VOLUME 6 ISSUE 4
MEET GATES AND LANORA SAMANIEGO WHO STARTED MOTOMELIFE AND WHO ARE BUILDING A FLEET OF DRIVERS DEDICATED TO HEALTHY LIVING ON THE ROAD.
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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PRIME COMPANY STORE SHOP IN-STORE
KATIE POLLOCK ESTES Editorial Director ETTIE BERNEKING Editor PAIJE LUTH Creative Director COLIN DENNISTON Engagement Editor JAMIE THOMAS Multimedia Editor SARAH PATTON Art Director BRANDON ALMS Senior Photographer & Designer LEAH STEIFFERMAN Staﬀ Photographer
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sonia Guzman, Susan Atteberry Smith, Rae Swan Snobl, Vivian Wheeler
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! 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
ON THE COVER Gates and Lanora Samaniego launched MotoMeLife to help drivers stay fit on the road.
Prime Ways PRIME WAYS| |December MARCH 2021 2017
One Prime associate is teaching a new generation of young girls to love mountain biking out in Salt Lake City.
18 THE PROS OF LEASING If you’ve ever wondered about why you should become a lease driver, these two Prime vets have words of wisdom.
A MOTHER’S LOVE
When Ty Larsen needed support, her Prime family was there to help.
These two women drivers are showing how to live the good life on the road through fitness, wellness and community.
7 BIRD STORIES
26 FAMILY ROAD TRIP With Prime, it’s easy to bring your family on the road with you. Meet a few drivers who have made this a regular part of their life on the road.
Kristin Linch doesn’t have your typical pets. She has birds—two to be exact. And these two chatty Cathy’s ride shotgun with Kristin.
32 LOVE NOTES
16 WINTER TIPS With winter weather on its way, Cody Atteberry is here to share tips on how to prepare for snow and stay safe on the road.
When driver Beau McCarter hit the road, his step-daughter gave him a teddy bear to remind him of his family back home. Now Beau takes photos of Beary all over the country and shares the photos with his family.
Photos courtesy Kristen Linch, MotoMeLife, Beau McCarter and Brittany Sicard
Chat These are the numbers and stats that really impressed us from this issue. These are just teasers of what’s inside these pages, so keep reading to see which page to turn to in order to learn more about what the Prime team is up to these days.
That’s how loud one of the birds is on driver Kristen Linch’s truck. Kristen actually has two birds on board. The birds join Kristen and her husband when they drive, and she says the birds are great company even if they’re a bit messy and really chatty. Turn to p. 7 to learn more about how Kirsten found her beloved birds and how she manages to cohabitate with them while on the road.
Prime is investing in future leaders of its shops, which is why it’s offering free leadership development certification courses through Bethel University. Turn to p. 7 to learn who qualifies for the free program and how to apply to the next round of classes.
That’s how many plants driver JC Rose planted in his own garden when COVID hit last year. His plan was to sell the produce at his local market, but when he saw friends and neighbors struggling to afford groceries during the pandemic, he decided to give away his harvest. Turn to p. 9 to learn more about JC’s story.
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
5 NEW WATER FEATURES
The Oasis Hotel in Springfield, Missouri, is getting a major renovation, and that’s good news for Prime team members. Not only can drivers use the hotel’s fitness center and pool, but they can unwind in the new grotto and play on the splash pad. Turn to p. 30 to learn about what drivers and in-house team members can find once the remodel is finished.
s professional drivers, you have just begun to receive the respect you deserve across the country. Unfortunately, it often takes a catastrophic or life-altering event (like a worldwide pandemic) to create a newfound appreciation for things often taken for granted. I am proud to say that is not the case at Prime. We have continuously dedicated time and resources to build and maintain a safe, productive and proﬁtable lifestyle for drivers. Our company is built on respect and treating others the way you want to be treated–a policy that applies to each of our 8,800+ drivers and 1,750+ inhouse associates. Life on the road can only be understood by those who have experienced it. So, over our 50+ years in business, we have listened to and acted on the feedback received from our drivers. Through this communication, we have created numerous programs dedicated to the betterment of life on the road. Programs such as the Prime Passenger Program, Driver Health & Fitness, Highway Diamonds, Prime Good Dads and the Prime Training Program have all been designed with your needs in mind. As a company, we’re not perfect, but in this issue of Prime Ways, you’ll meet members of the Prime family who help us get closer every day. On page 26, you’ll hear from drivers who use our Passenger Program to bring pieces of home with them on the road. We hope you’ll utilize our programs, too!
Robert Low Prime Inc., CEO & Founder PRIME WAYS
LIFE | DECEMBER 2021
Ty Larsen works for Prime’s Small Business Unit, but she also has a Facebook and Instagram page dedicated to sharing her fitness journey.
Affair When Ty Larsen needed assistance, her Prime family was there to help. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL
any of Prime’s team members say the company is like their family. For Ty Larsen, it truly is. Her father, Steve, has worked for Prime for more than 30 years. “We grew up going to Prime picnics, and my dad played on the company softball team,” Ty says. “Everyone at Prime helped raise me.” Ty started working for Perryman and Associates, Prime’s accounting ﬁrm, while she was still in high school. After a brief break to attend college, she came back and continued to work for Perryman until she learned of a job opening at Prime in payroll. “We worked a lot with the drivers so I knew what was required,” Ty says. “It was a smooth transition to the payroll side.” Eleven years later, Ty still works in the Small Business Unit (SBU) at Prime where she processes payroll for lease operators and company drivers. Her brother, Travis, also started working for Prime three years ago as an intermodal dispatcher. “My dad always instilled hard work in me and my brother,” Ty says. “He would work long hours to make a better life for us, and my brother and I do the same.”
Photos by Leah Stiefermann
Ty Larsen has worked for Prime for 11 years, but her dad and brother also work at Prime. In fact, her dad, Steve, has worked for Prime for more than 30 years.
Over the past few years, Ty has had to rely for four months. When she needed support on her Prime family more than usual. “Last the most, they were there. “They would visyear, before COVID hit, I went through a di- it and bring me food,” Ty says. “Prime has vorce, and my 4-year-old daughter, Amaya, always been so accommodating and helped was diagnosed with autism,” she says. “It me through some really tough times.” was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone The exercise amenities at Prime have through, but Prime has been so wonderful also played a crucial role in Ty’s life. “I went and supportive.” through a really dark period in 2020 with When Amaya was 18 months old, she my divorce and Amaya’s diagnosis,” Ty says. became non-verbal and still is today. Ty “I was unhealthy and overweight. Having a was able to get an evaluation appoint- child with special needs is tough. You want ment at the Thompson Center in Columbia, to do what’s best for your kid, but there’s no Missouri, where she learned of Amaya’s manual. I had to make a change to be better autism. From there, she has been able for myself and my daughter.” to connect with local programs includTy started eating better and working out. ing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) at She took advantage of the free gym and Burrell Behavioral Health, music therapy walking trails at Prime to exercise and lost at Drury University, and the Willard special 35 pounds. “I decided to use my Instagram education preschool for speech and occupa- and Facebook pages to promote health and tional therapy. If she can’t get oﬀ work to let others know if I can do it, they can,” she run Amaya to a doctor’s appointment, Ty’s says. “I’ve received such a positive response mom steps in to help. “I’m really lucky to from my co-workers. They tell me I’ve been have my mom,” Ty says. an inspiration for them to get ﬁt as well.” Ty After 10 years on the job, Prime associ- has motivated many employees and drivers ates earn four weeks of paid vacation a year, at Prime to make small changes for their which has been a lifesaver for Ty. “Shaun health. “The drivers say I’ve made them Ryker, my supervisor, has been very amaz- change their whole eating routine on the ing and understanding of my situation,” Ty road,” she says. says. “If I need to take a break to take Amaya Ty says she is glad she can give someto an appointment, he understands, and my thing back to the company that has always whole department is always there to help been there for her. “I’m very thankful to be me out.” Ty says her co-workers were also working at Prime,” she says. “My main obthere for her during a miscarriage before jective is to work hard and give my daughAmaya was born and during Ty’s pregnancy ter a better life. Without Prime, I wouldn’t with Amaya when she was put on bed rest be able to do that.”
