PRIME IS HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SUN IN SALT LAKE CITY.
+MEET THE TWO DRIVERS WHO REPRESENTED PRIME IN THE NATIONAL TRUCK DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS.
We’re hard at work transforming into the next Oasis where we’ll be looking even more fabulous than before. Here’s what you have to look forward to:
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SHOP IN-STORE Springfield, MO Salt Lake City, UT Pittston, PA PRIME COMPANY STORE Use your Prime Reward Points here! SHOP ONLINE www.primeincstore.com GIVE US A CALL 417-521-3814 (MO) 570-602-4793 (PA) 801-977-5903 (UT) 2740 N. MAYFAIR AVE. SPRINGFIELD, MO 65803 417-866-0001 PRIMEINC.COM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Clayton Brown MEDIA & ONBOARDING MANAGER Amy Hess RECRUITMENT MARKETING MANAGER Mitchell Coiner KATIE POLLOCK ESTES Editorial Director ETTIE BERNEKING Editor ANNAH CROW Custom Publication Art Director JAMIE THOMAS Multimedia Editor BRANDON ALMS Photographer LEAH STIEFERMANN Photographer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ren Bishop, Mary Ellen Chiles, Juliana Goodwin, Susan Atteberry Smith, Savannah Waszczuk LOGAN AGUIRRE President/Publisher 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 PRIME WAYS 1
ON THE COVER
DRIVING LIKE A PRO
The Salt Lake City terminal has rows of solar panels to capture energy. 4
BACK ON TRACK
Not everyone can say their life started improving while at a homeless shel ter, but that’s where Kris Pierce got a fresh start.
These two Prime drivers made it to this year’s National Truck Driving Championships. 7
Meet the couple whose truck design honors those fighting breast cancer. Turn to p. 14 to see more. 24
These eight tips will help drivers save money while on the road.
BIGGER AND BETTER
Prime is renovating the Millennium Building in Springfield, and that’s good news for drivers.
LEARNING ON THE GO
Attention drivers, these easy stretches will keep your neck, back and shoulders feeling great all day long.
Prime driver Bria DeRosa homeschools her son while the two are on the road together. 17
Do you know how much fuel was being fraudulently charged to Prime drivers? The numbers are wild, but the solution is easy.
This husband-and-wife team has found an easy way to stay in touch with their friends and family when they’re making deliveries.
PRIME WAYS | MARCH 2017 2 PRIME WAYS
Prime Ways | NOVEMBER 2022
Photos by Ettie Berneking, Amy Hess, courtesy Prime Inc
PRIME FAMILY Chat
These are the numbers and stats from this issue that blew us away and deserve a little extra attention.
That’s nearly how many kids attended the Big Rig Night held in Springfield, Missouri, this summer. The event gave kids a chance to hop in their favorite vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks and semis. Of course, Prime was in attendance to inspire the next generation of drivers and mechanics. Turn to p. 7 to learn more about this family-friendly event.
Each night, Prime’s Night Dispatch team manages 6,100 trucks. This crew is there when drivers need them, so Prime can run 24/7. Turn to p. 8 to learn more about what this team handles each night.
That’s how much food the Pittston team collected during a canned food drive in 2018. The team hosts a few charity drives each holiday season. Turn to p. 9 to learn more about how this team gives back to its community.
The National Truck Driving Championships began in 1937. More than 80 years later, the annual con test is still going strong, and it’s become a heated competition amongst drivers. This year, Prime sent two drivers to nationals. Turn to p. 18 to meet this year’s contestants.
THE LOW down
This issue of Prime Ways is all about our professional drivers. It won’t come as any surprise that our driving associates are one of the most important keys to our success. That’s why a major part of our mission at Prime is to provide all of the services and support necessary for our operators to be successful.
We’re continuing to look for ways to make life easier for our driving as sociates, whether they’re on the road, at one of our terminals or spending well-deserved time at home with their family. Trucking isn’t easy. By pro viding amenities and programs for our drivers that help mitigate challenges of the job, we can foster an easier pathway toward success. And at the end of the day, if our operators are successful, Prime is successful.
To date, we have around 10,000 driving associates and 2,000 non-driv ing associates at Prime. With a team that’s consistently growing, we under stand the need to continually invest in our facilities and our people. This is why we’re renovating our existing terminals like our Millennium Building in Springfield. Turn to p. 28 to learn what we have planned with that ren ovation.
To all of our driving and non-driving associates, thank you for all you do. We wouldn’t be here without you.
Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder
PRIME WAYS 3
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
spotlight A NEW LIFE WITH PRIME
BY JULIANA GOODWIN
Kris Pierce met his future wife, Rebecca, in February 2018 at House of Mercy, a homeless shel ter in Janesville, Wisconsin. She was an Army veteran, and Pierce had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mississippi Valley State University, but they were both homeless.
Pierce was living out of his car with his two children for a period of time, and the week Pierce met Rebecca, he drove his car into a street that was flooded and needed a tow truck. He walked back to the shelter, and she gave him the number of a friend to call who could help with a tow.
They connected first as friends. Rebecca was a great support system. She has always been his cheerleader. A month later, he de cided to join Prime.
Pierce’s dad actually worked for Prime, and spoke highly of the company, so Pierce decided to give it a try. He stayed in touch with Rebecca almost daily while working on his CDL. “We called or texted every day,” Pierce says. “It grew into a relationship. I
believe she is the reason I passed my CDL test because I was ready to quit. She kept me motivated. She told me I could do it. She told me to hang in there, and it worked. Here I am now.”
Where he is now is a long way from that homeless shelter. His life has “drastically changed” since joining Prime.
For starters, he bought his first home and a car. He also bought 3 acres of land he hopes to build on one day. “Money has not been an issue like it used to be,” he says. “I want to leave behind a legacy that I am proud of and my kids will be, too.” Pierce says he’s learned many lessons since leav ing the homeless shelter, and one of those lessons was how to save money.
Once he got his CDL, Pierce says the money was good right off the bat, but he had never learned to save. It wasn’t at all uncommon for him to blow a $4,000 paycheck in no time. “I was still a knuck lehead,” Pierce says. “It took me a year to realize I have to do something with the gift I have been given and not just blow it be
cause I can. My dad helped me and let me know I was doing a lot of things wrong, and I needed to fix it.”
A big reason why Pierce needed to learn how to save money and how to spend it wisely goes back to Pierce’s family. Once he and Rebecca were married in 2022, they suddenly shared six kids.
He supports the family by driving for Prime, and Rebecca stays home and cares for the children. Just like when Pierce was getting his CDL, Rebecca is still there cheering him on. “Before her, I never had dreams,” Pierce says. “When I met her, I was trying to figure out how to get my kids and myself into an apartment and figure out life from there.” Now, Pierce has a sta ble footing, and he wants to help other driv ers who are new to the industry. To do that, he’s become a trainer.
