animals, but they warmed up to Oakley. For Oakley’s part, he plays along for a few hours before he starts itching to hit the road. Oakley was raised on a farm, so he loves to see cows from the cab. He’s also a big fan of water, especially the rivers near Mount Washington in N ew Hampshire, where Haymond and Oakley took a memorable break one day. “That was probably his most favorite day,” he says. Haymond has picked up a lot of tips for dog owners on the road. He warns that
Haymond says Oakley’s best day ever was when the two stopped at one of the rivers near Mount Washington. Okaley loves water, so getting to spend some time outdoors splashing around was a hit.
“This dog’s personality is so loving. When you’re having your worst day, he will get out of his seat, come sit right next to me and put his nose on my lap like he knows what’s going on.” —Chris Haymond pets aren’t allowed on port deliveries, and ride-sharing services prohibit dogs, so be prepared to rent a car. He also suggests finding a Tractor Supply Co. for vaccinations— most host a pet vet on Sundays. PRIME WAYS
The Alboranos are such fans of having their dog Skooter in the truck with them that they named their truck after the pooch.
SKOOTER THE MASCOT
When Annie and Mike Alborano pull up to a stop, the first face you’ll see is Skooter’s. “She has to come say hello to any of the shippers or receivers,” Annie says of their 6-year-old boxer-shepherd mix. Skooter first stole this couple’s heart as a -week-old puppy at a flea market. At home in West Virginia, she gobbled up salmon and feta snacks from the Alboranos’ restaurant. After closing the restaurant and relocating to Florida, Annie and Mike were looking for a change when they learned about Prime. “I was at the DMV getting my Florida license, and a kid in front of me was renewing his CDL,” Annie says. “We struck up a conversation, and he said, ‘ Have you ever heard of Prime? ’” With a little research, Annie and Mike were soon on the reyhound to Springfield for orientation. After completing training, they were ready for Skooter to join them. After about a month of acclimating to life on the truck, Skooter made herself right at home in the rig, where she sits in the passenger seat and gets excited to play fetch at every stop. “She’s got Mike wrapped around her paw,” Annie says. All it takes for
“She really does make my day a whole lot better. I don’t know how we lived without her.” —Annie Alborano treats and snacks is a persuasive bark. The Alboranos’ love for Skooter is no secret, either. The loveable pup is the namesake of their truck, Skoot’s Logistics. The cab has her pawprints on it, and her snack and toy baskets fill the front cubbies.
Street Smarts Prime does not have a policy on leaving pets in your vehicle, but be a responsible owner. Crack a window to give them air, and double-check that your truck has shut
While the truck is decked out with plenty of cozy spots for Skooter to sleep, this pup loves stretching her legs at rest stops.
oﬀ fully. Shawn Huberty’s dog Max unrolled the window as the truck was powering down and jumped out. After her dog Jake also escaped from an open window, Nancy Brown started leashing him inside the cab to help ease his anxiety and train him to stay inside.
Photos courtesy Annie and Mike Alborano
Skooter is a calm and devoted dog with an underbite that gives her a permanent smile. Annie notes the value she brings to life on the road. “She really does make my day a whole lot better,” she says. “I don’t know how we lived without her.” For other drivers looking to get a pet, Annie advises investing in a vacuum to manage shedding, and she recommends making sure you’re prepared to give your pet the attention and care they deserve all day, every day.
THE RIDE OR DIE
Photos courtesy Nancy Brown
Jake, a 4-year-old pit bull, has a new lease on life. Three years ago, he was named Winston after the cigarette brand — and he smelled like them, too. When his owners needed to give him up, his second chance came in the form of N ancy Brown. Brown was also starting anew. After 35 years in corporate management, she joined Prime Inc. to pursue her childhood dream. “I showed up never having been in a truck,” she says. “I was the type of girl who couldn’t even change my own oil.” When Brown completed her training, she wanted a dog for security. She responded to a Craigslist ad selling the white pit bull for $ 20. After earning his trust, she renamed him Jake after a truck’s jake brake. Brown is now a lease-operator, TN T trainer, CDL instructor, Highway Diamond and Driver Advisory Board (D AB) member. She’s also garnered a social media following under her nickname Trucker N aeN ae. However, “Jake is really the star of the truck,” she says. Although Jake’s Y ouTube fan base and protective personality are a plus, he has become Brown’s comfort blanket. “I approached the dog as a tool for security, but what I have found is he is so much more,” she says.
