Prime Ways | Volume 7 | Issue 1

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VOLUME 7 ISSUE 1

A DRIVER’S

Best Friend LEARN HOW PETS ARE IMPROVING THE OVER-THEROAD EXPERIENCE FOR FOUR PRIME DRIVERS


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KATIE POLLOCK ESTES Editorial Director ETTIE BERNEKING Editor PAIJE LUTH Creative Director JAMIE THOMAS Multimedia Editor SARAH PATTON Art Director BRANDON ALMS Senior Photographer & Designer

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MEGAN JOHNSON VP of Custom Publishing AMMIE SCOTT VP of Strategy and Senior Account Executive LANDRA BUNGE Finance Director GARY WHITAKER Founder JOAN WHITAKER Founder

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contents

ON THE COVER Peeps is the feline copilot of Tyler and Samantha Parson. Peeps even has her own safety vest.

Prime Ways PRIME WAYS| |February MARCH 2022 2017

JW Jeter celebrated his last day of chemo, and his wife and kids decorated his car and front yard to show their love.

18 OVERCOMING THE ODDS When these Prime team members got bad news, their Prime family was there to help.

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THE VOICE

GEORGIA PROUD

When Kevin Johnson’s daughter competed on The Voice, Prime cheered her on.

This Prime driver is a big Georgia football fan, and he has the truck to prove it.

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THE FIT LIFE

22 THE PETS WHO LOVE LIFE ON THE ROAD It’s that time of year again when we meet the furry companions who are part of the Prime crew.

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PRIME WAYS

Prime is about to roll out a new fitness section of its website, and there will be a lot of recipes, workouts and tips to enjoy.

BRINGING THE FAMILY ALONG FOR THE RIDE

17 SHOP TALK Meet the crew in Salt Lake City who are working their magic on trucks that need repairs big and small.

When summer break rolls around, this Prime driver makes sure to bring his kids on the road. And with 10 kids back home, he takes them out in shifts.

Photos courtesy JW Jeter, Deven Burk-Wynn, Kara McIntee, Tom Withers

Features


PRIME FAMILY

Chat These are the numbers and stats from this issue that blew us away and deserve a little extra attention.

FREE

The Prime Employee Assistance program offers a variety of free services for both company drivers and in-house associates in the areas of counseling, legal support and resources, financial information and work-life solutions. On top of that, benefits are also available to Prime associates’ immediate dependents, which means spouses and children can take advantage of the program. Turn to p. 7 to learn more.

1,200

In the month of November, Prime received a little under 1,200 resumes for in-house positions. That’s a lot of applications Prime’s HR department has to filter through. Turn to p. 8 to learn more about what the HR department is up to on a normal week.

200+

Prime’s Pittston terminal is undergoing a pretty big renovation that will include plenty of parking. The new parking lot site will have 264 long-term parking spaces and five motorcycle parking spaces. The short-term parking lot will have 60 parking spaces for in-house associates. Learn all about it on p. 16.

Photo courtesy Prime Inc.

70%

When doctor told JW Jeter that the cancer he was diagnosed with had a 70% survival rate, he figured that was better than the alternative. The Prime team member quickly started chemo treatments and was able to celebrate being cancer-free last year. Turn to p. 18 to meet JW and two other Prime team members who overcame major health issues with the support of their Prime team.

THE LOW

down L

istening to your associates and working diligently to accommodate their needs are critical to running a successful business. Providing a work environment that meets the needs of our associates and also provides a place they can be proud of has always been a major priority for us. One of our guiding principles has to do with why we call our employees associates. We believe each of our independent contractors and team members are truly vital to the success of Prime, so they are much more than an employee—they’re truly part of the Prime family. If you’ve stepped foot in a Prime facility, you’ve likely heard the phrase “Prime family.” For some companies, this would simply be a cliché term. For us, it’s the way we do business, and we feel it’s the right way. We respect all associates as members of our Prime family. To ensure quality people, capable of near-perfect performance, we select associates very carefully. To ensure the success of our associates, Prime has to uphold its end of the bargain. We will continue to provide the safest and best equipment, technology and atmosphere to offer the opportunity to reach career goals, happiness and individual success. In this edition of Prime Ways, you will learn about some of the programs Prime has implemented over the years. Times change and needs change, so listening to your people by evaluating, implementing and inspecting new programs to meet those needs are daily tasks. It’s worth the work.

Robert Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder PRIME WAYS

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LIFE | FEBRUARY 2022

Samantha Steiner has been with Prime for 15 years and is now the new Minooka Terminal Manager.

spotlight

The Power

Of Yes

Minooka’s new Terminal Manager talks about her 15-year journey with Prime and her plans for the new facility. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL

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PRIME WAYS

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amantha Steiner’s secret to success is saying yes. Over the past 15 years with Prime, she says she has never turned down a new opportunity to advance within the company. After graduating with a degree in Justice Studies from Georgia Southern University in 2006, Steiner was looking for military or law enforcement work when she came across a job opening for a tank washer at Prime’s first satellite tanker facility in Savannah, Georgia. “I was waiting on call backs from my other applications, and I needed to eat and pay rent. So, I said yes,” Steiner says. Little did she know she was embarking on a career that would take her from tank washer to terminal manager. Steiner diligently worked her way up with Prime. “My job to start was not pretty,” Steiner recalls. “It was hard work and long hours. What made me stay was the people I worked with. We had each others’ backs. We knew the work that had to be done, and we always found a way to complete it.” The Savannah facility was the first of its kind for Prime, and it began to steadily grow. After a while as a tank washer, Steiner became Wastewater Operator and earned her CDL to help shuttle trailers.


Photos courtesy Samantha Steiner

Samantha moved up within Prime several times and had to relocate more than once for a new position. ⊲

Prime opened another facility in Decatur, Indiana, in 2010, and a few years later, Steiner took over as terminal manager. “I knew I could do more for the company,” she says. “I was willing to develop and learn more, which is why I stayed. I knew this company was my career path now.” The larger Decatur facility also handles fleet maintenance, so eventually, Steiner learned that side of the business as well. From there, Steiner helped build the third tanker wash facility in 2019 in Springfield, Missouri, and in 2020, when plans began for a new facility in Minooka, Illinois, Steiner agreed to help consult on its construction. Learning the job from literally the inside out has helped Steiner navigate the intense demands of a tanker facility. Now, as the new Minooka Terminal Manager, Steiner is ready to offer the same high levels of customer and internal service. “I oversee the day-to-day operation of the facility, the maintenance, the associates that work within it, the wash, wastewater and shop operation,” she says. “I also monitor and verify all loads are picked up for delivery, and I listen and interact with drivers to make sure we are providing quality service.” Located on I-80 just west of I-55 outside Joliet, the gated Minooka facility is on 27 acres and boasts the same state-ofthe-art equipment as Prime’s other locations. There is bobtail and POV parking for easy transfer of personal items from car to truck for drivers. Driver amenities include a covered pavilion with grills, a large lounge, showers and a laundry room. There is a dedicated base for Reefer washouts, food grade tanker washouts, tractor trailer repairs and trailer rebuilds. There’s even a full parts bay, which allows for mechanical issues to be addressed quickly. “We house an office for Pedigree sales from the terminal and prep trailers as needed through our shop,” Steiner says. “We also have a fleet of dedicated owner operators that run out of this facility delivering local freight.” Steiner is looking forward to growing relationships with her Prime customers and potentially gaining more business and freight. The long-term plan for Minooka

“I knew I could do more for the company. I was willing to develop and learn more, which is why I stayed. I knew this company was my career path now.” includes adding six more bays, so Steiner’s job is far from done. “We are in a booming location that will attract drivers close to home, potentially growing our fleet of drivers,” she says. “I want to make sure associates are happy coming into work and pride themselves on quality, and I want to make sure drivers want to come in for repairs or because they enjoy the facility.” Throughout her time with Prime, Steiner has always felt like the company is family. With each move within Prime, her spouse and daughter came with her. Now, her spouse works alongside her as a Prime fleet manager. “She had to quit Prime

for me when we moved to Indiana at one point, but a year later, Prime was able to offer her a different job with the company,” Steiner says. “That was a tremendous sign of the way this company is dedicated to all of its associates.” It is Prime’s culture that has kept Steiner with the company for so long. “You have to respect the company you are working for and all the people you are working with,” she says. “Once those two things happened, I developed the Prime culture naturally. I became motivated to do better, and develop more to help if it aids in the success of the business.” PRIME WAYS

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A simple salute Veterans Joseph Logan and David Burgess both found new careers at Prime after they left the military and returned to civilian life. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH

Joseph Logan

“I guess I can say during my military service, I just enjoyed a lot of camaraderie I had with my friends. I call them my brothers and sisters. For that four-year period I was in the Marines, I had a connection with them.”

