Page 1


A deeper look at Jerry Parks’s chromed-up truck

PREPARE YOUR RIDE How to get your truck ready for winter


Tips on how to sleep well on the road

CASUAL FOR A CAUSE How Prime associates give back with their wardrobes



on the Road Drivers share their tips, tricks and best mobile meals



2111 S. EASTGATE AVE., SPRINGFIELD, MO 65809 PHONE: 417-883-7417 / FAX: 417-889-7417 417MAG.COM EDITOR Rose Marthis EDITORIAL DIRECTOR K atie Pollock E stes

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!

ART INTERN E lisabeth Behnke CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Lemmon, Peyson Shields CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS Heather K ane, E lisabeth Behnke, Vivian Wheeler, J essica J efferson, Margaret White, J ohn Weber, Dave J ones, Tom Altom, Matthew Damm FINANCE MANAGER Carley Inskeep ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Bernadette Pry PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER G ary Whitaker VICE PRESIDENT/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Logan Aguirre VICE PRESIDENT/FINANCE J oan Whitaker VICE PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER Dylan Whitaker PRIME WAYS





A deeper look at Jerry Parks’s chromed-up truck

How to get your truck ready for winter


Tips on how to sleep well on the road

CASUAL FOR A CAUSE How Prime associates give back with their wardrobes

Cooking VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3

Truck cab cookin' can be delicious and healthful with fresh ingredients.



on the Road Drivers share their

tips, tricks and best

mobile meals

See page 18 to learn how Prime Inc. Founder Robert Low promotes camaraderie at work.


See how Jerry Parks's truck lights up the night—and the roadways—with shining chrome details and Prime purple lights on p. 10.





Meet four drivers and their families who have mastered the art of delicious cooking and healthful eating from their homes on wheels.

28 NEED FOR SPEED Driver and NASCAR enthusiast Tom Altom takes his love of the road beyond his truck and onto the racetrack.





A SIMPLE SALUTE Their military training didn't prepare them just for the front lines; it's helping them succeed at Prime Inc.

“You don’t have to think about it. Just go in and take a class.” —Johanna Norsic


16 GET INTO PRIME SHAPE Your personal fitness revolution is closer than you think thanks to a variety of workout class options offered at Prime's fitness center.

Cacti aren't the only desert beauties you'll see in Arizona. Driver Matthew Damm snapped a pic of his blazing blue truck amidst the landscape.

Photos by Brandon Alms, Heather Kane; courtesy Shutterstock

Cody Rimel is the go-to guy for finding solutions in a pinch.



When it comes to direct deposit, can I use multiple accounts? “A person can set up to two different direct deposits with two different banks. A driver can also have money loaded onto the Comdata card, which is set up like a direct deposit. Also, if you are an independent contractor, you can set up an emergency fund with Prime that can be used for time off, taxes, Christmas presents or anything you want to save money for. We have one driver who calls it his ‘Harley fund.’”—Melissa Gintz-Sollars, Payroll Manager

As a company driver, when am I eligible for vacation? “We base our company driver vacation pay on miles run. This is a different process than other common methods of earning vacation by calendar date. The concept behind our method is it rewards those drivers who work harder, as they can earn a vacation quicker by achieving the mileage interval set by the division they are working in. Your company Fleet Manager can provide specific details.”—Stan Auman, Operations Manager

What is a TWIC card? Why do I need to have one?

Photo courtesy Prime Inc.

“A TWIC card is a Transportation Workers Identification Credential card. It will get you in and out of seaports, airports and railroad yards to pick up and drop off loads for Prime. With 30 to 40 percent of import goods coming through these secured seaports and airports, it is an important credential to have. Additionally, the high percentage of Prime drivers having a TWIC card becomes very lucrative in business negotiations, while also being an acceptable form of identification by security at some of our largest customers.”—Pat Leonard, Director of Operations, and Jennifer Sutton, TWIC Office


Whether you’ve worked for Prime Inc. for decades or only a few months, it’s natural to be curious about company happenings. Here, people in the know answer your burning questions.

Who is

Linda Brown? I heard the Prime Ways magazine is mailed to our home, but I haven’t received one. Why didn’t I receive a copy, and how can I get on the mailing list? Our goal is to try to reach all active Prime drivers via our mailing list. If for some reason you have not received a copy at your home, chances are we have an out-of-date address. We are so excited about this publication and strive to get it in the hands of all our associates. Copies will be available for pickup at all terminals. Drivers can update their mailing addresses and preferences with Andrea Mueller (amueller@driveforprime.com).

What happened to the Smith System and Maintenance class? “They didn’t go away; they just got remodeled. The Smith System is a fantastic course; however, its classroom design was for the use of small groups and city driving. We recognize that your time off the road is valuable. As we’ve grown in class size, we have adopted another safety course that we have titled Prime Safety Certified (PSC). The PSC course has similar training attributes while utilizing our driving simulators for maximum efficiencies. The maintenance class, which is an inspection breakdown, is still in effect. These courses are delivered by computer-based training (CBT) videos and are specific to Prime equipment for the best relevance.”—Matt Rachel, Orientation Manager

“I was born and raised just south of Detroit, Michigan. I have a very Italian Catholic family and would say that is where my ‘personality’ comes from. Before starting with Prime in 1990 a short 26 years ago, I worked in the shipping and transportation office at a steel mill for 16 years. I am blessed with six children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson. Professionally, I am an operations assistant and play a large role with Prime Student Driver placement. In 1990 I started working at the fuel desk and then moved to train on night dispatch, eventually moving to days and having my own fleet. In 2002 I began working with associates going through the PSD program; I have been here ever since. I am responsible for student placement, the completion of tax documents and I-9s when they obtain their CDLs and bonus payment to the instructors and PSDs. Along with trifecta bonuses, I ensure the instructors receive a bonus when their past PSD becomes a lead seat, are with Prime six months and hit their one-year anniversary. I receive and distribute Missouri CDLs and audit the drivers' guarantee pay for accuracy for C, B2 and B1 seats. When a fleet manager decides their top performers, I am responsible for getting the award letter to the recognized driver. You could say they keep me pretty busy around here.” —Linda Brown, PSD Placement PRIME WAYS


LIFE | SEPTEMBER 2016 Ben Cameron serves as Supervisor of Security at the Salt Lake City terminal. He walks the perimeter up to eight times a day to survey the grounds.

Right on Target Ben Cameron, supervisor of security at Prime Inc.’s Salt Lake City location, balances his work life with a side job as a hunting guide, all while being sure to save plenty of time for his family. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK




Photos by Brandon Alms


ike most people, Ben Cameron has a life at work and a life at home. At work, Cameron serves as the Supervisor of Security at Prime Inc.’s Salt Lake City location. At home, he’s a husband, a father and a part-time hunting guide for Heber City, U tah– based Rowdy Birddog Outfitters. In N ovember 2015, Cameron’s work life and home life collided, and it was one of his favorite memories of his career so far. “I went to Springfield, Missouri, for training last N ovember,” Cameron says. “I was there for seven days, but I trained for five of them.” On the other two days, Cameron spent his time getting to know his Springfield colleagues, and they took him deer hunting. “I’ve been deer hunting with my dad since I was 3 or 4 years old,” Cameron says. Living in U tah, Cameron’s life of deer hunting only included hunting for mule deer. “I killed my first white-tailed deer when I went out hunting in Springfield,” Cameron says. When Cameron returned home to U tah later that week, he had a new story to share

with his Prime associates and with his hunting clients—each of whom plays a major part in the 28 -year-old’s life.


Cameron works with Brian Singleton (left) to make sure everything runs smoothly.

As Prime’s Supervisor of Security, Cameron starts each workday at 4 a.m. His first task is usually checking the exterior fences of the Prime property for suspicious activity. “When we first moved into the yard, we had a couple of cases where cars were broken into,” Cameron says. “We didn’t have the security fence up then.” As he makes sure everything is in place, Cameron also helps drivers during this time. Some days things are a bit more exciting than others, like the time he arrived to the nighttime security worker finishing up a hot pursuit. “We had a couple of guys come into the parking lot about five minutes before I got here,” Cameron says. “He was chasing them out of the lot when I got in.” On typical days when there are no break-ins or intruders, Cameron finishes up his morning rounds around 6 a.m. then heads inside to check email and see what important tasks he has that day. N ext he’ll spend much of his time monitoring the cameras that broadcast the high-risk security areas, and he’ll often help drivers out with questions and concerns. He’ll also help answer emails about highvalue loads. He’s the overlooking eye that makes sure all things both inside and outside go as planned, and he’s also often the guy drivers call on when help is needed.

OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE When he’s not busy at Prime, Cameron dedicates several weekends a year to his hunting guide gig. “I’ve been a guide for an outfitter here for five years,” Cameron says of his job at Rowdy Birddog Outfitters. Cameron was born and raised in K earns, U tah, and he says he basically grew up hunting with his dad and brother. Today he guides deer hunts, elk hunts and moose hunts, and he does it for everyone from common folk to celebrities. “I got to take K arl Malone moose hunting,” Cameron says. “He’s an N BA superstar who

Over the Years November 2010: Started working in the inbound bay at Prime Inc.’s Salt Lake City location.


played for the U tah J azz. He didn’t kill one, though.” Hunting season runs from Septem- Cameron first started at Prime in N ovember ber 1 to mid-N ovember, and Cameron often 2010 in the inbound bay where he did cashes in a few vacation days to spend a little everything from fueling up trucks to assisting extra time providing the service for his favor- drivers. It was also here that he learned how ite pastime. to drive a big rig, which is a great skill for any Cameron also spends his personal time employee of a trucking company to have. But with his family. He met his wife, Alysha, on when he was offered to move to security in a blind date. The two were married in 2009 , 2015, he welcomed the change. “I was excited and they now have three children: 2-year-old about doing something different,” Cameron Huntlei, 4 -year-old Tynleigh and 6 -year-old says. He’s more than happy with his new role. Rhyder. The family also likes to spend time “E verything seems to be moving in the right outdoors, and they’ve recently started a tra- direction for me,” Cameron says. “I can’t see dition of ice fishing together. myself working anywhere else.”

Ben Cameron, supervisor of security at Prime Inc.’s Salt Lake City location, shares a few milestone moments in his career at Prime.

April 2011: Learned how to drive a tractor trailer. “I knew how to operate a truck and stuff, but I definitely didn’t know how to get them to move around before then,” Cameron says.

Early November 2015: Was promoted to his role of Supervisor of Security at Prime Inc.’s Salt Lake City location.

Mid-November 2015: Flew to Springfield, Missouri for security training (and killed his first white-tailed deer while there).

November 2016: Will celebrate one year in his new role.



A simple salute Many of the men and women who fulfill their daily duties at Prime Inc. also fulfilled a calling to serve our nation. Meet three veterans whose military memories are always with them, whether behind a desk or behind a wheel.




Military History: Mario Tommaselli joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in January of 2002. As a field radio operator, his specialty was communications. By the time he left the Reserves in 2009, he was a platoon sergeant for a communications company in charge of a platoon of 30 Marines. The typical role of such a company is to deploy and “attach” to different battalions that need communications experts in the field. Tommaselli served on one active deployment in Iraq for six months in 2003, where his company attached to a transport support group and worked to coordinate the activities of land and air vehicles.

Military History: Tracy Pinkney joined the U.S. Army in 1980 on the administrative side of service, starting as a mail clerk at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. As part of her training, the Army trained her to work in the post office, a skill that led to tours in Korea, two tours in Germany and time working on the staff of the Secretary General at Fort Knox, earning commendation medals and Soldier of the Month several times. She left the service in 1991 as a sergeant and today lives in Louisville.

Military History: Not too many lease-operators for Prime began their careers as a Boatswain’s Mate, but John Harper is an exception. A Boatswain’s Mate is the Navy’s version of a utility man in baseball, filling in where needed and learning a broad range of skills. Harper, for example, did everything from manning guns to running cranes during assignments on the U.S.S. Tarawa and the U.S.S. Mount Vernon after joining the Navy in 1992. His service included two tours in the Persian Gulf in 1996 and ‘97. During his time working cranes, Harper earned the Naval Achievement Medal for safe crane operation after clearing 18,000 square feet of space safely in less than 12 hours.

Prime Service: Tommaselli began his career at Prime in 2010 in the most entry-level of positions— in the fuel bay at the company’s Pittston, Pennsylvania, base. Today he’s a tractor shop foreman and leads 10 or so mechanics in the repair of the trucks. He had zero experience in the trucking field when he started at Prime, and he says his military experience played a big role in his progression there. Accountability, responsibility and attention to detail all played into a more mature attitude for his age, he says. In His Own Words: “Keeping track of everything going on [in a Marine company] played a big part in what I do now: organizing and getting the tractors in and out and managing the mechanics.”



Prime Service: Louisville may be her address, but the road is Pinkney’s home. As a lease-operator for Prime, Pinkney drives reefer trailers in the lower 48 states and Canada. She stopped driving a couple of times to be with her kids and sick mother, but despite earning an LPN nursing license, she always came back. “Once you start, it’s in your blood,” she says. In Her Own Words: “It takes a lot of discipline out here. I try my best to be a good example and a good reflection on Prime. That’s what keeps me going. I take personal pride in what I do.”

Prime Service: Now living in Waynesville, Missouri, and working as a flatbed lease-operator for Prime, Harper has put his cargo-loading skills to use in the trucking world. The Navy gave him a better idea of what he can do on his flatbed as well as some tricks for securing loads others may not tackle. “As long as you can put it on a deck, you can move it,” he says. In His Own Words: “Never give up, do your best, and no one can ever fault you.”

Photos courtesy Mario Tommaselli, Tracy Pinkney, John Harper


The Roundup

Thanks to discounts and perks, Prime Inc. associates can truly unwind at the Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi.

No matter what part of the country you’re in, we’ve found the friendliest and cleanest truck stops with the best amenities to get both you and your truck refueled on the road. BY ROSE MARTHIS

Flying J 2611 Fisher Blvd., Barstow, California; pilotflyingj.com With tons of restaurants and an outlet mall, this is so much more than a regular truck stop. Driver TJ Owen says the showers are clean, the staff is nice, and there is plenty of room to walk. Drivers Jaynie and Rick Howland agree. The Howlands say they can get out of their truck and relax, get some exercise and get the items they need all at the same time.

Newborn Truck Stop 840 Georgia 100, Tallapoosa, Georgia; facebook.com/newborntruckstoptallapoosaga Driver Marlin Samples and his fiancé Ashley Wade love the perks at this stop near the Samples’ hometown. The food is homemade, the staff is friendly, and there is ample parking with more than 200 spots. There’s also a truck wash, chrome shop and sign shop with professional technicians to make your ride look its best.

Photos courtesy Justin Stephen, Mandi Walsh

Photos courtesy Mario Tommaselli, Tracy Pinkney, John Harper

Dysart’s 1110 Broadway, Bangor, Maine; dysarts.com Dysart’s has three locations in Maine, and Driver Cavin Archie’s favorite is in Bangor because the restaurant serves up homemade comfort food favorites. “They offer family-style seating for truck drivers, so we can sit down and converse over a good meal about life on the road and other

TREAT YOURSELF experiences,” Archie says. Dysart’s also offers full-service diesel pumps, clean showers and restrooms and a comfortable drivers’ lounge.

Little America Travel Center Interstate 80, Exit 68, Little America, Wyoming; wyoming.littleamerica. com/travel-center Driver Justin Stephen makes it a point to stop here for one reason: the tubs. “Their shower rooms are very large with plenty of room to move around in, marble countertops and spacious stalls,” he says. “The best part is they each have a large marble tub so you can soak and relax after days of long, hard driving.” After a long soak, grab a bite at the Travel Center Grill, and use the stop’s laundry facilities, post office and 24-hour convenience store.

When you need to unwind from a long day, enjoy your favorite drinks while relaxing in a lounge or spend time outdoors playing on golf course greens at Palace Casino Resort. BY KARLEE RENKOSKI ou’ve earned a break from a busy schedule and weeks spent on the road. N ext time you’re passing by Biloxi, Mississippi, let Palace Casino Resort’s associates treat you right with a relaxing and entertaining experience. G eorge Alexander, Palace Casino Resort director of hotel operations, says the resort regards Prime Inc. associates as family, and if they need anything at all, they simply have to ask. The resort offers discounts on a variety of services, including hotel rooms, food, golfing, spa services and items in the gift shop. On weekends, Prime Inc. associates receive free champagne, cheese and fruit to start their time at the resort on the right foot. Truck parking is also available. To find more information about Palace Casino Resort’s services and discounts available to Prime associates, visit primeinc.com driver-benefits.


Bosselman Travel Center 3335 W. Wood River Rd., Grand Island, Nebraska; bosselman.com/travelcenter Driver Catherine Di Lorenzo prefers safe stops with good parking. One of the best, she says, is Bosselman Travel Center. “It’s pretty well-lit, and there are no narrow lanes you have to go through,” she says. “At 2 a.m. I can park for a 30-minute break, and there are always drivers around.” The center also has three restaurants, showers and laundry facilities and a movie theater, among other amenities.

We got that fixed for you, John. When researching for this story, drivers submitted places from all over the country. But one stood out to us. “Russell’s Travel Center—great ’50s diner. [There’s a] car and memorabilia museum that is free to visit. There are toy semis from almost every trucking company, except Prime. They would love to have a couple from us to display with the other companies. I sent a request to upper management, but I don’t know why one wasn’t sent out.” —John White Keep an eye out for Prime toy trucks to join the displays at Russell’s. Prime has sent replica trucks to the diner.

