Prime Ways | Volume 5 Issue 2

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KATIE POLLOCK ESTES Editorial Director ETTIE BERNEKING Editor PAIJE LUTH Creative Director HALEY PHILLIPS Projects Editor JENNA DEJONG Assistant Editor JAMIE THOMAS Staff Writer CHLOE SIERKS Editorial Intern NEVADA MOENNING Editorial Intern BRILEY RAKOW Editorial Intern SARAH PATTON Art Director BRANDON ALMS Senior Photographer & Designer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karen Bliss, Mary Ellen Chiles, Tessa Cooper, Juliana Goodwin, Brianne Madura, Rae Snobl, Savannah Waszczuk

Springfield, MO Salt Lake City, UT Pittston, PA


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

Use your Prime Reward Points here!

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Susan Fisher, Andrea Hatfield, Linda Huynh, Brenda Lindsey, Andrea Mueller, John Ogren, Amy Thompson, Randy Swift LANDRA BUNGE Finance Director COLIN DENNISTON Administrative Assistant GARY WHITAKER Publisher LOGAN AGUIRRE President/ Associate Publisher MEGAN JOHNSON Vice President of Operations AMMIE SCOTT Vice President of Strategy and Senior Account Executive JOAN WHITAKER Vice President of Finance




ON THE COVER Driver Andrea Hatfield loves using her time on the road to work on her photography hobby. She snapped this photo while driving through the desert.

Prime Ways 2020 2017 PRIME WAYS| |May MARCH

Retreading used tires is just one way Prime has invested in being ecofriendly. The retread tires gives new life to old tires and reduces the number of tires that end up in landfills.

18 GOING GREEN Prime is always looking for ways to lead the industry forward, and that includes its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.





Some of Prime’s youngest team members just graduated, and they won’t be the only ones.

Eating right when you’re behind the wheel doesn’t have to include serious roadblocks. Just ask Sarah Waterman.


24 LEADING THE CHARGE As the number of women behind the wheel continues to increase, we hear from three women at Prime who are loving life on the road and leading the way for the next round of drivers.



8 FEELS LIKE HOME Meet the team running Campus Inn, where driver comfort and a dedication to homemade desserts is top of mind.

17 LOGGING IN We gathered up the most FAQ when it comes to the new electronic logs, and now we have answers for you.

When Randy Swift got the keys to his truck, he worried about staying in touch with his family. Then they joined him on the road.

Photo courtesy Prime In. associates, by Mark Harrell



Chat There are a lot of numbers to celebrate in this issue of Prime Ways, but there are also graduation ceremonies, eco-friendly measures, time spent with family and so much more. These are just a few of the highlights that warm our hearts.

$5.77 That’s all it costs per week to sponsor a child’s weekend meals for a full school year through Ozarks Food Harvest. Prime associates are teaming up with Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield, Missouri, to pay $5.77 through a weekly payroll deduction to make sure students who have been identified as food insecure have plenty to eat when school isn’t in session. Turn to p. 9 to learn how you can get involved and lend a helping hand.

81 KIDS The Prime Kids Learning Center (PKLC) in Springfield, Missouri, was built in 1999 and can welcome 81 kids from 6 weeks old to preschool. The Learning Center has been such a big success that Prime is now building a second one at its Salt Lake City terminal. Even more adorable, the Learning Center in Springfield just launched a graduation ceremony for all of its students heading off to kindergarten! Learn more on p. 4.

2 MONTHS When Prime Driver Randy Swift joined Prime, he was worried he wouldn’t get enough time with his family. This stay-at-home dad was close to his kids and worried about being away from home for long stretches of time. It turns out, his kids were eager to join him on the road and keep him company. His son even joined him on the road for two months. Turn to p. 32 to learn how this close-knit family stays connected even when they’re not in the truck.

Photo courtesy Prime Inc.

100,000 MILES


down U

pcycling and recycling are terms synonymous with sustainability. Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the success of future generations. In this issue, you will read how Prime has invested in being eco-friendly in order to help future generations and to maximize efficiency. As I write this Low Down, we are working through unprecedented times. The COVID-19 virus has changed the way we live and work. The best driving and non-driving associates in the industry (you) have adapted and excelled in this environment. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work as we navigate these unchartered waters together. As the largest refrigerated transportation provider in the country, we are truly ‘Delivering for America.’ There are many take-a-ways that have come from this pandemic, but one comes to mind with regards to sustainability. How can we maximize the use of food and products currently in our possession? We’ve now had real-world practice with this question on a personal level. Those who can maximize their personal possessions during a time like this are the ones who will succeed. We will continue to look for innovative ways to reuse and repurpose the materials we use, so that we can provide an environment that helps our associates excel at work and life. I encourage you to visit to view some of our current sustainability efforts.

Because of the quality retreading process, you can rest assured knowing Prime’s EcoTire retreads are of the same quality as other leading retread manufacturers. Thanks to the attention given to Prime’s tire remanufacturing program, the lifespan of a single retreaded tire can stretch to more than 100,000 miles. Learn more about how Prime is going green on p. 18.

Robert Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder PRIME WAYS


ar an Pro stfield years old s one of the many ds ho attend Prime’s in-house ch ldcare center n pr n field Missouri.

LIFE | MAY 2020



Prime’s Littles Jennifer Wardlaw has dedicated the past 12 years to caring for Prime’s most precious cargo. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL




ennifer Wardlaw has one of the biggest jobs at Prime. As Director for the Prime Kids Learning Center (PKLC) in Springfield, Missouri, she cares for the company’s tiniest team members. Her biggest reward is seeing the impact the onsite facility has on the families who work at Prime. “Our open door policy allows parents to take a few minutes away to play with their little ones and regroup following stressful moments,” Wardlaw says. “It feels good being able to offer peace of mind to parents who know their children are getting the best care possible a few steps away.” Wardlaw began working at PKLC in August 2008, after working at a small child learning facility. She originally pursued a career in advertising and public relations but found that her true passion was for education. She switched paths in college and earned her credentials as a Child Development Associate. “After coming to Prime, I fell in love with the facility, staff and families right away,” she says. Prime Kids Learning Center was built in Springfield alongside the Millennium Building in 1999. “From the beginning, Robert Low has provided us with a wonderful space for learning and driving pas-

SNAP SHOT Here are a few factoids you should know about the SLC childcare learning facility.

Photos courtesy Prime Inc.

ley olta and entley Holtmeyer, both age 6, attend Pr me ds earn n enter n pr n field Missouri. The center can accommodate youn sters and ma es t easy or Pr me parents to s t the r ds dur n the day

sion for the work of caring for our most precious cargo,” Wardlaw says. As part of the Millennium building’s amenities, stateof-the-art onsite childcare has been a vital part of attracting and maintaining qualified associates to the Prime family. “The center has an amazing team of 16 teachers who dedicate their days to our students,” Wardlaw says. The center’s maximum capacity is 81 students, and the center currently offers enrollment for children ages 6 weeks through preschool. There is no typical day at PKLC, which has six Creative Curriculum-inspired classrooms that encourage exploration and playbased learning with peers. The center also offers additional learning opportunities from the Springfield community including visits from the library, Dickerson Park Zoo, pottery projects and enrichment programs. Recently, PKLC held its first preschool graduation ceremony. The idea was years in the making, and Wardlaw says it finally came to life, “after seeing the parents’ excitement in our Annual Parent Survey.” PKLC instructors Mrs. Jen Ivory and Ms. Brittney File designed the ceremony around the interests of the tiny graduates, which meant there were no diplomas or tassels. Instead, the graduation included music, a fabulous fanny pack dance and awards. “Hosting the event in the cafe gave us a wonderful opportunity to share the accomplishments of some of our youngest members of the Prime family with the rest of our team,” Wardlaw says. Families also enjoyed a classroom

celebration and slideshow following the ceremony. Along with a 2020 Preschool Graduation, the center plans to host another Teacher Appreciation Banquet, a St. Jude Trike-a-Thon, a Scholastic Book Fair and a Ronald McDonald House Art Show this year. “We love keeping traditions alive at PKLC,” Wardlaw says, “but my favorite part of every day is sharing in the joys of early learning experiences with our children, families and teachers.” The success of the Springfield daycare has led to the development of another Prime Kids Learning Center in Salt Lake City. Wardlaw is currently transitioning into a new role with the Springfield PKLC as assistant director and has been directly involved with helping the Salt Lake City center build its daycare program. “The SLC facility has been a very exciting opportunity,” Wardlaw