5 TIPS FROM TY On Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes
1 2 3 4 5
Prep your meals. Meal prep makes it easy to know what you’re eating and keeps you from grabbing something unhealthy at the last minute.
Make use of the workout facilities at Prime. The gym and walking trails are free. I take breaks during lunch to use the elliptical, treadmill or run on the trails.
Drivers can get a mini-fridge in their truck and shop at the grocery store, swapping things like bell peppers for chips.
When you make a stop, take a walk or do a 5-minute exercise routine to get your body moving.
Drink lots of water!
A simple salute In each issue of Prime Ways, we feature two U.S. veterans who have joined Prime’s team. In this issue, we salute Cree Daniels and Kenneth Lewie. Thank you for your service, and welcome to the team. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH
“It instilled in me some really great morals and characteristics. The Navy pretty much raised me to be the woman I am today.” —Cree Daniels
Military History: Cree Daniels joined the U.S. Navy at age 20 and was a master of arms when she left eight years later. Stationed aboard overhauled ships like the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS George Washington in Norfolk, Va., the Atlanta native didn’t get to travel like she had hoped. Still, she says, there were high points—even when she was chipping paint or learning to weld to refurbish those historic crafts. “You may be a master of arms, but you got to come over here and sandblast this wall,” she says. “It was just a big learning curve and a good learning curve,” she says. Cree earned two Good Conduct medals as well as other military awards during her service. “It instilled in me some really great morals and characteristics. The Navy pretty much raised me to be the woman I am today.”
Prime Service: After finally going overseas to Baghdad, Iraq, to work for a military contractor in 2008, Cree was back home in Georgia and working for a trucking logistics company when she realized that she could earn a good income and have an independent lifestyle if she became a driver herself. She started driving for Prime in 2020. This fall, thrilled to be a finalist for Prime’s Transition Trucking Award for veterans, Cree, 42, knew she had made the right career decision. “Of course the money lets me know I’ve made the right decision. The freedom lets me know. The peace of mind lets me know. Just being out here using this driver’s seat as my office window lets me know. The world is yours when you’re sitting in that truck. You can go anywhere.”
“It’s been an incredible experience, honestly, to be able to see these things in such a short amount of time.” —Kenneth Lewie
Military History: Kenneth Lewie, 32, was a motor vehicle operator for 12 years with the Missouri Army National Guard. Ten years ago, he was a machine gunner in Afghanistan before serving in Jordan and Syria in 2017 and 2018. Stateside, he served during the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri, riots after the shooting of Michael Brown. He also served during the 2020 presidential election in Washington, D.C., and worked on Missouri’s COVID-19 response team this year. “I think probably the most impactful thing for me is that I’ve had the opportunity to do some of these humanitarian missions,” says the former staff sergeant. During the Syrian refugee crisis, for example, he took war victims to hospitals for life-saving treatment—and once even gave a pregnant woman his watch so she would know what time to take her medicine.
Prime Service: Kenneth joined Prime on July 9, his last day in the National Guard. A respiratory illness that developed during his military service prompted him to stop serving as a Lafayette County deputy sheriff, too. The farmer and part-time furniture builder from Concordia, Missouri, joined Prime to provide more security for his wife, April, and their five young children. Because of his military experience, Kenneth qualified to obtain a skills test waiver and drove 40,000 miles with a trainer. By September of this year, he had seen 44 states. “It’s been an incredible experience, honestly, to be able to see these things in such a short amount of time,” he says. “Definitely, I’d say the most beautiful place I’ve been is the Pacific Northwest. It’s just a beautiful, incredible part of the country I never imagined I’d be getting paid to look at.”
Photos courtesy Cree Daniels, Kenneth Lewie
words from the field
OF A FEATHER Prime driver Kristin Linch, of Fargo, North Dakota, crosses the country along with her husband, cartoon artist Alexander Hanson, but you won’t see him sitting in the passenger seat. That’s where you’ll find Mango, Linch’s peach-faced lovebird, one of two birds who ride along with the couple. The other bird is Cupcake, a blue and white parakeet. Linch is here to talk about what it’s like having two feathered friends in the truck. AS TOLD TO SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH
Photos courtesy Kristin Linch
Photos courtesy Cree Daniels, Kenneth Lewie
e got Mango first. It was probably about six years ago. I was looking for an Indian ring-necked parakeet, and I found Mango on Facebook Marketplace. Someone was selling him for $50, and I was like, ‘Oh I’ll take him,’ and went over the same day and picked him up. The birds stay caged the second the truck starts moving, just for safety. And it’s not just their safety. Mango is not hand-trained, so he bites. He does sneak attacks on my husband, so the cages are there for our safety, too. I have Cupcake’s cage velcroed and strapped down where my fridge sits, and Mango’s home is Gorilla-Glued to a shelf on the truck where the passenger would be. I had to talk to DOT (Department of Transportation) and everything and make sure it would be okay to have the birds on board. I started driving for Prime in January in 2019. I wanted to see the country, and I wanted to get a job that paid me a little bit better than where I was working. I was working at Target before this and doing personal grocery shopping on the side. Both of us were having a really hard time paying our bills, so I decided to see the country and get paid for it. I now have two birds and a husband in the truck. I do the driving, and Hanson helps with everything else and makes it so easy on me. Mango doesn’t have the ability to talk, but he makes a lot of noise, and Cupcake, who does have the ability to learn human speech, actually learned all his sounds, so we essentially have two lovebirds in the truck. She’ll scream like a parakeet, then go off in whatever language Mango speaks, essentially. Mango hits about 80 decibels, which is like a vacuum cleaner. I like the sound of birds a lot. They’re very great animals to interact with and feel like they’re really interacting back. They’re, funnily enough, very empathetic. If I’m ever upset, both of them will be up in the corner singing and fluffing up. As far as how to keep birds in the truck, don’t fill up the water and food dishes all the way. Mango especially likes to throw his seed. I thought it would be easier to clean up in a small space. We have to hand-vacuum as much as possible, but in a couple of minutes there’s seed everywhere again. I have people quite often come up and ask me what kind of bird Mango is and what it’s like living with him. I’ve never had a negative reaction. I actually had a guy come up and put his rabbit next to Mango. We put it on Facebook. I think a lot of people have said this before, but having any kind of animal on the truck with you really makes a difference because going in and out of truck stops and dealing with people, the shippers and receivers who might not be the most excited to see you, can be kind of stressful. Mango and Cupcake are always excited to see me, and I’m always excited to see them. They make my day, every day.
LEADERSHIP TRAINING Prime is investing big in future leaders. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
ood news for foremen and technicians at Prime’s shops. Prime and Bethel University have teamed up to launch a new management training certiﬁcate that focuses on building successful leaders at Prime. Classes are 100% online and are no cost to shop associates who are approved for the program. ach course consists of eight classes that are each ﬁve weeks long, and courses will cover management skills including leadership, critical thinking, communication, ﬁnance, logistics, computer skills and more. The program is available to shop technicians and foremen. Technicians who wish to apply to the program need to be approved by their shop managers. You can apply online at bethelI .edu primecertiﬁcate or contact ackie Puckett to learn more about the program at 270-243-4321. Prime associates interested in continuing their education get a 50% discount on all Bethel courses, and the college oﬀers associate, bachelor’s and master’s programs.
