VOLUME 1 ISSUE 4
INSIDE THE ISSUE: THE CLEAN TEAM
Life behind the scenes of the Triple Crown Detail Shop >>>p. 18
How Prime drivers help Wreaths Across America >>>p. 26
o t e m o Welc
N O T S T PIT RULICK ON K L U A P T E ME
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2740 N MAYFAIR AVE. SPRINGFIELD, MO 65803 417-866-0001 WWW.PRIMEINC.COM MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Clayton Brown RECRUITING AND MEDIA COORDINATOR Andrea Mueller RECRUITING AND ONBOARDING Kristi Pinckney
PRIME COMPANY STORE SHOP IN-STORE
2111 S. EASTGATE AVE., SPRINGFIELD, MO 65809 PHONE: 417-883-7417 / FAX: 417-889-7417 417MAG.COM EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Katie Pollock Estes EDITOR Rose Marthis CREATIVE DIRECTOR Heather Kane ART DIRECTOR Abby Gust SENIOR EDITOR Savannah Waszczuk PRODUCTION EDITOR Claire Porter ASSISTANT EDITOR Adrienne Donica STAFF WRITER Stephanie Towne Benoit EDITORIAL INTERN Sydni Moore SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER AND DESIGNER Brandon Alms EDITORIAL DESIGNER Ryan Saunders EDITORIAL ART COORDINATOR Vivian Wheeler STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kevin Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Riley
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 Liz Leonard CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Lemmon, Lillian Stone, Mike Cullinan, Peyson Shields, Julie Sedenko Davis, Erin Gregory, Jessica Covert CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Nancy Swiger Photography, Vivian Wheeler FINANCE DIRECTOR Carley Inskeep ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Bernadette Pry PUBLISHER Gary Whitaker PRESIDENT/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Logan Aguirre VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE Joan Whitaker VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS Megan Johnson VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Ammie Scott PRIME WAYS
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ON THE COVER Paul Krulick is one of the first friendly faces new drivers see in Pittston. page 18 learn how BeSee prepared fortowinter Prime Inc. Founder Robert Low weather and learn how promotes camaraderie at work. to properly put chains on your tires.
DAY IN THE LIFE Spend a day with Bill Girdler, the driver turned trainer who loves his job.
THE CLEAN TEAM A small team at the Triple Crown Detail Shop is responsible for making every truck spotless before it hits the road. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the people committed to their sometimes dirty job.
28 REMEMBERING ON tHE ROAD Prime drivers join Wreaths Across America for an important delivery.
CREAM OR SUGAR? Ever wonder how much coffee the team goes through? It's more than you might think.
“It’s a great way to release stress and maintain fitness.” —Annclaire Clay
HOLIDAY PARTY TIME
17 RUN, RUN, RUN Three Prime associates share why they love running and keep it as a staple in their exercise routines. Learn from their experience and get motivated to hit the pavement.
The most wonderful time of the year is here! Check out the calendar for your terminal's plans for celebrating the holiday season.
Cover photo by Nancy Swiger Photography; Photos by Brandon Alms, courtesy Shutterstock
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How did Prime’s new building, the Z Building, get its name? “The Z building was the second largest addition attached to the main office in Springfield, Missouri. The first addition was opened in the year 2000 and was named the Millennium Building. Millennials were considered a generation that reached adulthood around the year 2000. Generation Z is considered to be reaching adulthood right about now.”—Clayton Brown, Marketing
What do I need to know to get started in the 401(k) plan? “Starting January 1, 2017, [company drivers and non-driving associates] will be eligible as of the first quarter following their six months of employment. At that time, simply contact Fidelity at 800-835-5097 or go online to 401k.com. If you have never visited their website, you will need to register a username and password before logging in. This an important benefit that anyone eligible should take part in!” —Trish Robey, Human Resources
I heard Prime Ways magazine is mailed to our home, but I haven’t received one yet. Why didn’t I receive a copy, and how can I get on the mailing list?