• Preparations and planning are underway for a new childcare learning facility at Prime’s Salt Lake City terminal set to open in August 2020. • The curriculum will be based off of Springfield’s Prime Kids Learning Center, and the center will be able to accommodate 78 kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. • The goal is to have 10 teachers on staff once the building reaches enrollment capacity.

says. “It’s going to be a wonderful place for learning, and we are looking forward to meeting and training the new associates as they arrive.” Wardlaw has been a part of the initial planning and licensing for the facility and will also be a part of the search team for staffing and training prior to its opening. The details are still being finalized for the SLC facility, but it will be very similar in size to the Springfield location. As Wardlaw continues to help grow Prime’s preschool and childcare offerings, she remains positive about the impact the centers will continue to have on Prime families. She says, “PKLC has a magical mix of hard working associates who love what they do, children who love to learn and explore and parents who work with us to provide the best early childhood experience possible.”

The PKLC has been so successful and such an appreciated amenity, a sister facility is being built in Salt Lake City. But that’s not the only growth the program has seen. Last year, it launched its very first graduation ceremony for all of its preschoolers.



A simple salute Fletcher Williams and Terry Henry enlisted in the armed forces right out of high school and have now found a way to carry over the skills they learned while in the service into their careers at Prime. BY CHLOE SIERKS

Fletcher Williams

“My father was a war veteran

from Vietnam. With his strong codes of conduct, I was raised with undeniable work ethic and discipline.” —Fletcher Williams

Military History: Growing up around a family of veterans, Fletcher Williams knew what it would take to be in the U.S. military. “My father was a war veteran from Vietnam. With his strong codes of conduct, I was raised with undeniable work ethic and discipline,” Williams says. Williams himself enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994 and was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, for two and a half years as a motorman in the mechanized unit HHC 2/69. “In the infantry,” Williams says, “we walked around with backpacks and dug a lot of holes.” He decided to transition from active duty to the Florida National Guard. The move allowed Williams to pursue a career in law enforcement. In 1997 he became a deputy sheriff and eventually an investigator for Richmond County, Florida. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2005 and was promoted to the street crimes unit where he worked with the FBI gang task force. Toward the end of his law enforcement career, Williams worked as a senior instructor and taught at local academies for new recruits.

Prime Service: Williams joined Prime in 2015 as a flatbed operator. He knew he liked being on the road and was ready to pursue a new category of road work. “I have a family of truck drivers,” he says, “so I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do a little investigating and find out which is the best company.’” After working in a team capacity for some time, Williams knew his experience in training could be of use to Prime and its associates. In October of 2018, Williams became Prime’s flatbed safety instructor and still holds that position today. Within this role, Williams instructs flatbed drivers how to secure the freight safely and assists the safety department in several facets. It’s a big responsibility, especially as Prime’s flatbed team grows, and it’s one Williams takes very seriously. Making the move to Prime has allowed Williams to put his leadership skills to great use, but he says the move has also given him the opportunity to travel the country, meet new people and interact with a great team and a great work environment.

“You have to be willing to work long hours, but it’s a really good environment to be in. Every trailer is different and you’re never really doing the same thing over and over.”

—Terry Henry



Military History: Terry Henry joined the Army National Guard in November 2008, at the age of 17. He went to basic training the summer between his junior and senior year of high school at Fort Jackson in South Carolina and completed his Advanced Individual Training in Maryland. He became a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic and worked on wheeled vehicles and trailers. In March 2013, Henry was deployed to Afghanistan as an aircraft refueller where he refueled apache helicopters and black hawks. For his time and service in Afghanistan, Henry has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Missouri Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal. For those thinking about joining the military, Henry warns, “it will be difficult, but just about anyone, if they set their mind to it, can do it.” Henry remains active in the U.S. National Guard and attends drill at Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnston County, Missouri.

Prime Service: In February 2017, Henry joined the Prime team and became an in-house associate and found a new home for all the mechanical skills and knowledge he learned while in the National Guard. At Prime, Henry serves as a trailer rebuild technician and remains in that position today. He puts his substantial experience in vehicle mechanics to good use, rebuilding all of Prime’s flatbeds and tankers that pass through the shop. It’s a new extension of the skills Henry learned in the Guard, and just like his time in the military, he’s learning that even his civilian job has its challenges. But problem solving and putting his skills to good use is rewarding, and Henry says he finds enjoyment in his work environment and the daily change in routine. “It is a physically demanding job,” he says. “You have to be willing to work long hours, but it’s a really good environment to be in. Every trailer is different and you’re never really doing the same thing over and over.”

Photos courtesy Fletcher Williams, Terry Henry

Terry Henry

words from the field

Prime’s Springfield, Missouri, terminal just got a new upgrade to its coffee thanks to a Starbucks self-serve kiosk.


Leading by Example Prime Student Driver Trainer Hilda Pinckney swore she’d never become a trainer, but then she realized she could make an impact. In this issue’s Guest Blog, Pinckney talks about what convinced her to become a trainer.


Photos courtesy H lda P nc ney Pr me nc

Photos courtesy Fletcher Williams, Terry Henry


came to Prime after a really bad relationship and saw this as a way to get away from that situation. I thought, who would find me out on the road since I’m never in one spot at once? But this was totally new to me, and I had a lot of selfdoubt. At first, I was scared to be out here, but somewhere along the way I transitioned. I wasn’t scared, and I started wondering how many other women out here are feeling the same thing. I thought if I can help them overcome those doubts they have, we can make something special. I try to make every moment with my students count. To me, the best moments out here are those ‘aha’ moments the ladies have on my truck. It’s watching them turn the key for the first time when they’ve never moved a truck before. You can feel their energy and their nerves. Seeing them back the truck up for the first time, and they look at you and realize you didn’t guide them, and they did it all by themselves. It’s learning how to celebrate those small victories that make them grow. There’s so much we have to teach. It’s not just driving a truck; that part is really easy. It’s learning macros and building relationships with fleet managers. Those are the things that are important. I’ve noticed a shift in women drivers, and I love it. I see more women shaking off those fears and doubts. I have this saying, be the ripple that creates the wave. I believe it’s the women like Dee Sova and Tiffany Hanna who opened the door for us. One of my best moments out here was when I went into a truck stop and saw a 4-year-old girl who spotted me coming in through the driver’s door. She asked if I drove a truck, and then yelled at her mom, “The girl’s driving a truck!” The mom said the little girl loves women truck drivers. Those moments are the ones you have to celebrate. For me, I get to see my students succeed, and I had something to do with that. That’s powerful. I love watching my students transition from I think I can do this to, I can do this. That’s the moment every student has and you see the lightbulb go off, and they’ve got it.

Next time Prime’s crew in Springfield needs a caffeine boost, they have a new source of relief. BY NEVADA MOENNING


t the Springfield terminal, associates enjoy almost any amenity you can think of, including free coffee, but the Prime staff is always thinking of ways to improve. One such improvement came about in July 2019, when the terminal unveiled a brand new self-serve Starbucks kiosk. The Starbucks kiosk is conveniently located by the Prime Learning Center, and Prime drivers and associates can enjoy freshly ground coffee, hot chocolate, tea and espresso-based products. It produces core beverages and even allows you to use different syrups to craft your perfect Starbucks blend. The free coffee that’s constantly percolating at the terminal is still available, but the new kiosk gives the coffee aficionados a chance to start the day with an espresso and go back for a latte any time they need an extra jolt. Even better, this kiosk benefits the many avid coffee drinkers by discounting the coffee 20% off regular price. Prime staff would love to offer more beverages at associates’ suggestions, so stay tuned for more improvements.