FOR THE LOVE OF DIRT Brittany Sicard is inspiring a new generation of bikers. BY SONIA GUZMAN
rittany Sicard has been with Prime for eight years and works in the intermodal division in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was in Salt Lake that Brittany was introduced to the world of mountain biking. Biking became her mental escape, taught her lessons in goal setting and perseverance and gave her a sense of empowerment. Then she saw an ad for Little Bellas, an organization whose goal is to build community and empower girls and young women through mountain biking; her interest was peaked. The non-proﬁt organi ation needed volunteers to mentor girls in the 5–9 age group. She thought, “I can do that, I love being the hype man.” She also knew that the more she rode with women, the more conﬁdent she became, and she wanted to help pass that on to the girls at Little Bellas. Brittany began mentoring 40 girls. For many of the girls, it’s their ﬁrst time riding on dirt. Brittany says she’s inspired watching them overcome their fears. Brittany loves it so much, she accepted a volunteer position as the Assistant Program Director of the new Salt Lake City Chapter of Little Bellas. Now, she can share the joy and passion that mountain biking has brought into her life with Utah’s next generation of female mountain bikers. PRIME WAYS
week in the life
Each Christmas, Prime lights up its Springfield headquarters with endless lights and holiday displays.
IDEA Headed to Prime’s Springfield headquarters this holiday season? Just look for the lights. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH
There are the lights— and then there are lighter moments for Prime’s lighting display crew members. 8
irk some folks who like to keep their holidays in order: “You start that early, before Halloween, and people get very upset,” eﬀ says. That’s okay because there’s still plenty of work to be done, anyway. “ ost of the ﬁnal week and the week before Thanksgiving—they just kind of blend together,” says Chris Williams, a landscaping associate who has been with Prime for six years. “That ﬁnal week before Thanksgiving, before we turn everything on, it’s quite frantic.” ▲ The team at Prime spends weeks putting up Christmas lights and checking bulbs. The final Bulbs, wires and timers are checked and display is always stunning. rechecked a couple of days before the holiday, and it’s all hands on deck, Chris says. “We have a couple of guys that don’t mind an old trailer park drive: “They salute the coming in and helping on their day oﬀ, getdrivers as they come through,” eﬀ says. By ting a little bit of overtime.” November, the crew will have wrapped the Finally, when the lights blink on, crew trees with lights, then moved on to decorat- members often ﬁnish their Thanksgiving ing the bushes that line the Prime property. meals and bring their families to headquarThat doesn’t mean it’s time to ﬂip any ters to see the results of their labors. Then, switches though. Even seeing Prime’s 20- Chris says the lights are “normally the nicfoot tree wrapped in lights in October can est that you will see them.”
Jeff Jenkins won’t forget 1998 when a deer attacked a soldier—that is, one of the 20-foot-tall, garland-wrapped tin soldiers that was part of the display in the 1990s. “We noticed that the soldier was down and came to see what was going on. The deer was tangled in the lights,” Jenkins says. It took three or four workers to get the creature’s antlers out of the soldier’s garland, but the deer was fine: “We got him untangled, and he ran off.”
Chris Williams says that sometimes the crew turns their work into a game—like running relays with extra-long extension cords. Who gets to the finish line first? You never know. “We just try to make as much fun of it as we can and make it as nice for people driving by as it can be.”
Photos courtesy Prime
uring the Christmas season, Prime drivers bound for the Springﬁeld, issouri, terminal know they’ve arrived when they see the big truck just oﬀ I- . Detailed with colorful lights and the Prime logo, the rebar outline of a tractor-trailer rig is only the ﬁrst of many holiday displays to greet them as they steer toward headquarters. The company’s Christmas lights display involves more than a million lights of red, blue, green and white, and for a small crew of grounds and maintenance associates, at least two months of work before they turn on the lights at Thanksgiving. A crew of ﬁve or six associates starts working as early as September on the holiday display. They haul 500-foot strands of lights out of storage to check for faulty sockets and burned-out bulbs, then do the same for display trucks. “First thing to do is check the strands,” says eﬀ enkins, maintenance supervisor and a Prime associate of 26 years. “Last year we spent close to 15 grand replacing lights.” Lights stay on main buildings all year, so illuminating main entrance roads like Associates and Packer oad comes ﬁrst, eﬀ says. Then, there are nutcracker soldiers to be fastened to light poles along
close to home
At Your Service Prime driver and military veteran James “JC” Rose stepped up when COVID arrived last year to help feed his community. BY VIVIAN WHEELER
Photos courtesy JC Rose
Photos courtesy Prime
retired Marine Corps Lieutenant olonel, ames “ ” ose lives by several military mottos; his favorite is “in order to stay in the ﬁght, you ﬁrst have to be in the ﬁght.” joined the military more than years ago, but he ﬁrmly believes truck drivers are as much in the ﬁght as those in the military. “Without trucks, nothing moves to or from the railroads, planes or ships,” he says. “I knew after I retired from the Marine Corps that I wanted to continue to do something that serves my community and country.” For him, that means driving a truck. retired from the military in early 2019, and in December of 2020, he joined Prime as a driver, but in the time between, he found himself serving his community in a completely unexpected way. grew a garden.
retired from service right as VIDwas ﬁrst sweeping across the country. He watched people in his hometown of Kathleen, Georgia, struggle to make ends meet and felt compelled to help. felt there was a lack of aﬀordable, healthy food options. In many local stores, vegetables were not plentiful, and when they were, they were often expensive. had the idea to grow vegetables and then sell them at a low cost at local farmers markets. In September of , got to work cultivating a acre garden. His garden soon turned into a family aﬀair. ’s wife, daughter, siblings, nieces and nephews and other extended family members all played a vital role in the planting process. They started with winter crops, which began producing
around March of 2020. By this time, all of the local farmers markets were closed due to COVID. Not wanting his crops to go to waste, decided to give his produce away for free to those in need. started asking everyone he knew if they could use some vegetables, and word spread fast. Soon people started pulling up to his farm where would load them up with fresh produce. “If they said they had plenty, I’d say let’s put just a little bit more, and you can give some to your neighbors,” he says. “And if your neighbors want more, send them on over.” Throughout the season, and his family planted around , vegetables, including sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes, peas and beans. All of which went to feed his local community. scaled back his operation for the next year, as he had just joined Prime fulltime. But now that he has almost a year of driving under his belt, he hopes to make his garden operation just as or even more successful than it was before. Continuing his garden allows him to keep feeding his community, but it also allows him to pass on valuable lessons to his family’s younger generation like the importance of hard work and supporting your community. hopes he’s growing more than vegetables; he hopes he’s growing the next generation of hard working, productive citizens and community servants.
JC got tons of help from family and friends who helped him harvest his crop and tend to the massive garden.