Military History: The 33-year-old Washington state native from a military family served as a transport mechanic in the U.S. Marines for four years. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, then North Carolina. He was also deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010: “It was an intense time for 10 months,” he says. Looking back on his service, Logan, who left the Marines as a corporal as well as a trained mechanic, says he still values the friendships formed with fellow service members from several states and all walks of life: “I guess I can say during my military service, I just enjoyed a lot of camaraderie I had with my friends,” he says. “I call them my brothers and sisters. For that four-year period I was in the Marines, I had a connection with them.”

Prime Service: After his military service ended, Logan “didn’t even know Prime existed.” At the time, he was a student at a Wyoming technical college where Prime was recruiting potential associates. That was how Logan first discovered Prime, and now, he’s going on five years as an inspector at the Salt Lake City terminal plaza. In his current role with Prime, Logan checks trucks and trailers for preventive maintenance issues and sends them to the truck or trailer shop if necessary. The work is less dangerous yet not too different from what he did in Afghanistan, where he repaired trucks delivering equipment to other military bases. Just like in the military, Logan says his coworkers are what he likes best about Prime.

—Joseph Logan

“This is the best company I’ve worked for... You’re pretty much your own boss.” —David Burgess

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PRIME WAYS

Military History: A U.S. Navy SEAL who retired as a gunner’s mate senior chief, Burgess, 54, lives in the mountains not far from Salt Lake City, where he grew up in a family of loggers. During his more than 21 years of service, he says he got to travel all over—from Guam, Grenada and Panama to Bosnia, Somalia and Afghanistan, where he did two tours: “I was a SEAL, so as a SEAL you go everywhere there’s something going on,” he says. One assignment he particularly liked was in Egypt. On duty at the U.S. Embassy from 1989 to 1991, he got one week off for every work week, so he had time to have fun. An avid scuba diver, he dove through Cleopatra’s temple not long after its discovery: “It was pretty cool,” he says.

Prime Service: After his military service, Burgess earned a robotic engineering degree, then discovered he didn’t like sitting behind a desk, designing on a computer. That’s when he got into trucking. After driving for five other companies, he became an independent contractor for Prime six years ago and says, “This is the best company I’ve worked for.” A self-described loner, the father of five grown daughters prefers solitude and a job in which “you’re pretty much your own boss. My dispatcher gives me a load and leaves me alone,” he says, which is how he likes it. He also loves driving through the mountains of Oregon and Idaho, his home state. Having grown up around the big pine trees, he’s a fan of the views they provide lining the road.

Photos courtesy Joseph Logan, David Burgess

David Burgess


words from the field

THE GOOD

WORD

In May 2021, JB “Bob” McElwain, a 62-yearold Prime examiner, started the blog Narrow Road Trucker along with an app for Christian drivers looking to stay connected to their faith on the road. By last December, the app had about 30 members. This is his story of how he found his community while on the road. AS TOLD TO SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH

Photos courtesy JB McElwain, Prime

Photos courtesy Joseph Logan, David Burgess

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he blog started when I was talking to a young man who was testing at Prime, and he had just recently become a believer. I don’t know how we ended up in the conversation, but he just said he was concerned about being out on the road on his own without any kind of real support within his faith. It just brought back memories for myself, being on the road for the three-and-a-half, four years that I did that. I felt this complete disconnect as a Christian, as a believer. It isn’t as though you can’t watch YouTube videos or even now get connected with your church and listen to sermons online, but it’s not the same thing as having a connection with a body of believers. So I talked to my wife (Pam McElwain) about it–it’s something we had discussed over the past couple of years, and she kept saying, ‘Well, you need to do something about it’. So she suggested starting a blog. She came up with the idea of calling it Narrow Road Trucker because that’s a biblical reference to Jesus talking about ‘narrow is the gate’ versus ‘wide is the gate.’ I thought, ‘That’s kind of catchy’. Then that led to the idea of starting an app. I upload all the blog posts to it, plus I ask questions to followers from time to time, hopefully getting people just to talk, have conversation. The ultimate idea or hope is that at some point there will be an adequate number of people–whether they’re with Prime or they’re with other trucking companies–to create a community of truck drivers that are Christian and/or believers that would be able to connect while they’re on the road. For instance, the app can say you’re in the Springfield area, so if you’ve been communicating with somebody, you can say, ‘Hey, I see that you’re in Oklahoma City. Are you going to be there for a few hours, because I’m pulling in and maybe we can break bread and have a cup of coffee?’ As a driver, the trucking industry can be a dark place in the sense that there is no one there with you, no accountability to live out the call that you might have been given in your faith. Without the accountability of fellow believers, it can be difficult. I’m just looking to serve those people that are out on the road delivering products each and every day that need to have a family of fellow believers. It’s just like you have a good friend and you stay in touch; whether you send each other a text every few days or whatever, you maintain a connection. That’s my hope with this whole blog-app process. I want to try to maintain a connection with other believers. It really changes the dynamic of our faith and life on the road.”

PERKS OF THE JOB The employee assistance program is Prime’s best kept secret, so we’re getting the word out. Find out how this program can make life easier for Prime team members. BY VIVIAN WHEELER

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or many of us, times have been extra tough recently. With demands of everyday life keeping us busy, dealing with an emergency or planning for the future can feel overwhelming, and it can often be hard to know where to begin. However, for Prime members, there is a program that can make dealing with these types of situations easier to manage. The Prime Employee Assistance Program offers a variety of free services for company drivers and in-house associates in the areas of counseling, legal support and resources, financial information and resources and work-life solutions. Additionally, these same benefits are available to associates’ immediate dependents, so spouses and children can also take advantage of the program. According to Trish Robey, a benefits specialist at Prime, the EAP is underutilized, and she would like to see more associates use the variety of services. Under counseling services, Prime team members can receive three free counseling sessions per issue. Highly trained experts can help address such concerns as marital problems, stress and anxiety, grief and loss and substance abuse. In regards to legal support, associates are eligible for a free 30-minute legal consultation with a lawyer per issue. If further representation is needed, team members will receive a 25% deduction in customary legal fees. Prime team members can also speak to certified financial planners and CPAs about a variety of financial issues, such as getting out of debt, retirement planning, estate planning and more. And when it comes to managing worklife solutions, specialists provide qualified referrals and customized resources for life events such as figuring out child or elder care, moving and relocation plans, pet care, college planning and more. The work-life specialists will do the time-consuming research for you, so you can make the best decisions possible about important life matters. Prime’s Employee Assistance Program is completely anonymous, and help is only a call or click away. To access the EAP, just call 1-800-865-1044 or go online to anthemeap.com. You’ll then need to have your web ID handy, which is simply Prime. PRIME WAYS

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week in the life

Being

Resourceful Take a look inside Prime’s human resource department and learn how they are tackling a labor shortage. BY VIVIAN WHEELER

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THE PROCESS

On the surface, hiring someone might seem simple. They apply for the job, come in for an interview and if they’re a good fit, boom, they’re hired. But the reality is much more complicated, especially when the hiring is being carried out on a large scale. To start, the HR department receives a ton of resumes. In the month of November, Prime received a little less than 1,200 resumes for in-house positions. That’s great news and a good reflection of Prime’s attractiveness to future team members. But sifting through those 1,200 eager new associates is no small task. Lisa Lukachko, who works in the HR and IT departments at the Pittston

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PRIME WAYS

▲ Know someone who would be a great fit at Prime? Have them scan the above QR code where they can access Prime’s hiring portal.

terminal, handles hiring for the Pittston office. She goes through all the resumes and then calls each applicant, and either talks to them or leaves them a voicemail. “This is a position that requires complete organization,” Lukachko says. “I have an Excel spreadsheet that is like my Bible.” The spreadsheet helps track where each applicant is in the application job process. If she does talk to them, Lukachko asks them to complete an online application. Once they complete the application, Lukachko can then schedule them for an interview with the respective department manager.