HEARTFELT THANKS Prime took home the gold for its charitable efforts at a regional event in Missouri. BY BRILEY RAKOW


very year, driving and non-driving associates at Prime suggest charitable causes to donate to, and everyone at Prime plays their part in fundraising. This past November, Prime was awarded the SW Missouri 2019 Philanthropic Business of the Year award. As Clayton Brown accepted the award on behalf of Prime, he told the audience there aren’t any “losers” when it comes to charitable contributions, and he attributed Prime’s win to the big hearts of Prime’s associates and owner Robert Low. It just goes to show that no good deed goes unnoticed. PRIME WAYS


CAFETERIA Kay Johnson is the queen bee in the kitchen at Campus Inn. Her popular cakes and cookies are a big hit with Prime associates who often call in orders.

Because drivers don’t want to spend lots of money eating out while they are working, the cafeteria at Campus Inn offers an affordable option with cold and hot selections, and it also offers meals drivers take on the road. The Inn is also famous for its desserts. Lindsey’s favorite is the oatmeal raisin cookie. It might sound like a healthier option, but “they’re about the size of your head,” she says.

AMENITIES Besides the immensely popular desserts, the Campus Inn also offers full-service guest laundry, vending machines and a drivers’ lounge with TVs. Plus, when drivers need to run errands while in town, Lindsey says Prime offers three shuttle runs each day for those who need to stop at Walmart. Drivers can also check out local eateries. “There are a ton of restaurants in the area,” she says.

FAMILY “It’s kind of like a home-away-from-home. That’s what we try to make here,” Lindsey says. “We try to win them over with cleanliness and customer service. A lot of people that stay here don’t have family in the area or someone they could just call up for help. So that’s what we’re here for.” Lindsey says she even has drivers stay in touch after they’ve retired or switched jobs.

on Route 66 Brenda Lindsey reveals secrets of running a hotel for Prime drivers: clean rooms and 16 types of cake BY MARY ELLEN CHILES


rime knows driver comfort is worth every extra penny, so in 1999, it bought Campus Inn in Springfield, Missouri. Now, General Manager Brenda Lindsey welcomes drivers to a clean and comfy space with 24 pet-friendly rooms and a 90% occupancy rate year-round. The 212-room inn only serves Prime associates and affiliates. We caught up with Lindsey to learn what she and her crew focus on to make sure those Prime visits go well and everyone feels at home.



CLEANLINESS “It’s a lot of work cleaning a large facility, and we stay pretty busy,” Lindsey says. The staff at Campus Inn includes 40 people between the front desk, housekeeping and maintenance positions. Lindsey relies on her team to keep things tidy throughout the year. “Just because we’re an older facility doesn’t mean we can’t be clean,” she says.

HOSPITALITY Lindsey says treating her team well is the first step to being successful in the hospitality industry. That means being realistic and compassionate when life happens. “You treat your team members well, and they’re going to take more pride in their work,” she says. Lindsey also seeks input from her team. One associate came up with the idea to put dog biscuits in a treat bag with a welcome note for the guests with pets. “The guests just fell in love with it, and we’ve been doing that for about five years now,” Lindsey says.

SWEET EATS The Inn’s main cook and baker Kay Johnson has worked at Campus Inn for 17 years. Her most popular cakes are carrot, peanut butter and pineapple upside down, but she makes about 16 different kinds of desserts. That’s not even including the peach cobbler, cherry cobbler and apple crisp she often whips up. “People love them,” she says. Her most time-consuming dessert is banana nut bread, which takes two hours. She also makes pumpkin and a cranberry bread. Let’s not forget her cookies including snickerdoodles, peanut butter chocolate chip, and no-bake cookies. “What makes my cookies stand out is they are all made from scratch,” Johnson says. She even has drivers call in orders when they’re heading to Springfield. Johnson also decorates cakes by request for Prime team members. So what’s her secret ingredient? She won’t give that up. “But I will help them if they are attempting to make something and gladly give advice,” she says.



Photos y renda

week in the life

close to home

A Closer look: Students who receive backpacks are selected by teachers and counselors who interact with the children on a daily basis. Currently more than 1,600 children in 59 schools across southwest Missouri benefit from the program.

The Weekend Backpack Program at Ozarks Food Harvest keeps kids who are food-insecure stocked on healthful meals during the weekends.

Backpacks are handed out to students each Friday during the school year. Each backpack includes six nutritious meals for the weekend. Annually more than 58,000 bags are distributed to provide more than 351,200 meals for students. On average, that means more than 6,900 Weekend Backpacks are distributed monthly. Bags include meals for two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks, plus beverages. Examples of items include chicken salad, macaroni, mixed vegetables, corn, pears, mandarin oranges, fat-free shelf stable white milk and chocolate milk, pretzels, hummus and oatmeal. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and soap are also distributed monthly to students attending rural schools. All of the food bags and hygiene kits are assembled by volunteers at Ozarks Food Harvest and delivered to schools.


Some TLC A food bank in Springfield, Missouri, is teaming up with Prime to feed area students in need. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

Photos courtesy OFH, Shutterstock

Photos y renda



urns out backpacks can be pretty useful. We’re talking about stuffing them full of more than just plastic binders and pencil pouches. At Ozarks Food Harvest (a food bank in Springfield, Missouri), volunteers are filling backpacks with nutritious meals. The Weekend Backpack Program provides weekend meals for at-risk students who have been identified as food insecure by school administration, and Prime associates in Springfield have been donating their time to help fill these packs. “I first heard about the program from someone else who had volunteered,” says Tember Cripe with Prime. “There are so many individuals and families that rely on what Ozarks Food Harvest provides, and OFH relies on volunteers to make this possible.” If you don’t have the capacity to volunteer your time, no worries. Another popular way of giving back is through a payroll deduction. A weekly payroll deduction of $5.77 will sponsor weekend meals for one child during a full school year. But before you sign up, keep reading to learn how your donation is making a big impact on the next generation. “The need is great for volunteers all over our community,” Cripe says, “and OFH makes it fun and easy to get involved!”

Ozarks Food Harvest began attending Prime’s fall health fair in 2017 to invite Prime employees to sign up for payroll deduction to support The Weekend Backpack Program. “Many Prime drivers shared stories of their own struggles with childhood food insecurity,” says Jennifer Sickinger, community engagement manager at Ozarks Food Harvest. A weekly payroll deductions of $5.77 will sponsor one child for a full school year of weekend meals. Since the fall of 2017, Prime employees have sponsored 54 children for the Weekend Backpack Program. A total of $16,077 has been donated through the payroll deduction program providing more than 12,000 meals for food insecure students. Prime employees often volunteer between deliveries and often don’t mention their association with Prime, so Sickinger doesn’t have a way to track the number of hours Prime team members volunteer at Ozarks Food Harvest. But that’s okay because she can track Prime’s involvement in other ways including Prime’s annual Ugly Sweater contest in December and the Chili CookOff at the end of January. Both fundraisers support The Weekend Backpack Program. Since 2009, Prime has raised more than $75,500 through its Chili Cook-Off event to sponsor 252 children for weekend meals. Thanks to Prime associates’ generosity, nearly 57,000 weekend meals have been provided for at-risk students. In 2019 the event raised nearly $18,000! Outside of the annual health fair, employees can contact Ozarks Food Harvest at 417-865-3411 to set up the payroll deductions.




Divers often look for 24-hour gyms that can accommodate their schedules. Gyms like Planet Fitness (pictured) are a great option.


Looking for a place to work out while on the road? Two Prime, Inc. drivers dish out details on their favorite nationwide gyms. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK


hen you’re constantly on the road, working out can be a challenge. Lucky for you, a couple of nationwide gyms are making it much easier for drivers to squeeze in a gym session, no matter where you are. Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coordinator, Matt Hancock, connected us with two seasoned gym goers to learn the driver-friendly details at two of the country’s most popular gyms.