#motomelife After learning how to develop a healthy life after time in the military, this couple realized there was another community who could use the same advice and resources: truck drivers. BY SUSAN ATTEBERRY SMITH
ates and Lanora Samaniego have a heart for the all-around health and well-being of their fellow drivers. That’s why the certiﬁed personal trainers and life coaches recently started a oto eLife ﬂeet for Prime drivers who share their passion for living healthier on the road. By late summer, two trucks including theirs were part of their ﬂeet. They now hope to add eight more. All trucks in the oto eLife ﬂeet will have wellness resources, including free weights, myofascial release balls and access to MotoMeLife online courses and the Samaniegos’ coaching, Gates says. “We’re creating a group of individuals who will create positive change on the road and within the industry.” o-drivers and spouses, she and Lanora will provide more than ﬁtness coaching, though. Their MotoMeLife website, Instagram feed and YouTube channel include posts about the need for exercise and healthier habits among truck drivers, but they
The MotoMeLife fleet provides its drivers with equipment for onthe-road workouts and access to fitness advice and videos to stay fit physically and mentally.
also reveal a deﬁnition of health and wellness that goes beyond exercise and nutrition to include relationships, spirituality and ﬁnancial freedom. “We found that trucking is a completely neglected community as far as health and wellness, and that drivers are forgotten,” Gates says. “We live out here in food deserts with a lack of resources. It’s not that easy to get to a gym or even to the bank.” She and Lanora hope to help drivers navigate such deserts. Both .S. arines veterans, the couple say they discovered their shared calling after taking a break from over-the-road driving in to pursue degrees in health and wellness. As president of an Ozarks Technical Community College student veterans organization, Lanora saw others “frustrated with their bodies because they were blown up, or there’s just damage from the military.” She easily related. “When I got out of the military, my body was in so much pain,” she says. pening the oto eLife Studio in arshﬁeld in , the Samaniegos worked with veterans and older adults until closing their brick-and-mortar shop before the pandemic hit. That was when the couple returned to over-theroad trucking and reali ed they wanted to help truck drivers. What’s more, drivers, much like veterans, “experience depression and anxiety and loneliness away from their families,” Gates says. Through MotoMeLife.com, #motomelife on Instagram, their #motomelife YouTube channel and the Facebook accountability group oto e Truckers, the Samaniegos demonstrate living “the truckin’ good life,” Gates says. They don’t claim to be experts, Lanora says “We’re still learning we’re still educating ourselves. We focus on building healthy habits and maintaining them.”
Photo courtesy MotoMeLife
WELLNESS | DECEMBER 2021
Eats The holidays are almost here, and that means ‘tis the season when drivers start carrying boxes of cookies in their trucks to share with friends, family and passersby they meet on the road. If you’re new to the cookie swap or are just looking for new recipes to try, we’ve picked two easy cookie recipes we know you’ll love. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
PEANUT BUTTER CRISPY BARS By: Cookie + Kate Ingredients: 3 cups brown rice crisps (you can often find these in the cereal aisle) 1 ¼ cups whole pecans, chopped, divided ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (plus a pinch of salt if your peanut butter is unsalted) ½ cup honey 1 ½ cups (9 ounces) chocolate chips ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt or ¼ teaspoon kosher salt Directions: Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, cut to fit across the base and up opposite sides. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice crisps and 1 cup of the chopped pecans. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter and honey. Warm the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it’s steaming, about 5 minutes. Pour the warm mixture into the bowl of rice crisps. Using a rubber spatula, stir until completely combined. Transfer to the lined baking dish. Press down with the spatula to spread it evenly, then use a large sturdy glass with a flat bottom and press down firmly all over. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each one. The chocolate is done when it’s about 90% melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter-crispy mixture. Use a spatula to spread it evenly on top. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on top, followed by the salt. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to a day. Grab the parchment paper and lift it out of the baking dish and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.
Photos courtesy Cookie + Kate, Allrecipes
By: Allrecipes Ingredients: ½ cup butter 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup white sugar 2 eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped walnuts 48 miniature marshmallows Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted chocolate mixture with the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the chocolate mixture. Finally, stir in the chopped nuts and remaining chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto unprepared cookie sheets. Press a miniature marshmallow into the center of each cookie. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheets immediately to cool on wire racks. PRIME WAYS
ai16109927809_primedforlifeprimeways21.pdf 1 1/18/2021 11:59:41 AM
TRUCKS & TECH | DECEMBER 2021
how we roll
On the ‘Moo-ve’ Next time you spot a cow on the highway, it might be driving right next to you. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL
hen it comes to designing their trucks, Prime drivers have all sorts of inspiration for the colors, shapes, images and themes that end up wrapped around their rigs. For one Prime driver, it was his childhood road trips across the Midwest that inspired him. David Polk drives a new Freightliner Cascadia. “When I was a kid one of the most memorable things to me was when my dad took us to see my aunt in Iowa,” he says. “She had a farm with horses and tons of cows. My dad would point out the window and yell ‘cows!’ as we drove on the old farm roads. I had the opportunity to bring a little bit of my childhood back with this cow design on my truck, and I love it.” A Florida native, David has been a lease operator for Prime for the past three years and bought this truck in June 2021. Prior to that, he was a manager for Taco Bell, but trucking is where he always wanted to be. “I did a project on truck driving as a kid and always wanted to be a truck driver,” he says. “I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.”
When he ordered the 2022 Cascadia, he knew he wanted basic white with an eye-catching design. “I wanted to bring a different outlook to Prime,” David says. “People think we only have fleet trucks. I wanted to show them we could be different.” David gave his ideas to Stripes and Stuff, and they did a computer mock-up. Originally it just had a big cow head on front, but David had something else in mind. “I wanted the whole truck to be the cow with the spots all over the truck, including the top,” he says. “I also put ‘Moo’ on the back of the cab, which can only be seen when I don’t have a trailer.” David didn’t realize the cow spot pattern was such a trend until he got the truck and noticed it on everything from apple watch bands to mugs. “My truck is a thing on the internet now,” he says. He gets stopped everywhere he goes and people take pictures with the truck. “It’s nice to put a smile on people’s faces and be appreciated,” he says. “We are all part of a family out here as drivers. Whether you drive an old beat up truck or one that’s really nice, we are all family.”
SIGNS OF SUCCESS
David has a pin for each year he’s driven. He wears them all on a Prime lanyard including a pin of a black and white cow.
TRUCK AND TRAILER
Since buying the truck in June 2021, David has already put more than 20,000 miles on it driving through California, Utah, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, New Jersey and New York.
Photos by Ettie Berneking
The back of the cab features the word “Moo.” It’s a little secret that can only be seen when David isn’t pulling a trailer.
ost people think David’s truck is aﬃliated with hick-ﬁl-A, but there is no connection with the fast food chicken chain. David has leaned into this a bit though by decorating the inside of the truck with some of the fast food chain’s toy cows.
David likes to keep the interior extra clean but is starting to collect a few cow decorations inside.
To prepare for bad weather, be sure to keep extra food and water on the truck and have anti-gel on hand.
Winter is Coming As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to start preparing for winter driving. We chat with Cody Atteberry, the body shop manager in Salt Lake City, who explains how to get your truck ready for the road this winter. BY VIVIAN WHEELER
PW: When should a driver put chains on their tires? CA: Whenever you’re going into inclement weather. When in doubt, it’s always best to chain up. PW: What should a driver do to prepare for winter driving? CA: They’ll need to get into one of the shops in one of our terminals and get their vehicle inspected by one of our mechanics to make sure everything is good. A lot of drivers will also swap out their wiper blades for winter blades, and they’ll want to make sure to check their tire pressure, engine oil and antifreeze levels before going back out on the road.
PW: What are some of the common mechanical problems that happen during winter driving? CA: The gelling of fuel is a big one. They should carry anti-gel, and they’ll want to start running that in every tank of fuel when the weather cools down, so their fuel won’t gel up. We also recommend our drivers carry an additional fuel ﬁlter on their truck with them throughout the winter in the event that the fuel does gel up, and they need to replace that on the road. PW: Since bad weather can mean being stuck on the road for unknown amounts of time, what can a driver do to prepare themselves for winter driving? CA: Aside from the truck, our drivers themselves want to make sure they’re carrying extra gloves, winterized boots and a good winter jacket. They also want to make sure they’re weather watching at least 48 hours out, so they have an idea of what’s ahead for them. Being proactive goes a long way. You never know when you’ll get stuck on the road or need to be outside working on a repair in bad weather.