THE CHALLENGES

THE SOLUTIONS

In order to help fill Prime’s labor shortage, the HR department has been tweaking the application process. They’ve turned on Easy Apply with Indeed, which lets new applicants apply with just their resume. They’ve also shortened and streamlined the Prime job descriptions. These changes have made a difference, and over the past six months the number of applications received has tripled. Additionally, the HR team is working to shorten Prime’s online application, which is rather long, and this step seems to be where Prime loses some applicants. Prime also adjusted the compensation in certain particularly hard to staff positions such as terminal cafes and housekeeping. Luckily, those efforts are paying off. In the past, the HR department has averaged 35 new hires per month. In November they hired 84 new team members. The labor market might be tough, but so is Prime’s HR team.

The biggest challenge, which is common in a lot of industries, is follow-up. Not every applicant follows through or is going to be a good fit. Sometimes applicants won’t complete the full application and there are even cases when applicants make it through the initial screening process but fail to show up for their scheduled interview. However, Prime’s recruiting team is working hard to fill open positions. .

Photo courtesy Prime

nless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that the United States is experiencing a labor shortage. It seems as if everywhere you look there’s another “We’re Hiring” sign, and you’ve probably patronized at least one business that has had to cut back hours due to a lack of employees. Prime has not been immune to this employment trend. According to Megan Hrdlicka, who works in the human resources department at the Salt Lake City terminal, company-wide there were 157 open in-house positions at the end of 2021. The amount of open positions means Prime’s human resources team has their work cut out for them, but they are up to the challenge.


Shadale Johnson (left) competed on The Voice, and her dad Kevin Johnson (below) joined the Prime team who cheered her on.

close to home

Family First When driver Kevin Johnson’s daughter got a chance to perform on The Voice, Kevin’s Prime family lent their support. BY JESSICA HAMMER

Photos courtesy Kevin Johnson

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evin Johnson and his daughter Shadale are no strangers to being on the road. According to Johnson, Shadale has been singing for most of her life. At 29 years old, she has already performed for audiences in foreign countries. “She used to sing for The Gospel People,” Johnson says. “They were really one of the first groups to hire her, and they took her all over the world. She would send us pictures from China, or from Japan, or from Russia or Germany or wherever she was… It was amazing just to see those things that she was able to experience.” Shadale is also a single parent, so when her musical career takes her on the road, her mom helps out by caring for Shadale’s daughter while she’s away. It’s stressful, but Johnson says it’s also worth it to see his daughter’s dreams come to life. Johnson says he’s one of Shadale’s biggest cheerleaders, but it hasn’t always been

easy to support her ambitions while he was might lead. But she got another big outtrucking over the road. Early in his career pouring of support—this time, from the with Prime, Johnson says he might be gone Prime team. for weeks, sometimes even months at a After Johnson told his dispatcher (who time. When an opening for the southeast is a fan of The Voice) about Shadale’s region became available, Johnson jumped audition, word quickly spread to others in at the opportunity to be home more often. the company. Soon, members of the Prime But even when he is behind the wheel, family were sending messages of support Johnson says he makes sure to stay in touch to Johnson and Shadale. That same sense with Shadale to cheer her on from the side- of family is why Johnson says Prime is lines. “Me and my daughter are very close; “one of the best companies I’ve ever worked our family’s really close, so we talk all the for,” and he’s grateful for the opportunities time,” he says. “We really support her, and Prime has given him to continue being part we want her to fulfill her dreams, and we of Shadale’s support system. know this is her gift, and we definitely want “I’m grateful that my daughter has an opher to be able to see that come to fruition, portunity to pursue her dreams,” Johnson so anything that we can do, and especially says. “And I think that every family when when I’m away, I’m always trying to do.” they have the opportunity should do that, More recently, the number of people or every person should do that, pursue cheering on Shadale’s career have grown. their dreams when they have the opportuWhen she auditioned for the popular nity, but they need a support system. I’m singing competition show The Voice, her just grateful that we were able to supply family was excited to see where the path that support system for her.” PRIME WAYS

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WELLNESS | FEBRUARY 2022

wellness

click and be fit Healthier living is just a click away thanks to Prime’s new driver health and fitness website. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH

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PRIME WAYS

“This is a great service, and it’s getting a lot of traction lately because this is something drivers don’t have access to on the road,” he says, adding that most Prime drivers are independent contractors who purchase their own insurance. “We knew with COVID hitting, it was going to cause a lot of stress and a lot of worries in an isolated occupation,” he says. Having online resources like sessions through Good Dads can be a major resource to drivers who are feeling that added anxiety. What’s more, if drivers just watch videos–never mind participate–they can earn points toward gift cards, exercise equipment, Apple AirPods and DHF T-shirts, Hancock says. If you’re wondering where the inspiration for the new site came from, just thank your fellow drivers. Hancock says the site was in the works since 2020, and a task force of about 25 drivers provided input on the kinds of support drivers needed. “They were kind of the guiding force behind a lot of this because all the information they gave us was relevant to drivers,” he says. With views from the road instead of from behind a desk, they brought up questions like how to cook with only a few ingredients or what kinds of exercise equipment will fit in a truck. “We’ve been really fortunate to have them lead the charge in this project,” Hancock says.

Photo courtesy shutterstock, Prime Inc.

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s 2022 begins, Prime drivers might find themselves surfing an updated company health and fitness website featuring free programs and services–and even videos of fellow drivers demonstrating cooking or exercising on the road. The updated site has been an important project at Prime, and Matt Hancock who heads up Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness program hopes Prime’s new and easier-to-navigate site will encourage more drivers to exercise, eat more healthfully, stop smoking and seek mental health support if they need it. “We tried to make it as visually appealing as possible, so drivers would want to get in there and use our resources,” Hancock says. “If drivers sign in to the website through the Prime Mobile app, they will immediately get on and see one of our drivers exercising outside his truck, so it looks pretty cool.” Beyond the upgraded visual appeal of the website, there are programs and resources for nutrition, exercise, tobacco cessation and mental health available on the site. Along with free exercise videos and virtual personal training by Hancock and Salt Lake City terminal personal trainer Matt Judy, drivers can also sign up for free nutritional counseling from registered dietitian Rachel Dreher or a free tobacco cessation program, Rigs Without Cigs. One of the programs available on the site is DHF 101, an orientation program that gives drivers a “baseline” education on improving their health, Hancock says. Once a driver is done with DHF 101, they can move on to programs like Fit and Fifteen, a 15-week weight-control program, or Power Blocks, a weight-training regimen designed for drivers who spend most of their time on their trucks. The Springfield, Missouri, counseling service Good Dads has also partnered with Prime to offer virtual counseling through the site. Prime will pay for each driver’s first session; then, the cost is $45 a session, Hancock says.


recipes

This kale and Parmesan salad is an easy meal to make when on the road.