PLANET FITNESS Driver: Moe Mendez Driver-Friendly Details: With more than 2,000 locations across all 50 states, Planet Fitness is easily among the most accessible gyms in the country. Memberships start as low as $10 a month and come with a variety of perks. “There are clean showers and massage chairs, and they almost always have big parking lots,” says Prime driver Moe Mendez. “This makes it easier to pull my truck into.” Mendez says it just takes a bit of proper planning to ensure a regular gym performance. “I make sure to plan out my route, so I can get into a gym four to five times a week,” he says. “The 24 access is a great perk with my crazy schedule.” And he’s quick to say it’s well worth the effort. “ ealth is wealth,” Mendez says. “I’ve lost 35 pounds since starting this new workout lifestyle as a driver. It is possible.”



Driver-Friendly Details: It isn’t too tough to find an Anytime Fitness when you’re driving across the country—the gym prides itself in operating more than 3,000 gyms in 50 states and nearly 30 countries. Prime driver Justin Surface prefers working out at the gym for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it’s the weight selection. “Anytime Fitness locations often have a larger freeweight selection than most gyms,” he says. Also, some of the Anytime gym locations are in Walmart parking lots, which makes it handy for parking large trucks. “If I ever can’t park close, I’ll take a Lyft or Uber to the gym,” Surface says. “I’ve even taken a city bus.” Surface also likes the private showers at Anytime Fitness locations, and he likes the 24-hour, key fob accessibility. “They’re not usually crowded, even during peak times,” he says.

PACKING FOR PERFORMANCE Matt Hancock, Prime, Inc.’s Driver Health and Fitness Coordinator, shares three must-have items for all drivers heading to the gym.

WATER BOTTLE Purchase a water bottle that you can refill and reuse. “Being dehydrated by even 1% can lead to a 10% decrease in performance,” Hancock says. “Aiming to drink half your weight in ounces is a great goal.”

HEADPHONES & ENTERTAINMENT Try listening to fast-paced music during lifting sessions or audio books for longer cardio sessions. “This helps take your mind off the monotony of what you’re doing, and you might even learn something in the process,” he says.

WORKOUT PLAN “Having a plan gives you something to aim for, and you’ll have a better sense of accomplishment when you get it done,” Hancock says. “This will boost your self-esteem to keep you coming back for more.” Need a plan? Find pre-designed workouts on Prime’s website.

Photo courtesy Planet Fitness

Drive On, Workout

ANYTIME FITNESS Driver: Justin Surface



a Proper Diet Prime’s new registered dietitian nutritionist helps drivers design and implement healthful eating plans. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK

Photo courtesy Sarah Waterman, Shutterstock


e’ve all heard it before find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. As Sarah Waterman considered what to study in college, this advice came in handy. “I always had an interest in health care, and at first I thought I wanted to go the exercise route,” Waterman says. “But I learned I could major in nutrition. My parents made nutrition and movement a priority in our lives. I had a passion for it.” Waterman went on to major in dietetics at Missouri State University, and she found herself working as a dietetic intern for Prime after she graduated college in May 201 . “During my internship I learned about the fitness challenges drivers face while on the road,” she says. And she wanted to help. There was one problem, though no such position existed. Waterman spent six months working in the nutrition field at Bass Pro’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and then she worked in health care for Mercy Hospital for a year. “Prime approached me in November 2019, and told me they created a registered dietitian position,” Waterman says. It was the kind of position Waterman had been looking for. Waterman began working as a registered dietitian nutritionist for Prime in December 2019. “I work primarily with our drivers but also with some of our in-house associates,” she says. “A lot of what I do is create and implement programs. I focus a lot on the nutrition aspect—I’ll put together recipes as well as help with meal planning, preparation and education.” In addition, Waterman helps individuals with specific dietary needs including diabetes and Celiac disease. “I’m grateful I found something I’m passionate about, and I also really like being able to help others,” Waterman says. “Being able to help people with their health and wellness goals is really what makes me the happiest.”

For a filling snack, pair something sweet like chopped apple with something starchy.

SNACK ATTACK Prime’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sarah Waterman shares recipes for a nutritious salad and other freewayfriendly snack ideas. CHICKPEA SALAD Ingredients: 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 2 apples, diced 3 celery sticks, sliced ¼ cup diced red onion ¼ cup sunflower seeds Mayonnaise, to taste (if desired) Salt and pepper Whole wheat pita pockets or Romaine lettuce To prepare: Add chickpeas to a bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash about half the chickpeas (if desired) for texture. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl, and stir to mix. Fill pitas or lettuce wrap with chickpea mixture. Enjoy! Snacks: Apple and 2 tablespoons of natural nut butter Note: Pairing a carbohydrate with protein and healthy fat will help stabilize blood sugar and will keep you satisfied until your next meal. Non-starchy vegetables (example: carrots and bell pepper) and 2 tablespoons hummus Note: Non-starchy vegetables contain vitamins/ minerals and fiber. Pairing the vegetables with hummus will make the snack more filling.





R a


T a

A e



T o


P to

Driver Referral Program $100

Earn $100 when referred driver hauls first load.

$500 1/4 cpm $1,000

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 $2800, not including the additional mileage pay!

Program Rules: The person that is referred must run under Prime’s operating authority (A, B1, B2, C, or D Seats) as a company driver or independent contractor. All active Prime Driver Associates under Prime’s operating authority (A, B1, B2, 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 Jan 25, 2019 until further notice or cancellation. (Prime reserves the right to modify the program at any time.)


how we roll

Down Under

When Wade Nugent couldn’t find a way to bring his favorite saltwater fish on the road with him, he got creative.


ade Nugent doesn’t have any fish in his truck, but he’s definitely thought about it. Nugent loves saltwater aquariums. e actually has a 1 0-gallon tank at home that he’s waiting to set up in his “man cave.” But as a reefer driver for Prime, Nugent can’t exactly take his favorite fish with him on the road. e did think of bringing along a beta fish, but even that sounded too messy. Instead of having a fish sloshing around inside his 2020 Peterbilt ltra oft, Nugent decided to include his beloved fish in an entirely different way. With a vision in mind, he dedicated the exterior of his truck to all things saltwater. The seafoam blue big rig now cruises down the road with Nugent and all the clownfish, coral reef, butterfly fish and red angelfish he loves so much.



Photos courtesy Wade Nugent



This is Nugent’s third truck, but it’s the first one he’s leased. e actually told his trainer years ago that he would one day have a blue Peterbilt with fish on it. “I’ve just always loved aquariums,” he says, “and this is totally an aquarium theme.”


Nugent joined Prime as a reefer driver six years ago. e attended a driver school in Atlanta, stumbled upon a Prime brochure, and the rest is history. “I looked at several companies and liked that Prime was centralized in the country,” Nugent says. “I also liked that they weren’t blowing smoke up my skirt. Prime was straightforward They are what they are, and they didn’t push me to choose them.”


When it comes to fish, Nugent’s rig features all the favorites including clownfish, angelfish, the bright-blue damselfish and butterfly fish. The only fish Nugent couldn’t get on the truck was the pufferfish one of his personal favorites. But that hasn’t detracted from the truck’s popularity on the road. “People pass me and give me a thumbs up,” Nugent says. ven other drivers stop him to take a quick photo in front of his ocean blue rig.


“The first thing was getting the truck the right color,” Nugent says. e ended up ordering a teal hazel, which is a little more seafoam green, but it was the closest he could find to the bright blue of the ocean. From there, Nugent gave the team at Stripes and Stuff creative freedom. e told them he wanted bright colors, coral and plenty of saltwater fish.


If you happen to pass Nugent on the road, see if you can spot his truck’s name printed in orange. Nugent named the rig Oilmoista Trucking Company a trick of phrasing Nugent put together. Say it fast enough, and you’ll hear the real name Almost A Trucking Company. Because as Nugent says, “One truck is not a trucking company.”