A WALK WITH A PURPOSE When Jaime Ely saw an opportunity to give back to the community, he pulled together Prime Inc.’s fleet managers and drivers to lead a fight against heart disease and stroke. BY KARLEE RENKOSKI rime Inc. associates chose to make a difference by participating in the 2016 Southwest Missouri Heart Walk in April, and their efforts paid off. Prime Inc.’s team, which called itself Prime Time 1, became the top fundraising Heart Walk team, raising $8 ,7 4 5 for the American Heart Association. The team was composed of 1 fleet members who then got other dispatchers and drivers on board to donate. Prime Time 1 also had the top individual fundraiser, Terri Higdon, who raised more than $3 ,6 00 for the cause. Team captain J aime E ly, a Prime Inc. Operations Manager, said the company puts a big emphasis on the health of its associates—heart health included. “We saw Heart Walk as an opportunity to walk the walk and not just talk the talk,” he says. “It shows how serious we are about health.”




day in the life




Cody Rimel’s days are filled in his role as a Road Assist Coordinator, but he found time to develop wheel covers that reduce drag and save Prime drivers about 1 percent a year in fuel costs.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to keep a company with so many moving parts thriving? Follow the faces of Prime Inc. throughout their hectic days to learn how everything comes together. BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT



that includes finalizing active situations and documenting their status in the work-order system so the associate handling the night shift understands which issues require further attention. “I try to make sure everything is buttoned up,” he says. Rimel clocks out at 6 p.m. and heads home. A self-described hobby unkie, he usually spends 0 minutes or so on fun pro ects. r he might play a few rounds at illwood olf Racquet Club with others in the Prime golf league. nce his fianc gets home, he prepares a light, easy dinner, watches the local news and turns in for the night so he can be alert and well rested for the next day.

WELLWHEELED Fuel is a major cost for Prime Inc.’s fleet of trucks, but Rimel designed a way to significantly reduce fuel expenses for those vehicles. Inspired in part by the aerodynamics of Bonneville Salt Flats race cars, he realized that placing covers on tires would decrease drag and ultimately reduce fuel costs. The concept got the green light, resulting in 1 percent yearly savings— about $600 to $700 per truck the first year. Rimel’s ingenuity and proactive thinking yielded an effective money-saving enhancement, making Prime’s fleet even more efficient.

Photo by Brandon Alms


car and motorcycle enthusiast, Cody ues tackling situations within his group of Rimel knows quite a bit about what it drivers such as blowouts, accidents, breaktakes to keep vehicles running. Those downs and many other issues, which vary same skills apply in his role as a Prime Inc. dramatically from day to day. “I could talk Road Assist Coordinator. Rimel handles to someone in ersey with a flat tire, someissues that arise within a fleet of rough- one in Florida with a reefer down,” he says. ly 4 8 0 drivers so they can get back on the “I could talk to someone in California. ou road safely and smoothly. Each day brings ust don’t know.” If a problem arises, calls a new set of challenges for which he en oys or computerized messages alert him, and finding fast, resourceful and cost-effective he gets on the phone to coordinate maintesolutions. “ y favorite part of the ob is that nance or other services for drivers. it’s never the same thing,” he says. Midday: Rimel typically grabs lunch Morning: Rimel hops out of bed at from the cafeteria at around 11 a.m. and eats 5 a.m. and heads to Prime’s Springfield, at his desk so he can continue fielding any headquarters from his home in the near- calls or messages. Aside from a brief break, by town of Republic. He works 12-hour Rimel spends the rest of the afternoon ugshifts on a five-days-on, three-days-off gling dozens of situations, the goal of which rotating schedule. Weather permitting, he is to coordinate maintenance and get drivheads to work on his beloved motorcycle, ers running again safely and smoothly so a Harley Davidson he took apart and com- they can meet their delivery deadlines. “We pletely rebuilt. make sure that load gets where it needs to After clocking in, Rimel gets settled and because we are known for on-time delivery,” runs a report listing the trucks receiving he says. repairs. He also sends reminders to drivers The number of situations he handles flucwith overdue maintenance, reviews the sta- tuates, but each week usually amounts to at tus of work orders from the overnight shift least several hundred. “Certain days can be and monitors his group of drivers, plus more than others, but you’ll take at least 4 0 those in another fleet until its road assist plus calls a day, I would say,” Rimel says. coordinator arrives at 7 a.m. If everything is “Some days have more than others, but they running smoothly, Rimel walks to the cafe- can add up.” teria for a quick breakfast at about 7 0 a.m. Evening: Starting at around 5 p.m., After returning to his desk, Rimel contin- Rimel concludes the workday with a routine



With three full-service terminals and 12 other locations nationwide, there’s always something noteworthy happening at Prime Inc.

DRESSING THE FLEET Terminal: Prime East In the three years that the Fab Shop has been at Prime East, it has quickly become a vital part of the company for custom manufacturing and fabrication. The eight associates at the shop are responsible for building tractor deer guards and even help the maintenance team with projects to improve the Springfield headquarters. But one of the most important projects Prime East works on are trailer skirts, which the shop has been building since 2010. Prime had to start adding skirts to trailers after a mandate from the State of California enforced stricter rules on fuel efficiency, but then they started designing their own skirts. “We’re not just doing it to be compliant, we’re doing it to save our operators money,” says Paul Smith, Prime Plaza and Trailer Rebuild Manager. Smith says the trailer skirts gain operators a 6 percent savings in fuel efficiency, and when the fleet runs roughly 15 million miles a week, those savings add up quickly. What does 6 percent equate to? If a driver is getting 8 mpg pulling a trailer without skirts, then just by pulling one of Prime’s trailers with skirts it will improve to 8.48 mpg. A driver pulling a Prime trailer with skirts and tails will realize a 9 percent savings, boosting fuel economy from 8 mpg up to 8.72 mpg. If you’re an independent contractor driver for Prime, you get 100 percent of the savings.



Photos courtesy Prime Inc., Scott Freeman, Kristi Pinckney, Shutterstock

Photo by Brandon Alms

Terminal: Decatur In the last issue, we told you all about the effort the staff of Decatur Kleen puts into making sure every load is clean and safe for consumers. But what happens to all that water after it’s used to clean the tanks? That’s where the water purification and testing system comes in. After the trailers are washed, the water enters a plant to get treated with a dissolved air flotation unit. This state-of-the-art technology adds air to the water to create bubbles, and the oil and grease in the water cling to the bubbles so they can be skimmed off the top, Waste Water Plant Operator Scott Freeman says. Freeman has been working with water recycling systems for 20 years, spending the past five at Prime. “Being a licensed waste water operator, I take a lot of pride in knowing that basically we are in charge of taking care of the environment,” he says. Freeman and his team follow strict guidelines set by the State of Indiana and Adams County to ensure the water they are introducing back into the city’s sewer system is clean and safe. Freeman says the facility sees approximately 15,000 gallons of water a day. On a daily basis, he tests the water for pH balance and the limits set by the city, and he reports directly to the City of Decatur. In the five years Freeman has been there, the department has never had a violation. An independent lab also comes in once a month to take samples and confirm the results that Freeman finds. Freeman says he sees so many different drivers come through to get their tanks cleaned, and he encourages all of them to take a tour of the facility. He wants everyone to see the system’s technology. “I’ve been in a lot of different water treatment plants, and this is the Cadillac,” he says.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS Terminal: Denver If they haven’t heard already, drivers will be pleased to know that the Denver terminal now allows 24-7 access to the yard and office. After recognizing that drivers needed the same access to this terminal as they do to all terminals across the country, Prime and the Denver associates decided to add swipe card readers similar to the ones used at the Springfield headquarters. Now drivers have access to laundry facilities, restrooms and showers and a lounge area no matter when they arrive. “This change gives them more freedom and makes their lives better when they’re on the road,” says Bill Boehning, Prime’s head of security in Springfield. Adding swipe card readers also allowed Prime to increase safety at the Denver terminal. The project took about four months to complete, and Boehning says the drivers he has talked to like the ease of around-the-clock access. PRIME WAYS





Ask Owner/Operator Jerry Parks how long he’s been a driver at Prime Inc., and he likely won’t give you a straight answer. “Oh, I’ve been here a couple of days,” he says with a smile. But if you ask Parks anything about his truck—a lightweight 2010 Peterbilt he bought right off the lot when it was brand spankin’ new—he’ll chat for hours. The truck is named the TEMPLAR, a name Parks says is fitting due to his role as a Mason, and it’s decked out with everything including a custom-made bike rack, purple lighting and countless



custom-made carbon fiber accessories. “This truck drew me in,” says Parks, who is also known as ShadoWolf to many in the driving community. “As soon as I saw it, I saw visions of what I wanted it to be.” And after adding light after light and custom piece after custom piece created by John, Cody, Forrest and Alexis, a group of people Parks calls his “Mafia Crew,” he’s turned the vision into a reality. While he still has a few things to do before he calls it “finished,” he’s created a truck he’s more than proud to call his own.

Photos by Brandon Alms, Heather Kane



When it came time to pick the lighting for his truck, Parks knew exactly what he wanted. “It’s that Prime time purple!,” he says with a laugh. “It shows pride in your ride and the company I pull for.” But he also had other reasons for choosing the shade—it was his choice for personal reasons. “Purple is a royal color,” he says. The lights also do more than just shine, too. “It also has purple strobes and amber strobes,” Parks says.