Photos courtesy Prime, by Paije Luth
PRIME WAYS: When is it time to start preparing for winter weather? CODY ATTEBERRY: It’s never too early to start preparing for winter driving. September ﬁrst is the ﬁrst day of the year that you’re going to want to have all your chains on the truck for winter. That’s the deadline for Colorado. They’re the ﬁrst state to implement that, so that’s the date we pass on to our drivers.
With new emissions regulations coming soon, Prime is testing out new refrigeration units.
Digital Upgrades New access points will improve Prime’s WIFI no matter where you’re located at a terminal. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
Staying Cool Under Pressure Prime is testing out new refrigerated cooling units to make sure it’s ready to meet future emission regulations. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
Photo courtesy Prime Inc.
othing in trucking stands still for long, and that includes the rules and regulations. One of the latest rules to change involves the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a truck can emit. To meet the new benchmark and reduce emissions, Prime is testing out new refrigerated units by Thermo King. The new cap on greenhouse emissions comes from the California Air Resource Board, better known in the industry as A B. The new rule is set to take eﬀect in 2023, but “we wanted a few years to test out diﬀerent products to see which one is the best ﬁt for Prime,” says hris Holtmeyer, manager of ﬂeet maintenance. “We’ve used Carrier refrigerated units for a long time, and operationally, the way we’re running is sound, but we don’t know which manufacturer will be able to meet the CARB requirements yet. That’s why we’re testing them all out.” With another two years before CARB’s emission regulations go into eﬀect, Prime is busy testing out the new cooling units. So far, 100 Thermo King refrigerated units have been added to Prime’s ﬂeet,
and Chris says that with new units on the road, Prime has dedicated time to training its technicians on how to identify and ﬁx problems that pop up in the Thermo King models. “The new units should be really similar to the Carrier units we already use,” he says. “That should allow our team to handle repairs quickly, but we need to make sure we’re totally ready to comply with the new regulations when they come into eﬀect in the future.” Many of the features you see on trucks today are a result of CARB regulations. For example, skirts for refrigerated units are common across the industry these days, but they were ﬁrst added as a result of CARB regulations regarding fuel economy. The skirts increase fuel eﬃciency by 6%. That might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a big money saver for drivers. “There are all kinds of CARB laws that are going to come into eﬀect in the next few years,” Chris says. “These laws are going to be a big deal, and we’ll be ready here at Prime.”
If anyone still thinks trucking is an old school industry, they should take a tour through Prime’s terminals. Fleet managers rely on a digital lifeline to connect them to drivers, see real-time weather conditions, report maintenance issues and send roadside assistance to drivers when needed. The in-house teams are in constant communication across the country as Prime’s footprint in the industry continues to grow, and Prime is constantly updating its app to provide more benefits and services for drivers and in-house crew members. So if there’s any doubt that Prime is plugged into the future, think again. Naturally, when Prime gets a report about a weak WIFI signal, it starts looking for a solution. That’s what happened in Salt Lake City and Pittston. Drivers were noticing spotty WIFI coverage, especially in Prime’s parking lots, so they sent in requests for stronger wireless access. To help resolve the issue, Prime has begun upgrading WIFI companywide. “We’ve already purchased close to 300 new access points,” says Sam Journagan, system engineer at Prime. “These new access points will enable better access all around our terminals.” They should also help visitors navigate Prime’s terminals, which can be tricky to traverse if you’re new. The Springfield terminal saw the first upgrade to its WIFI service, and Salt Lake and Pittston are next in line. If you notice a WIFI problem, submit a ticket to the Prime help desk through the mobile app. Or call 417-521-3148 or email email@example.com.
The World Of
Leasin THERE ARE A LOT OF PERKS WHEN YOU’RE A LEASE OPERATOR, BUT INSTEAD OF LISTING THEM OUT, WE’RE GOING TO INTRODUCE YOU TO TWO LEASE OPERATORS WHO HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO BE THE BEST DRIVERS POSSIBLE. BY ETTIE BERNEKING
“EIGHTY PERCENT OF OUR DRIVERS ARE LEASE OPERATORS NOW. I REALLY THINK PART OF THAT IS BECAUSE PRIME HAS GREAT SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO HELP LEASE OPERATORS. IT’S WHY WE HAVE SO MANY SUCCESS STORIES.” —Drew Martin
n the world of trucking, there’s really just one question you need to ask: Do you want to be a company driver or a lease driver? There are pros and cons to both, but for many drivers, becoming a lease operator with Prime is the winning combination. Leasing a truck means drivers can make their own schedules. They can grow their own ﬂeets. They can pick their delivery territories, and they can be their own boss. It also means they’re not alone. Prime has spent several years developing its lease-operator program and focuses on helping drivers become as eﬃcient as possible. There are training seminars and end-of-lease bonuses, and dispatchers are always available to help lease operators when they have questions. “Our leasing program has grown almost every year,” says Success Leasing Manager Drew Martin. “Eighty percent of our drivers are lease operators now. I really think part of that is because Prime has great systems in place to help lease operators. It’s why we have so many success stories.”
There are countless examples of how being a lease operator has paid off for Prime drivers, and one of those is Alex Holt and Atilio Ventura.
▲ Alex has been able to see most of the United States while making deliveries, and he snapped this photo of his truck while on the road.
Both drive for Prime’s refrigerated division, and both are lease operators. The two met when Alex welcomed Atilio onto his truck as a new student driver. From there, the two became good friends, and in many ways, Alex has been mentoring Atilio about how to be the best lease operator possible ever since they ﬁrst met. Before joining Prime, Alex was a parts assembler in the aerospace industry. He mostly worked on missiles and aircrafts, but he was getting tired of the monotony and wanted something more challenging. “I’m a bit of a gearhead,” he says. That love of mechanics had always directed Alex toward trucking. Even as a little boy, Alex dreamed of driving a semi truck, but he didn’t see a way to make that a career. “It was just a kids’ dream,” he says. Then that ﬁnally changed. “I was looking at trucking, and a family mentioned Prime,” he says. “I did some research to get reviews on Prime’s training program and everything they oﬀered like student loans, housing during training and the one-on-one training, and I liked it all. It drew me to Prime right away.”
“BEING ABLE TO DELIVER A LOAD AS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE… I STRIVE TO DO THAT, AND IT’S A CHALLENGE I TRY TO
One of the reasons Alex Holt works to make his deliveries as efficient as possible is that doing so allows him more time with his daughter.
HIT EVERY TIME.”
Photos courtesy Prime, Atilio Ventura and Alex Holt
That was almost ﬁve years ago, and now Alex is a lease operator for Prime. He says moving to lease was the perfect ﬁt. It allows him to be his own boss and make his own decisions about how he wants to run his truck—especially planning his routes. This is what Alex considers his main strength. “It’s fun to explore new routes that the GPS might not bring up on the screen,” he says. But it’s more than that. Alex takes pride in his ability to read traﬃc patterns and plan his rest time when traﬃc is at its peak. He knows when to hit the road, when and where to take breaks and which routes to avoid. For him, it’s all about eﬃciency. “Being able to deliver a load as quickly and eﬃciently as possible… I strive to do that, and it’s a challenge I try to hit every time.” When Alex picked up Atilio as a new student driver, this is what he taught Atilio. And Atilio soaked it all up. “Atilio was only my second student,” Alex says. “I love teaching, and once I learn how to be good at something, I always want to share that knowledge with others.” Alex picked Atilio up in Vegas and says he knew right away that Atilio would be a good ﬁt. “We hit it oﬀ right away,” Alex says. “As we drove, I realized we had similar goals, and he’s a really hard worker, which I appreciate.”