Keep your eyes peeled for John Ogren’s truck when you’re out on the road. Just look for the feisty yellow cat.


the Trade Lease operator John Ogren and Tanker Operations Manager Brett Vonwiller offer insights to drivers on keeping up tanker trucks. BY KAREN BLISS


rime Inc. uses more than one type of trailer to haul products across the country, and one of these is a tanker trailer. A tanker trailer is connected to a base model tractor with aftermarket parts added on for operations, according to John Ogren, a lease operator in the tanker division. Ogren says the extra parts include a hydraulic PTO, which powers the pump on the trailer when the driver unloads and a heat-in-transit system, which circulates coolant from the engine through the trailer to maintain product temperatures. Those simple alterations allow tanker trucks to haul temperature-sensitive freight including canola oil, palm oil, chocolate and pet food flavoring. At the start of this year, there were 00 tanker drivers at Prime. Ogren, who is known for making YouTube videos on maintaining tanker trucks, has some tips for drivers on how to keep tankers running smoothly.

1. 1.


Ogren says maintaining product temperature is the most important factor, especially when transporting products like oils that can harden in transit at various times throughout the year. “Making sure you have a good supply of extra coolant on your truck to maintain the heat-in-transit system at capacity while not running your engine out of coolant is imperative,” he says. PRIME WAYS

2. 2.

3. 3.

4. 4.

Having a bernzomatic propane torch and knowing where to apply it without damaging rubber gaskets is a way to unload without having to steam the entire trailer, as the rear of the tanker trailer is the only part not insulated. Keeping plenty of spare gaskets and pump rebuild kits on your truck can save you time and money, Ogren says. “Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to determine prior to unloading if the seals in the pump need to be replaced. Keeping a supply on hand is the best solution rather than not having any once you discover they are needed.” Have extra spill kits on hand. Ogren says spill kits can be very expensive, so one way Ogren saves money is by replacing the Pig Absorbent Pads, inside the kit, with puppy training pads. These smaller pads are great for the smaller drips, while drivers can save the Pig Pads for the bigger drips. Watch for leaks. Ogren says that the fittings on the front of the trailer for the heat-in-transit system are prone to leaking. “They are fairly simple to replace, and learning to replace them yourself as a driver can save time, leaking coolant and even make you money, as Prime will pay for repairs the driver can do to Prime trailers,” he says.

head online For more tips from Ogren, visit YouTube. Ogren shares YouTube videos with tips and stories about driving a tanker truck for Prime. He uploads at least one or more videos monthly. Videos range from talking about maintenance tips and weigh stations to new regulations and parts that are worth fixing. You can find Ogren’s videos online at moosenb97.

Photos by John Ogren


John Ogren is a lease operator at Prime and drives in the tanker division. He has lots of safety tips for other drivers.

tech update The new mandated Electronic Logging Devices mean drivers have to pay more attention to their daily logs.

app update We’ve rounded up the five latest and greatest updates on the Prime Mobile app. Enjoy! BY BRIANNE MADURA

ELECTRONIC ANNUAL REVIEW You can now fill out and sign your Annual Review all electronically! Where to find It: At the top of the Documents section in MyPrime


Logging Every Mile The trucking industry is constantly changing and the arrival of electronic logging devices is one of the most impactful changes for drivers. To help, we answer the most FAQ. BY KAREN BLISS


Photo courtesy Prime Inc.

Photos by John Ogren

ven though Prime has been using the original version of electronic logs in all trucks since 2009, a recent mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration meant the company needed to transition to new lectronic ogging Devices. The D mandate makes it more restrictive when a driver is moved to the drive line. It also doesn’t automatically change a driver’s duty status when they stop driving, so drivers need to be proactive in logging. Susan Byrne, Prime’s log department manager, gives the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Ds. For more FA s, check out the D Change Info section on the Prime App under MyPrime. Q: What is the “Beginning of Trip” in the ELD mandate? A: The Beginning of Trip is when the logs start recording a drive segment. This starts once the vehicle reaches the speed of MP .

Q: What is “Yard Movement”? A: Yard Movement is a new duty status that falls under On Duty and is strictly used for moving around private property such as a carrier’s terminal or a customer’s property. It won’t generate a drive status unless the truck reaches 20 MP . Q: Can an edit be made to a driving segment? A: dits to drive time are very limited. If a co-driver accidentally drives on their teammate’s hours, that can be moved to the correct driver. Q: How often must logs be certified? A: ogs must be certified daily, and you will be prompted to do that. ach day must be certified separately. Q: Can I edit my log? A: You can still edit on duty, off duty and sleeper. The duty status be at the bottom of the certify screen. If the status started prior to midnight, you will need to access the status on the prior day’s certify screen.

The MyInfo section is packed full of useful info. You can update your payroll by email settings, view and update your address to ensure anything we are mailing home is getting to the right place and be sure to update your emergency contact from here just in case we need to get in touch with someone. You can also view your home time requests and check your progress in Prime’s Million Mile Program. Where to find it: MyInfo in MyPrime

OPEN CAMPAIGNS Check anytime for open campaigns for your truck. Use this info to plan ahead and get an appointment at a Prime Shop to get campaign items addressed. While you are viewing MyTruck, click over to the neighboring MyTrailer tab to view the recently added “last wash date”, and skip the call to the fuel desk to see if the trailer is eligible for a wash. Where to find it: MyTruck in MyPrime

FUEL MAP UPDATES Locations on the Fuel and Services Map now have the full address in the stop details. You can also help your fellow drivers by rating the stop and editing the hours if they are listed incorrectly. Just expand the hours and click suggest an edit. The filter for searching the map also now has a “Snow Removal Available” option per driver suggestion. Where to find it: Fuel and Services in MyPrime, click on a fuel stop and scroll down to see all the details

MORE MACROS ADDED! We have recently added Macros #2 Bump Dock, #10 Cash Fuel PO, #13 Tolls, Scales, Permits PO’s, #14 Wage Advance, #42 Weights/ Settings, and #45 DVIR. Keep an eye out as we are still adding more macros. Where to find it: Prime Mobile Menu under Macros PRIME WAYS


CLEAN& At Prime, being eco-conscious is much more than an idea or concept––It’s an action. The company has adopted six sustainability initiatives, but it’s always looking for more ways to show kindness to the earth. Here’s where Prime is at in its mission to make Prime even greener. Photo by Mark Harrell









PURPOSE: Lighter weight trucks and trailers allow drivers to haul heavier loads THE IMPACT: Drivers can haul as much as 4,500 pounds more each load. After spending countless hours on the road with your truck, Prime understands that it’s like a good friend. The right truck can last you more than a decade, so when it’s time to make the switch, consider changing to a truck that is as friendly to the earth as it is to you. Featherweight Trucks focus on decreasing the weight of the equipment, which in turn increases the amount of weight you are able to haul. In the long run, this means fewer fuel emissions used for freight. Before being loaded with precious cargo, EcoFeatherweight tractors and trailers weigh 32,000 pounds, while typical tractor-trailer combinations clock in at 35,000 pounds or more. This means Prime can load anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 more pounds of cargo in one shipment, meaning it can deliver more product in fewer trips. Simply put, these trucks are more e cient. Although adjusting to the smaller truck size might take some time, it’s well worth the effort to make a lasting impact on the environment.


BY THE NUMBERS A traditional trailer holds 3,489 cubic feet of cargo space, but the 53-foot EcoFeatherweight trailers hold between 3,601 and 3,693 cubic feet of cargo.