Kale and Parmesan Salad ADAPTED FROM 101 COOKBOOKS

Ingredients 1 finely chopped shallot 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons tahini honey and salt to taste 1 bunch of kale, shredded 12 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced 3 green onions, trimmed and finely sliced 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped 20 large green olives, pitted and sliced 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

recipes

Food as Fuel

Directions Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the shallot with the lemon juice. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before whisking in the olive oil, tahini, honey, and salt. Toss the kale, Brussels sprouts and green onions with the dressing. Really mix it well, preferably with your hands, and then allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add the pecans, olives and Parmesan, and gently toss once more before serving.

Donald Franklin has been behind the wheel of a Prime truck for 10 years, and the journey has always been about learning, especially when it comes to the connection between safe trucking and good health. BY JESSICA HAMMER

Photo by Heidi Swanson

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ood has been a major part of driver and outs of the trucking industry as he has Donald Franklin’s life from a young about food, nutrition and his diet. The connection between good food, good age. His childhood diet was limited because there weren’t many foods health and safe trucking is at the forefront he enjoyed eating. Eventually, those child- of Franklin’s mind when he’s out on the hood food choices started to make an im- road. He believes drivers can help prevent pact on his health. When he was in fourth burnout by adjusting their diet and says his grade, Franklin took matters into his own health has helped keep him accident-free hands by learning how to cook for himself. for the past decade. “You have to understand your body and His tastes changed and expanded, and he learned to make the kind of food he enjoyed what it needs to operate,” Franklin says. eating. He was so successful at it that he “Your drive is better—everything is better said he even owned a restaurant for a time when you’re trucking because you can move like you want to… Yes you can exercise, but before he joined the Prime team. For the past 10 years, Franklin has driv- I don’t think that’s enough.” Over the years, Franklin says his diet has en a reefer truck for Prime. He’s dedicated nearly as much time to learning the ins changed to include more foods from the

earth, such as kale, romaine lettuce, cranberries, nuts and more. All he needs to make healthy meals while on the road is a refrigerator and a microwave. Franklin says some of his common meals are salads that include lots of greens, some nuts and usually some lean protein like chicken or tuna. Another recipe that occasionally makes an appearance on Franklin’s truck is his version of a crustless chicken pot pie. To make it, Franklin starts by combining ¼ cup chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of chicken base in a microwave safe bowl and heating it in the microwave for a few seconds (just long enough to melt the chicken base). Then, he adds a can of cream of chicken soup, along with a can of green peas and carrots that have been drained. Stir it all together with salt and pepper to taste for a healthier alternative to a hearty crowd favorite. PRIME WAYS

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Learn more: driverhealthandfitness.com


TRUCKS & TECH | FEBRUARY 2022

how we roll

GLORY, GLORY TO

Old Georgia

Tom Withers shows off his University of Georgia Bulldog spirit. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL

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lthough it’s been 25 years since Tom Withers likes to stop to see his two granddaughters in Austin, called the state of Georgia home, he still has a Sophia (7) and Scarlet (3), whom he honors on his truck special place in his heart for the University of with their names under the heading “Papa’s Team.” Georgia Bulldogs. This past year, he was finally able “They love seeing their names on the side,” Withers says. to pay tribute to the Bulldogs on his 2021 Freightliner Withers says he always knew he wanted a Georgia Cascadia. “I’m 59 and made an ACE lease purchase,” Bulldog-themed truck, but didn’t want to put one on Withers says. “I figured this might be my last truck, so I a walkaway lease. “Growing up in southern Georgia, I decided to go all out.” always watched the Bulldogs on TV,” Withers says. “I Withers has been driving for Prime for 22 years. He thought about playing but realized in high school I runs the Texas regional route from Laredo to Houston, wasn’t going to make a college team.” Withers was but he and his wife used to team drive from coast-to- content to watch the games from home until he finally coast. “We turned and burned east to west every day got to see them play live a few years ago at Mizzou in and drove around 300,000 miles a year,” Withers says. Columbia, Missouri. “My Springfield dispatch had tickAll of that changed though when Whithers’ wife had ets and invited me to go,” Withers says. “It was a great a stroke in 2014. “Now I drive the Texas route because experience, but I kind of still prefer to watch them at she lives in Sugarland with our daughter, and I try to home where I can get up, go to the bathroom and get stop there every two weeks,” Withers says. Withers also a beer!”

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NEXT GENERATION OF BULLDOGS

On the lower sides of Withers’ truck, you can find the names of his granddaughters. He dubbed this section of his truck’s design Papa’s Team.

FAMILY BUSINESS

Tom and his brother, Barry both drive for Prime. Barry (not a Georgia fan) reluctantly posed for this picture a few months back. “Barry is a Boise fan, and he didn’t want to take a picture with my truck because he doesn’t like the bulldogs, but I convinced him,” Withers says. “Then I told him he’s going to be in the magazine, and he said, ‘You better not!’ Looks like I won, Barry!”

DOG DAYS

Though the Georgia theme is evident, it’s not over the top. A few Bulldog logos and some red swirl details give the 2021 Cascadia a clean and classic look.

GO GEORGIA! Photos courtesy Tom Withers

BRINGING IN THE COMPLIMENTS

Withers opted for a minimalist design, but the truck still makes an impact. “I didn’t want anything too gaudy,” he says, “I get compliments on it everywhere I go.” His wife is also a fan of the truck. She actually used to drive team with Withers, and the two would drive coast to coast.

The hood boasts a large University of Georgia G.

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New Year, New App

Part of Pittston’s site upgrade includes a new training pad. That’s good news for drivers in that part of the country.

The MyPrime app just got a big upgrade with a bunch of new features you’ll love.

maintenance

Bigger is Better The Pittston terminal is headed for an upgrade. BY VIVIAN WHEELER

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rime Inc is always looking for ways to make life better for its associates. One of those ways is to make sure its facilities are meeting the needs of team members. As such, an exciting expansion to the Pittston terminal has been in the works for over a year now, and associates will soon be able to reap the benefits of the project. The expansion features additional long-term parking for drivers, a short term parking lot for in-house associates and a new building which includes several amenities for pets. Director of Facility Maintenance Mark Piley, who is spear-heading the project, sees a strong need for these additions, especially the long-term driver parking, “We have these amenities at the other two major terminals,” he said “We really didn’t have any long-term parking at Pittston, and it’s something we needed in the worst way.”

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Long-term parking is important because it provides a place for drivers to leave their personal vehicles before they head out on runs. Or, if they’re spending a few days at the terminal, whether on a break or getting their truck worked on, it allows them to have a vehicle with which they can run errands or go do something fun. The new parking lot site will have 264 long-term parking spaces and five motorcycle parking spaces. The short-term parking lot will have 60 parking spaces for inhouse associates. Additionally, drivers will be able to pamper their pets at the Pittston terminal. The pet amenities will include a pet wash and three kennels with dog runs. The dog kennels will be available on a firstcome basis. The majority of the expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Many years ago, a simple website called “Drivers-Online” was re-named, re-branded and transformed into MyPrime. It became a personalized portal with information specific to the individual and was full of information that was needed by Prime drivers. Prime integrated this new MyPrime into its mobile app, Prime Mobile, to make signing in seamless and make it even easier to access this web portal. Prime has continued to grow over the years and has added quite a few additional trucks and drivers, and MyPrime has also continued to grow. Prime has added additional features to the app including MyTruck, MyContacts, Permits and Electronic Contracts just to name a few. Between all the updates and the growing number of users, Prime outgrew its servers for MyPrime, so in December, 2021, Prime launched a completely new, fully updated and performance-optimized version of its MyPrime app. MyPrime got a new look, simplified menus and faster loading pages. The developers even snuck in a few new features during the update including the three main terminals’ daily café specials under Information, Cafeteria Menus. Prime also added an Ask Prime option to the Ask Dab page. Now, if you have questions about policies, procedures and Prime specific things, you can search previous questions or ask a new one.