“When I came here, someone took the op portunity to put me in their truck and teach me what I didn’t know,” he says. “I feel like I am in the position now where I have to do the same thing. It is my way of giving back.”
Kris Pierce went from homeless to thriving in a career with Prime. He’s seen the country, provided for his family and exceeded his dreams.
4 PRIME WAYS LIFE | NOVEMBER 2022
Memories From the Road:
“I’ve seen things I had never seen before and realized things I never thought about like how New York City is an island and not just in New York.”
“There is stuff you never think about in this world, and then you get out here and learn to appreciate it.”
“One of the best memories was when I was broken down on the side of the road in Texas at night in the middle of nowhere. It sounds rough, but I had time to look up at the stars. The stars were so big and beautiful. It was an amazing sight.”
“Docking into my first dock by myself without my trainer was a proud moment. I remember just nailing it.”
“I remember one funny story where a moose almost gave me a heart attack. I had to pull over to go to the bathroom, and I looked up and this big moose was at my window. To this day, I think about this moose.”
PRIME WAYS 5
Photos by Fisher Visual
“I had the privilege of presenting an American flag to one of our Gold Star family members whose father was killed in the Vietnam War, and his remains still haven’t made it back to U.S. soil,” Thomas says. “It wasn’t something that had to be done, but we wanted to show her we aren’t just truck drivers. We care about our fallen heroes that served to protect this great country.” —Mike Thomas
CONTINUING TO LEARN
BY PEYSON SHIELDS
independent contractor, refrigerated Division
From 1997 to 2016, Mike Thomas served from coast to coast in the United States Marine Corps where he inspected more than 15,000 pieces of equipment during his years of service. In addition to his time spent stateside, Mike was stationed overseas in Okinawa, Japan. While he was initially nervous to go to Japan, he ended up having a rewarding year spent at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
“That is where I met Lieutenant Colonel James ‘JC’ Rose,” says Mike of his friend who eventually became his PSD and TNT trainer here at Prime. “I was one of his Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCO), and we also served together for Opera tion Iraqi Freedom.”
It was a Facebook post from Rose that encour aged Thomas to apply as a driver at Prime, where Thomas has been able to give back to other service members. He served as part of the team transporting The Wall That Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall that travels all around the country for those individuals that aren’t able to make it to Washington, D.C.
In addition, Thomas has been nominated for the Transition Trucking Award and is a top-12 final ist. “This is a huge accomplishment as it helps me get one step closer to having my own mini fleet of trucks within Prime,” Thomas says.
bill mcHugh in-house cdl instructor
When he was 17, Bill McHugh joined the United States Marine Corps. “I just wanted to serve our country,” he says. From 1977 to 1981, McHugh was active duty serving as a telephone wireman in communications. He was stationed throughout the Carolinas and in Virginia during his years of service where he gained valuable skills that have followed him through his career.
“Serving in the Marine Corps taught me to be on time, respectful and give 150% at any job I do,” McHugh says, who met his wife of 37 years, Susan, a few years after leaving the Marine Corps.
McHugh has been a professional driver since 1989, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he got his CDL license. McHugh decided to work at Prime after passing the Pittston, Pennsylvania, terminal al most daily at his previous job, where he served as a driving instructor.
“I drove over one day to see what it was all about and ended up applying online,” McHugh says. Nearly a year after applying to be an inhouse trainer, he started in November 2021.
From training driving instructors to moving trail ers on the lot, no day is ever the same. “Safe and proper techniques are always my priority and the people here support me to get better at what I love to do,” McHugh says.
Mike Thomas and Bill McHugh started their civilian life with Prime and have found new and rewarding careers after their time in the military.
Photos courtesy Mike Thomas and Bill McHugh
“When I wake up in the morning, I can’t wait to get here. The culture here is amazing. I’ve learned a lot, and the learning never stops.”
6 PRIME WAYS
SCHOOL ON THE GO
When Bria DeRosa escaped an abusive marriage, she headed to a domestic violence shelter in New York. Not long after, her son was diagnosed with autism, and she faced congestive heart failure. Through it all, DeRosa faced it with the motto, “Faith over Fear.” Now, that’s the name of her LLC. She says faith helped her overcome life’s obstacles. Since March, her son Brayden, 5, has been on the road with her, which has given DeRosa a chance to homeschool him while they’re on the truck. This is her story.
AS TOLD BY BRIA D E ROSA TO JULIANA GOODWIN
oogle is how I found Prime, and it was the best decision I ever made. It opened up this huge opportunity. I am a lease/owner operator. I love driving, exploring, traveling and having my son with me to show him the world.
When we are trip planning, I try to make stops, squeeze in getting out of the truck and playing soccer. I’ll bring out the school crafts and stop at picnic tables. Even if it is just 15 minutes, I try to balance everything as a single parent.
Brayden gets to see the world this way, and I think he gets to see more than he would see in the classroom. I point out things that we pass by to help him work on his sentences and colors. He’s talking up a storm, and he has a good memory.
His favorite thing to do is use the GPS app or the Atlas. He likes to find places. He can actually find places we have been to without me even prompting him. I consider autism a different ability. It is a different experience growing up, but he loves it.
I’ve met a lot of other single moms out here. I have seen so many hard-working women in the trucking industry, and it is so awesome to see that. For any woman, I want them to know they can do anything they put their mind to. It feels like such an honor to have the opportunity to have this independence. I had to escape what nearly killed me to set myself free and accomplish all this as a truck driver. I truly feel like I have overcome so much. This is an amazing route to go. I highly recommend it.”
ALL ABOUT THE KIDS
Nearly 1,000 children attended the Big Rig Night in Springfield, Missouri, this past July. Two Prime team members share why community events like these should matter to drivers everywhere.
BY REN BISHOP
As a kid, Sean Fitzgerald was obsessed with Bigfoot Monster Trucks. Now 34, he can still remember playing with the toy trucks and wearing out the VHS tapes of their real-life races. “Playing with trucks, especially big trucks, is an essential part of a lot of kids’ childhoods,” Fitzgerald says. “Big Rig Night was an opportunity for kids to play with those same trucks, just the blown up, real versions.”
On July 12, 2022, Fitzgerald attended Big Rig Night in Springfield, Missouri, with the same truck he uses to train new drivers at the Springfield terminal as a CDL instructor and OTR driver. Hundreds of kids climbed into his driver’s seat, and Fitzgerald had to fill up his air tanks twice that night. Honking the horn was a must in the green Freightliner Cascadia.
“I love seeing kids and the look on their faces when they see and touch the truck,” says Fitzgerald, who volunteered to take part in the event. “That community involvement and repre senting Prime and its core values, it gives me such a sense of pride for this company and this career.”