Photos courtesy Prime Inc, by Linda Huynh

On paper, that mission sounds like this, “We will use our abilities and resources to protect the environment. We are responsible citizens of the beautiful planet Earth.” That’s one of Prime’s 13 core values, and it has shaped important company decisions and will continue to lead the company’s direction well into the future. “Prime’s policy has always been the Golden Rule—‘Do your best, do what’s right and treat others the way you want to be treated,’” says Robert Low, president and founder of Prime. “Environmental sustainability practices fall into ‘do what’s right.’”And aside from upholding its moral responsibility, Prime knows customers and consumers are paying more attention and holding businesses accountable. Consumers realize their choices about which businesses they support have an impact on their children’s future, and they are proving that the ‘Go Green’ movement was far more than just a trend. Michael Jones, who works in the accounting department at Prime, manages one of Prime’s green initiatives, EcoShred. e’s seen firsthand how small changes add up and encourages drivers to make efforts in their everyday routines that can lead to sustainability. This can be as simple as switching from disposable to refillable water bottles or even stocking your truck with reusable utensils and plates rather than plastic or paper. “Self-awareness is the main thing,” he says. “Know what you are disposing of and how you can make a small impact. Some people might think it’s negligible, but it all adds up.” While making minimal eco-conscious changes as an individual is important and impactful, corporations like Prime have an opportunity to make large-scale changes that can alter the future of our climate. It’s a responsibility that Prime doesn’t take lightly, which is why the company has six main green initiatives.


PURPOSE: Find new uses for millions of worn out tires THE IMPACT: Prime produces 1,600 tons of scrap tires yearly. In terms of companies that have the ability to position themselves as big players in the sustainability game, Prime stands near the top, along with other transportation corporations. After all, the transportation industry has more than two million tractors and five million trailers in the nited States. With that many trucks on the road, just imagine the number of tires the industry rolls through each year. If not recycled, an estimated 43 million tires will end up in the landfill each year. To give you a visual, that’s the equivalent of a football field stacked 2,000 feet high with rubber. In even worse news, it takes about 80 years for each tire to break down. “It is very important to Prime to do what we can to reduce our waste and do everything we can to bring that number down,” Jones says. Big problems call for big changes, and sometimes inspiration for opportunity strikes from unexpected sources. EcoShred was an idea brought about by two members of the accounting department, and one of those individuals was

3M BY THE NUMBERS To date, Prime has diverted more than three million pounds of tires from the landfill.

Jones. He knew Samuel Messick, who’s actually an accountant at Prime, possessed extensive knowledge about the retreading department and fuel. While Jones knew nothing about tires or the logistics needed to recycle them, he had a passion for Prime’s sustainability mission and knew there must be a way to give new life to the tires that were too far gone to qualify for the retreading program.


After two years of collaborating and planning, Jones and Messick came up with the concept for EcoShred. As part of this initiative, Prime repurposes used tires to produce tire-derived fuel, tire-derived aggregate, mulch, pellets, asphalt and powder for public materials. Through complex, monstrous equipment, Prime has devised a way to shred tires back down into their raw material components. The idea is to sell these components to reused rubber marketplaces. But that’s not the only way Prime is benefiting from old tires. It’s also found a way to use the shredded tires around its own properties. To see evidence of this, just look at the landscaping around the Springfield campus. Breaking down the tires produces a material similar to mulch, and that’s Prime’s plan. “One of the first things that we’re going to do with the rubber that we’re generating is use it to replace the mulch that we’re purchasing,” Jones says. “We will be replacing all of that with our own rubber mulch.” “Personally, being able to contribute and be a part of something this vast that affects not only our community but every community out there, is one of my most prized contributions I am able to share with my daughter,” Jones says. “She will have to live longer with the world’s mistakes of the past, and I want her to know my company and I made a difference.”

Prime’s Ecoshred facility in Springfield, Missouri, means the company can repurpose old tires and even sell the byproduct.




THE PURPOSE: Give new life to used tires THE IMPACT: 35,000–40,000 tires are repurposed and placed back on the road each year by Prime Prime isn’t the only company in the world to retread tires. However, it is one of the only transportation companies to handle retreading in-house through its EcoTire program without relying on a partnership with a third-party retread vendor. Another quality that sets this initiative apart is that Prime does the majority of its retreading using a mold-cure process,

rather than a pre-cure retreading process. Mold cure retreading involves using a mold to create tread patterns. “Mold-cure retreading is a much more cost-intensive process upfront because you have to have a monobeam or rubber extruder. You also have to have large pressers to mold the tires,” Messick says. “But the mold-cure process is an identical process in concept to what original tire manufacturers like Goodyear Tires or Michelin would use.” Because of the quality retreading process, you can rest assured knowing Prime’s EcoTire retread tires are of the same quality as other leading retread manufacturers. Thanks to the attention given to Prime’s tire remanufacturing program, the lifespan of a single retreaded tire can stretch to more than 100,000 miles.

35K BY THE NUMBERS Prime’s technicians remold, retread and repurpose 35,000 used tires per year.

The tire tread design that Prime created helps improve gas mileage.

ECOFEATHER MILEAGE THE PURPOSE: Build a stronger tire that improves gas mileage. THE IMPACT: Drivers can drive farther on their retread tires and get better mileage.

Handling Prime’s retreading inhouse opens another opportunity for sustainability: tread patterns. The design used in the retreading process plays a huge role in gas mileage optimization. EcoFeather Mileage is actually a proprietary tire tread pattern at Prime. With great care, Prime worked hard to create a design that reduces the rolling resistance. “We have a cradle to grave environmentally conscious tire program at Prime,” Messick says. “We are buying tires that are low rolling resistance and fuel-e cient that have a low impact on the environment. But we are not only buying a tire that has those qualities, we also retread our tires to a low rolling resistance specification.” sing the coFeather Mileage tread pattern is just one way Prime can fulfill its



1/10 BY THE NUMBERS EcoFeather Mileage tires increase gas mileage by 1/10th of a mile per gallon.

responsibilities of being an EPA SmartWay Transport Partner. It’s all about optimizing as many aspects of the supply chain as possible, and using fuel-e cient tires in the industry is part of that equation. Pre-Q Galgo, a leading rubber supplier in the retreading field, helps Prime in both the design and the production of its retreading program. “They are a first-class organization when it comes to retreading tire technology,” Messick says. “The thing that is really neat is that we can resource tread patterns from them, but we can also resource from Michelin or Goodyear.”

Prime is capturing and repurposing used motor oil.

TRIPLE CROWN WASH THE PURPOSE: Reduce Prime’s water consumption THE IMPACT: 60% less water usage

ECOCONSERVE Photos by Mark Harrell, Paije Luth

THE PURPOSE: Give new use to old oil THE IMPACT: One gallon of motor oil can be reused in many ways. Let’s face the facts—Oil is a nonrenewable resource. Once Earth’s supply has been depleted, that will be it. However, there are ways Prime can reduce its energy footprint in the oil industry, which is why it started the Prime EcoConserve initiative. To take old engine oil and give it a new life, Prime heats industrial boilers and burners, which heat the oil up to extremely high temperatures. This destroys and captures pollutants, which makes the oil a safe and green way to generate heat. So should you ever need to visit a repair shop in the winter, you can thank recycled oil for keeping you warm. But that’s not all Prime can do with the oil. Recycled oil can be processed into lubricant. Because used motor oil is already refined from crude, processing it back into crude oil is a surprisingly seamless process. Prime’s used oil even gets restored as aged asphalt and works as an asphalt extender, which keeps roads in good shape for longer periods of time. In other words, Prime’s oil lives a long and fulfilled life. Another key to reducing our oil usage is purchasing quality engine oil in the first place. As you know, using a high-grade engine oil means less frequent oil changes. This also means fewer oil changes and more time on the road for you.



Let’s face it—No one likes a dirty truck. Delivering a load with a presentable truck brings a professional image, plus letting dirt and pollutants collect on your truck can damage the paint. For this reason, Prime will never encourage you to forgo a much-needed wash for your truck, but keeping trucks clean and presentable is one of Prime’s largest uses of water. The good news is that Prime has gotten pretty creative about where it sources all of its water. This is where its wash partner, Triple Crown Wash, comes into play. Together, Prime and Triple Crown Wash use reclaimed water that comes from many different sources, including runoff from rain and previous washes. In order to preserve groundwater for other important needs, including water wells and watering large farms, Prime makes it a point to only recycle water found in ponds, lakes, or rivers.