Nancy Brown found her lovable pup Jake through Craigslist. She originally got Jake as a four-legged security guard, but now he’s a true companion.
While on the road, Nancy Brown gets plenty of excuses to stop for exercise thanks to Jake, who takes every chance he can get to hop outside and run around.
“I make a conscious effort to give him the exercise he needs to clear his mind. As much as I think about my own mental health and keeping myself intact on the road, I’m also thinking about him because he’s no good to me if he’s not in a good place either.” —Nancy Brown Jake spends his days looking out the window at farm animals. When Brown takes a break, Jake jumps in the driver’s seat and puffs up his chest to look intimidating. “I think he knows he’s doing a job,” Brown says. She makes sure they play ball and exercise every day, and she stresses that keeping dogs active prevents them from getting bored and into trouble. “I make a conscious effort to give him the exercise he needs to clear his mind,” she says. “As much as I think about my own mental health and keeping myself intact on the road, I’m also thinking about him because he’s no good to me if he’s not in a good place either.”
Shawn Huberty’s dog, Max, adds plenty of excitement to the mix when the two are on the road.
THE CARETAKER When you ask Shawn Huberty to describe his 3-year-old mutt, Max, the response is easy: “He’s a character.” Max is a mix of golden retriever, husky and Doberman, and according to Huberty, “he’s still a little rambunctious.” Some of his antics include rolling down a window and escaping the cab at a truck stop and “talking” to every person he meets. “He definitely says his two cents,” uberty says. Two and a half years ago, Huberty had just joined Prime and decided to adopt a dog. He went to a shelter in Minnesota and met Fooddepot, a puppy rescued from Hurricane Michael in G eorgia. Determined not to have a dog called Fooddepot, Huberty tried out new names. When he said “Max,” the puppy’s head perked up, and the name stuck. N ow a lease owner/ operator, Huberty has gotten used to Max’s nosy personality, and he isn’t the dog’s only fan. Huberty’s mother fell for the 8 0-pound furball, too.
When Huberty first adopted Max, the pup’s name was Fooddepot. Huberty quickly came up with a better name.
Squeaky Clean Prime’s terminals have pet washes where Fido can freshen up. In Springﬁeld, the Pet Wash is located in the Detail Bay facility. Salt Lake City’s is in the Wash Bay facility. The one at the Pittston terminal is in the works, but it is tentatively planned across from the main terminal building. The pet washes are open to pets of all kinds. Drivers can bring their own shampoo and soap or purchase some from the wash facilities. For added rec time, the Springﬁeld terminal has a pet kennel and park where pets can exercise or enjoy some alone time. If you’re not able to stop at the pet wash, ancy Brown recommends waterless shampoo to keep your pets fresh between regular baths.
Photos courtesy Shawn Huberty
“She loves him,” Huberty says. “But her first thought was, e said he was getting a dog, but this is a horse.’” Last October, Huberty’s mom was diagnosed with cancer, and Huberty sent Max home to keep her company. With her, Max takes on a calming presence. Huberty and his mom also believe that Max is a reincarnation of their previous dog, and they see traces of her in Max’s protective nature and goofy looks. Max gets restless when he’s not on the road, and Huberty misses the companionship. “It’s been very hard because I miss my buddy,” he says. “I reach over and he’s not there.” Although being on the road with your best friend has its perks, it comes with responsibilities, too. For a dog that sheds as much as Max does, Huberty vacuums every day, and he advises other drivers to know what they’re getting into. “Y ou have to be in it for the long run because it’s a lot of work, but the reward is priceless,” he says.