“I HAD TOLD ALEX I WANTED TO DRIVE COMPANY BEFORE MOVING TO LEASE, BUT I KEPT ASKING HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LEASE SIDE. THE WAY HE WAS RUNNING HIS TRUCK WAS AMAZING. HE KNEW WHY HE WENT CERTAIN SPEEDS, WHY HE FILLED UP AT CERTAIN PLACES. HE TAUGHT ME THE NUMBERS FOR HOW TO BE PROFITABLE, BUT I KNEW I NEEDED TO LEARN MORE BEFORE GOING LEASE.”
—Atilio Ventura PRIME WAYS
Before hopping Alex’s truck, Atilio had been a technician in Vegas where he ﬁxed and programmed slot machines. When he left his job in 2018, it was a friend who got him interested in trucking. “My friend was in trucking, and he kept posting on Facebook about all the traveling he was doing and how much he liked it,” Atilio says. “I reached out to him, and he told me to go to Prime. So that’s what I did.” When Alex and Atilio met, Alex says “Atilio was as green as they come.” Despite the fact that Atilio loved driving, he was nervous about getting behind the wheel of a big rig, but he says Alex calmed him down. “It was the heaviest load I’d ever driven,” he says. “But the way Alex spoke was so calming, and after a couple of hours, I felt normal driving in traﬃc.” By the last two weeks of his training with Alex, Atilio was driving by himself—in part because Alex was bedridden in the back with the ﬂu. As they passed through each city, Alex coached Atilio on his method of driving where route planning and time management are key. “Those are the two things that are hardest to pick up,” Alex says. “I see students struggle with that all the time. You have to know where you’re at geographically, so are you going through a big city during rush hour? Does it make sense to park and drive at night? Does your customer have weird delivery times? Do they only unload during certain times of the day…. I could go on all day about this.” When their training was over, Alex and Atilio stayed in touch. Atilio would call Alex with questions, and the two met up for lunch or a quick photo op when their routes crossed paths. When Atilio decided he was interested in becoming a lease operator, he
By The Numbers 22
“THESE FOLKS HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN THEIR PERFORMANCE. WHEN YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR COSTS LIKE FUEL, YOU CARE MORE ABOUT YOUR MILEAGE. THAT’S WHY WE GET MORE DRIVERS WHO CARE, BUT YOU REALLY ARE STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS WHEN YOU GO LEASE. THAT’S WHY I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE TO ASK QUESTIONS. YES, WE HAVE A LOT OF SUCCESS STORIES WITH LEASING, BUT WE ALSO HAVE DRIVERS WHO HAVE FAILED. IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO BE A GOOD MANAGER.” —Drew Martin
5,800 PRIME CURRENTLY HAS MORE THAN 5,800 LEASE TRUCKS ON ITS FLEET.
17k THE AVERAGE ENDOF-LEASE BONUS AFTER A THREE-YEAR LEASE IS $17,000.
Photos courtesy Prime
IT COSTS ABOUT $500 A DAY WHEN A TRUCK IS DOWN.
PRIME HAS MORE THAN 800 DRIVERS WHO HAVE SIGNED UP FOR PRIME’S LEASE WITH PURCHASE OPTION.
PRIME PLACES AN ORDER FOR 50 NEW LEASE TRUCKS EACH MONTH.
“I SAW WHERE I WAS LETTING THE ENGINE REV AND WHERE I SHOULD HAVE TURNED OFF THE ENGINE WHILE WAITING AT A FUEL ISLAND. AFTER THE CLASS, MY MENTALITY REALLY CHANGED.” —Atilio Ventura
once again called his mentor. “I had been a company driver for three months,” Atilio says. “I had told Alex I wanted to drive company before moving to lease, but I kept asking him questions about the lease side. The way he was running his truck was amazing. He knew why he went certain speeds, why he ﬁlled up at certain places. He taught me the numbers for how to be proﬁtable, but I knew I needed to learn more before going lease.” When Atilio decided to switch from company driving to lease, it was the idea of being his own boss that really attracted him. “It feels so diﬀerent,” he says. “It’s more responsibility, and as a lease operator, I’ve learned a lot more about the business side of trucking.” This is where Drew says Prime really shines. Prime has several classes that are oﬀered weekly at the Springﬁeld, Pittston and Salt Lake Terminals all geared toward helping lease operators improve their eﬃciency on the road. Drew says it’s not just that lease operators want to do a good job; they need to do a good job in order to make more money. “These folks have a vested interest in their performance,” he says. “When you’re responsible for costs like fuel, you care more about your mileage. That’s why we get more drivers who care, but you really are starting your own business when you go lease. That’s why I always tell people to ask questions. Yes, we have a lot of success stories with leasing, but we also have drivers who have failed. It’s not always easy running your own business. You have to learn to be a good manager.” Atilio’s long-term goal is to start his own ﬂeet. He says he wants at least ﬁve trucks on his team, and part of what encourages him is the support he gets from Prime. “Prime gives me all the tools to succeed,” he says. “Alex also told me this, but I’ve seen it myself. Prime gives you all the resources you need from ﬂeet managers to log devices and safety training.” Prime even oﬀers classes aimed at helping drivers reduce their costs on the road. Atilio recently completed the Ace 2 class after his dispatcher suggested he sign up. To show Atilio where he was wasting money, Prime pulled his last four loads and showed him where his money was going. “I could see where I was driving too fast
“EVERYTHING IS BLACK AND WHITE. I WOULDN’T SIGN ANOTHER LEASE IF I DIDN’T
The five things you should know about leasing.
TRUST THE PROCESS.” —Atilio Ventura
1. Prime’s leasing program continues to grow each year. In fact, 80% of Prime trucks are now driven by lease operators.
Photos courtesy Atilio Ventura and Prime
2. Unlike company drivers who are paid by the mile, lease operators at Prime are paid a percentage of the load revenue. So as revenue increases, lease operators are paid more.
and how it was hurting my mileage,” he says. “I saw where I was letting the engine rev and where I should have turned oﬀ the engine while waiting at a fuel island. After the class, my mentality really changed.” He says he started slowing down and could quickly see the diﬀerence in his wallet. Now, he’s about to ﬁnish his ﬁrst lease, and he says he credits Alex’s training and Prime’s assistance. “Everything is black and white,” he says. “I wouldn’t sign another lease if I didn’t trust the process.” With another lease about to begin, Atilio is eying a new design for his blue Peterbuilt. He’s having Stripes and Stuﬀ add a big orange ribbon to his rig as a nod to leukemia, which Atilio beat when he was 13 years old. For him, it’s just one more challenge he’s beaten in his life, and like beating his fear of driving a semi, he says he didn’t do it alone. He had help from Alex and Prime when he was new to trucking, and he had a whole community of support when he was ﬁghting cancer. He says he hopes the orange ribbon on his truck serves as a reminder to others battling cancer that they’re not alone. “That’s my motivation really,” he says. “You have to keep moving forward. You have to keep ﬁghting and always remember you’re not alone.”
3. Lease operators are given an endof-lease bonus after a three-year lease, and the average bonus is $17,000. Many drivers use this bonus to go on a big family vacation, buy a new home or pay off debt.
4. To help lease operators make as much money as possible on the road, Prime offers several courses. There’s the Slingshot class for new lease drivers and a the Ace 2 class that’s aimed at helping established drivers evaluate their recent deliveries and pinpoint areas of opportunity where they could spend less while on the road. Each course is offered several times each month (and sometimes each week) at the Springfield, Pittston and Salt Lake terminals. Contact your fleet manager to learn more.
5. If a driver doesn’t like their truck, they can always order a new one. In fact, Prime orders 50 new custom trucks each month to keep up with lease operator orders.