60% BY THE NUMBERS By using reclaimed water, Prime have decreased its water usage by an estimated 60%.

One gallon of recycled motor oil equals 42 gallons of crude oil.



The number of women driving for Prime is growing, which is great news for the industry. We talked with Amy Thompson, Andrea Hatfield and Susan Fisher to learn about their experiences and adventures while on the road driving for Prime. Photo courtesy Prime Inc.






Fisher loves any view that features snow and the mountains. She loves the way the hills help hug in the landscape and frame the shot. While many other drivers dread driving up and down the mountainside, Fisher looks forward to the views the drive provides.

Susan Fisher S

On her drives out West, Fisher often stops to get photos of the desert scenery like this prickly cactus.



usan Fisher is originally from Florida, but she moved to Springfield, Missouri, to be closer to Prime headquarters. Fisher has been with Prime for almost five years, and like so many members of the Prime family, her journey to the company was anything but predictable. Before arriving in Springfield, Fisher had hopped around between jobs. She started off training as an aviation electronics technician for the .S. Navy, earned her associate’s degree in computer programming and lived and worked in China where she taught nglish. When visa laws changed, Fisher headed back to the nited States and took a job working at Sirius M where she took phone calls in the customer service depart-

ment. It was while she was working at Sirius M that Fisher’s brother first told her about Prime. “I was like, sure, why not I’ll give it a try,” she says. Fisher spent her first year driving alone. “They asked me if I wanted to train, and I said I did, but I didn’t want to start right away,” Fisher says. “I didn’t feel like I had enough experience yet.” Now, Fisher has a trainee with her on the road much of the time, and she’s occasionally joined by her teenage daughter Jada. When she does drives alone, Fisher often takes time to herself between shifts behind the wheel. “I usually pack my T and my box and I’ll play video games or watch a movie before bed, or I’ll read books or draw or play my guitar,” she says.

Photos courtesy Susan Fisher


As a driver and trainer, Fisher takes time to teach her students the value in enjoying the views from the road. Not every job comes with the chance to see the country, so she takes time to stop and get out of the truck when a good view appears.

▼ Driving around the Pacific Northwest, especially the Seattle area, is one of Fisher's favorite routes to take. She loves the change in scenery from coastal to mountainside.


“I absolutely love Vermont, the Pacific Northwest and Seattle. Taking that drive into Portland is gorgeous.”

“Not letting other people get me flustered, which is something I tell all of my trainees. Rule No. 1 is they can wait, no matter what it is or who they are. I don’t care. Your job is to get it in the dock safely, and if that takes you an hour and 45 minutes, so be it. I don’t care who’s screaming in your window; you tell them ‘I’m working on it.’ Don’t rush, because the minute you rush, that’s when you start messing things up. The other thing is getting over your own fear of backing up. You’re just going to have to take your time, be patient, and when in doubt, get out and look. Even if it takes you 50 times and you’re going one foot at a time, get out and look. The rest of it will come with time. The only way you’re going to learn is to do it.”

Fisher also has her favorite routes. ermont is at the top of her list. “I absolutely love ermont, the Pacific Northwest and Seattle.” she says. “Taking that drive into Portland is gorgeous. A lot of the places drivers don’t like to go have hills,” she says. “Those are the places I like to go to because they’re so beautiful.” PRIME WAYS


Andrea Hatfield A

HATFIELD’S SNOWBLIND ADVENTURES “I have been stuck in a blizzard in Pennsylvania by myself. They shut down the whole interstate, and we were all trapped on it for about 24 hours. I’ve also driven across I-80 when they had closed the road down behind me because of a blizzard. And I didn’t know it. I was the only truck out there for miles and miles in the blizzard. It was hairy, and I was kind of new at the time, but I still wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because being out there alone; it’s those kinds of unreal things that are exciting.”

▲ Hatfield isn't one to shy away from a challenge, so even when she's driving in rough weather, she sees it as a learning opportunity.




ndrea atfield is a Springfield, Missouri, native who has been driving for Prime since June 201 . Before starting at Prime, atfield worked in a very different environment. “I actually worked in the medical field as a phlebotomist for nine years.” she says. “I worked in an trauma center.” A growing dissatisfaction with the health care system led atfield to start looking elsewhere for different career options. “I kept trying to think, what else would I like to do,” atfield says. On her list of possibilities, travel was at the top, and so atfield started asking herself, “why don’t I get paid for it ” atfield had already spent a lot of time traveling around the nited States and knew driving for a company like Prime could afford her even more opportunities to travel nationally. “I love seeing the country,” she says. “I love the freedom of it.” atfield researched opportunities nationwide before landing on Prime. “After research and reviews, I decided Prime was the best, and it happened to be by home,” she says. After finishing her driver training, atfield was off and running. Out on the open road, she was able to indulge her inner adventurer, but she also found that life behind the wheel was helping her develop personally. “I grew up a lot,” she says. “It was really empowering as a woman, especially in a field where there aren’t a lot of women.” When Prime first launched, there were no women drivers. Today, there are more than 1,200. Women’s presence in the trucking industry is increasing across the board, which is a welcome sight for drivers like atfield, who says she hasn’t encountered any negativity from her male counterparts. “I’ve had a good experience,” she says. “This was a huge empowerment move for me. I had never done anything like it, and most people who see me would never believe that I do this. I’m very proud of the fact that I can do it and do it well.” atfield, who travels with her former trainer and now-partner obert Owen and their miniature Pinscher, Myles, also chronicles her life on the road on her blog ( She says she’s always been a writer but her new life behind the wheel has given her new experiences to write about. All those hours on the road have also given her time to dive into new hobbies including photography and listening to audiobooks. It’s just a small part of atfield’s latest adventure. “I’m a photographer and a blogger now.” atfield says as she talks about how life on the truck is much more than just driving. atfield is a driver, yes, but she’s also leading the way for more women to enter the field, and she’s proving that life on the road can be as big or as small as you want it to be.

Photos courtesy Andrea Hatfield and Amy Thompson

Andrea Hatfield joined Prime after a long career in healthcare. She wanted a way to travel and see the country, so becoming a driver for Prime gave her plenty of opportunity to enjoy the open road.

Amy Thompson's youngest son, Daniel, loved joining his mom on the road when she first started driving for Prime. As an outdoorsy kid, joining his mom on her routes gave Daniel a chance to see the country in a new way.



efore starting at Prime in September of 2013, Amy Thompson was a T control-room operator in Topeka, ansas, where she currently lives with her husband, Mike, daughter ebecca and sons Matthew and Daniel. “Before I was working at the T station, I was a school bus driver for around seven years,” Thompson says. “I went back to school for media communications, and I ended up at the T station. nfortunately, a T station in Topeka doesn’t pay real well. I probably made more money driving a school bus.” With her kids graduating and getting older, Thompson began to look for a different career path. “Me and my husband discussed it and decided that maybe I should try driving a truck and see how well I do,” Thomp-

son says. As it turned out, the move “turned out extremely well,” for Thompson. Transitioning from school bus, to control-room operator, to driving a semi might sound like a big shift, but Thompson took to it with ease. Her years behind the wheel of a school bus gave her the confidence needed when she hopped into the cab of her semi, and after some practice, she was confident in her ability to pull a trailer. It was being away from home for long stretches of time that Thompson hadn’t prepared for. Fortunately, Thompson’s three children were old enough to handle her being on the road. “The older kids were pretty much self-su cient,” Thompson says. “The youngest one Daniel enjoyed going on the truck with me. e was 12 when I started

▲ Thompson now drives a dedicated route in Kansas in order to keep her close to her family.

driving on my own, and he would ride with me in the summers. He just thought that was the greatest fun in the world. He’s a real outdoorsy kid, and he likes big vehicles.” As for her husband, Thompson keeps in touch over the phone while she is on the road. Now, she works as a dedicated driver in ansas where she sticks to a specific shorter route most of the time. “I like the short runs,” Thompson says. “It works well for my family.”