Photo courtesy Pedro Cardenas
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How long has Prime had a floral division, and how many flowers ship in a week? “Prime Floral was founded in Carpinteria, California, in 2004. We moved to our permanent location in Oxnard, California, located about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, in 2005. Since then we have become the premier flower shipper on the West Coast. In a normal week we’ll move about 20,000 boxes of flowers. During the floral holidays, the weeks before Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, our volumes will jump 150 to 175 percent, which makes for an exciting time. We also experience a bump during late May and June for proms and weddings. The rest of the year, flowers are used for special occasions, funerals, birthdays, house warmings, parties, celebrations and husbands apologizing.” —Kent Allen, Prime Floral
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.
“I am a 24-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico. I played college soccer for Missouri State University in Springfield. In my senior year, I started working with Prime as an intern. I met such lovely personnel working at the switchboard. After learning the system, I started helping the reefer sales department in the area of Texas/Mexico. By that time I realized I was graduating! It was then that I became a sales assistant for Heather Chastain. She has been a great mentor and still is. She never stopped pushing and challenging me, and now I appreciate that.” HOW DID YOU END UP IN TEXAS? “Well, as an assistant of the area of Texas, I had a lot of dialogues and exchange of information with the Mexican carriers. I secretly loved it because it all was in Spanish. But one day Jackie Carter and Pat Leonard came to me and told me that there was a chance of a new facility/ terminal in Laredo. I swear I had my hand up in the air before they were done talking. I like to challenge myself, and here I am.” WHAT IS YOUR ROLE? “I do not even know if we have a title for this position, to be honest, or if I have specific tasks. My mentality always is, ‘Help as many people as you can today.’ I focus on the northbound loads, letting our sales team know when they are going to cross the border. Our Mexican partners require attention as well, so I keep them updated with our southbound loads. I am available for our drivers as well! This is a new terminal, and I want to make sure they have a pleasant stay. I help them with their bills, their paperwork, directions to their destinations—I even offer a tour through the facility. When times get busy and we got a lot of trailers coming into the yard, I try to help our inspectors and mechanics as much as I can. These guys are the real MVPs— no matter how hot it is outside, they always do an outstanding job. I’ve met with our Mexican partners at their terminals, with our main shippers and with our receivers and custom brokers at Laredo. It is just amazing to connect every single piece of information from different parties and see the big picture.”—Pedro Cardenas PRIME WAYS
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LIFE | DECEMBER 2016
Paul Krulick is responsible for teaching new drivers everything they need to know before they leave Pittston.
a warm welcome As Orientation Manager and Leasing Representative at Prime Inc.’s Pittston terminal, Paul Krulick plays a critical role welcoming incoming drivers to the company. BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT 4
Photos by Nancy Swiger Photography
f you’re a new driver in the vicinity of Prime Inc.’s Pittston terminal and need a question answered or problem solved, you’ll likely be directed to the Orientation and Leasing office to see Paul Krulick, orientation manager and leasing representative at the Pittston terminal. That’s because Krulick, together with associate James Cobb, is responsible for getting new driver recruits situated into their roles at Prime. “We are kind of like the go-to office,” says Krulick. “We do a lot of troubleshooting and problem-solving. It’s kind of a multifaceted role that we play in our department.” They also help direct new drivers to the appropriate staff if they have any issues. “I’m not always the right guy to provide the answer, but I can get their information and get those folks directed to the appropriate people and do it in a timely manner to get their issues resolved quickly,” he says. It’s a vital role that is extremely important to Krulick. “We are the first people that [new drivers] see, so it’s critical to make that first impression a great first impression and wel-
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come them and explain to them what they are about to embark on, what the procedure is and what they have to do in terms of getting hired,” he says.
Truck simulators help drivers learn the skills they need before actually hitting the road.