Photo by Mitch Coiner

BY BRIANNE MADURA


tech update

Mr. Fix it

There’s a reason drivers stop in at Prime’s shop in Salt Lake City. The mechanics out here can fix it all from crumpled trailers to regular maintenance. BY SONIA GUZMAN

Photo by Mitch Coiner

Photo courtesy Prime Inc.

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▲ Some trucks that show up at Prime repair shops look like they’re done for. But the Prime team can usually revive them, like this truck that needed to be rebuilt.

ccording to Tyler Patrick, The Terminal Shop Manager, the Prime shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, is home to some of the “most driven and motivated mechanics out there.” They realize that the trucks they are working on are the driver’s home away from home, “so the care factor is there.” Personal and dedicated service isn’t the only reason for Prime drivers to use the terminal shop. The terminal shop can handle “just about anything you need to have done,” explains Patrick. Including general maintenance, truck rebuilds, brakes, radiators, and indepth repair caused by accidents. While the most common repairs the Prime shop sees are minor fender benders that occur in parking lots and at truck stops, the winter season brings with it an increase in rollover and jackknife accidents.

Accidents aren’t the only thing the shop sees more of in the winter months. Patrick explains that “any system that has air running through it can cause issues in the winter since it will contain moisture and has the potential to freeze.” So anything from tires and batteries to diesel fuel gelling can cause a trip to the shop. “Although,” says Patrick, “a lot of these issues end up being roadside services because any one of them can stop a truck in its tracks.” Of course, the Prime shop is there to help with all preventative maintenance needs as well. Besides expertise and excellent customer service, there are other reasons for drivers to utilize the Prime shop; there’s also the convenience and cost. “Whether you’re in town for home time or a safety meeting,” according to Patrick, “Prime prides

itself on offering drivers amenities to ensure they don’t have to leave the site.” So not only does the Prime shop offer convenience, personalized service, and skilled mechanics, but their labor costs will also be significantly less than what can be found at a regular repair or service shop. The Prime shop is truly an asset to drivers. The mechanics know how important quick service is and will work hard to get trucks back on the road as soon as possible. “The Prime mechanics truly enjoy building personal relationships with drivers, and it shows in the dedicated service they provide,” Patrick says. So the next time your truck needs a tune-up, remember to call your Prime Terminal Shop.

90

500

$95

The Prime shop currently employs 90 team members at its Salt Lake City location. The high number of employees helps ensure quick and efficient service.

The Prime shop sees up to 500 trucks per week, a number that they would like to double in the next year.

The hourly labor cost at Prime shops is $95, a significant saving for drivers who often pay up to $150 an hour at outside shops.

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The Strong

Road It’s one thing to talk about the Prime Family and encourage a culture where team members help each other out, but these Prime associates experienced that culture first-hand. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

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Robert Baldwin needed a kidney transplant, and his younger sister, Caroline, wound up being his donor.

“It’s wonderful to tell people about your culture,” Robert says. “But it’s eye opening to experience it.”

Doctor Says A normal trip to the doctor changed everything for Robert Baldwin.

Photos courtesy Shutterstock, Robert Baldwin

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ne of the perks of working at Prime’s Springfield terminal is access to the in-house amenities. There’s a hair salon, a basketball court, a preschool, a sleep lab and a doctor’s office. Each amenity has been added to bring a little more ease and enjoyment to life for Prime associates. But for Robert Baldwin, one of those amenities practically saved his life. Each year, Baldwin had his annual physical with Prime’s physician Dr. Abraham. So his 2017 appointment was nothing out of the ordinary. Then he got some unexpected news. “Dr. Abraham noticed abnormalities in my blood work,” Baldwin says. “I had a biopsy done on my kidney, and I learned I was in stage-three kidney failure.”

Baldwin says he and his wife had no clue something had been wrong. Besides a little fatigue, Baldwin displayed no symptoms. He wasn’t out of shape, he had no other health concerns, and he was young. “I’m 43,” he says. “You would never guess I have these health issues.” Unable to reverse the damage to his kidney or halt its progression, his doctors put him on a treatment plan that slowed his kidney failure. It wasn’t a long-term fix, but it gave him a few years to find a transplant. By the end of 2020, Baldwin fell ill and suddenly his time was up. He needed a transplant, and he needed one quickly. “My mom tried to donate, but she was turned down,” Baldwin says. “So was my wife, but my younger sister, Caroline, gave

me one of hers.” That was in February 2021, and today, Baldwin is doing great. But a lot has changed. Before he got sick, Baldwin had his own fleet of trucks, and he loved being able to chat with his drivers face-to-face. But the illness brought on serious fatigue and an onslaught of doctors appointments and recovery time. To manage it all, Baldwin requested a transfer to nights, so he could work four days on and four days off. The schedule allowed Baldwin time to visit doctors and rest after transfusions. After his kidney transplant surgery, Baldwin took two months off work to recover, and the surgery meant Baldwin will have to spend the rest of his life on anti-rejection medication to keep his body from rejecting his new kidney. That means Baldwin’s immune system is a thing of the past, so between that and COVID, he now works at home. Through it all, he says Prime has been a lifeline. “Prime allowed me to be off whenever I needed,” he says. “Prime did so much for me. I’ve been off work 30% of the year, and any other company could have easily said, ‘If you can’t return to work, that’s it.’ But that’s not Prime’s culture.” Baldwin’s drivers checked in on him during his recovery, his bosses worked around his schedule, Prime team members brought his wife and daughter food when he was in the hospital, and a buddy of his at Prime even raised more than $1,000 to help cover Baldwin’s medical bills. “It’s wonderful to tell people about your culture,” Baldwin says. “But it’s eye opening to experience it.” PRIME WAYS

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Fight of His Life JW hates sitting still, so he wasn’t about to let cancer keep him down.

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n May of 2021, Brandy Jeter sent an email to Robert Lowe. Brandy doesn’t work at Prime, but her husband JW does. “We just want to say Thanks and tell you how awesome your team is,” Brandy wrote in the email’s subject line. The email was a touching thank you note to the Prime team who had supported and cheered on JW as he battled cancer. He’s been in remission since May of last year, which is a huge feat considering how his battle with cancer started. JW is what he calls a”truck jockey” for Prime’s mechanics. “I move trucks in and out of the shop,” he says. “I’ll do jumpstarts and help drivers if they’re having trouble

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getting their trailers unhooked.” Never one to sit still for long, JW joined Prime after 14 years with UPS. He says he swore he’d never work for a big company again, but then a buddy of his told him about Prime. “I knew several people who worked here, so I put in an application,” he says. “I went in for an interview, and I could tell the culture was different. You’re not just a number. The team here knows your name. You’re JW, or you’re Brent. You’re whoever.” The Prime family is what JW loves, so when he learned he had stage-four non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and would be out of work for a good chunk of time, he knew he had to find a way to get back to work. In fact, he

demanded it. When his doctor told him he would be home for six months, JW told him no and finally convinced him to let JW go back on light duty. When JW got his diagnosis, his doctors told him his type of cancer has a 70% survival rate. “That’s better than the alternative,” he says. To fight the cancer, JW started chemotherapy right away. He says the process was scary. “I didn’t know what to expect, and I had treatments every three weeks.” Each treatment was eight hours long, and it would leave JW exhausted. Luckily, his schedule at Prime allowed him to take a few days off in a row, so JW could go in for treatment and then take time to rest up the next day. He even met a fellow Prime associate at his chemo treatment center. “This guy was diagnosed with the same cancer I had a few weeks before me,” JW says. “I went in for my first round of chemo, and he was there for his second round. I had my Prime hat on, and his wife asked if I worked at Prime, so we started talking. Now we stay in touch with them.” During his six months of chemo, JW says his Prime teammates called to check in on him all the time, and when he got to ring the bell that signaled he was cancer-free, there were members of Prime’s management team there to celebrate. His kids threw a big party for him in the front yard a few weeks later, and Brandy sent that email to Robert not long after thanking the Prime team for being one of JW’s biggest cheerleaders. “I can’t say enough about how phenomenal Prime was through this,” JW says. “From HR down to the Prime medical staff, everyone was calling, and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Photos courtesy Shutterstock, JW Jeter, William Davis

JW Jeter and his wife Brandy celebrated JW’s final cancer treatment with a party in the front yard.