THOMPSON’S ADVICE FOR NEW DRIVERS “Relax and don’t let things stress you out and don’t let traffic stress you out. That’s important. Beyond that, plan around pickup delivery and make sure you’re giving yourself lots of time. Don’t wait till the last minute; leave plenty of time and try to plan your days so you can be a little more relaxed. I see a lot of drivers who get really stressed out, and they don’t enjoy it anymore because it’s stressful. They’re fighting to get where they need to be; then they hit a snag in traffic and now they’re all stressed out because they can’t move. Good trip-planning is crucial. It will ensure you can have a little bit more of a relaxed drive, which will make it a much more enjoyable job.”





For Driver Safety The new flatbed securement bay at Prime is a win-win for flatbed drivers and the company.


ast year, Prime undertook a sizable investment for the sake of driver safety. It installed a flatbed securement bay at the end of 2019 at the Springfield terminal. The new bay is located at Bay 14 at the Plaza, says Plaza Manager Paul Smith. Construction was no easy task. It took about four months to build. “We bought it from an outside company, but they had to engineer it to work in our building,” Smith says. “They had to make sure everything fit with our roof system. All of our buildings are precast concrete, so there aren’t metal beams you can bolt stuff to. It has to be engineered to work with that concrete.”


The new flatbed securement bay allows drivers to pull their trailer underneath it. Then the driver is able to use a remote control to operate a crane, which uses



hooks to lift the tarp.“You have a remote that controls the crane, so you can do everything from the ground,” Smith says. “You don’t have to climb up. You lift the tarp in the air, move the crane over, and it moves from side to side, and it drapes the tarp over your load. Before this, drivers had to climb on their load. It could be raining, wet and slick. We were wanting to put something at our facility that would allow the driver to do everything safely from the ground.” This new safety feature is part of why Prime’s Flatbed Division is a leader in the industry. It is one of the more dangerous jobs in trucking, and most of that is due to driver falls, says James Abell, a Prime driver. Most flatbed loads are uneven, irregular and hard to walk on. Drivers haul everything from pipe and steel to drywall and roofing materials. Aside from the added safety, the new bay helps drivers stay out of the scorching sun or freezing rain.

Photos by Andrea Mueller


 To reduce the risk of driver injury, Prime installed a new flatbed securement bay at the Springfield terminal. The bay allows drivers to get out of the weather and use a robot to drape a tarp over their loads. This means drivers no longer have to climb on top of loads and risk falling.

the south side of the building. As soon as you get the edge of the tarp where you want it, you can secure it.”



Abell has used the system several times and loves it. As a member of Prime’s Driver Advisory Board, he advocated for this safety measure. “No. 1, this helps prevent a fall or injury,” Abell says. “No. 2, it helps prevent possible litigation. It’s the most dangerous issue in the flatbed truck industry. Drivers climb up high and tend to fall. I have been looking for solutions to make sure our guys don’t hurt themselves. I think it’s wonderful we are finally doing it.” A few flatbed shippers also have these bays, which is how Abell and others came up with the idea to add the safety feature

to one of Prime’s main terminals. Flatbed loads can be so dangerous, some companies will not even let drivers secure their own loads.


As far as ease of use, the new loading system at the flatbed securement bay is fairly easy to use. “When you get there, find a tire tech or inspector and get the crane hoist controller,” Abell says. “When you get it, bring the crane to the north end of the building by selecting that direction. You can put the whole tarp on it and pick it up straight up in the air and move the crane to

So far, Smith says reviews from the drivers have been mixed. Most love it, but there are some seasoned drivers who don’t want to try it and still want to climb up on their load to secure everything. At this point, Prime’s new bay is averaging three drivers a day, but Smith expects that figure to grow. “Not every load requires it to be tarped,” Smith says. “As word gets out there and people use it more, word will spread like wildfire.” Once that happens and drivers get more accustomed to using the securement bay, Smith says Prime plans to add similar bays to terminals in Pennsylvania and Utah. For drivers who haven’t yet used the new bay or who want to see it in action first, Prime has produced a video demonstrating how to use the crane. The video can be accessed via Prime’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Abell says this is a rarity in the field, and he applauds the company for investing in the equipment. “It’s pretty unusual and I am glad Prime is doing this,” he says.




minutes is how long it takes to secure a load using the bay

terminals will eventually have flatbed securement bays

person is all it takes to secure tarps with the new bay, just like normal

810 100 980 trucks make up Prime’s flatbed feet.

percent of trucks is what Abell hopes will use the new bay

drivers drive for Prime’s flatbed divions.



Timothy Swift joined his dad, Randy, for two months on the road one time. He’s joined his dad on several runs across the country. ▼ Randy and his daughter, Kimberli, head out on the road together several times each year. Kimberli’s favorite destinations include the West Coast.

Family Ties

ALONG FOR THE RIDE Randy Swift rarely drives alone these days. Any chance they get, his family hops on board. BY ETTIE BERNEKING



even spent two months out on the road with his dad, which is a memory Swift treasures. “I was a stay-at-home dad,” Swift says, “so we’re close, and we get along okay while in the truck. My son got cabin fever a bit, but you just get out of the truck every once in a while and move around.” The family has hopscotched between El Paso, Texas, and California on up to Oregon. Kimberli collects keychains from their trips while Timothy uses the excursions to build up his collection of shot glasses. As Timothy nears his 30s, his outings with Swift are fewer and farther between, but Kimberli, who’s now 19, still rides with her dad when she gets the chance. Her favorite destinations are Oregon, Washington and California, and to kill time while on the road, Kimberli brings along her camera and laptop. Swift says he sees a lot of families on the road, especially moms who bring their kids along for the ride. Drivers swap advice on how to keep young passengers entertained, how to incorporate more exercise into the drives and which spots to hit up along the route. But the kids aren’t the only ones who have joined Swift on his drives. His wife, Amy, recently joined Prime and now the couple drives team in the

“I was a stay-at-home dad, so we’re close, and we get along okay while in the truck. My son got cabin fever a bit, but you just get out of the truck every once in a while and move around.” —Randy Swift reefer division. “I was so worried when I decided to do this,” Swift says. “I worried about being away from family, but this has actually given us the chance to travel and build new memories.” When they’re not on the road together, the family connects over FaceTime. Like so many other drivers, Swift has found that staying connected to his loved ones is easier than he thought no matter how many miles are between them.

Photos courtesy Randy Swift


hen Randy Swift joined Prime, he had the same question many drivers have: how was he going to stay in touch with his family? It was 2018, and Swift was headed out as a flatbed driver and knew he would be away from home for weeks at a time. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Swift who came up with a solution. It was his kids. “My daughter, Kimberli, came out with me first,” he says. It was the week before Thanksgiving, and Swift was loading up his truck and preparing to head to Illinois. “My daughter asked where I was going, and that was it,” he says. “It was very spur of the moment. We ran to Walmart to get her an extra pair of jeans, boots and a jacket, and then she helped me run a load of lumber.” Between watching her dad load and unload the truck, the stops along the route and the chance to see the country, Swift’s daughter was hooked. So was his son, Timothy, who was in his mid-20s at the time. “It wasn’t hard to convince them,” Swift says. “We didn’t get the chance to travel like this before I joined Prime, but now we can cross the country.” With both of his kids old enough to help out while on the road and entertain themselves, Swift’s kids have joined him for weeks at a time. His son

Amy and Randy Swift drive team for Prime. Randy joined first, and Amy followed suit to spend more time with her husband.

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

Photos courtesy Michael Gruntz Jr., Clark Owens, Gregory Weske

Photos courtesy Randy Swift

Michael Gruntz played tourist and decided to stay positive during these rough times. To lift his spirits, he stopped in Utah and checked out its beautiful scenery.

Driver Gregory Weske snapped this photo of a sunset while on the road. “No matter what kind of chaotic situations God throws at us, you can always find Beauty in His Sunrise,” Weske says.

 Prime driver Clark Owens found this special token of appreciation on his truck in his hometown along with a bag with hand sanitizer and wipes.



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