Beth Stull found Penny in Vegas, and the two have been inseparable ever since.
Prime’s Pet Policy Company drivers can have one pet with a contract and a pet deposit. Independent contractors are permitted to have no more than two pets for a maximum of three heartbeats on the truck.
Photos courtesy Beth Stull
THE COMEBACK KID Beth Stull and her dog, Penny, are no strangers to a rags-to-riches story. Stull was living in Las Vegas when she saw Penny cowering in her cage at an adoption event. She had been abused in the first year of her life and was very timid, but “as soon as I picked her up and held her to me, she immediately put her head on my shoulder,” Stull says. Stull herself underwent a dramatic life change. Two years ago, she was $ 60,000 in debt and coming out of a divorce when she borrowed the $ 100 for Prime’s orientation. N ow Stull is a lease-operator. She not only paid off her debt entirely, but she pur-
chased and renovated a trailer home for her son and helped her daughter buy a parcel of land in Colorado. Stull told her trainer about how she missed the way Penny keeps her mellow when she’s stressed, so in August 2018 , the two picked Penny up from Stull’s daughter. Penny’s acclimation to life on the road took just three days, and she has been on the truck ever since. Penny has her routine down. The air brakes mean it’s time for a walk. Weighing all of 10 pounds, she gets lifted into the cab, and to get down, Penny climbs onto Stull’s shoulder like a parrot.
Beth Stull brings her dog Penny on the road as a kind of furry stress reliever.
Stull values the emotional companionship Penny provides. “If I’ve had a rough day, I can sit on the bed and pet her, and she gives me kisses and always lets me know it’s going to be okay,” Stull says. “A good dog, they’re going to sense what their owner is feeling.” Because of that emotional connection, Stull notes that it’s important to think about your dog’s mental well-being, too. She advises other drivers to give their dogs plenty of attention and love and to reward them when they behave. “They’re cooped up in these things as much as we are, and they enjoy their outdoor time,” she says. PRIME WAYS
THE BIG BUSINESS
OF TRUCKING Meet three fleet owners who have used Prime as a resource to start and grow their own fleet of drivers.
Junior Honduras now has four trucks on his fleet. He started with just one.
Photos courtesy Junior Honduras
BY ETTIE BERNEKING
JUNIOR HONDURAS YEARS WITH PRIME: 9 | SIZE OF FLEET: 4 TRUCKS Junior Honduras has two mottos that he lives by. The first is to always have a plan B in case your plan A doesn’t work out. is second motto is “never broke again,” and that’s what led him to get his C L. “If you have your C L, you should never be broke,” he says. “ ou have doors open to you everywhere you go.” onduras started driving for Prime in 20 and now has his own fleet. e’s got four trucks under him and sees his fleet as a business that he carefully manages. But back when he leased his first truck, owning his own fleet was not on his list of goals. Instead, he and his wife hoped trucking would help their family make some basic life improvements. “We had three main goals,” onduras says. “With four kids, we wanted to buy a bigger car, we wanted to buy a house, and I wanted to improve my credit score.” onduras says at the time, his credit score was in the low 00s. It took him a solid year of driving before he started seeing improvements, but onduras is big on setting goals and working toward them. After three years of driving with Prime, onduras says his credit score was in the high 00s, and the family was able to upgrade to an S and finally buy a home. Crossing off all three of their goals was a big deal for onduras and his wife. “I was focused on pushing forward for the family and getting over living paycheck to paycheck,” he says. “It wasn’t an immediate change financially, and I tell people that. A lot of people think you’re going to come out here and get rich overnight, but it doesn’t happen like that.” With their financial situation improved, the onduras family set a new goal to buy their first truck. At this point, onduras was wrapping up his second lease and saw an opportunity. “I was a little scared,” he says, “but we said let’s do it ” The couple bought a used truck to limit their risk and reduce their payments to ust two years. “ nce we had the truck there was no backing out,” onduras says. “It was a gamble, but it was one we were willing to take.” As it
▲ Junior Honduras (right) shares his educational videos about truck driving on YouTube and often has guests on the show like the famous @camionerovlog.