William Davis was training a new Prime driver when he had to pull his truck over and call for an ambulance.

A Pain That Couldn’t Be Ignored William Davis thought he had a simple stomachache. Turns out, it was much more serious than that.

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illiam Davis was in the middle of training a new Prime driver when he first noticed a sharp pain in his stomach. “I thought I’d eaten something bad and just went to sleep,” he says. The next morning, the pain was still there, and it had gotten worse. Still, William didn’t think too much about it. But as the day went on, the pain progressed until Davis and his student had to pull over on the interstate in Tulsa, Oklahoma. An ambulance picked Davis up and drove him to the nearest hospital where he learned his intestine had ruptured a few days ago, and his body was going into sepsis. “The doctors told me that if I had waiting until I reached Springfield to see a doctor, I wouldn’t have lived,” he says. To repair his intestine and let his body heal, doctors put Davis into a medically induced coma for about two days. When he woke up, he underwent a second surgery to close his wounds. But that wasn’t the end of Davis’ time at the hospital. “I was there

for almost 12 days,” he says. He even had to have physical therapy to regain his strength so he could walk on his own. After a few months of recovery time at home, Davis had been out of work for about five months, and he was itching to get back on the road. “I couldn’t do much at home,” he says. “I couldn’t do any heavy lifting, so I mostly worked on walking and regaining my strength. Sitting at home wasn’t for me.” Through it all, he was counting down the days before he could get back to work. His dispatcher had called and checked in on him when he was in the hospital, and his best friend who also works at Prime, Dwight Foster and his wife Vanessa, had taken time off to drive Davis the 900 miles home from Tulsa to South Carolina. “My first goal was getting back to the company I really love,” he says. “I love the opportunity to go places, and I enjoy being able to make good money at Prime.” Once the doctors gave him the go-ahead to get back behind the wheel, Davis spent

“My first goal was getting back to the company I really love.” a week retraining with Prime and then got back on the road. A few things are different now. For starters, Davis pays much more attention to his body. He takes pains and aches more seriously, and he also changed his diet. He stays away from sugary drinks and sweets and pays more attention to eating healthfully while on the road. Those five months at home showed Davis that he had a job he loved, he got to see parts of the country he loved, and he wasn’t ready to give that up just yet. PRIME WAYS

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Best Friend A R’S E V I DR

Learn how pets are improving the over-the-road experience for four Prime drivers.

Photos courtesy Prime

BY VIVIAN WHEELER

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We don’t need research to know that pets make you happier and healthier. They provide companionship, increase your physical activity, reduce stress and so much more. That’s why Prime recognizes the benefits of having a pet on the road and proudly considers itself a pet-friendly company. Company drivers can have one pet with a deposit, and independent contractors can have up to two pets with a maximum of three heartbeats on the truck. Additionally, soon all three major Prime terminals will have pet amenities (read about the Pittston terminal’s upcoming expansion on page 16.). So, if you’ve been thinking about getting a pet for your truck, consider this story a sign that it’s time to join these Prime drivers who bring a furry friend on the road with them.

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Dave Mottola & Mushki

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hen Dave Mottola was researching which trucking company to join to start his career as a driver, one of the reasons he picked Prime was because he knew he could bring a cat on his truck. At the time, he was planning on bringing his cat, Karma, with him, but during training he got some unfortunate news. “I wanted to bring my cat from home, but it just didn’t work out that way,” he says. “During the training phase I found out she had colon cancer, so I wasn’t able to bring her with me.” Once Mottola finished training, he decided it was time to get another cat. After coming in from TNT, he was going to have to wait a week until he could get his own truck. During that week, he drove to Have a Heart Pet Shelter in Yellville, Arkansas, and adopted a 10-week-old calico kitten. He named her Mushki, a tribute to his cat Karma. “Her name is a combination of the words mush and kitty,” he says. “When my old cat was being lovey, I would call her mush kitty.” That was more than four years ago, and Mushki has been on the truck with Mottola for every load and every mile since. Mottola runs super solo with his girlfriend Hannah Morris, and in a little more than a year he will have finished his lease and will own his truck. While Mottola is busy putting in miles, Mushki is often hanging out in the top bunk. “I made the top bunk Mushki’s home,” he says. “She has her own little playground up there.” She has a crate, a litter box, a scratching post and plenty of toys. But if Mushki hears the air brake, she’s running to the dashboard. She knows the air brake

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▲ Dave Mottola brought Mushki his cat with him on the road, and now this feline adventurer is a pro in the truck.

“I made the top bunk Mushki’s home. She has her own little playground up there. She has a crate, a litter box, a scratching post and plenty of toys.”


Mushki likes to explore and stretch her legs when Dave gets time between deliveries.

Photos courtesy Dave Mottola

This is the second time the Sushi Cat Transport team has been in Prime Ways. means it’s time for her to get lots of pets and attention. It also means it might be time to wash the windows, which is one of her favorite things. “Everytime we wash the windows, she’ll chase the squeegee back and forth across the dashboard,” Mottola says. Mushki loves being on the truck, but she also likes to get outside. When Mottola finds a quiet rest area or is at a truck stop in the middle of the day, he’ll often take Mushki out on her leash or in her cat backpack. Mushki can be quite sassy at times, but she also understands her job as a truck pet. “If we do a team shift, she’ll normally be in the passenger seat all night and not bother us,” Mottola says. “She’ll sit there and be like, ‘Okay, you guys are driving, I need to be a copilot.’” And as far as Mottola’s concerned, it’s hard to find a better copilot than Mushki.

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Christian Andersen & Harley

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my sleep, she’ll come up and nuzzle up under my head. She’ll wake me up slowly, so I’m not startled.” After realizing Harley’s natural inclination to help, Andersen went about getting her certified as a service dog, so she can go anywhere Andersen goes. Now they go everywhere together. If Andersen is driving, you’ll find Harley riding in her kennel next to him. If Andersen stops at a gas station, Harley will often be found perched on his dashboard, watching over Andersen as he fuels up—Harley doesn’t like to let Andersen out of her sight. Back home in Sioux City, Nebraska, Harley spends her time playing with her sister, Savannah, who is a German Shepherd mix. But when Andersen is ready to get back on the road, Harley’s right there with him. Ready to take care of her human.

Photos by Ettie Berneking, courtesy Christian Andersen

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hristian Andersen first realized there was something special about Harley, his full-bodied, short-legged beagle, after only having had her for a couple of weeks. Andersen and Harley were out on the road together when Andersen noticed that Harley, despite being less than three months old and with no formal training, would bark to alert Andersen that he had forgotten to take his daily medication. That was only the beginning of what would become an extremely close bond between Andersen and Harley. Today, Harley is almost 5 years old and is Andersen’s constant driving companion. Andersen will have been at Prime for four years in February, which means Harley has been part of Anderson’s journey with Prime from day one. But when Andersen first got Harley, he didn’t know Harley was a natural born service dog—a quality that has been a huge benefit for Andersen. Before becoming a driver, Andersen served for a decade in the Navy. As a result of his time in the military, Andersen developed PTSD. He now takes medication daily to manage his symptoms. At first, Anderson noticed Harley would alert him when he forgot to take his medication. Then Harley started waking Andersen when he would have night terrors. “If I start twitching in my sleep, she’ll come up and nuzzle up under my head,” Andersen says. “She’ll wake me up slowly, so I’m not startled. And it settles me down a bit, and I’ll go back to sleep.”