Prime Inc. was one of dozens of companies that partici pated at the annual community event. Parked across from a school bus, Prime was able to connect with families in the Springfield community. The hope is events like this could inspire the next generation of drivers, says Amy Hess, Prime marketing manager.
“We want to participate in community events and raise awareness of different causes, but everything we do is about drivers,” Hess says. “Giving our drivers a night to connect with the community and make an impact, that’s what it’s all about.”
Photos courtesy Bria DeRosa, by Amy Hess
words from the field
PRIME WAYS 7
THE NIGHT SHIFT
While most people’s day ends at 5 p.m., the Night Dispatch Team at Prime is just getting started.
BY MARY ELLEN CHILES
5 p.m. to 7 a.m., which means Prime drivers always have a dispatcher on hand to help if needed.
When most Prime team members are clocking out for the day, TJ Coates is just getting to work. Coates is the supervisor of the Night Dispatch team. These team members work from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Night dispatchers take over for fleet manag ers, so Prime keeps running 24/7.
“We run a skeleton crew at night, but Prime never shuts down,” Coates says. “We have an average of 23 to 25 night dispatchers that cov er 6,100 trucks a night in the Reefer Division. Even with a smaller team at night, we are able to take care of most issues.”
Here are some of the biggest challenges the night dispatch team runs into:
“We verify the driver has the correct deliv ery address, the correct load, the correct amount of product, the correct trailer num ber and they have the reefer on the correct temperature. Once verified, we show them loaded in our system and are able to moni tor the trailer’s temperature, what stop the driver is headed to next and track if they are running on time.”
Omnis, or ETA Alerts:
“We track omnis, so we can tell which drivers might be late for an appointment. Running omnis allows us to be proactive and figure out a way to deliver the load on time. We
might repower the load with another truck or get the driver to start driving if needed.”
“Drivers deal with mechanical issues on their truck and trailers all the time. We have a night road assist advisor and dispatcher here to help. At night, it can be challenging to find a tow company, an open shop or an other driver available to help with the load, but our team is there.”
“Typically, drivers will have a set appointment time, but delays can happen due to break downs, weather, traffic delays, etc. Whatever the reason, drivers need to communicate with dispatch, so we can let the customer know the reason for delays. Prime is huge on service, so we will look for a repower so we can get the load delivered on schedule.”
“Our job as night dispatchers is to check on the driver, get them a hotel room if needed and work with road assist, sales and other departments to get the accident cleaned up and the load rolling again. Most of the time when a major accident occurs, it takes hours to get a load rolling again either by repower ing the load or transloading.”
The Night Dispatch team works from
Photo by Amy Hess
week in the life
8 PRIME WAYS
close to home
SHARING THE LOVE
Prime is big on giving back, and the team at the Pittston terminal is leading the charge.
BY MARY ELLEN CHILES
Lisa Lukachko juggles three roles for Prime: IT, HR and fun. After work ing in computer programming for more than 20 years, she added HR support to her role in Pittston. She also coordinates activities at the Prime ter minal, which she gets a kick out of doing. “That is a fun part of my job,” she says.
In addition to holiday parties and com pany picnics, Lukachko organizes ways for Prime associates to give back to the Pittston community. One of her favorites is an an nual food drive hosted by WNEP-TV called Feed a Friend. “We collect non-perishable food for the local food banks,” Lukachko says, “and then all of those donations re main in our county where Prime is located: Luzerne County.”
Prime opened its Pittston terminal in December 2007, and in 2009 Lukachko reached out to WNEP-TV and asked if they could place food collection bins at Prime. “We collected 587 pounds of food in 2018,
so that was pretty awesome,” she says. In recent years, the food drive has mainly collected monetary donations for safety reasons, but now that Prime associates are back in the office, Lukachko looks forward to another successful food drive.
She says some associates will shop and donate items, while others will donate mon ey so Lukachko can pick up non-perish ables. “There’s this one guy who’s like, ‘Hey, I don’t go shopping for food, but here’s a couple hundred dollars.’ I thought that was awesome,” she says. “I remember one year I had two shopping carts filled with canned goods. It makes you feel good knowing you’re helping all those people.” With re cent inflation woes, donating is more im portant than ever. “We want to make sure everyone has a great Thanksgiving dinner,” she says.
Lukachko also works with local chari ties to collect toys for kids. In 2009 and 2010, Prime collected toys through Cares
for Kids, which was organized by a local radio station. Then starting in 2011, the Pittston terminal participated in the Angel Tree program sponsored by the Salvation Army. Parents write tags with the gender and age of their children and suggest a few toys their kids would love. Lukachko hangs tags on the company Christmas tree in the operations area, and associates can pick a tag and shop for that child.
“Usually we get between 100 and 150 tags,” Lukachko says. “That’s a lot of chil dren.” This year, Prime is teaming up with the Marines Toys for Tots program, which reached out to Lukachko. “We’re going to help them out as best we can,” she says. “Our team here is already asking about this year’s holiday giving. They see me in the hallway or call me and say, ‘Hey, are we doing that again this year?’ I’ll send a mes sage to the whole Pittston terminal with details. They are more than happy to help in any way.”
PRIME WAYS 9
Photos courtesy Lisa Lukachko
Prime’s team at the Pittston terminal hosts a holiday charity each year. Some years they do a canned food drive, and other years they sponsor children’s holiday wishlists.”
Your next coffee break is about to include some stretching.
BY MARY ELLEN CHILES
This won’t come as a surprise, but low back pain, stiff necks and sore shoulders are a common problem for both drivers and in-house as sociates. That’s because sitting for long periods of time causes your mus cles to tighten, which leads to the all-toocommon soreness. Luckily, the solution to these aches and pains is just as common— stretching.
Seriously. It’s that easy. Just ask Matt Hancock, Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coordinator.
Back in 2019, Hancock helped launch the Functional Freedom stretching program to help drivers and in-house associates loosen up, and he says the program got good feed back. “We got a lot of testimonials about less back pain, less aches and pains throughout the day and more energy,” he says.
Hancock and Matt Judy, Prime’s personal trainer in Salt Lake City, have now revamped the Functional Freedom program and re launched it on DriverHealthandFitness. com. “It’s having tools in the toolbox,”
Hancock says. “This back pain program is one tool in the toolbox. According to the data, drivers are about twice as likely to have back pain, lumbar pelvic issues and pelvic misalignment. That’s why we ad dressed that in this back pain program.”
The program features 30 videos based on five common driving issues. Each issue features six days of exercises to relieve pain. Worried about not being flexible enough to handle the stretches? Don’t be. As Hancock explains, “It’s simple stretching. It focus es on SI joint, sciatic nerve issues, plantar fasciitis, anterior pelvic tilt and exercises to correct bad driving posture.”
Drivers and in-house associates can sign up for free on the site and go through ex ercises at their own pace. “Everything we have is doable inside the truck in a mat ter of 5 to 10 minutes each day,” Hancock says. To get associates started with the movements, Pittston-based Prime person al trainer Maria Godfrey is here to provide some stretches you can easily do anytime you start feeling stiff.