turns out, it was a gamble that worked out really well for the family. Si months before he paid off his first truck, onduras and his wife decided to buy a second truck and put a driver in it. That was in 20 , and now, ust two years later, onduras has a fleet of four trucks. They’re all reightliners, and onduras says they’re all the basic model no e tras. “I’m here to make money, so I need a work truck,” he says. Part of how onduras finds his drivers is through his ouTube channel. e started the channel in 20 as a way to blog about his e perience as a driver trainer. e want-
ed to share tips with other drivers, but it was also a way his trainees could track their progress and refer back to past videos to see what they had learned. ow, onduras has more than ,000 ouTube followers, and drivers reach out to him all the time interested in either driving for him or training with him. e’s actually referred more than 00 new drivers to Prime. Within his own fleet, onduras says communication is key, and so is goal setting. “I think about how I would like to be managed as a driver,” he says. “I don’t micromanage, but I talk with my drivers about what I e pect from them and what they want to accomplish. That’s one thing I tell people as a trainer you need to set some goals. Write them down, and every time you wake up, look at them. Stay focused. There are people who have driven longer than I have, and they don’t have much to show for it. I always push people to set some goals.” And for onduras, that might include increasing his fleet from four to five trucks, but for now, he says things are good and he’s more focused on setting his long-term goals, whatever they might be. Junior met Lanadia while picking up a load in Georgia, and she told him how his videos helped her a lot while she was getting her CDL.
Vernon Roberts has five trucks on his fleet, but he has a long-term goal to increase that number to 10.
VERNON ROBERTS YYEARS WITH PRIME: 9 | SIZE OF FLEET: 5 TRUCKS If you want to learn how to build your own fleet, driver ernon oberts says to ust ask Prime because as he sees it, “Prime really has the blueprint for this.” oberts has driven for Prime for nine years and now has five trucks in his fleet. e oined the company after leaving his ob as a correctional officer. e was looking for something new, and says he went out on a limb and tried out trucking. “I knew nothing,” he says. “I didn’t even know how to drive a stick shift, and now I have five trucks.”
oberts actually has a long-term goal to grow his fleet, known as oberts press, to 0 trucks, but he didn’t build his company overnight. oberts was a company driver for his first year with Prime and then leased a truck for four years before buying his own rig. It was a big move for oberts, but he knew he was going to be in the industry for the long haul. “I reali ed I wasn’t going anywhere else,” he says. “I felt like I developed a family at Prime, and I saw how they treat you right. So I figured I’d go ahead and buy a truck.”
▲ Vernon has five trucks on his fleet currently, and he says Prime has done a great job training drivers he can trust with his trucks.
“It’s been great. It provided a lot of opportunity for me and my family, and it gave me a chance to help others who want to drive. That’s what I enjoy most.”
Photos courtesy Vernon Roberts
ot surprisingly, Prime was there to help. “Prime took care of the hard work,” oberts says. “It was pretty smooth. I covered the down payment, and after that, it wasn’t any different than leasing a truck.” Things went so smoothly that oberts actually bought his second truck ust three months later. e convinced his best friend to come out and train with him, and once he had his C L, he stuck his friend in a truck and officially had his own fleet. As oberts press grew, oberts discovered that Prime was a resource he could turn to. “They train drivers, they take care of paperwork like state permits, and they teach you how to go out on your own,” he says. “ ou’d think Prime would see this as competition, but they don’t. They still see me as family.” ne of the ma or ways Prime has helped oberts is by keeping him and his crew running something oberts credits his dispatcher for. All of oberts’ drivers are under the same dispatcher, which makes oberts’ life much easier. “We get breakdowns on what each truck did each week,” he says. “I ask them what their long-term goals are, and we see how we can guide them.” rom there, oberts again turns to his dispatcher. “I always say, if you have a
▼ Vernon was able to lean on Prime as he grew his fleet and brought on more drivers.
good dispatcher, let them run you,” he says. With five trucks on his fleet and a goal of 0, oberts press is doing well. “It’s been great,” oberts says. “It provided a lot of opportunity for me and my family, and it gave me a chance to help others who want to drive. That’s what I en oy most.” When asked about how he’s gone about building his own fleet, oberts says it was all thanks to Prime. “ ou can always try your own method,” he says. “But anything you can think of, they’ve probably thought of it already.”