Unexpected twists and turns led Krulick to the trucking industry. His original intent was to pursue pharmacy school after graduating from King’s College with degrees in business administration and marketing. But family circumstances required him to reevaluate that career path. He worked in retail in the intervening years until a friend recommended he apply to become a fleet manager at Transcontinental Refrigerated Lines (TRL). He held that job until six years later, when he transitioned into an orientation role. Krulick was in that position for about two years when Prime Inc. purchased TRL, a major turning point in Krulick’s career. “Lo and behold, it was the best thing that happened to me personally that a company like Prime took over,” he says. In the years since, Krulick has seen recruits’ lives transformed by the opportunity to join Prime. He treasures the conversations he has with drivers who went through the orientation process and progressed to become successful. “There’s nothing more gratifying than that, to see somebody coming back happy and smiling and saying, ‘Hey, I wish I came here 10 years ago,’” he says. “That’s awesome. That’s kind of what we strive for. We want people to be successful.”
Outside the Office
When Krulick isn’t busy helping new drivers, processing applications, handling leases and more, he can be found at his home in Exeter, Pennsylvania. He loves spending time with his wife, Veronica, and 10-year-old son, Jacob, a budding athlete who participates in almost every sport, including karate, basketball and lacrosse. They love to cheer on their son at his many matches and tournaments. Krulick is also an avid sports lover and plays racquetball three times a week with
friends. He likes to stay healthy by lifting weights, which he has done ever since he was a teenager, at the terminal’s well-equipped gym. “Literally for me it’s 30 feet down the hallway, and we have access to a gym that has everything you need,” he says.
A Typical Week
Every Monday, Krulick arrives at the terminal bright and early by around 6 a.m. so he can prepare to lead the orientation for 10 to 20 new recruits. He’ll also be conducting interviews with applicants, assigning company trucks, getting drivers to the doctor for their Department of Transportation physicals, directing them where to go for their drug screenings, and taking care of lots of paperwork. “Mondays are probably by far the busiest,” he says.
major moments 1999: After working in the retail industry for several years, Krulick joins Transcontinental Refrigerated Lines (TRL) as a fleet manager.
2005: On his birthday, Krulick transitions into an orientation role at TRL. “It was pretty impeccable timing,” he says.
Throughout the remainder of the week he handles duties such as the upgrade process as drivers transition from working with a trainer to going out on the road on their own as either company drivers or lease-operators. “We try to make that experience a comfortable, great experience for those folks so once they complete getting their own truck they can be prepped to drive out on the road and be thoroughly prepared to do so,” he says. Although every day at Prime is different and can take unexpected turns, Krulick approaches each one with the same positive, helpful attitude. “I just think that you come to work every day, and you try to make a difference each and every day,” he says. “And if you do that, you come to work with that mind set, you are going to be a positive force through the company.”
Paul Krulick, Orientation Manager and Leasing Representative at Prime’s Pittston terminal, shares the milestones of his career in trucking. 2007: Krulick joins Prime Inc. after the company acquires TRL.
2009: Prime Inc. honors Krulick’s 10-year anniversary in the trucking industry. “Prime Inc. did all of us who were retained in the acquisition a great service by honoring our time with our prior carrier,” he says.
2012: A crew from CNN pays a visit to Prime Inc.’s Pittston terminal for a story about the trucking industry, and Krulick makes a brief appearance in the broadcast. PRIME WAYS
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A simple salute Shining a light on Prime employees who have served the United States through military service.
Military History: A New York native, Joshua Grimaldi, 28, joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007, eventually getting assigned to a Military Police field unit. His charge: convoy security, where he served as a vehicle commander during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012. There he led security efforts for vehicles carrying weapons and troops in active military zones. During his time in active service, Grimaldi also spent eight months on a U.S. Naval ship and served in Operation United Response, the humanitarian effort following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Grimaldi left active service in 2012 having earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a meritorious promotion to Sergeant during his third deployment.
Military History: Rick Yarborough joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1985 and retired in 2005. He worked in the Judge Advocate Community of the Corps, reaching the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and working as a Legal Services Chief. Most of his career was spent working for the Marines equivalent of a prosecution case manager, helping decide which cases would be referred to trial and working on setting the dockets and selecting juries. His stations included Camps Lejeune and Pendleton stateside, with stints in Korea, Guam and Okinawa. He spent three years as an aide to the Marine Corps Judge Advocate General. He retired with a Meritorious Service Medal and two Navy Commendation medals.