“If I start twitching in


⊳ Tyler and Samantha Parson hit the road with their cat Peeps. Peeps wears her pink safety vest when she’s out of the truck.

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Samantha Parson & Peeps

eeps, or Madam Peeps LaRue, as she is affectionately called by her owners, Samantha and Tyler Parson, is a 6-year old calico cat that acts more like a dog. She fetches, sits on command and comes when you call her. Which is fitting considering the Parsons run team for Mud Dog Trucking, a smaller fleet within Prime. When the Parsons made the career move from law enforcement to trucking, they were unsure at first how Peeps would take to being on the truck, but they didn’t want to leave her at home. “She yelled in protest for about 20 minutes,” Samantha says. “But now she fits right in, and we work around her schedule.” Peeps’ schedule mainly revolves around food. She’s quite the chunky cat, although she’s slimmed down since she went on the road. She went from weighing 19 pounds to 14, the result of a diet her vet recommended. Back when the Parsons were working 12-hour shifts in law enforcement, they couldn’t regiment her food properly. “Being out here, we can feed her what she’s supposed to eat twice a day,” Samantha says. “So she’s lost a lot of weight.” Still, Peeps is not one to miss a meal. Samantha says sometimes she loses track of time and forgets to feed Peeps, but Peeps never forgets. “She’s got a little internal timer set and lets us know,” Samantha says. Although Peeps has slimmed down, she still hasn’t lost enough weight yet to fit in her harness, but they’re working on it. Like most cats, Peeps is pretty low maintenance, but one thing any cat owner has to deal with is a litter box, and being on a truck means typical litter-box issues are intensified. To help cut down on the mess and smell, Samantha recommends using wood-based pellets for litter. She says if you use a smaller litter box with wood-based pellets and clean the litter box every other day, you’ll never smell it. Additionally, cats won’t track the pellets around the way they do with traditional litter. When Peeps isn’t eating she’s either sleeping on a bunk or hanging out with whomever is driving. Tyler typically drives at night, whereas Samantha takes the day shift. Peeps helps pass the long hours when Samantha is driving by herself. “It might sound crazy, but she talks to you,” she says. “And maybe it’s crazy, but I talk back.”

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Devin Burk-Wynn & Jasmine

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make sure you get a carbon monoxide and temperature monitor that you can check from your phone when you’re away from the truck. Although having a dog in the truck takes a little more planning and effort, the companionship is well worth it for Burk-Wynn. “The routines you develop and the bond, it has made being on the road away from my family so much easier,” he says. “I cannot tell you how much better my mental health is with a dog.”

Photos courtesy Devin Burk-Wynn

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n avid animal lover, Devin Burk-Wynn has always wanted his own dog. He had dogs as a kid, and he even worked as a dog bather, but he had never been in a financial position to care for his own dog until he started working at Prime. However, Burk-Wynn didn’t get a dog right after he finished training four and a half years ago. He wanted to settle into the job before he added the complication of having a pet on board. So, he waited, and he did his research. He joined a Facebook page called Prime Inc. Pet Division and talked to other drivers. A couple of years later he felt ready to get a dog, and he started seriously looking. That’s when he found Jasmine. Jasmine is a 14-pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, or as Burk-Wynn refers to her, a golden floof. Jasmine came from another Prime driver who was looking to rehome her. Burk-Wynn picked up Jasmine in January 2020. Before he took her on the road, he wanted to get her used to the truck. “I took two days off after picking her up, and we just didn’t leave the truck stop,” he says. “It was just in the truck and out of the truck. It was a lot of bonding time.” Then they hit the road. Over the past couple of years Burk-Wynn has learned how to successfully navigate the challenges that come with having a dog onboard. A lot of it comes down to planning. He cautions that not every customer allows dogs on the property, so it is important to plan ahead. He always makes sure to check the Macro 19 to see if customers allow dogs on their property because sometimes they don’t. Other times they might allow dogs on the property, but they have to stay inside the truck. And if he is taking a load into Canada, he has to make sure Jasmine’s up to date on all her shots, and he has her vet records on hand. He’s also picked up a few tips and tricks for having a dog on the road. He highly recommends getting a Blazin’ safety collar, which has bright LED lights, so pets are visible at truck stops at night. He also recommends getting a non-spill water bowl. And he says to


⊳ Devin Burk-Wynn got his dog Jasmine from another Prime driver who needed to find a new home for the little canine.

“The routines you develop and the bond, it has made being on the road away from my family so much easier. I cannot tell you how much better my mental health is with a dog.” Jasmine came from another Prime driver who was looking to rehome her.

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SHOP TALK | FEBRUARY 2022

Shop Talk Being named a Top of the Shop winner is no small feat at Prime. This award goes to Prime technicians who have billed more than $1,000,000.00 in revenue. On average, that takes approximately seven years to accomplish, so becoming a Top of the Shop winner is a pretty big deal. Prime recognizes technicians who reach Top of the Shop status with a banquet dinner, and now we’re talking with three past winners about how they reached this milestone, how they manage stress on the job and advice they have for those looking to join them at the Top. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

BRIAN ARNALL Refrigerated Technician Floor Lead | Time with Prime: 7 years Top of the Shop Winner: 2018 | Location: Springfield How has the shop changed? B.A.: Parts and trailer models are always changing, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how busy we are. As long as we’ve got trucks on the road, our shop is as busy as it could possibly be. How do you balance doing a good job with working as quickly as you can? B.A.: I keep my head down and do the best quality work I can do. As long as you work smoothly the speed will be there. Are there repairs you really like to make? B.A.: I specialize in the trailers that roll over on the highway. The harder the repair is and the more brain you have to use to figure out how to square it up and get it right, that’s what I enjoy. I want a challenge. The bigger rollovers usually take me a full week to build. A normal shop around the country would work on it for a month, but here at Prime, we have a better work environment, so it makes you enjoy your work more and get it done. Now that you’re a lead, how do you train newer techs? B.A.: At first, I put a tool in their hand and have them mirror me for a few weeks. Then I push them on their own. I always tell them it’s okay if they screw something up. It’s hard to learn

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something without messing it up first, and there’s nothing they can mess up on a trailer that I can’t fix. Working on someone else’s job takes billing hours away from your own repair, but it sounds like you enjoy helping out. B.A.: Yeah, I really enjoy being the guy that everyone comes to for answers. I enjoy helping people, and working for Prime is the closest comradery I’ve found to what I had in the military and that’s why I like it. If you don’t get along, your job will be terrible. What advice do you have for others who are looking to build comradery in their shops? B.A.: You have to take time to learn about people’s lives, and you can’t just act like you care about their lives. You have to genuinely care. That’s what builds comradery. Did you have Top of the Shop as a goal? B.A.: No. Top of the Shop is based on your productivity, but to me, I feel like there’s a lot more to it than that. Being at the top, I feel like you have to be the guy that makes the money, but you also have to care about the quality of your work and take pride in what you do. It’s my job to spread knowledge and motivation throughout the Prime network.