Stand with feet hip width apart. Tilt neck to the right side (ear to shoulder). Gently take your right hand up and over your left ear, and gently stretch ear to shoulder.
NOTE—this is a slight tug! Hold for 20 sec onds. Repeat other side.
Rag Doll Pose (neck and shoulders):
Stand with feet hip width apart.
Bend knees slightly. Bend forward and try to touch toes. Place each hand on the elbow of opposite arm. Head should hang heavy, releasing tension in neck and shoulders. Hold for 20 seconds.
Cow face (shoulders):
Stand feet hip width apart. Reach right arm toward sky. Bend right arm at elbow. Stretch left arm to floor. Bend left arm to reach right hand, trying to reach and clasp fingers or as close as you can. Hold for 3 deep breaths.
Side lying thoracic rotation (lower back):
Lie on your back and bend knees. Reach arms out to a T. Drop knees down to right side and turn head toward the left. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat for opposite side.
10 PRIME WAYS
wellness WELLNESS | NOVEMBER 2022
Photos courtesy Prime Inc.
Photo by Ettie Berneking
4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Toss all ingredients together to fully coat chicken thighs and Brussels sprouts with oil and seasonings. Place in an even layer on a roasting pan or in the basket of an air fryer. Roast at 400°F for 20–24 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 160°F and Brussels sprouts are fork tender. Serve over one cup of jasmine rice.
*Christopher loves to drizzle his bowl with G Hughe’s Yum Yum sauce.
CHICKEN AND BRUSSELS BOWL
This easy, one-dish meal is filling and packed with protein. Plus, you make it on the road.
BY PEYSON SHIELDS
hen it comes to eating on the road, drivers are lean ing into modern applianc es when they’re ready for a break from truck-stop fare.
Christopher Sheppard, an owner operator in Prime’s flatbed division, is one such driv er. Sheppard is focused on healthful and fla vorful foods, and he doesn’t let his time on the road keep him from eating well.
Prior to joining Prime in March 2018, Sheppard went to culinary school and ran restaurants. “It was a very demanding job
and lifestyle, and I honestly enjoyed it,” he says. “The restaurant allowed me to flour ish and experiment with various ideas, while catering taught me to adapt and fig ure things out on the fly.”
While Sheppard eventually tired of the grind of running a restaurant as well as ca tering, he now applies his classic training to simplistic cooking on the road. “Out on the road, I lean on my Galanz 3-in-1 microwave oven,” he says. It’s a microwave, air fryer and convection oven combination cooker. “Being able to roast up some proteins and
vegetables on one sheet pan and serve it with some kind of carb, like rice, is crucial to being able to give me a variety of meals while being simple in its execution,” he says.
The creation of balanced meals is a big part of what helped Sheppard participate and win Prime’s Fit in 15 program. His fa ther, Dave Sheppard, is also a Prime driver and encouraged Sheppard to participate with him. “Winning always feels good, but finishing with my dad and seeing both our results from start to finish was the coolest part,” he says.
W PRIME WAYS 11
CHICKEN AND BRUSSELS BOWL “This dish comes in
under 600 calories with a balanced macro breakdown of
grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat and 26 grams of protein.” —Christopher
TRUCKS & TECH | NOVEMBER 2022 14 PRIME WAYS
DRIVING WITH HOPE
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, this issue of Prime Ways features a special truck designed to spread support and awareness.
BY PEYSON SHIELDS
For Christopher Cook and his wife, Rose, hope is more than a feeling of expectation and de sire for a certain thing to happen. It’s their home away from home that spreads a power ful and personal message.
“I have always been an advocate for breast cancer awareness,” says Cook, an owner operator in Prime’s Refrigerated Division. “My grandmother was diag nosed with breast cancer when I was little. A short time later, she had a bilateral mastectomy, which is the re moval of both breasts and breast tissue.”
Cook’s grandmother lived a full life after her mas tectomy but ultimately lost her battle to lung cancer in 1991. Her journey with cancer inspired his previous truck design, which featured a few ribbons on the cab extenders. When he got his new truck, Cook and Rose quickly started playing with new design ideas that they eventually sent to Dustin Corbin of Stripes & Stuff in Springfield. The design team there made the design
A SHOW OF SUPPORT
The names of charities the Cook’s sup port is woven throughout “HOPE”’s design. Some of those charities in clude: Truckers Against Trafficking, ASPCA, DAV, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Wounded Warrior Project.
PINK AND PROUD
Rose came up with the design of pink flames with purple tips. The purple tips are of personal significance and honor the memory of a close friend they lost to heart disease.
The focus on breast-cancer-aware ness in the design is in memory of Cook’s grandmother, and pays hom age to one of the Cooks’ friends who is now cancer-free.
come to life. Now, the Cook’s newly designed truck is lovingly named “HOPE,” which impacts many people who see it on the road.
“One story that really touched my heart was a woman I met at the Corbin, Kentucky, Walmart. She sat in the parking lot waiting for me to come out,” Cook says. “She loved the truck and said I was doing a great service by supporting breast cancer awareness everywhere I go.”
After an emotional embrace, the woman shared her story about her bilateral mastectomy. Cook says there have been many other stories shared by individuals that have had sisters, mothers and friends who have fought breast cancer. “Everything is based on bringing Breast Cancer Awareness to each and everyone we drive past, or are passed by, from coast to coast, border to border,” Cook says.
“HOPE” will continue to evolve. The truck will be get ting upgrades in the future including underglow and accent lights, more ribbons.
⊳ THE NAME GAME
Silver and Lady Shadow have been the Cooks’ CB handles for more than 28 years. The graphics are a combination of what each of them appreciate and relate to. For Rose that’s Tinkerbell, and for Chris that’s wolves.
how we roll
Photos courtesy Christopher and Rose Cook, and Amy Hess
PRIME WAYS 15
WHERE HAVE ALL THE SEMIS GONE
A nationwide shortage of new semi trucks is slowing supply chains everywhere, but Prime is developing innovative ways to stay ahead.
BY REN BISHOP
n 2020, Prime was short 300 new trucks, and Prime Leasing Manager Drew Martin knew something was go ing wrong.
“For decades, we were able to purchase all the new trucks we needed,” he says. “We were even able to negotiate the price of add ing to our fleet. When we couldn’t get the trucks we needed by the end of that first year, we started buying parts in anticipa tion of this shortage. The industry is chang ing, and we can’t sit around waiting for a new or a better price. We have to adapt.”
In the 30 months since spring 2020, Prime has developed specific, sustainable strategies to combat a nationwide shortage of new trucks. Supply chain issues for new truck parts, compounded by a labor short age in manufacturing, has led to an indus try-crushing blow of fewer new trucks on the road. That’s not good news.