Vernon named his fleet Roberts Express.
Cary doesn’t put his company name on his trucks. Instead, he wants each of his drivers to feel like it’s their business and be empowered to grow.
CARY NICKOLSON YEARS WITH PRIME: 12 | SIZE OF FLEET: 12 TRUCKS
▲ Cary Nickolson has been a truck driver since 1981, and he’s been with Prime for 12 years.
When Cary ickolson oined Prime in 200 , he knew it would be the last place he worked. It’s not because they helped him get into a truck or that they’ve encouraged and helped him grow his own fleet. It’s because Prime was the only trucking company to take a chance on him. ickolson has been a truck driver since , but when he showed up at Prime, it had been eight years since he’d been behind the wheel. But that wasn’t by choice. “In 2000, I had an accident,” ickolson says. “I was a company driver for a chicken company in Te as. I was unloading a hopper truck, and I fell down through the hopper and into the conveyor.”
After the accident, ickolson says he spent most of the first year in the hospital as he struggled to fight off the infection that had settled into his leg as a result of the accident. ventually, his lower right leg had to be amputated, and ickolson found himself in a wheelchair. “It was three years before I could get enough strength back to start walking,” he says. When he got a prosthetic leg, ickolson knew he wanted to get back to work, but there was a problem. ue to his disability, ickolson needed to get a waiver to drive a semi. “Prime was the only company willing to help me get going,” he says. Thanks to his friend Charles Baker also a driver for Prime with a fleet of nine
Photos courtesy Cary Nickolson
“As a business owner, it’s nothing like being a driver. You’re not thinking in terms of miles alone. You’re thinking about the bottom line and profitability, but you have to be able to get your drivers the money they need as well. You have to learn the proper freight lanes and where the customers are during the year.”—Cary Nickolson
trucks and on Lacey, who was Prime’s safety director at the time, ickolson was able to get his learner’s permit back and get his waiver from the state and federal regulators. “Prime was so gracious,” ickolson says. “They let me use Charles’ truck to take my test for the learner’s permit.” ow, ickolson is part of Prime’s illion iles club. e’s been accident free ever since, and he’s devoted his career to Prime. “Prime was the one who helped me, so I knew it would be the last place I worked,” he says. “ rom the beginning, they helped me. But they also helped me become profitable.” ickolson says he already had plenty of e perience driving, but what he didn’t have was e perience being a boss. When he decided to start his own fleet, Prime was there. “They taught me how to make it a business,” he says. “It’s a slow process and not something you do overnight.” ickolson launched his fleet with two trucks, and then added a third truck si
months later. Three years later, ickolson sold all three trucks and upgraded to si . After that, he started adding two new trucks to his fleet each year. “ y goal is to have trucks,” he says. “As a business owner, it’s nothing like being a driver. ou’re not thinking in terms of miles only. ou’re thinking about the bottom line and profitability, but you have to be able to get your drivers the money they need as well.” ou’re also thinking about the industry. “ ou have to learn the proper freight lanes and where the customers are during the year,” he says. “There are seasons for different types of freight, and Prime helps us be where we need to be. I get a lot of help from my fleet manger, Thomas Long, l. It’s not one thing
that makes you successful it’s the 0 little things you do every day.” Based in endon, Te as, ickolson says his fleet is efficient and turnover is low. is drivers check in with him each day, and he answers their uestions, stays on top of their needs and guides new drivers. nce his team is on the road, ickolson uses Prime’s software to track trucks to make sure deliveries are on time and to help drivers if needed. As he sees it, he’s got a team member with Prime. “ reight is a living, breathing thing,” he says. “It’s a big monster, so that’s the nice thing about having Prime in my corner. It keeps me from worrying about the brokerage of loads, and I can focus on helping my drivers and building our team.”