SHANE BAKER Tractor Lead Tech | Time with Prime: 10 years | Top of the Shop Winner: 2020 | Location: Springfield Do you find it hard to ensure quality work while working as quickly as possible? S.B.: It is hard to balance because you’re constantly busy, but doing a good job comes first. Still, I always laugh and say that if you stop and take a breath you’re behind. What’s your advice for communicating effectively with drivers about a repair? S.B.: I always treat the drivers how I would want to be treated, and I enjoy dealing with the drivers. Knowing that someone is waiting for you makes you work harder and faster. Sometimes drivers only know the truck made a funny noise. Sometimes you have to go drive the truck and find out for yourself what’s wrong with it. But we’re fortunate to have newer equipment. How do you manage the stress of a really busy day? S.B.: There’s always days when you just want to go home, but we’re fortunate to have a nice campus. We can go take a break, get a snack or take a walk and then come back.

What’s your least favorite thing to repair? S.B.: I’d say wheel seals. There’s a lot of things that could go wrong if you don’t do them right. Do you ever time yourselves to see how quickly you can make repairs? S.B.: We used to race on bigger jobs to see who was the fastest on certain things. We also used to race a lot to see who could make the most money in a day. That’s good for everyone. The friendly competitions were fun. What was the most you ever billed for in a day? S.B.: We used to be teamed up with two techs on every truck. So me and the guy I was partnered with did more than 60 hours worth of work in a 12-hour shift. What did you learn from previous shop leads? S.B.: We had guys who were always helping out when I first started. They taught me that it’s not always about how fast you can get something done. Speed doesn’t always do a good job. They taught me patience and to be thorough. There are some jobs that you can knock out quickly, but then there are other things that you have to take your time on like wheel seals.

STEVE TOOGOOD

Photos courtesy Brian Arnall, Shane Baker, Steve Toogood

Tractor Shop Foreman | Time with Prime: 11 years | Top of the Shop Winner: 2020 | Location: Pittston

Do you find it hard to ensure quality work while working as quickly as possible? S.T.: It depends on what you’re doing. The repetitive tasks are easy. You follow the same routine and the same procedure every time, and that makes you fast. That gives you time to take more time on something else that requires more work like check engine lights and electrical problems. So make sure you’re efficient on the repetitive tasks. That will save you the most time. How did you get started in the shop? S.T.: I came from the Peterbilt dealership in 2011 and had done a lot of engine work. Then I went to tech school and got into mechanics there. I eventually found a good home at Prime. How has the shop changed? S.T.: As the fleets grow, the shops get busier and busier, and the newer trucks have newer technology. That means that the systems are getting more electrical, which makes it harder to work on. But another thing Prime does well is training, so all the guys in the shop get trained on how to work on new gear.

What do you do when you run into a problem you can’t solve? S.T.: You’re going to run into a wall once in a while, but get in and get the information. I’ve learned the key is to not assume that because you’ve seen something before you know what’s going on. Follow the same steps every time, and it will help you. What do you do to keep your crew focused? S.T.: When you see a guy get stuck on an issue, you go give them a nudge and help them figure out what’s wrong. It’s a good position for me to be in. Guys know they can come to me if they’re struggling. What’s your goal in the shop each day? S.T.: My goal is just to be No. 1 for me and my family. Everything else will fall in place from there. I think setting a high standard for myself was part of what helped me get Top of the Shop. You just have to stay dedicated, and good things will happen. And the great part about Prime is that everyone at Prime has an opportunity like this. It doesn’t matter what department they work in. Prime has a ways to get rewarded for a job well done. PRIME WAYS

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Family Ties

KEEPING UP WITH THE

MCINTEE CLAN To get quality time with each of his 10 children, this Prime dad takes his kids on the road. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

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PRIME WAYS

▲ Kyle and Kara Mcintee had to adjust to a new routine when Kyle joined Prime and his routes took him away from home for several weeks at a time. The family has 10 kids, and several of them are old enough to join Kyle on the road during summer break, which is one way Kyle gets one-on-one time with his kids.

His experience behind the wheel made it easy for Mcintee to transition to a big rig, and he now drives for Prime’s refrigerated division. He’s even planning on buying his truck this year. The work was pretty similar to what he’d gotten used to at FedEx, but the hours were certainly different. Instead of being home each night, Mcintee is now on the road for a month at a time. He schedules his routes so he can get home for a week-long stretch before he hits the road again, but it’s been a transition. “It wasn’t easy at first,” he says. “But with technology, I can Facetime the family every day.” Now, it’s the excitement and commotion Mcintee has to adjust to when he’s back home and surrounded by a choir of chattering kids. Besides daily calls, photos and Facetime, Mcintee can also take his kids on the road with him during the summers, which is a

big plus for Mcintee. Once the kids are out of school, he’ll pick one or two of them up before hitting the road, and get a solid week or so of quality time in while working. “The older kids really like it because it’s their chance to get away from the noise of the house,” he jokes. Turns out, even the younger kids are fans of life on the road. “I took my 4-year-old with me for a month, and she loved it,” he says. “Being from Arizona, she had never seen snow before, so she loved that when we were able to stop and play in the snow for the first time.” With kids still in pre-school, Mcintee just has one rule. “Everyone has to be potty trained,” he says laughing. “I don’t change diapers on the truck.”

Photos courtesy Kara Mcintee

N

ot every driver loves how quiet life on the road can be, but for Kyle Mcintee, the silence can sometimes be nice. That’s because at home, Mcintee and his wife Kara have 10 kids all under the age of 18. Mcintee and Kara live in Arizona, and their kids range in age from 1 to 16. After having four girls, Kara and Mcintee adopted two boys only to find out that Kara was actually pregnant with a son. A few more kids later, and now the Mcintee clan has nearly reached a baker’s dozen. For a good 13 years, Mcintee was home every night, which was great for his growing family. He worked as a city courier for FedEx during that time, and even though his shift was a long one—6 a.m. to 7 p.m.—he was able to be home with his family each evening. That schedule changed pretty drastically about two years ago when Mcintee decided to leave FedEx and move to Prime. “The raises were really small, and the company was changing a lot of programs,” he says. “I figured it was time to go and do something else. My buddy was a trainer here and suggested I come over to Prime.”


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 primeinc@primeinc.com. Include your name and caption information about where and when the photo was taken.

Prime has hauled a range of products across the country including wreaths for Wreaths Across America. Driver Cyndi Hoesch got to haul a load of wreaths for the 2021 holidays.

Driver Craig Breter stopped to take a holiday selfie while making a delivery this winter. He also decked his truck out in lights to share the holiday spirit with other drivers on the road.

Photos courtesy Cyndi Hoesch, Frankie Faulk, Craig Breter, Jade Fortin

There’s something magical about a fresh snowfall, so driver Jade Fortin made sure to capture the magic by snapping a photo of their truck in the midst of a snowy setting. ▼

▲ Each Christmas, many Prime drivers give their trucks a touch of holiday cheer. That included driver Frankie Faulk, who sent in this photo with the message, “Season’s Greetings from Santa’s big helper Ruby.”

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Driver Referral Program $100 $500 $500 1/4cpm $1,000 Earn $100 when referred driver hauls first load.

Earn $500 when referred driver stays 30 days.

Earn $500 when referred driver stays 6 months.

Earn ¼ cpm on every mile referred driver runs after 6 months.

Earn $1000 when 3 referred drivers stay 6 months.

Earnings Example: Refer 3 drivers who stay at least 6 months at Prime, and you would earn $4300, not including the additional mileage pay!

Program Rules: The person that is referred must run under Prime’s operating authority (A, B, C, or D Seats) as a company driver or independent contractor. All active Prime Driver Associates under Prime’s operating authority (A, B, and C Seats) are eligible to receive Prime Inc Driver Referral Program pay. To earn bonus at 6 months longevity pay and mileage pay, referred driver must be an A Seat. No 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 888-664-4473. Program is effective as of Nov 19, 2021 until further notice or cancellation. (Prime reserves the right to modify the program at any time.)


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