But Prime isn’t slowing down—Martin and his team are just getting more strategic. “We’ve had to run hundreds if not thou sands of trucks longer than before to sup plement our lack of new trucks by extend ing out older trucks,” he says. “The work I’m really proud of is the process we created to identify the right trucks that can stay on the road that fourth or fifth year.”
By using truck data, analyzing main tenance issues, fuel mileage and repair costs, Prime has created an ideal truck
profile for fourth or fifth year operation. After a healthy, veteran truck is identified, Martin’s team of 24 does a full inspection of high-performing trucks to ensure they can stay on the road. Then, they place them in the company or lease fleet to ensure these trucks meet the growth of the fleet.
For new trucks, Martin’s team has gotten scrappy. Prime sales team members comb the Internet, purchasing newer trucks from independent operators who are leaving the industry. Plus, Martin is cultivating rela tionships with equipment manufacturers and providing a long-term play for manu facturers to choose Prime as the buyer for their new trucks.
“We’ve bought 2,500 new trucks a year for years, and we’ll keep buying thousands of trucks a year for our fleet,” Martin says. “That’s attractive to manufacturers, who are looking for lucrative relationships to grow their market share. We’re looking for top-quality trucks, wherever we can find them, and we make that known.”
It’ll take years for Prime to fully catch up on the number of new trucks needed to replenish its fleet, but Martin will continue to find new trucks for Prime drivers, who deserve the best, he says.
“The truck shortage isn’t a Prime prob lem, it’s an industry problem, and it’s not a short-term problem. It’s our new reality, but we’re going to keep moving forward.”
new on the app
The Prime mobile app is about to get some new features.
BY BRIANNE MADURA
Great things have been happening in the Prime Mobile App thanks to the company’s Driver Advisory Board and driver suggestions.
Ever since the mobile app first appeared, drivers have sent in sug gestions of new features they’d like to see, and many of those have ap peared on the app. Now, a whole slew of changes and additions are being worked on.
For starters, Prime recently added two new features to the Hours-ofService page. This is where drivers can view Log Violation Points and Critical Events. Log Violation Points are accumulated based on violations in a six-month rolling period and de tails for each violation are provided. Critical events are displayed for the past 180 days with type and approxi mate location. Each critical event is re viewed, so events less than 24 hours old might still be subject to change.
Then in October, Prime released a new version of Prime Mobile and started testing some in-app naviga tion. Prime has a lot of new features it’s working on, and in order to stay up with all the new phones/devic es released, it recommends running the newest release of Prime Mobile. Make sure you check your app store for updates.
If you have suggestions for things you think would be helpful to see in Prime Mobile/MyPrime, please share them at email@example.com.
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courtesy Prime Inc.
FUEL PROXIMITY PROGRAM
New technology protects drivers at the pump.
BY JULIANA GOODWIN
With the dramatic rise in fuel prices over the past year, fuel fraud has become an increasing problem, says Sam Messick, Fuel Manager at Prime. “Across the industry, fuel fraud has in creased exponentially. We are trying to find ways to make ourselves more bulletproof to fraud.” Historically, Prime has had great controls to prevent fraud, but Messick says the fraudsters are getting very creative, and they’ve found ways to outsmart almost ev ery protection Prime has set up... until now.
To better understand why Prime is so concerned with fraudulent fuel charges, consider some numbers. Prime was aver aging a fraud hit every three weeks with thieves getting away with $5,000–10,000 worth of fuel. Those charges were quickly adding up.
So, in July, Prime rolled out the Fuel Proximity Program. This program was
designed by Prime’s fuel card provider, Comdata. This program is intended to stop fraud at the pump even before any fuel has been dispensed.
Here is how it works: The Fuel Proximity Program uses the current location of the truck as reported by the vehicle’s telemat ics system to verify that the fuel purchase attempt is occurring at the same geograph ic location as where the truck and driver are actually located.
“If we see your card was swiped for a fuel transaction in Miami, Florida, and the truck is in Springfield, Missouri, we will decline the transaction at the pump before any fuel has been fraudulently dispensed,” Messick says.
Already, Messick says he can tell the new program is working great so far. Because Prime is using the Fuel Proximity Program to mitigate fraud, Comdata guarantees
that no fuel fraud will occur on any Prime fuel cards. “If there is fuel fraud, Comdata will reimburse you for the fraud because they are that confident that it will not oc cur,” Messick says. He estimates the Fuel Proximity Program will save Prime drivers collectively more than $100,000 a year.
Even better, Prime drivers should not ex perience any interruptions due to the new Proximity Program. The fuel purchasing process at truck stops is the same as it has always been. The program works behind the scenes on every fueling transaction to ensure that every gallon purchased on a Prime fuel card goes into a Prime truck.
“The new program causes no change in day-to-day operations,” Messick says. “It is just an additional control that provides Prime drivers with a 100% guarantee of no fuel fraud.” Now you can fuel up, ditch the worry and hit the road.
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BY ETTIE BERNEKING
T a kingthe Wh e e l
If you drive for Prime, you’re already a skilled driver, but imagine competing with 400+ other drivers to see who truly is the best.
That’s what drivers from around the country do each year at the National Truck Driving & Step Van Driving Championships. The contest, which celebrated its 85th anniversary this year, started in 1937. Back then, the contest was better known as the National Truck Rodeo, and drivers who won their State Trucking Association’s Truck Driving Championships gathered to see who would be the true winner.
Today’s competition mirrors the original. Drivers must be accident-free for at least one year prior to competing, and driv ers undergo a written examination, a pre-trip inspection and a skills test during the competition. The goal of the event is to test a driver’s safety protocol and knowledge of the road (and the industry) and see just how impressive their driving skills really are. With a heightened focus on safety, the annual gathering has been dubbed the “Super Bowl of Safety.”
Drivers compete within their division including flatbed, tank er, sleeper, twin trailers, auto transport… you name it. As one driver heads to the arena for the skills test, fellow drivers are barred from watching. Drivers don’t even get to use their own trucks. To keep the playing field as even as possible, drivers must use trucks that have been donated to the event. There’s no home field advantage here. “It’s very competitive, but everyone is really friendly,” says Scott Fischer.
Fischer and Duane Grimme were the only two Prime driv ers to make it to nationals this year. The event was held in Indianapolis in August, so Fischer and Grimme headed east to test their skills.
Meet the two Prime drivers who took the Prime name to nationals this year.
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Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
Prime trains all of its drivers on how to safely maneuver their trucks, but those skills are really put to the test at the state and national driving tournaments.
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Scott Fischer ⊲⊲
This is Fischer’s third time competing at nationals. The first time he showed off his skills, he says he only did it because his students pushed him to compete. “I had some students who commented on how I could back my truck in or fit it into a tight space,” he says. “When we learned that Prime held its own ro deo, my students suggested I compete.”