All of the trucks Parks has driven over the years are accompanied with swan buglers. “I pulled my original one off of an old burnt-out Peterbilt,” he says. It was a brass-plated one and, due to the plating and being burned, it won’t shine up.” Parks found a new brass one (pictured) at a mom-and-pop chrome shop in Georgia, but unless he’s showing the truck or it’s starring in a photo shoot, he keeps the old burned one on his truck. “If that original one could talk, I’m sure it would have some stories,” Parks says. “I’ve wondered many times as to how many millions of miles it has traveled leading the way.”


This is the third cross Parks has installed on the front of this truck. “I’m a Mason, and I’m a Christian,” he says. And although the other two crosses rusted out over time, he hopes to keep this fancier accessory for a while. “This one, like the others, lights up amber, but it’s also back lit in purple,” he says. All of the truck’s purple lights complement its rich, unique shade, which Parks calls black cherry.


Photos by Brandon Alms, Heather Kane

Parks likes to grill his meals when he can. In fact, he used the truck’s original grill so much that he wore it out. “I grilled things from steaks, burgers, dogs and pork chops to veggies like corn, asparagus and baked potatoes,” he says. He even had a pan he would use to make eggs, French toast and the occasional grilled cheese. “But this isn’t the original barbecue grill; it’s the replacement,” he says. But it can still be turned to fit in the storage area on the side of the truck, and it can still cook up a delicious meal.


A custom aluminum shifter features holes to match the truck’s gun barrel stacks, and it adds to the luxurious feel of the cab. Also in here is a buzzard shifter cover that acts as a great conversation piece. “You know the reason I put that on the shifter?” Parks says. “It’s because I’ll take scraps. Some guys will say, ‘Oh, I’m not taking that,’ or ‘There’s no money in that.’ Not me. No! I don’t care. I don’t have to get the good freight every time. I’ll be making money either way, so I’ll take scraps. And that’s what buzzards get—buzzards get scraps!” Since the truck is lightweight, there isn’t room for any human passenger, but Parks does always have a companion by his side: his Chihuahua and miniature pinscher mix, Brandie. PRIME WAYS


When it comes to snowy weather, you can never be too safe. Winterizing your truck will help keep the cold season full of fun.

Winter is coming It’s never too early to start thinking about winterizing your truck. Lance Curtis, Salt Lake City Shop Manager, has a few ideas to keep you safe on the road this winter.



On the surface, Prime Inc.’s Roll Stability Critical Events system works to reduce rollover accidents. In reality, the technology is designed to do so much more. BY LILLIAN STONE



ance Curtis knows a thing or two about cold weather—he’s lived in the Salt Lake City area all his life. Curtis is the Shop Manager for Prime in Salt Lake City, and he has some tips for drivers looking to winterize their trucks.

Illustration by Elisabeth Behnke

GEAR UP According to Curtis, drivers should start with a once-over of their trucks, which can be performed without outside help. That process shouldn’t take more than an hour, Curtis says. He also emphasizes the importance of seasonal truck maintenance, especially in the face of wintry weather. An annual tire change, for example, is a must. “[ Drivers] should always keep an eye on tires and make sure they are in good shape and have adequate tread for the driving conditions,” Curtis says. Drivers should also check the level of their anti-gel, which keeps fuel systems running smoothly. All other fluid levels should be checked prior to any harsh weather. Additionally, windshield wipers should be checked and replaced if necessary. While you’re at it, switch to a cold weather wiper fluid and ensure that your windshield wiper fluid is filled.

PLAY IT SAFE U ltimately, drivers should be prepared for anything when the going gets snowy, which is why Curtis suggests carrying an extra gallon of antifreeze on board as well as extra anti-gel. It’s also smart to carry emergency supplies like extra blankets, food, water and other cold-weather essentials.


Not sure what to check during your winterizing once-over? This checklist will send you into the winter driving season with ease.  Schedule your annual tire change.  Check your brakes. Now is the time to replace brakes with signs of wear and tear.  Top off your anti-gel. Have a look at your other fluid levels while you’re at it.  Check your windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.  Pack an extra gallon of antifreeze on board.  Check all fluids every morning during cold weather driving.

At first glance, Prime Inc.’s Roll Stability Critical Events system has one purpose: to reduce rollover accidents. According to Bill Sprague, safety supervisor with Prime, the technology is initially focused on safety and quick action. If the system detects that a truck is at risk of a rollover, it first reduces the truck’s torque using gravity to slow its motion. If necessary, the system can also apply the truck’s brakes. According to Sprague, the system has much more to offer than that initial assistance. The system also tracks the location of critical events and notifies the driver and Prime. This information, which includes the speed of the event and a map view of the event’s location, is used to counsel drivers who receive the alerts. Sprague feels this system creates a sense of accountability between drivers and the habits that put them at risk of an accident. The technology has also drastically reduced rollover numbers— Prime drivers experienced 28 rollovers in 2015, a definite improvement from 2014’s 43 rollovers. “A rollover is a career-ender,” says Sprague. “This system is in place as a proactive measure to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Ultimately, the technology keeps drivers and those around them safe. PRIME WAYS



be well


After a Prime driver’s long day on the road, there’s nothing like hitting the hay—except when falling asleep easily or staying asleep for a full eight hours seems impossible. Dr. John Abraham offers primary care services for the Prime Wellness Program. With his advice on how to get better rest, drivers will never have to count sheep again. BY PEYSON SHIELDS


Illustration by Elisabeth Behnke

Night’s Sleep


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etting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, especially for Prime drivers who are constantly on the road. Taking steps to ensure drivers are well rested can improve their alertness in addition to their mental and physical health. Dr. John Abraham provides primary care services for the Prime Wellness Program and also works as a physician with Trinity Healthcare. Dr. Abraham explains why getting some shuteye is imperative. Prime Ways: What is an ideal sleep pattern for a driver? Dr. John Abraham: An ideal sleep pattern for an adult would be about 7 to 8 hours every night. In a night’s sleep you should go through four to six sleep cycles, and each cycle can last from 70 to 100 minutes. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of driving, achieving a healthy sleep pattern is difficult. However, power naps can be especially beneficial for drivers. Often, a 20-minute power nap can help increase alertness. P.W.: What are tips drivers can utilize to ensure a better night’s sleep? J.A.: 1. Try to reduce the intake of stimulants as the day goes on. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants and can make it difficult to shut down and fall asleep. Caffeinated beverages include coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, to name a few. Nicotine comes in the form of smoking, chewing tobacco and vaping with nicotine-based products. 2. Only lie down in the bunk when you are ready to sleep. If you plan on watching TV or reading a book, do so in a seat. If your body starts to recognize activities other than sleep occurring in the bunk, it can have a hard time registering that it needs to go to bed.

Illustration by Elisabeth Behnke

3. If you have prostate issues or tend to get up at night to use the restroom, stop fluid intake at least three hours before bed. 4. Minimize stimulation. Black out your sleeping area so there is no outside light waking you. Try to keep your sleeping area quiet—you might try ear plugs or a sound machine. If possible, silence your phone. 5. Consider turning the temperature down in the truck for a cooler night’s sleep.

P.W.: What are the effects of not getting enough sleep? J.A.: When drivers don’t get enough sleep, several factors go into play. In the short term, drivers can see effects of mood swings, decreased ability to concentrate, increased forgetfulness, lack of alertness and drowsiness. Long-term effects of poor sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.


—DR. JOHN ABRAHAM P.W.: Sleep apnea can affect restorative sleep. What is sleep apnea? J.A.: Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing pauses during sleep or your breaths are too shallow, resulting in a decreased oxygen level. It can have a higher incidence among drivers because men tend to be at higher risk than women, and the driver population tends to be more male than female. People that are overweight tend to have a higher chance as well. With drivers at the mercy of fast food, long hours and lack of physical activity, it further compounds the problem. For those drivers who are at risk for sleep apnea, a sleep study is important due to the effects on drivers’ health and performance if left untreated. Trinity refers at-risk drivers to Cardinal Sleep for testing, diagnosis, handling of equipment and monitoring.

Tested For S


Cardinal Sleep, an on-site full-service sleep lab, provides drivers with accurate, affordable results. Heather Moenkhoff is the Sleep Apnea Program Director for Cardinal Sleep. For more than 20 years, Moenkhoff has been in the respiratory and sleep industry, working on-site at Prime for the last five and a half. Moenkhoff cites dedication and accuracy as just two of the reasons why Cardinal Sleep is more than your average sleep lab. She explains more reasons here.

Fast “We get our results back within 8 hours of completing a sleep study,” Moenkhoff says. “When someone asks to get results back quickly in the hospital setting, we would consider five days quick. Having a network of Board-Certified Sleep Physicians who review the sleep studies and provide the interpretation and diagnosis allows us a quick turnaround time.”

Affordable “The cost to the drivers is kept very low, in most cases less than what a co-pay or a deductible would be,” she says. “The average cost for a sleep study in the hospital setting is $3,500 and higher; the cost to the drivers is a fraction of what they would pay in a hospital setting. Saving the drivers money and time is always a priority for Prime.”