Military History: Pam Mayhew joined the Delayed Entry Program for the U.S. Navy in 1980. She was sent to Radioman’s A School in San Diego and then assigned to duty at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California. There she aided in communications all over the world, often with access to Top Secret–clearance level facilities. Following a stint in the reserves, Mayhew left active duty as a 3rd Class Petty Officer. She was nominated for Sailor of the Quarter—the youngest nominee at the time. She also earned top honors for Teletype Excellence during her time in A School.
Prime Service: Now a lease-operator for Prime, Grimaldi says the military prepared him well for the lifestyle of a driver. The transition from active military to veteran can be jarring, and he says time in the truck allowed him to decompress, and his experience driving convoy vehicles gave him an advantage in his new profession. Grimaldi earned the Truckload Carriers Association’s 2015 “Highway Angel of the Year Award” for rescuing a pregnant woman from an accident during a snowy drive through the Sierra Nevada. Now he serves as a CDL Instructor and TNT Trainer, helping new drivers learn the ropes and log their first miles. In his own words: “I’d always been sort of a nomad,” Grimaldi says. “I’d seen the world, now I wanted to see the United States.”
Prime Service: In 2007 Yarbrough was hired by Transcontinental Refrigerated Lines in the Pittston, Pennsylvania, terminal to assist the transition after that company’s sale to Prime Inc. Today he’s the Terminal Manager in Pittston, coordinating the dayto-day operations of the shops on-premises. He sees a correlation between his military role and the one he serves for Prime, primarily in the need to be able to communicate effectively with many different personality types and backgrounds. Time management, versatility and multitasking are also key skills he says he brought with him from his time in the Marines. In his own words: “Prime is almost like being in the Marine Corps, and our structure of accountability for associates is what makes it so comparable. The teamwork aspect is just huge.”
Prime Service: Mayhew went to work for Prime in the Office Services Department in 1990. She was responsible for correspondence for managers of the then-small fleet, including transcribing dictation tapes. As Prime grew, she took charge of all contracts for leasers and lease-operators. Mayhew still works with Prime’s leasing operations and has obtained her insurance broker’s license to help secure certain types of insurance for owner-operators. She also handles all lease and owner-operator cancellations and contracts. Mayhew says her time in the military taught her to respect authority, to always do her best and to value promptness. “Just like our drivers can’t be late for deliveries!” she says. In her own words: “To work as a team, you are no longer an individual but part of a team. Every member is important to keep the team running smoothly. Nothing is too great that it can’t be worked through.”
Photos courtesy Joshua Grimaldi, Rick Yarborough, Pam Mayhew
BY MATT LEMMON
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A CAFFEINATED CREW Prime Inc.’s Springfield location keeps its crew on its toes by offering complimentary tea and coffee to its associates. With a giant team tackling an even bigger workload, Prime goes through a lot of caffeinated beverages. Here’s a look at a typical month’s consumption. BY CLAIRE PORTER
1,600 135 With holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to be thinking of what gift to get the drivers in your life. Whether you’re buying for friends, family or yourself, we’ve rounded up the top five gifts to make life easier on the road. BY ROSE MARTHIS
Hands-Free Headset These days, hands-free mobile is the only way to talk while driving. It’s safest, and there are so many models available it’s easy to pick the best one for the driver in your life. There are two main types of headsets: over the head and in the ear (pictured). Your choice is just a matter of preference. Look for audio quality, ease of use, comfort, durability, noise cancellation and battery life when choosing the right headset for your driver.
Photos courtesy Justin Stephen, Shutterstock
Mobile Hotspots When you’re driving all over the country, sometimes you run into dead zones. Help your driver stay connected with mobile hotspots, also known as wireless internet cards. These cards plug into your computer or tablet and pick up wireless signals for access to the internet. This gift is a great way to help your driver always keep in touch and be able to stay entertained on the road.