Even on that first go, Fischer says he did really well. His per formance at the company rodeo qualified him to compete at state. “There are probably 300 or 400 drivers who compete at the state competition,” Fischer says. In order to continue on to nationals, you have to get first place in your division, which for Fischer is flatbed. He’s done that three times now, and to celebrate the trip this year, Fischer took his daughter with him to nationals.
His whole family actually joined him in Indianapolis at the event, but he and his daughter took the scenic route. “She was on the truck with me for about a month,” Fischer says laughing. “She’s one of my quiet riders.” When Fischer was at the wheel, his daughter plugged in her headphones and enjoyed audio books until they reached their next destination. For this fa ther-daughter duo, their list of stops included the Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly known as Sears Tower), Niagara Falls and Kings Island in Ohio. “She asked me if it’s always like this on the truck,” Fischer says. “I wish!”
Once at nationals, Fischer competed with 48 other flat bed drivers and came in 15th. During his pre-trip inspection, Fischer only made one mistake… “I missed that there wasn’t a license plate on the trailer. I looked right at it, but I thought it was a brand new trailer, so they just hadn’t put one on yet.” If it hadn’t been for that missing license plate, Fischer would have gotten 100% on his pre-trip. “It was heartbreaking,” he says.
As for the rest of his skills test, this is where Fischer says he usually racks up the most points. He shines most during the tests where drivers have to back their rigs up to see how close they can get to an object. “I’ve been backing up since I was 5 years old,” he says. “We had a little garden tractor with a trailer attached. It was my job to pick up the pears that fell from the trees.” Once his wagon was full, Fischer would feed the bruised pears to the family’s cows. If you haven’t seen a cow get drunk off of rotting pears, just ask Fischer about it.
When he was a little older, Fischer’s dad tasked him with mowing the property. To speed up the work, his dad hooked the family’s old push mower up to a 3-wheel scooter. “I’d tow the mower behind the scooter, and it was like a riding lawn mower,” Fischer says. “We had neighbors drive by all the time who must have wondered what we were doing, but that’s how I learned off-tracking.” If Fischer didn’t hit the corners just right, his mower would leave an untouched strip of grass behind.
These early experiences driving, backing up and pulling a tractor are what Fischer credits for his current driving skills— especially his ability to back his trailer in. At the Prime rodeo, people are there cheering drivers like Fischer on, and he says the energy is a ton of fun. At nationals, that excitement and comradery is still there. “Everyone is rooting for one another,” he says, “but at the same time, you still want to win.”
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Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
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Contestants who participate in Prime’s annual driving contest, can qualify for the state contest.
For Grimme (pictured third from the right), heading to nationals feels like an annual retreat. He’s competed in nation als five times—more than any other Prime driver—and he has headed to Missouri’s state competition 18 times. In 2004, he placed second in the state sleeper birth class. Then in 2006, he won second place in tanker. He’s even been named Missouri’s overall grand champion. He even met his wife, Darla, at his first Missouri State TDC in 2002, so his connection to this annual competition runs deep.
This year, Grimme returned to tank er where he secured his first-place slot at state. Prime had four drivers compete at the state championship this year including: Fischer who placed first in flatbed, Michael Tatum who took second in tanker and Joseph Wells who won rookie of the year and who placed second in the 4-axel class.
Returning to nationals this year was a welcome trip for Grimme. “It’s a very friendly group,” he says. “There are so
many good drivers there. I’m usually ner vous, but this year, I just said I was going to go and whatever happens, happen.” His goal was to place within the top 20 drivers in his division. When the final scores were tallied, Grimme placed 21st. Even though he didn’t hit his goal, this was the best score Grimme has gotten at nationals.
For this seasoned vet, every day on the road is practice. Because Grimme drives overnight, he usually has the road to him self, so he can have a little more freedom to practice his skills. “At night, I’ll keep my tires as close to the zipper line as I can,” he says. “Then I’ll switch to the outside line. At docks, I’ll back up and stop before I bump the doc just like I would in the competition. I’ll run back there and see if I was within 18 inches of it. I’m always practicing; every thing you do out here is practice.”
Grimme loves the contests so much, he has helped set up Prime’s practice course every year. Drivers have three days to use the course before state and nationals, and practice the same drills and skills they’ll be tested on during the competition.
“They test you on all kinds of stuff,”
Grimme says. “And at nationals, they have folks from the DOT out on the course loos ing u-joints that hold your axle in place, or they’ll take out cotter pins in your mud flaps. They’ll even put a gun in your cab to see if you spot it.”
As much as he loves TDC events, Grimme didn’t know about the state or national TDC until year seven behind the wheel. “I didn’t know anything about it until I came to a Prime picnic one year,” he says. “They had a driving competition at the picnic, and I finished seventh.” That meant Grimme qualified for state for the very first time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Darla has joined Grimme at every state and national championship he’s partici pated in. She’s a driver herself, with more than 2 million safe miles under her belt. The two met after a mutual friend, who used to drive for Prime, introduced them. Now Darla is more than used to watching Grimme practice and read up on the latest rules and regulations. Come January, you can be sure Grimme will have the latest DOT rules in hand, and he’ll be studying.
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Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
Drivers at the state contest can’t drive their own vehicles.
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Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
While any driver is likely quick to welcome advice on improving their fuel mileage, it can be hard to know where to go for the best information. We talked to Stan Auman—an Operations Manager in the Reefer Division and 26-year veteran of Prime—to gather some time-tested tips and tricks
BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK
1. Get up to Speed (and Slow Down!) Gradually
Ready… Set… Green light! When you see that red fade and your brain triggers your foot to hit the gas, it’s often tempting to put some power on the pedal and quick ly get back up to your cruising speed— especially when you have nothing but hundreds of miles of open road ahead. But this is a big no no when it comes to fuel savings. “It’s all a part of maintain ing good and efficient driving habits,” Auman says. He suggests taking a nice and easy approach as you get back up to your cruising speed—and doing the same when it’s time to slow down. “Don’t just hit the brakes,” Auman says. “It’s im portant to pay attention and have time to gradually come to a stop.”
2. Watch Your Speed
Most drivers are well aware of the fact that the faster you go, the more fuel you use. “Let’s say you average 60 miles per hour on a trip. Well, you’re going to use less fuel than if you averaged 65,” Auman says. While Prime’s trucks are governed for speed—independent contractors are capped at 65 mph, and company drivers are capped at 62 mph—Auman says the drivers with the very best fuel efficien cy travel slower. “I talk to independent contractors every day, and they’ll tell me, ‘I never drive over 58 miles per hour,’” Auman says. “Those are the drivers thinking through their routes and paying attention. They’re dedicated to saving fuel and making extra money.”