More Info If you would like more information about the testing process and services offered on-site, please call Cardinal Sleep at 417-719-4267. If you feel you are at risk and you would like to be screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, please contact Trinity Healthcare at 417-521-3925.

Supportive “Acclimating to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea takes encouragement and assistance,” Moenkhoff says. “The goal is to help the drivers get what they need, when they need it.”


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the workout

get into

Prime shape Fitting exercise into your daily schedule can be the equivalent of a game of Tetris. Having to wake up before sunrise, rely on dry shampoo after your mid-day sweat session or stay late to pump iron can sometimes make getting a workout in seem impossible. However, Prime is doing its part to help you win that daily game of Tetris with a multitude of fitness classes so you can reach your goals. BY PEYSON SHIELDS

rime’s on-site fitness center is a hub of health and energy. Pick-up games, friendly banter and intense workouts help motivate those in the building to get up from their desks and get moving. “You need to take a break throughout the day,” says Johanna Norsic, Prime Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. “[It’s a] nice avenue to get in shape, sure, but also de-stress.” All associates have free access to the gym as well as the classes, which help provide a sense of camaraderie for team members who take a break to sweat together. “It’s right here, and you can do it on your breaks, whatever you can fit in your schedule,” she says. “You don’t have to think about it. Just go in and take a class.” You might not have to think about what exercises to do, but deciding which class to take might take some thought. Classes cover everything—cardio, weights, yoga, aerobics and more. Norsic has been at Prime for the past 11 years and has even invented some of the classes herself. She offers up some details about her favorites.



teaus and slim down post-pregnancy. “If you were to do an hour class, you’re done for the day,” Norsic says. “This is no-nonsense, and it’s an endurance workout to help the most important muscle in your body: your heart.” STEP Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Prepare to torch calories at this fast-paced aerobic step class set to upbeat music. Coordination isn’t a prerequisite for this 45-minute class; Norsic says attendees can take each step combination at their own pace.

Photos by Vivian Wheeler

Johanna Norsic teaches and has even created some group classes offered at Prime’s inhouse gym.

TURBO SCULPT Monday, 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.; Thursday, 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Jam out at this high-repetition, low-weight cardio class. This full-body workout starts out with a warm up, then moves into squats, focuses on chest, back, triceps and biceps, goes into lunges, hits shoulders and abs and ends with a cooldown. Don’t let the various exercises scare you—Norsic says that all moves can be modified. The tough, hour-long session uses free weights and has helped several associates break over pla-

quick tips

more than a label

Eating nutritiously on the road can be tough, but Stephanie Hanning, Prime Driver Health and Fitness Coordinator and a registered dietitian, offers up her tips for staying healthy. BY PEYSON SHIELDS etting healthy food on the road is easier said than done among plentiful snack aisles and fast food joints. Hanning says more than 50 percent of drivers are obese—relating to a 50 percent higher risk of diabetes among drivers, along with 87 percent of them suffering from hypertension or pre-hypertension. “What drivers eat plays a huge role in addressing these health issues and achieving a healthy weight,” Hanning says. “Improving driver nutrition will reduce disease risk and increase life expectancy.” START SMALL “If you don’t make time to make healthy lifestyle choices, then you are going to have to make time to be sick,” Hanning says. “Eating healthy foods is an investment in your health.” She encourages Prime drivers to start small. Make healthier choices by swapping out one or two notso-healthy habits at a time, such as choosing almonds over chips or a regular-sized candy bar instead of the king. “There will always be ‘bad’ choices, per se, and no perfect situation, but learning how to understand food products and make the best choice available is my goal for drivers,” Hanning says.

Whether you want to build endurance or bulk up, associates can achieve all their fitness goals with group classes.

THREE-STEP CHECK 1. Check the serving size Remember that calories add up as portions do. “If [drivers] consume multiple servings, they will need to multiply the nutrition facts numbers accordingly,” she says. 2. One-to-one One gram of protein per one gram of carbohydrates is Hanning’s ratio for success when choosing packaged food items. “If the product contains way more carbohydrates than protein, then it’s not the best food for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight,” she says. However, if there is more protein than carbs, she says you can chow down confidently.

Many associates take advantage of the free classes at Prime’s gym.

POWER YOGA Monday, 10 a.m.; Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. As a level-5 yoga instructor, Norsic loves teaching this popular class. Even though this is a slower-paced class, this hour of tranquility doesn’t come without its fair share of sweat. Norsic says that this class is great for people who have back issues or who can’t do other high-impact exercises. AB BLAST Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. With standing abs, kickboxing and various floor exercises during the

last 15 minutes, this class, created by Norsic, has become one of the most popular at Prime. Thanks to its focus on the core and intense cardio, you’re bound to burn off last night’s dinner. BOOTCAMP Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Taught by Josh Luttrell, this cardio intense class incorporates running sprints outside, jumping rope inside and more. With so much variety, this class is never the same, which keeps you on your toes in more ways than one.

3. Decode the ingredients Read the ingredients on a label to know exactly what you’re eating. “What is listed first is what the product contains the most of, with decreasing amounts of each ingredient thereafter,” Hanning says. Hint: If it doesn’t have a label (i.e., a vegetable or fruit), that’s a good option. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES Stopping by the soda fountain is how Hanning says drivers can easily fill up on empty carbohydrates and calories. “One of the best things drivers can do for their health is to not consume sugar-sweetened beverages,” she says. These drinks have no nutritional value, she adds. Fill your cup up with water, or a diet drink if you must have your fix.

STEPHANIE’S TOP PICKS Find these foods at most convenience stores for healthier snacking: nuts and nut butters, string cheese, veggies, cottage cheese cups, Greek yogurt, prepackaged boiled eggs, tuna and salmon packets and protein shakes.






on the Road Ever miss the luxury of a home-cooked meal? Although they don’t have kitchens in their trucks, these Prime drivers have adapted to the ways of the road and found all they need to prepare great meals while on the go. Learn their stories and a few favorite recipes, and pick up some tips that’ll have you cooking your own flavorful fare in no time flat. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK



Questions With THE COOK Reefer Division Driver Jessica Jefferson, a North Carolina native, shares how she cooks for herself and her full-time passenger—her husband, Daniel—while they’re out on the road. P.W.: What kitchen tools do you use? J.J.: It just depends. I have a few ways I can cook on my truck, but I mainly cook out of my crockpot. I have a rubber band thing I can put over the top of it so it doesn’t spill when I’m going down the road. Sometimes before I start driving, I’ll prepare a meal. I’ll go ahead and put whatever I’m going to cook in a crockpot and let it cook while driving. And sometimes I’ll do it before I go to bed; that way it’ll be ready when I wake up in the morning. I also have a little grill, and sometimes we’ll take the grill out and we’ll cook on that. My husband will cook on that, too. We also have a two-burner stove, like one you would use camping. We cook on that outside. But my crockpot is the one thing I couldn’t live without.

Reefer Division Driver Jessica Jefferson (right) and her husband, Daniel, stay health-conscious by cooking their own meals right from their truck.

Jessica Jefferson: I came from a family that likes to cook. My great-grandparents pretty much grew everything that they cooked. My grandmother and my great-grandmother owned a restaurant together. It was a burger place with hamburgers and hot dogs. My great-grandmother baked a lot of cakes and things from scratch. I was always watching my parents and grandparents. I didn’t actually start cooking until I was 12, and it was just homemade Hamburger Helper.

P.W.: How did you start cooking on your truck? J.J.: I originally started doing a Shelbyville account and running for Walmart. There I had



a little bit of time in and out of the truck, and I had the option to wash dishes and things like that, so I started cooking. It was both me and my husband on the truck, so it was cheaper for us to go buy food and cook it than to go out and eat all the time.

P.W.: What’s your favorite thing about cooking on the road? J.J.: I get to where I miss home, and cooking has always been a stress reliever for me. So if I’m having a long day or I miss home, I can just cook, and it makes me feel comfortable again. It makes me feel a little better about being away from home. A lot of people say, “You like to cook after driving all day?” And yeah, I do, actually. It’s my way of winding down and relaxing.

J.J.: Space. That’s one thing—the major thing. Another thing, I guess, is being able to keep everything clean. When I cook, I like to stay sanitized. If I touch meat, well, I can’t keep a sink on my truck. I use sanitizer wipes and keep a jug of water with dishwashing liquid so I can wash my hands.

P.W.: What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about starting cooking on the road? J.J.: Don’t think because you drive 10 or 11 hours a day that you don’t have time for it or you’re too tired for it. You can get up an hour before you start driving and make your meal in about 20 minutes so it can cook while you’re driving. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. My husband will sometimes tell me, “We eat crockpot meals all the time!” So I’ll try something different. Just because you’re limited by space in your truck doesn’t mean you’re limited in ideas.

Photos courtesy Jessica Jefferson, Shutterstock

Prime Ways: How did you develop an interest in cooking?

P.W.: What challenges come with cooking on the road?