▲ Cary says he’s grateful to Prime for helping him get his license when other trucking companies wouldn’t take a risk on him.
TERMINAL TALK | FEBRUARY 2021
The new cafe at the Salt Lake City terminal will give drivers and in-house associates many more options to choose from during the day.
Fuel for the Road A new café is scheduled to open in the Salt Lake City terminal, providing drivers with meals and snacks to sustain them during their cross-country journeys.
hen a company values the well-being of its associates as much as Prime, even a global pandemic won’t stop it from growing. That’s why it’s no surprise the Springfield, Missouri-based trucking operation just opened its third café inside the Salt Lake City terminal, where approximately 750 drivers stop every week. Previously only offered at the Springfield and Pittston, Pennsylvania, locations, the amenity provides all team members, especially drivers, with a menu of meals and snacks to make life on the road a little easier. John Blansit, corporate director of food and beverage for Prime, spearheaded the project and
Photos by Megan Hrdlicka
BY JENNIFER ADAMSON
For now, cafe hours are limited, but Prime hopes to have it open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
was determined to bring it to completion despite the COVID-19 crisis. Using blueprints drawn up months in advance, construction began on the Salt Lake City café last year, with an anticipated opening date of June 2020, but when stringent travel restrictions were put in place, Blansit realized sticking to the timeline was going to be a challenge. “We’ve traveled out there a couple times, as well as went out one time and stayed for 10 days, but we’ve been doing a lot of the work from Springfield,” he says. Opening a new eatery from scratch meant renovating the existing terminal to accommodate the nearly 2,000-squarefoot café. That included making sure the building met certain guidelines.
“The first trip out was inspecting what had been done, what we were satisfied with and things that needed to be reworked,” Blansit says. “We took a fair amount of time in the early stages of planning to where we didn’t anticipate a whole lot of big detail issues, but some of the drains in the kitchen floor needed some attention.” On top of making sure the physical structure was sound, tasks like ordering equipment, contacting local food purveyors and setting up trash collection service all needed to be checked off the list, and so did hiring a staff to run the show. Chris Freeman, executive chef of the Springfield terminal café, took on much of that responsibility to help make the open-
ing as smooth as possible. “I’ve been doing a lot of the legwork and setup, so it’s a turnkey operation,” he says. “The hardest thing has been getting a whole new crew together and trained. Some of them are not only new to Prime, they’re new to the restaurant business.” As if hiring a whole new team isn’t hard enough, throw in post-travel quarantine mandates and the very real struggle of trying to get to know new team members while everyone is wearing a mask. “COVID has definitely put a strain on things,” says Blansit, who anticipated a limited-hours, limited-service opening until the café is fully staffed. A target date was set for mid December 2020. Before construction of the Salt Lake City café, several food trucks rotated in and out of the property to offer limited eating options at specific times of the day. The new cafe will mean Prime’s team can enjoy a permanent dining option with extended hours, which will allow drivers the ability to pull off and de-stress in a comfortable environment. As Freeman explains, it’s all about giving drivers peace of mind. “Drivers are very excited about having that amenity at that terminal,” Blansit says. “They are our bread and butter. Everything we can do to make their lives easier is what we’re all about.”
BY THE NUMBERS 7
Prime hopes to open the cafe seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The goal is to hire 15 people to work at the SLC cafe.
30 2,500 750 As many as 30 food trucks came to the SLC terminal.
SLC estimates it will serve more than 2,500 meals each week.
On average, 750 drivers pass through SLC weekly.
2K The new cafe takes up almost 2,000 square feet.