Set the Cruise Control
While managing your speed helps with fuel mileage, it’s sometimes easy to lose track of how fast you’re traveling. To help keep yourself in check as the miles con tinue to climb, set the cruise control. It’s that easy. “It’s no different than me driv ing my own car,” Auman says. “Setting the cruise is an easy way to keep that speed in check.” If you aren’t used to set ting the cruise, make a conscious effort to set it on your next five trips. Chances are, once you build it into your driving routine, it will soon become your norm. That simple step can save drivers a good chunk of money, and managing their speed becomes one less item they have to worry about while on the road.
on maximizing your fuel economy.
Photos courtesy Prime Inc.
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
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Prime’s EcoShred program takes used truck tires and turns them into mulch. It’s one way Prime is reducing it’s impact on the environment.
4. Take Tire Pressure Seriously
Although tire pressure may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hope to save pennies at the pump, it does play a factor. “Drivers need to keep a good eye on their tire pressure,” Auman says. “It can impact their fuel mileage for sure.” It all comes down to physics, as tire pressure has an effect on both rolling resistance and air resistance. The good news for Prime drivers is that tire pres sure should be easy to keep in check. “We have tire pressure monitoring systems on our trucks and trailers,” Auman says. Several of the larger Prime terminals even have Drive Over Readers that check for any inefficiencies in a tire as drivers enter the terminal. And as far as fuel sav ings are concerned, it’s important to pay close attention to that system. “When that light comes on, they need to pull over as soon as possible and get that tire pressure in check,” Auman says. All truck and trailer tires list their load ratings as well as appropriate pounds of pressure. “Our shops set tires to their recommen dations,” Auman says. “Drivers should follow the same protocols when they’re on the road.”
Follow Your Suggested Fuel Routing
If you’re a company driver, you’ll au tomatically be routed to follow the Suggested Fuel Routing for your load. If you’re one of Prime’s thousands of inde pendent contractors, though, you have to request the Suggested Fuel Routing on your Qualcomm. According to Stan Auman, this is definitely a must if you’re interested in getting the best mpgs pos sible. “Drivers can request the Suggested Fuel Routing with Macro 27 on their Qualcomm,” Auman says. “It takes ev erything into account—their delivery schedule, highway use taxes, pricing, the weight of their load—it basically does thousands of calculations in parts of a second, all to tell drivers the most fuel-ef ficient route.” Auman says the Suggested Fuel Routing sometimes takes drivers off their main route to get fuel, but have no fear. It only does this when it is the most efficient option, and you will still arrive on schedule.
Photo by Ettie Berneking
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Prime recycles the water that gets used in its truck washes.
Solar panels aren’t just making an appearance on trucks. They’re also showing up at larger Prime terminals as a way to generate energy.
Photo by Ettie Berneking
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6.Utilize Solar Panels
As your truck is barreling down the high way, it has plenty of work to do—why not take a bit of the load off the engine and draw less fuel? Enter solar panels on trucks and trailers. “We started adding solar panels to our trucks and trailers to help keep batteries charged and to keep refrigerators cool,” Auman says. “We’re out of the test phase, and we’re now adding panels to the entire fleet.” These panels also work when the truck isn’t in motion. “With all the technology we have on trucks these days, there’s a natural drain on batteries,” Auman says. “When our drivers are home, even when they’re not using an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) or anything and that truck is just sitting in their driveway—that technology is still draining their battery a little bit at a time. This means drivers have to go out and start their trucks every day.” But not
as much when solar panels are utilized. “Adding more solar panels helps keep those batteries charged,” Auman says. “With solar panels, those drivers don’t have to go out and start their trucks again and again, which saves them fuel.”
7. Keep Up on Auxiliary Power Units (APUs)
We’re all familiar with APUs—auxilia ry power units that prevent trucks from idling on a 10-hour break or even wast ing fuel while sitting for an unknown time at a customer lot. “Drivers can shut their big motors off and run their APU to save fuel, because APUs use quite a bit less fuel per hour idling than the en gine does,” Auman says. And while most of the APUs on Prime trucks currently run on fuel, the company is currently testing a small number of battery-pow ered APUs from major manufacturers to see if they can save drivers even more
fuel in the future. “We’ve tried some battery-powered APUs in the past that didn’t work,” Auman says. “But it’s an emerging technology, like everything else. We’ll hopefully be able to switch to all battery-operated APUs in the future.”
8. Watch Your Out-of-Route Miles
While all authorized miles are covered with fuel surcharges, drivers are respon sible for paying 100% of the fuel for their out-of-route miles. Not sure what that means? “Let’s say a driver has a favor ite place to eat that’s 30 miles off their scheduled route,” Auman says. “Well, they’re running 30 miles over and 30 miles back, so they’ve added 60 miles off their route where they have to pay 100% of their fuel. That just made their favor ite restaurant a really expensive place to eat.” To keep fuel costs low, stay near your route.
An Earth-Friendly Approach
While helping drivers save on fuel is important, it’s only one part of the equation—check out the additional ways Prime Inc. is reducing its environmental impact.
Calling all eco-friendly associates: did you know that the parking area in Salt Lake City is equipped with eight elec tric car charging stations? On average, a typical electric car (with a 60kWh battery) takes just under eight hours to charge from empty to full. “These stations can really help those associates who work in that office day-to-day,” Auman says. “They can drive in, charge during the day and then have enough power to drive back home.”
Salt Lake Goes Solar
Brian Singleton, Terminal/Operations Manager in the Salt Lake City office, says there are two on-site locations in Salt Lake City that feature hundreds of solar panels. “We put in the bigger group of 296 panels in 2017, then the additional group in 2020,” Singleton says. These yards of solar panels are used to offset energy costs that run the terminal.
An Automatic Switch
“We started purchasing trucks with automatic transmissions in 2016,” Auman says. “By 2020, our entire fleet was almost entirely automatic transmissions. Our drivers have seen a fuel mileage improvement as high as 2 miles per gallon, and under the current conditions, we are averaging over 400 drivers weekly who achieve more than 10 miles per gallon.”
Betting on Battery Power
Prime Inc. is currently testing a small number of battery-powered APUs from major manufacturers. The goal? Finding the best battery-powered systems to add to trucks and trailers. More battery power equals less fuel use!
Wash and Reuse
Did you know that Prime recycles the water used at all of its truck wash bays? It takes 100 gallons of water to wash a truck, and all of that water gets recycled.
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Bigger & Better
As Prime grows, so does its driver amenities. To meet the demand of drivers who pass through the Springfield terminal, Prime is investing millions of dollars in new showers and new bunk rooms.
BY ETTIE BERNEKING
It’s been 20 years since Prime built its 40,000 square-foot Millennium building at the Springfield headquarters. Back then, the expansion was all about bringing new amenities to Prime’s drivers and in-house team members. The addi tional space meant Prime could add a bigger and better fitness center; it added a full-size basketball court, inhouse sleep lab, doctor’s office, spa and 10 bunk rooms and 10 showers.