Regional Groceries What’s one of the best parts of driving all over the country? Taking advantage of regional culinary delights! Drivers share a few musthave items dotted all over the map. Lobster. When you’re in Maine, treat yourself to some fresh-from-the-Atlantic lobster. A stop for the seafood is a definite must-do for driver Charles White and his wife, Margaret.

A crockpot and grill help Jefferson make wholesome, balanced meals on the road.

Carolina Treet. North Carolina native Jessica Jefferson says she likes stocking up on Carolina Treet, a cooking barbecue sauce, while she’s close to home. “It’s kind of between a marinade and a salad dressing,” Jefferson says. “It’s really good to cook stuff in the Crock-Pot with.”

Drumsticks can be tossed on the grill for a protein addition that’s ready in minutes.

Organic meats. Any time he’s hauling a load through Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Dave Jones says he always makes sure to plan a stop in Amish Country to load up on goodies. “They have all-organic meats with no steroids or chemicals, no preservatives and no dyes,” Jones says. “Also, the meats are probably $2 less per pound than buying them in the grocery store.”

Cabbage Soup

Photos courtesy Jessica Jefferson, Shutterstock

Serves 4 to 5 By Driver Jessica Jefferson Ingredients: 2 to 3 cups water 2 tablespoons butter 1 to 2 tablespoons Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend 1 to 2 tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning Salt and pepper to taste 1 head cabbage, sliced into thin strips 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 orange bell pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 pound smoked sausage (turkey or beef), sliced 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, chopped

To prepare: Place two to three inches of water in a slow cooker. Add butter and seasonings and turn heat to high. Add cabbage, peppers, onion and sausage and turn every couple of minutes. After 30 minutes, add potatoes. Add additional water if needed. After approximately 30 more minutes, turn heat to low and cook an additional 30 minutes to an hour. If you prefer softer cabbage and vegetables, cook longer.

Fresh produce. If he finds himself in the South during springtime or early summer, Jones loads up on all the fresh produce he can get his hands on. “I’ll pick up whatever I can find,” Jones says. This includes veggies like peppers and tomatoes and fruits like strawberries, grapefruits, oranges and melons. Driver Charles White and his wife, Margaret, also stop at veggie stands all throughout Pennsylvania, and they’ve even found great watermelon at a field in Florida. PRIME WAYS


The White family worked with Prime Nutritionist Stephanie Hanning to develop a healthy meal plan that includes lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

meals on The White family is able to eat three healthful meals a day, and they’re all prepared from their Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.


argaret White loves pre- “I’ll make pancakes and biscuits occasionparing meals for her family ally—pretty much any breakfast food you of three, but the way she can think of,” she says. In an effort to eat does it is different than more healthful foods, they recently startmost. Since she spends the majority of her ed a keto diet, so carbs don’t come around time on the road with her husband, reefer too often these days. “Charles is a Type driver Charles White, and their son, 9 -year- II diabetic,” Margaret says. “We do a lot old Devon, there’s no spacious kitchen to of replacements that are lower carb and prepare breakfast, nor a dinner table to better for you.” This includes things like gather around. Instead, Margaret had to BLT wraps and turkey club sandwiches adapt to cooking on the truck, which was for lunch and fish and veggies and diabetpossible thanks to what she calls her favor- ic chili for dinners. “Prime’s N utritionist ite kitchen tool: the N inja 3 -in-1 Cooking [ Stephanie Hanning] helped us with our System. “The N inja is an oven, a crockpot diet,” Margaret says. Charles has gone from 24 5 pounds to and a skillet in one,” Margaret says. “We 18 3 pounds, and Margaret has lost 20 do most of our cooking in there.” Both Charles and Devon love omelets for pounds herself—both impressive facts breakfast, but Margaret doesn’t stop there. considering the family only goes home for



Mongolian Beef Stir Fry Serves 4 By Margaret White, full-time passenger and wife of driver Charles White Ingredients: 2 pounds chuck tender steak 1 16-ounce bag of frozen broccoli stir-fry 1 12-ounce bag broccoli florets 1 cup Worcestershire sauce 5 cups Coca-Cola Instructions using a slow cooker or Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System To prepare: Preheat Ninja to 375�F, or preheat slow cooker on high for 15 minutes. Place steak in cooker with Worcestershire sauce and 3 cups Coca-Cola. Cover, and let cook 45 minutes. Remove cover, and break meat into chunks. Add the broccoli stir-fry, broccoli florets and remaining 2 cups Coca-Cola. Cover, and let cook an additional 20 minutes. Stir and serve.

Photos courtesy Margaret White, Shutterstock



Photos courtesy Margaret White, Shutterstock

Margaret White swears by her Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System. It’s a slow cooker, oven and skillet all in one, which allows the Whites to cook a variety of healthy meals while racking up the miles.

roughly one week every three months. In addition to diets, Prime helped the family develop exercise programs that work for them, and they also suggested apps for tracking their fitness on their phones. “ y husband walks three miles a day,” Margaret says. “We also use resistance bands, especially in the cooler months.” When Margaret isn’t exercising or cooking, she spends a lot of time meal planning—an essential task for anyone who wants to cook on the road. “We grocery shop once per week,” Margaret says. With an apartment-sized refrigerator and freezer on-board, plus an extra cooler for vegetables, the family knows exactly how much to buy to last for their week. “We use the truck and travel app,” Margaret says. “ e’ll find a almart that’s truck-friendly on the route, then call to make sure we are good to park there.” She will purchase food for tried-and-true favorites and for new recipes, and she’ll be sure to know the week’s route so she can plan whether she’ll be cooking up fresh fish and veggies or letting something stew in the slow cooker all day. “If he’s going to be driving past dinner time, I’ll go ahead and make a slow cooker meal,” Margaret says. “We have to plan ahead. We don’t cook while driving.” In addition to eating healthier, Margaret says that learning to cook on the road has helped the family save a lot of money. “For our family of three, we would be spending $100 to $120 a day on food if we ate out,” she says. “N ow our grocery bill is $18 0 a week. That’s dramatic savings.”

“For our family of three, we would be spending $100 to $120 a day on food if we ate out. Now our grocery bill is $180 a week. That’s dramatic savings.” —Margaret White



1. Through careful planning, Margaret White can prepare meals for herself, her husband Charles and their son Devon. 2. Dishes like Guacamole Stuffed Chicken are made in the Ninja 3-in-1. 3. A Taco Salad Cheese Bowl is a healthy twist on Mexican food.



2 3

a taste


of Home




t wasn’t too long before driver home-cooked creations. “I can fit a 0-day J ohn Weber grew tired of truck supply of dinners in there,” J ohn says. While on the road, J ohn simply takes a stop food. “It was way too expensive,” says J ohn, who has been a container out of the freezer in the morning flatbed driver for Prime Inc. for so it can defrost. Then when he gets hunalmost four years. “I thought, ‘I gry for dinner, he pops the entire container in the microwave ( they order disposable, have to find a better way.’” ohn first turned to microwavable dinners microwavable containers from Amazon) that didn’t need to be frozen or refrigerat- and gives it a quick stir. His dinner is ready in ed, including Hormel Compleats that can minutes, and it’s much tastier than any prego from the shelf to steaming in about 6 0 made item from a gas station or grocery store. J ohn usually has four or so options on the seconds flat. “They still weren’t healthy, but they were less expensive,” J ohn says. Then truck at one time, with made-from-scratch one day between microwaving meals, he was feasts like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, in a Prime company store, and he noticed a lasagna, beef stew and a family-favorite freezer that he could use on his truck. “Those Hungarian goulash regularly on the menu. things aren’t cheap,” J ohn says. After looking “We’ve tried pot pies, but they’re not as easy at it and talking to his wife, E ileen, he decid- to put in the containers,” E ileen says. They ed to make the investment. “I thought, ‘You have had luck with things like unstuffed peppers, Mexican chicken and rice and G eneral know, this could pay for itself,’” he says. Back home in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, Tso’s chicken—one of the newest entré es E ileen started preparing large batches of her on the menu. “The dishes just have to have favorite recipes, portioning the extras into something with some kind of liquid in them,” single serving– size containers and putting E ileen says. “That’s what makes the differthem in the freezer. Then, when J ohn head- ence when he reheats them.” J ohn expected the freezer to pay for itself ed home for his next break, they packed the truck’s freezer full with plenty of E ileen’s in six months. “It ended up paying for itself



in two,” he says. “That was a huge benefit. It saves me 200 to $3 00 a month.” The pluses go far beyond the savings in a bank account. “Also, I just feel like I’m eating better,” J ohn says. “Those microwavable dinners are just so high in sodium and preservatives. If you think about it, it’s meat that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. That can’t be good for you.” And E ileen agrees. “Before, he was eating the types of foods that you read the ingredient list and don’t even know what some of them are,” she says. “N ow he’s getting all home-cooked meals out there.” 1. Lasagna is one of the Webers’ favorite meals. 2. John’s freezer can hold a whole month of dinners. 3. Eileen uses fresh bell peppers in her unstuffed peppers dish. 4. The Webers get disposable microwaveable containers from Amazon. 5. When John is home, he and Eileen enjoy cooking together.