W E N E TH ILY
Prime’s Passenger Program is like bringing your daughter to work day, but instead of your daughter, it’s any family member, and instead of a day, it’s usually for a few weeks. Talk about quality family time! Read on to learn how the program works and how it is positively impacting the lives of three Prime drivers.
BY VIVIAN WHEELER
What’s better than driving across the country, exploring new places and taking in all the beauty that America has to offer?
GETTING TO DO IT WITH THOSE YOU LOVE. 26
With Prime’s Passenger Program, drivers get to do just that. Prime has one of the most liberal ride-along programs in the industry. Company drivers can take family members over the age of 12 on the road with them while lease drivers can bring along family members of any age. Thanks to the program, Prime drivers across the company–and across the nation–are integrating their work and family lives while making unforgettable memories. It looks different for every driver, so we want to show you how three of Prime’s drivers are taking advantage of Prime’s Passenger Program.
Zach Maricle takes his family on the road with him for several weeks at a time and turns the trip into a family vacation.
Photos courtesy Zach Maricle, Shutterstock
ZACH MARICLE When Zach Maricle was deciding between being a lease or company driver at Prime, one factor that pushed him to lease was that as an independent contractor he wouldn’t have an age restriction on his rider policy. Zach was thinking about his daughter, Emily, who was 7 at the time. He wanted her to be able to ride along with him on the truck. Before joining Prime in 2018, Zach was working at a scrap metal yard, but he was looking for a change of pace. After talking to some of the drivers at work, he decided to pursue his CDL. After completing CDL training, Zach considered other trucking companies, but none of them seemed like a good ﬁt. Then he found Prime. Since he didn’t have any over-the-road experience, he started out
with a trainer. “I left with him the day after Thanksgiving, and we were done by the ﬁrst of the year,” ach says. That following summer, he took Emily, and his wife Jamielee, on an epic six-week road trip. Typically, ach runs the same freight lane. Based out of Forestpark, New York, Zach runs the northeastern part of the United States and up into Canada. When his ﬂeet manager, Terri Higdon, found out Zach was bringing his family on the truck, she asked him if he wanted to explore more of the country with them. “That ﬁrst summer, we went all the way out to the West Coast and back,” he says. “We touched both coastlines and got to go through the northern Rockies.” Since then, the trip has become a yearly tradition.
Throughout their adventures, the family has gotten to explore the Las Vegas Strip, stay at a hotel on the Santa Monica Beach, visit family friends in Denver, drive through the ﬁre one of a wildﬁre, take pictures straddling the continental divide and more. Because it’s a six-week trip, Zach is able to work in a couple of resets, and the family picks one or two places to take an extended break out of the truck. Exploring new places is always exciting, but for Zach, the best part is spending time with his family. Like when they crank the radio in the truck and have a late-night dance party at 2 a.m. “ ou miss out on a lot of stuﬀ at home when you’re on the road, but it makes those days you are together that much sweeter.”
William McVay and his wife, Alison, have three kids, and William takes each kid with him on the truck in order to have one-on-one time with them.
WILLIAM MCVAY William McVay wanted to be a truck driver since he was a little kid. He remembers riding in the car as a kid, pulling up alongside a tractor trailer and pumping his arm. “I still can picture the guy’s face,” William says. “He kind of grinned at me and gave me a toot, and it got me all excited.” It wasn’t until a few years ago that William ﬁnally made the leap and became a driver himself. At the time, he had just gotten married and knew truck driving would be a stable career that he could support his new family with. After talking it over with his wife, Alison, William made the decision to fulﬁll his childhood dream and get behind the wheel.
He researched trucking companies online, and saw that Prime was a big hit with beginning drivers. He oﬃcially signed on with the company in October of 2019. William lives in Nebraska, Ohio, with his wife and their three kids, Mylee, Adam and Daniel, but he runs all the lower 48 states. As a lease over-the-road driver, William can be gone for up to six weeks at a time, which is part of the reason he takes advantage of Prime’s Family Ride Along Program. “I really appreciate that I’m able to take my family with me,” he says. “What other job can you take your family with you?” Twice now, his whole family, including their pet husky, has loaded up into the
truck and hit the road for a month. The ﬁrst time felt a bit cramped and crowded, but they ended up getting the swing of things. “The second time went a lot smoother,” he says. “We got a really good system going.” Everyone would take turns sitting up front with William during the day. At night William would tell his kids, “All right, little ﬁshies, time to get in the net,” and then his kids would climb up into the bunk to watch TV or play on the box. After the success of the family trips, William now makes it a point to take each of the kids out separately. When summer rolls around, his kids take turns hitting the road with their dad. His kids stay out anywhere from three to six weeks on the road, and it’s been an irreplaceable bonding experience for William. William says if you want to get close to your family, take them out on the road. “The one-on-one time has made an incredible impact with the kids,” he says. The only one who hasn’t been out on the road one-on-one is his wife. The kids will need to be a bit older before that can happen, but it’s something William is looking forward to. “They need to hurry up and grow up,” he says. “It’s wifey’s turn.”
Prime’s Family Ride Along Program allows Bradley to show his granddaughter the country. It helps McVay create deeper bonds with his children, and it enables Maricle to take his family on epic road trips. But these are only three stories out of countless others. If you’re a Prime driver not participating in the ride along program, maybe it’s time to add your story to the book. Want to learn more about the program? Contact your fleet manager to learn more.
Troy Bradley’s granddaughter, Evelyn, now loves riding in the truck with him and seeing the country.
Photos courtesy William McVay, Troy Bradley, Shutterstock
TROY BRADLEY Troy Bradley also knows the joys of bringing his family out on the road with him. Troy started driving professionally more than three decades ago. He ﬁrst learned the ropes of driving from his brother, whom he drove over-the-road with for ﬁve years. After taking an extended break from the trucking world, Troy got back out on the road in 2014 when he signed on to Prime as a lease driver. Like William, Troy runs all the lower states and is out on the road for weeks at a time. In his ﬁrst few years at Prime, Troy’s son, Andrew Luhn, and wife, Christy Luhn, rode along with him at various times. These days, however, Troy’s main co-pilot is his -year-old granddaughter, velyn Taylor.
Troy and hristy gained custody of velyn and her two siblings when their daughter ikayla Taylor died in a car accident in February of 2020. After Mikayla’s death it was hard for Troy to go back out on the road, but having Evelyn ride along has been a huge comfort. At ﬁrst velyn didn’t like Troy’s truck. “No matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t get her into the truck,” he says. But slowly, she warmed up to the idea. First, Troy was able to get her in the truck when it was parked in the driveway. Eventually he convinced her to go on a ride around town. “I haven’t been able to get her out of the truck since,” he says. Today, velyn has visited more than 38 states, with no signs of slowing down.
While on the road, Evelyn enjoys coloring, watching TV, playing on educational apps on a tablet and just taking in the sights. When they park for the day, they’ll often walk to a playground where Evelyn will run around and play. One of her favorite things about being on the road is spotting other Prime trucks. “She gets so excited,” he says. When asked what his favorite thing about being out on the road with velyn is, Troy can’t pick just one. “I love every minute of it,” Troy says. “She’s my angel. She’s my reason for living.”