E ASY Prime added a new Learning Center at its Salt Lake City terminal, and for this family, that means more time together and a whole lot less stress. BY JULIANA GOODWIN
Photos courtesy Antonette Clark
hen Antonette Clark learned she was pregnant, she knew where ▲ Both Dustin and Antonette Clark work at Prime’s terminal in Salt Lake City, and now that the new Prime Kids she wanted to send her child Learning Center is scheduled to open in 2021, they’ll be able to enroll their daughter in the facility. to daycare. “We knew we wanted to use the Prime Kids Learning Center as soon as we found out we were having her, it was just a question as to when we able to spend some time with her at lunch- who have been together for 11 years and would be able to,” Antonette says. The es a couple days a week as well,” she says. married for six. Prime’s focus on family is key for the Clarks, and it’s why Dustin has reason Antonette wasn’t sure when she “This will help us out and be so much more spent most of his career with Prime. would be able to enroll her future daughter convenient for us. I know it’ll take some of “I was going to school for diesel mechanin Prime’s Learning Center is because the the stress off of us and overall have a good ics, and the instructor told me to try it out,” center at the Salt Lake City terminal was impact.” he says. “I’ve been here ever since. It pays not open yet, but it was in the works. Karry Pineda is the director of the new better than most companies in the area, Antonette is a service writer for the Learning Center, and she has been excited has good hours and good days off. They tractor shop at Prime, and her husband, to get to know more Prime parents as the Dustin, is the trailer shop foreman. The center gets closer to opening in early 2021. have family picnics, parties and now the Learning Center.” couple have been shuttling their 2-year-old The Learning Center will house children Antonette joined the company after seedaughter, Weslynn, to daycare across town ages 6 weeks to 5 years and has a capacing her husband was happy there. She had for some time now, and couldn’t help but ity of 66 kids. “I feel like Prime culture is only been working part-time but was able be excited when they learned Prime’s Salt one big family,” Pineda says. “That’s why to find a full-time position at Prime three Lake City terminal remodel would include we have an open door policy, so parents years ago. a Learning Center. can come and get their child any time they The Learning Center will mean less stress Dustin has been with Prime since 2012, want. We want the families to be involved.” and more family time. “We’re really just and his office is 200 yards from where The Learning Center will be open from 6 grateful to have the opportunity to have the new Learning Center will be located. a.m. to 6:30 p.m.. Having his daughter on the Prime campus Pineda has 25 years of experience in ear- her so close to us and to know that they are holding the high standards that Prime will save their family a 45-minute com- ly childhood education and was attracted mute each day, he says. to Prime because of the company’s mis- strives for,” Antonette says. “It’ll mean a lot to have her in such a safe environment with Antonette says it will also be a definite sion statement, which is definitely part of upgrade in facility. “We’re hoping to be the draw for both Dustin and Antonette, what I’m sure will be fantastic teachers.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and caption information about where and when the photo was taken.
▲ Robert Popsilil took a break to stop for a photo op. He stumbled upon this spot while driving with his PSD student. They found this strawberry reservoir in Utah. “It’s one of the many beautiful destinations I’ve gotten to see during my time with Prime,” Popsilil writes.
Driver Cody Nix added Christmas lights to his truck, which he lovingly named Bessie. These two were cruising along in plenty of holiday style.
Photos courtesy Robert Parham, Cody Nix, Dennis Olson
Cody Nix wasn’t deterred by the sudden snow storm. Instead, he took the opportunity to show off how great his truck looks even buried under snow. “The beast still lives even in 10 inches of snow,” he wrote.
Driver Dennis Olson stopped at Bass Pro in Leeds, Alabama, to drop off a load. “I came to Prime to fulfill a lifelong dream of driving a truck,” Olson says. “After spending almost two years pulling reefer, I spotted a load of boats sitting on the Springfield yard. I called my wife and said we haul boats and I’m switching. Within a month I was on the flatbed team. I named my company Living The Dream from the beginning. This is truly Living the Dream.”