Photos courtesy John Weber, Shutterstock

Before driver John Weber leaves his Pennsylvania home for multiple weeks on the road, his wife, Eileen, makes sure to fill his truck freezer with plenty of home-cooked meals.


Habits Eileen’s unstuffed peppers dish starts in a skillet at home and ultimately ends up in John’s freezer on the road.


Maybe you’ve mastered your cooking on the road, or maybe you’re still new to the idea. Stephanie Hanning, MS, RD, LD, Prime Inc.’s driver health and fitness coordinator, shares a few tips on improving your eating habits, no matter where you stand on the spectrum. 1. Drink calorie-free beverages, preferably water. Drinking lots of water helps prevent the fatigue that can come from dehydration. Aim to consume at least 64 ounces of water per day. 2. Consider getting a cooler. Having cold storage increases the healthy options you can pack with you.

Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken

Photos courtesy John Weber, Shutterstock

Serves 6 By Eileen Weber, as prepared for driver John Weber Ingredients: 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ½ cup sugar ½ cup low sodium soy sauce ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice ½ cup white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated (or ½ teaspoon dried) ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper ¼ cup cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water Rice and broccoli, if desired 4 green onions, sliced for garnish To Prepare: Combine flour, salt and pepper in a resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about two minutes per side (it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way at this point). Set aside. In the slow cooker, whisk sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper until well combined. Add chicken to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. If you like your sauce thicker, add water and cornstarch mixture about 30 minutes before serving. Stir it in slowly so you don’t scrape the breading from the chicken. Serve with rice and broccoli and garnish with green onion, if desired.

3. Plan, plan, plan. Plan your food intake for the week. Have healthy snacks on-hand to grab when hunger hits. Some examples include veggies, nuts, string cheese, boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. 4. Eat smaller meals more frequently to prevent extreme hunger. This will allow for better food choices overall. When you are starving, you can rationalize any food item that you want. 5. Eat breakfast! That means the meal following sleep, not necessarily always in the morning. If you separate the word you see “break” the “fast.” It is important to give your body some fuel as soon as you wake up to jumpstart your metabolism. 6. Try to eat whole foods as much as possible. Look at the ingredients on products to determine how processed a food is. If the ingredients list is a mile long, has words in it you don’t know how to pronounce or includes items that you wouldn’t use to cook at home, it’s a very processed food and likely not the healthiest choice. 7. If eating fast food, check out the nutrition facts online before you order. Most restaurants have healthier choices on the menu. Also consider only eating half the bun if you are getting a sandwich and forgoing the French fries and soda. PRIME WAYS



Cooking Dave Jones, an owner/operator in the tanker division who has been driving for 27 years, shares his story and tips about cooking from his truck.









make a crescent roll that’s seamless—it’s just a big dough sheet. So I’ll take my leftovers and lay them on the dough sheet, roll it over and make a pocket, then throw it on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes. My advice to anyone who is thinking about cooking on the road is to just do it. You can find things that work for you. There’s a whole bunch of resources on the web, and I have a Facebook page with a bunch of recipes for drivers. It’s called Catwalk Cookin’. [Editor’s Note—You can find this by searching Catwalk Cookin’ on Facebook.] You can see pictures and recipes on there. Also, my website,

catwalkcookin.com, is in the works. I do a cost analysis on every meal I prepare. Because I’m an owner/ operator, I’m very conscientious about how much I’m spending. Since I started cooking I’ve gone from spending $250 to $300 a week to $60 every week. That’s cooking one big meal a day and using leftovers from the previous day for other meals, plus fruits and vegetables. When I started cooking full-on, I lost 30 pounds, and I’m still losing. I’m down to 200 pounds now. It’s because of the way I’m eating and the way I’m preparing things—I’m not frying things. There are

Photos courtesy Dave Jones, Shutterstock

’m 49. I’ve been driving for 27 years, and I was in the military before that. I started cooking on the road many years ago when I first started driving with my dad, who actually taught me how to drive—he’s a veteran driver of 50 years. When I first started driving with him, we’d do a lot of loads in the middle of nowhere where you couldn’t buy any real food, so we started cooking meals for ourselves. We started wrapping food in aluminum foil and heating it with a blowtorch. There were no real APUs [auxiliary power units] on the truck, and we couldn’t plug anything in. This was in 1988. So we just cooked everything in foil with a blowtorch— steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs. You name it. But then I gave cooking up for a while, because to clean up everything was a pain in the neck. When I came to Prime, I had a trainee on a special diet from Siphiwe, and he couldn’t eat a lot in truck stops. We had a gas grill, so I thought I would find out his diet and make him things to save us time from always having to find him something that fit his diet. I found a 4-in-1 cooker at Walmart. It cooks rice, it’s a slow cooker, it’s a vegetable steamer and it makes soup. I started using it a lot. I use it to reheat food by steaming it. Really I cook with the grill, the slow cooker and a skillet. I have a 1,500-watt inverter in the truck to plug things in. My mom is Italian, so that’s where I get my love for cooking from. I do a lot of different things. I do a chicken with pico de gallo over rice that’s really good. I do a stuffed meatloaf with mashed potatoes that’s really good. I do chicken cordon bleu, I do stuffed and smothered steak with grilled potatoes, I do pot roast, I do a five-bean five-alarm chili... I’ve also found a way to take my leftovers and use them up. Pillsbury has helped me there—they now

no fried foods. And I’m cooking things that your body can metabolize. I’m cooking with fresh foods. It’s just healthier, and the options are limitless. You can cook pretty much everything you want, you just have to be creative. I think that’s the most important thing. Everyone’s going to have different tastes and styles—just be creative.

Driver Dave Jones invested in a Better Homes and Gardens Premium Portable Gas Grill from Walmart on which he whips up hearty (and healthful) meals.

1. Dave Jones has been driving and cooking for 27 years. 2–3. With some dough and fresh veggies, leftovers become sandwiches. 4. After a few minutes on the grill, the pocket is meal-ready.

Chicken CordonU Serves 2 By Driver Dave Jones

Photos courtesy Dave Jones, Shutterstock

Ingredients: 1 8-ounce chicken breast 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning ⅛ cup white onion, finely chopped ⅛ cup pepper (red, green or mixed), finely chopped ⅛ cup mushrooms, finely chopped 2 slices Provolone cheese 2 slices ham 1 egg ⅛ cup milk ½ cup crushed sour cream and cheddar potato chips ½ tablespoon Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend Greens or vegetables of choice To prepare: Butterfly cut chicken breast in the center to create a pocket. Baste the inside of breast with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle in Italian seasoning. Wrap onions, peppers and mushrooms inside a slice of cheese and ham and stuff the pocket inside the chicken pocket. Dredge chicken in egg and milk and coat with chips. Sprinkle the remainder of Italian seasoning and Nature’s Seasonings on the outside of the breast. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on grill for about 20 minutes. (Grill temperature should be 350 to 400 degrees). Remove breast from the grill and place second slice of cheese on top. Let stand two minutes then serve with greens and vegetables of choice.

Tools of the Trade A few of Prime’s savviest roadside cooks share the kitchen tools they couldn’t live without. 1. MICROWAVE. Driver John Weber’s wife, Eileen, fills his truck freezer with home-cooked meals to heat up for dinner. These meals couldn’t be heated without a microwave and a spoon to mix, John says. His microwave is a Rival 0.7 cubic-fit digital microwave. (John chose the smallest size to minimize the footprint on his truck). Another essential tool for the cook-ahead option? Disposable microwavable containers.

2. NINJA 3-IN-1 COOKING SYSTEM. Margaret White is the wife and full-time passenger of driver Charles White, and the family cooks nearly every meal on their Freightliner. Margaret says she couldn’t live without their Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System, which is an oven, slow cooker and skillet all in one.

3. SLOW COOKER. Whether she’s chopping ingredients and throwing them together the night before or even mixing up nutritious recipes right before she starts to log the day’s miles, driver Jessica Jefferson says she couldn’t live without her trusty slow cooker. She has a Hamilton Beach 5-Quart portable slow cooker. Jefferson often lets her meals cook during drive time.

4. MINIATURE PROPANE GRILL. “Really, my grill has probably been the best tool I’ve invested in,” says Driver Dave Jones. He uses a Better Homes and Gardens Premium Portable Gas Grill that he purchased at Walmart. In addition to using the grill to cook original meals, Jones wraps leftovers in dough sheets and grills them to eat as pocket-style sandwiches. PRIME WAYS




adventures on the road

Need for

Speed When he’s not traveling hundreds of miles a week as a Prime Inc. lease driver, NASCAR fan Tom Altom can be can be found in the stands cheering on his favorite drivers at racetracks around the country. BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT


verybody knows Digger,” says Prime Inc. Lease Driver Tom Altom of his striking deep blue Freightliner. Emblazoned with illustrations of the old unofficial NASCAR mascot after which it’s named, Digger is a fixture at numerous racetracks and draws attention wherever it goes. “As soon as they see Digger, especially if they are into N ASCAR, everybody comes up—they love Digger,” Altom says. A lifelong fan of N ASCAR and all things automotive, Altom typically squeezes in at least seven to 10 races throughout the year in between driving his routes and making dozens of deliveries each month. “I go to races all over,” he says. “The perk of this job that I absolutely love is the fact that I can go to tracks.” Altom enjoys his life on the road with Prime in part because it enables him to watch his favorite drivers race all across the country, but also because it is part of a bigger adventure, one allowing him to see new places and experience the country. “[I like] the adventure between picking up the load and delivering it—the adventures and the sights and sounds and flavors,” he says. PRIME WAYS


Digger, Tom Altom’s beloved truck, is a hit among NASCAR fans. The Freightliner is decorated with characters from NASCAR broadcasts and more.