It was a huge investment for Prime, and most of the new amenities were a result of driver feedback. Drivers who passed through the Springfield terminal made requests for ame nities that would make their lives easier and a little comfier while in town. Naturally, Prime added those requests to its list of improvements.
Two of the most asked-for ameni ties were more bunk rooms and larg er showers. To get an idea of just how
popular those two features are con sider this: According to Mark Piley, Director of Facility Maintenance, more than 1,100 showers happen each week at the Springfield ter minal. “That’s about 155 showers a day,” Piley says. The 10 bunk rooms are just as popular. In fact, Piley says both the showers and bunk rooms are used well-beyond their capacity. There’s a waiting list for bunk rooms. That’s why Prime is renovating.
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
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Renovations to the Millennium Building began this past summer, and the big investment is happening with bunk rooms and showers. To meet demand, Prime is adding seven new showers and eight bunk rooms. It’s also adding an in-house laundry room where Prime can wash all the towels and linens drivers use when they swing through Springfield.
Once that’s done, Prime will move to phase two of the renovations and
remodel the existing showers and bunkrooms. “We’re going to bring them up to new standards,” Piley says. That means better TVs, gaming station hookups and more charging stations in each room. All in all, Piley estimates Prime is investing $3.8 million in the project, and its tar get completion date is scheduled for June 2023.
Just like back in 2000, Prime sought out driver feedback when
planning the new bunk rooms and showers. “We talked with drivers and learned what they wanted to see,” Piley says, “and they wanted bigger showers with room for a bench in the shower to set their shower caddies.” Not surprisingly, all those wishes were met when Piley and the team put together plans for the renovation. Now, all drivers have to do is wait for the grand opening.
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That’s how much Prime has budgeted for its renovations to the Millennium Building.
17 Bunk Rooms
Once construction is done, Prime’s Springfield terminal will include 17 bunkrooms and 17 showers.
Prime keeps track of how many showers happen at the Springfield terminal, and according to the records, more than 1,000 showers happen there each week.
Piley says the Springfield bunks are booked 115% of the time, meaning there’s a waiting list for drivers. Since the rooms are first-come-first-served, drivers can’t reserve a room. Once they arrive in Springfield, they can see what’s available and hop on the waiting list. Rooms are booked for the night and during the day, so they could be used twice in one day.
It’s been 22 years since Prime built the Millennium Building, which added 40,000 square feet of space to the Springfield terminal.
If everything goes according to plan, Prime will finish renovations next June.
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Prime included a full-size basketball court when it built the Millennium Building in 2000.
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Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
MAKING MEMORIES ON THE ROAD
This driving duo has found a creative way to make sure they spend time with family between loads.
BY REN BISHOP
With co-driver and wife, Jamie, next to him and new puppy, Tucker, in the back, Buddy Gray takes his family wherever he goes, but it’s his truck that might be the most ob vious sign that he’s a family man.
“The cancer theme on my truck is very personal for me and my wife,” Gray says. “We want to put the awareness out there that anything is possible with cancer, and you can beat it.”
Gray’s wife, Jamie, is living proof. She beat cervical cancer in its early stages. Her father, Keith Youler, battled stage one pros tate cancer and chemotherapy, and Buddy’s mother Georgette Gray fought stage four breast cancer at the age of 70. They all sur vived cancer, but Georgette was the first to be diagnosed, and she was the inspiration for Gray’s first cancer-themed truck.
His niece, Heaven, was the inspiration for the latest cancer Prime truck and its theme: penguins. “Heaven always wanted
a penguin on the truck, so we have pen guins with cowboy boots on, and each of their cowboy boots has the color of a differ ent cancer ribbon,” he says. “We’re giving cancer the boot. It may be different, but the penguins in cowboy hats start a conversa tion about cancer, to bring awareness. It’s a way to honor them wherever I go.”
For 17 years, Gray has been an overthe-road driver. For more than 14 years, he’s driven with his wife. They each have achieved their million miles with Prime, and now the couple is on the way to reach ing two million miles.
While on the road, they always make time to connect with their families in Pennsylvania. Daily phone calls to Jamie’s mother and sister, photos of family gath erings and videos of their nieces’ activities. Keeping an open line of communication is key to staying connected on the road, he says. “We check in all the time to stay connected. My youngest niece, Mavis, is
playing tackle football, so we ask for videos and photos of her games to stay connected with her. Another niece is in the marching band, and we’ll visit a competition if we can. We try to spend as much time staying con nected so that when we are there, we spend quality time together.”
After picking up his next load, he’s tak ing a day off to attend a family reunion in Aurora, Illinois. He and Jamie worked a schedule of loads, coordinated by Prime dispatcher Ty, to ensure they were in the right part of the country to attend with lim ited down time.
“That’s one of the pluses driving for Prime,” Gray says. “When my wife’s sis ter lived in Utah, if we were out there and wanted to take a half day to visit, we’d talk to our dispatcher and they’d make it work for us to have home time, even not at home. Prime is our second family, but they also help us make time with our family a priori ty. It’s a blessing.”
▲ Jamie and Buddy Gray drive as a team, and the couple added a new puppy to their on-the-road family.
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Photo courtesy Buddy Gray
View From the road
What awe-inspiring landscapes have you seen from behind the wheel? Submit a highresolution photo (usually 500 KB or higher) of your truck to firstname.lastname@example.org Include your name and caption information about where and when the photo was taken.
▲ Father and Son
John Skipper snapped this photo while his son was with him on the truck. The two were in Gardner, Kansas, so Skipper stopped to document the trip. “My son loves spending time on the truck with me and seeing the states,” he says.
▲ Picture Time
Driver Gregory Weske made a delivery to the Bass Pro Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee, and he couldn’t help but stop to get a photo of the unusual building.
▲ Captain Awesome
This truck design was inspired by Jerry Clayton’s grandson. “We are the captain of our own ships,” Clayton says. “The design was done for my grandson. He loves Captain America.”
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Photos courtesy Prime Inc.
Driver Referral Program $100 Earn $100 when referred driver hauls ﬁrst load. $500 Earn $500 when referred driver stays 30 days. $1,000 Earn $1000 when 3 referred drivers stay 6 months. 1/4cpm Earn ¼ cpm on every mile referred driver runs after 6 months. $500 Earn $500 when referred driver stays 6 months. Refer 3 drivers who stay at least 6 months at Prime, and you would earn $4300, not including the additional mileage pay! Earnings Example:
Program Rules: The person that is referred must run under Prime’s operating authority (A, B, C, or D
All active Prime Driver Associates under Prime’s operating authority (A, B, and C Seats) are eligible to receive
Inc Driver Referral Program pay.
To earn bonus at 6 months longevity pay and
pay, referred driver must be an A Seat. No driver referral
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.)