TERMINAL TALK | DECEMBER 2021
VATION O S N
H E N UM
T Y B
A new fire feature will greet guests at the entrance of Fire and Ice.
welcome to the oasis New amenities and renovations at The Oasis Hotel in Springfield, Missouri, will give this tropical destination an even more luxurious vibe when drivers stop by.
he Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springﬁeld, issouri, is getting a facelift, and Prime drivers have reason to get excited. The asis, which is owned by obert Low, is already home to the Fire and Ice estaurant and has guest rooms, ﬁve luxury suites, a ﬁtness center, business center and Bella’s Pi a. If that already sounds like there are plenty of amenities, just wait to hear about what is in store for the hotel. The asis Hotel is constantly working on improvements and upgrades, so the new renovation is just part of the schedule over here. In , the convention center that’s attached to the asis was expanded and completely remodeled. uest rooms were updated a couple of years ago, and guest room bathrooms are currently being remodeled to include walk-in showers and more counter space. According to issy Handyside, asis’ eneral anager, obert Low “has always been dedicated to making sure all of our guests have a memo-
rable experience. Whether they are here for business or pleasure, he wants guests to have all the amenities to create a comfortable and enjoyable stay.” The newest renovation came about when the hotel’s atrium, which is the centerpiece of the hotel, needed to have the ﬂoor redone. The crew at asis decided to take this opportunity to renovate the entire area and create an atmosphere that guests will enjoy year round. issy emphasi es that “when obert Low decided to make this investment, the Prime drivers were in the forefront of his mind.” A lot of these new features are for them. Although asis is open to the public, Prime drivers are a big group of customers who stay at this hotel right oﬀ of I- . “The drivers that stay with us become like family,” issy says. “We love our Prime drivers.” And if you’re a Prime driver passing through Springﬁeld, remember that guests at ampus Inn also get to use the amenities at the Oasis.
Photos courtesy Oasis Hotel and Convention Center
BY SONIA GUZMAN
The amount of square feet the hotel and convention center cover.
So what’s new this time at the asis The list is long. There will be a splash pad for children with one large water feature and other smaller features replacing the hotel’s hot tub. A new cabana bar will serve specialty coﬀee drinks in the morning and cocktails in the evening. The ﬁtness center, which was hard to navigate to in the past, will move so that it is more accessible and overlooks the indoor pool and new cabana. A new spa room, a highlight of the upgrades, will provide massages by appointment. Fire and Ice will also be getting a whole new look. Brand new furnishings will be added along with a wine closet so high quality wines can be stored in house, and a redesigned ice bar will be included in the renovations. A sidewalk cafe will also be added to the hotel where you can enjoy drinks from the cabana or food from Fire and Ice’s menu. While the outdoor pool will remain the same, there is going to be one noticeable
The tallest water feature in the new splash pad area will be 10 feet tall.
5 The number of new water features in the splash pad area.
diﬀerence. A local artist has been hired to create a mural to replace the well known purple wall. The content of the mural is being kept secret, so it will be a surprise for both new and returning guests. Here’s a hint though Flamingos might be a common theme throughout the new features. The entirety of the renovations are expected to be completed by late anuary or
The number of bar stools at the new cabana.
The number of seats at the new sidewalk cafe.
early February of with one exception the pool renovations should be completed by the end of October of this year. That means guests can enjoy at least some of the new amenities by this coming winter. That’s exciting news for all guests but especially for Prime drivers. Drivers who stay at the hotel will have everything they need under one roof. Inhouse laundry, internet, chromecast TV and now a coﬀee bar mean there’s no longer a need to leave campus to grab basic essentials. Not only are the essentials readily available, but new luxuries will soon be there, too. Sore after a long drive Schedule a massage at the new spa. Want to enjoy the nice weather but still experience luxury dining njoy the day at the sidewalk cafe. Want to bring your family along on your trip The hotel will become even more family friendly with the addition of the splash pad. And don’t forget about Fire and Ice. ne of Springﬁeld’s favorite hotspots will have a brand new look but still serve the same ama ing food and drinks. “We thought about everything we could replace and make better or more attractive, and just went for it,” issy says. So don’t wait to book your trip to Springﬁeld next year. There will be plenty of exciting new things waiting for you. PRIME WAYS
MAKING LIFE ON THE ROAD
To stay in touch with his family, this driver brings a special friend with him on the road. BYRAE SWAN SNOBL
▲ While Little Squirt loves getting photos of Beary on the road, Beau also has a lot of fun staging the stuffed bear for photos while he’s traveling.
▲ Now that Beary has joined Beau on the road, he’s had his photo snapped at all sorts of popular sites and destinations.
▲ Beary was gifted to Beau by his step-daughter as a way for Beau to feel connected to his family when he was on the road for several weeks at a time.
Photos courtesy Beau McCarter
n , T driver and DL trainer tory and showing her just how far a random Beau c arter was getting ready to act of kindness can go.” head out for a couple of months to Beau and his ﬁance, Andrea, also comtrain a TNT student. The night be- municate constantly while he is gone. fore, his young step-daughter aﬀection- “Andrea calls me before work, on her break, ately known as Little Squirt ripped oﬀ the on her way home and just before bed. This baby bear attached to one of her favorite routine helps keep me home when I am teddy bears and gave the big one to Beau. away,” Beau says. n his end, Beau sends “She told me to take him over the road so ﬂowers to Andrea, surprises the family by I wouldn’t have to be out there alone and having pi a delivered and sets up treasure that she would sleep with the baby bear,” hunts for Little Squirt before he leaves. Beau says. “We named him Beary.” These gestures and calls have done more Beau started driving for Prime seven than keep the family in touch while Beau years ago before Little Squirt was in the pic- is on the road. They’ve helped the family ture. “Truck driving was attractive because support each other and heal when faced it allowed me to do the things I love trav- with hardships. Andrea’s mother suﬀered a el and drive,” Beau says. When he met his massive heart attack, and her father had a now ﬁance, Andrea, and Little Squirt, Beau ﬂare-up from PD recently. Then, Little experienced the challenges so many drivers Squirt had a sei ure. Luckily, after several with families face. “I have a new-found re- tests, doctors determined the episode was spect for truck drivers and everything they an isolated event, and Little Squirt is ﬁne. sacriﬁce,” Beau says. This all happened right before the pandemne of Beau’s biggest challenges is miss- ic hit. “Having to deal with a family crisis ing parts of Little Squirt’s life. “When you while you are over the road is the most gut spend more than a month away from your wrenching experience anyone can have,” children, you reali e they grow up fast,” he Beau says. “ ou experience a feeling of besays. Now, Beary has become a special way ing completely useless.” this father and daughter stay connected Despite all this, Beau says the family is while Beau is away. “I take pictures of Beary stronger than ever now. “Being a trucker all over America by placing him in diﬀerent family is challenging,” he says. “It will test settings,” Beau says. All those photos of all weaknesses and boundaries within a reBeary are sent back home to Little Squirt. lationship, but I encourage everyone with Beary stays active on the truck but also children to stay engaged with them even with Beau on his hikes. “I started Hikes when you are away. I enjoy being able to Across America’ to walk in the footsteps share this experience with Little Squirt of American innovators, leaders and pio- and show her just how ama ing life can be neers while raising money and awareness when you work hard. Besides, I refer to our for non-proﬁts,” Beau says. “It’s my way of life together as the rand Adventure.” teaching Little Squirt about American his-
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.
Photos courtesy Prime Inc.
▲ Canine Co-Pilot Irene Dominguez hits the road with co-pilot Moochacha. The four-legged companion took a break on one trip to enjoy the weather at the Pittston terminal during the team’s pre-trip routine.
▲ All Blue “From day one, Prime has shown me and my family respect and given us the honor of displaying our pride in our military. I wish to thank all Prime family members in-house and drivers. Thank you all.”—Richard Dyer
▲ Living the Dream “It was always a dream of mine to have an LLC and have such an awesome truck. Thanks to this great company I work for. They went above and beyond to make my dreams come true, and I can’t be anything but thankful for the opportunity Prime has given me.”—Robert Parham
▲ Sight Seeing Driver Stuart Baker snapped this photo of his truck while making a delivery. He says he’s loved Prime from day one. “Ever since I started with Prime I haven’t worked a day in my life.”
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.)