One-of-a-Kind Vehicle Traveling with Digger, which he has driven since September 2015, Altom is always prepared to head to the racetrack. With the help of Success Leasing and other Prime departments, he customized the truck with his love of N ASCAR in mind. Before becoming a driver, he used to fly to attend races, a tiresome ordeal with all of his overnight



Prime Lease Driver Tom Altom has loved NASCAR since he was a kid and even has a brick with his name on it at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina.

Photos courtesy Tom Altom, Shutterstock

Starting Line Altom wanted to become a driver for many years, an interest he traces back to childhood. He remembers excitedly watching the 1977 classic Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds as a roguish truck driver. “I was young at that time,” he says. “CB [radios] were real big. I used to sit out in the driveway, talking on this CB. I don’t know what I was thinking of back then, but I remember doing it.” Altom’s enthusiasm for N ASCAR also blossomed when he was a child. He credits this love to his father, a drag racer who taught him all about working on cars. “One of the things I got from him was his love of cars and the knowledge of cars,” he says. Altom fulfilled his lifelong interest in becoming a driver in 2012. At the suggestion of a close friend and seeking a career change, he sought out Prime after careful research and was drawn to the company because of its solid reputation and intensive training. “I did a lot of research, and I picked Prime because of its training,” he says. “They had the best training—the toughest, but the best training.” As challenging as it was, Altom successfully made it through training and now logs around 2,000 miles per week as a Prime Lease Driver. He quickly took to life on the road, particularly the opportunity it allows to see small towns and beautiful parts of the country along the way. “I love getting on the state roads and the U .S. roads and getting off the main highways because that’s where you really see America,” he says.

“I thought, ‘You know what, it would be really neat if drivers got together, and we camped together.’” —Tom Altom

ters from N ASCAR broadcasts. Other unique elements are LE D lights, chrome mirrors and custom mud flaps, plus colorful decals like the number and signature of Ryan N ewman, his favorite driver, splashed across the top of the cab. “I’m very proud of my truck,” he says. With all of the effort that went into customizing the truck, Altom makes sure that Digger always looks clean and sharp, so much so that every now and then, security staff at racetracks assume he is a part of the team hauling gear and equipment for N ASCAR drivers—not that he minds. “They’ll start routing me over there, and I’ll get so far and realize what they are doing,” Altom says. “I’m like ‘N o, no, no! ’ And they are like ‘What, you’re not a team hauler? ’ And I’m like, ‘N o, I’m just a fan! I’m going to a campsite.’ But I love it.”

Infectious Fandom

Tom Altom says one of the perks of his job as a Prime Lease Driver is being able to easily travel to several NASCAR races each year.

equipment in tow. “I was very funny when I flew to races, and I would be going through the airport with a canopy wheeling it down for them to load on the plane,” he says. N ow, transporting that equipment is a cinch because Digger is equipped with handy storage accessible by a side door on the cab. “That’s where all of my N ASCAR stuff is, so I can get it out and in a little easier,” he says. In addition to functional features, Altom put a lot of thought into the personal touches that make the truck so eye-catching, like the illustrations of Digger and other cartoon charac-

While Altom’s personal agenda is packed with several must-see races, he enjoys sharing the sport with others, which is why he organizes a gathering for other drivers to enjoy the sport together. The idea sprouted after noticing other trucks here and there at races. “I thought, ‘You know what, it would be really neat if drivers got together, and we camped together,’” Altom says. “N ot only do we have something in common—that we do the same thing for a living—but we have racing in common. I just thought it would be really neat to get us together in a group.” Altom put the word out on Facebook to determine which destination drivers preferred, ultimately settling on Talladega. He placed a call to the group sales department, ordered a block of tickets and reserved campsites for drivers and their families to attend the track’s annual spring race. First held in 2015, the event has developed into a fun get-together that, for some, served as an introduction to N ASCAR racetracks, and even racing in general. “When it comes to introducing people to N ASCAR and helping them, I absolutely love it,” he says. Beyond sharing his favorite pastime with others, Altom likes organizing and planning opportunities for drivers to get together and enjoy each other’s company, which he plans to continue doing for years to come. “The exact reason why I came up with this, put up the money and do all the work is because the final result is us all sitting around the campsite right next to the track and packing up and going in and watching the race together,” he says. Plans for next year’s gathering are in the works, and Altom is already looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and getting them all hooked on his favorite sport. “I’ve been hooked—I’m gone,” he says of his fandom. “There’s no hope for me, and I am bringing others with me.”

Off to the

Races With more than 200 races under his belt, Prime Lease Driver Tom Altom has learned a thing or two about trips to the track. Whether you’re a veteran fan or a NASCAR newbie, here are his three tips to help you maximize the experience.


Plan Ahead: Racetrack staff members often have helpful insider info. “I would recommend that you call the track and let them know that you are coming in bobtail with a tractor, and they will give you suggestions of where they want you to go and park or what direction to come into the track to make sure that you go to the right area,” he says. Plus, some tracks may only allow bobtail tractors, in which case you will need a secure drop location for your trailer.


Arrive Early: With thousands of fans jockeying for parking beforehand, allow plenty of time to navigate the area. For example, if the race starts at noon, he recommends arriving by 5 or 6 a.m. There might be a designated area for tractors to park; if so, racetrack staff or security will point you to the right spot, so keep an eye out for their direction.


Stay On-site: For the full experience, camp out at the track so you can avoid the pre-race parking rush and fully enjoy the fun atmosphere of race day. If you do camp overnight, pack all of the groceries and supplies you’ll need before you arrive so you don’t have to worry about coming and going from the track.



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the perks

dress down

and do good Prime Inc. associates wear their hearts on their sleeves through dress-down days, a perk permitting casual dress and encouraging donations to charity. BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT







Photos, courtesy Prime Inc., Shutterstock



he in-house associates at Prime Inc. dress the part for their work at Prime’s Springfield headquarters, but from time to time, associates exchange their business casual garb for casual clothes to benefit charity through Prime’s dress-down days. Coordinated by Verna Bailey, executive assistant to Robert Low and fuel manager, dress-down days allow relaxed dress in exchange for small donations—$5 for one day, $20 for a week or $100 for a month—that all go to charity. The program has been in place for at least 15 years, and Bailey estimates that dress-down days have raised more than $100,000 for organizations such as Ozarks Food Harvest, Friends Against Hunger and Convoy of Hope. Prime often matches funds raised by associates, compounding the impact of their generosity. Bailey says that associates appreciate dressing comfortably for their work day, especially knowing that it directly benefits organizations in their communities. “It’s because the people here know that charity,” she says. “They are involved in that charity. They know that the money that they are spending is going to be used for people that they know in their area.” Dress-down days have also significantly impacted some within Prime who have fallen on hard times, such as an associate who lost all her belongings when her house burned down, another whose child needed costly medical treatment and another with a sudden death in the family. Refrigerated Division Operations Manager Stan Auman, a consistent dress-down days participant throughout his 20 years at Prime, values the opportunity to directly help people in the company. “We are family here,” Auman says. “You feel like you are helping out a family member. You know the person, and you know without a doubt that money is going to help that person.” Whether it’s supporting a local charity or lending a helping hand within Prime, dress-down days help foster a positive working environment while providing a meaningful way to team up and make a difference in others’ lives. “My favorite part is just seeing people so excited about a cause,” Bailey says. “When all of the envelopes from the different sections start coming in with all of the collections from the different sections, I total it all up. I look at all of this money, and I just go, ‘Wow.’ The generosity of our Prime associates sometimes just makes your heart swell with pride.”

View From the road

Photo courtesy Matthew Damm

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

Driver Matthew Damm captured his truck against the natural backdrop of a section of the Navajo Bridge in Arizona. “I came to Prime for the first time in 1997 and came back to stay in 2010," Damm says. "I love seeing this great country of ours, and there is no better way to do that than driving for Prime!"



Profile for Prime Ways

Prime Ways | Volume 1 Issue 3  

Cooking on the Road: Drivers share their tips, tricks and best mobile meals. Plus, driver and NASCAR enthusiast Tom Altom takes his love of...

Prime Ways | Volume 1 Issue 3  

Cooking on the Road: Drivers share their tips, tricks and best mobile meals. Plus, driver and NASCAR enthusiast Tom Altom takes his love of...

Profile for primeways