Air Ionizer With such a small space to live in on the road, drivers need to make sure the air they’re breathing is as pure as possible. Air ionizers are a great gift to help combat
airborne bacteria. They electrically charge air molecules to create negative ions that attract airborne particles and remove them from the air. This is a great gift for the healthconscious driver or one prone to seasonal allergies.
GALLONS OF COFFEE CONSUMED
pounds of powdered creamer used
1,700 GALLONS OF TEA CONSUMED
gallons of liquid creamer used
Dubuque Coffee Company Fleur de Lis blend
Gold Peak Southern Sweet Tea
COFFEE FILTERS USED
Audiobooks Get your driver the gift of words! Avid readers love audiobooks because it’s easy to power through a series of novels during long stints on the road. They’re also great for non-readers because it’s literally as simple as listening to someone tell you a story. You can download audiobooks from Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service and other online retailers, or buy CDs at a local bookstore. Every genre is available, no matter what your driver likes to read.
Portable Vehicle Safe When drivers live on the road, their valuables and personal information live with them. Portable vehicle safes are a great way to make sure their valuables are in a place safer than a glove box. The safes lock closed and lock to the vehicle, so your driver can trust that no one will be able to take what matters most.
FUELING A DREAM Stan Kasterke used trucking to put a smile on a face—and make a lasting impact on a life. BY LILLIAN STONE
rime Program Manager Stan Kasterke loves sharing the trucking world with others. “For someone who has never been around [trucking], it really is something where you feel in awe,” says Kasterke, who has been in the industry for more than 25 years. Earlier this summer, he had a special opportunity to share the trucking experience. A representative from Integrity Home Care had previously reached out to Prime in hopes that the company could make an impact in the life of a 60-year-old man named im. im has own syndrome and li es at arsh eld Place residential care facility. He’s also a trucking fanatic. On the a ternoon o uly , asterke dro e to arsh eld to ul ll im s dream of riding in a tractor-trailer truck. “He was so excited,” says Kasterke. “It was so neat to see the expression on his face.” According to Kasterke, the impact of the day went far beyond a ride in a truck—Kim is currently learning to read in hopes of applying for a job with Prime. PRIME WAYS
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day in the life
girdler What does a decorated flatbed driver do when he can’t drive anymore? Train other drivers to be safe, of course. BY MATT LEMMON
Bill Girdler uses photos and examples of flatbed securement during the flatbed boot camp course he teaches at Prime’s training facility.
he gets the roster for that week’s one-day training classes, which he teaches Monday and uesday, and at ed oot camp, which is on Thursday and Friday. He spends the next few hours making sure things are set for those classes. 1 p . m . : Classes begin at the Campus Inn’s conference room. During the course, Girdler shares not only the legal requirements for proper at ed load securement, ut his own particular set of “rules to live by,” including taking the minimum number of straps and adding at least two more, always totaling an odd number, with the extra strap pulling the weight of the load—whatever it may be—backward. “I’ve never seen a load lost because it had too much securement,” Girdler says. His presentation includes many photos of accidents, loads lost and what he calls stupid stuff improper techni ues that require correction. 3 : 3 0 – 4 p . m . : After several hours, attendees have to test out of the course. It’s a one-time shot: Drivers either take it and pass or are required to go back out with a trainer before sitting through the course again.
Thursday and Friday boot camps are a little different. oot camps are typically or more experienced drivers with little or no at ed e perience. hey spend more time on the lot at Prime, where training is more hands-on. Girdler looks for mistakes, which are then logged and corrected. e ore oot camp, Fridays start with Prime’s weekly safety meetings, which include a breakfast with what Girdler calls killer omelets. B y 2 p . m . on riday, irdler has nished up his paperwork for the week and is headed back to the Campus Inn for a steady diet of NASCAR before starting the training process over on Monday.
Photo by Brandon Alms
ill Girdler began driving for Prime in 1992 with 17 years of driving experience before that. The Kentucky native was a specialist in dri ing at ed trailers. was a jack-of-all-trades, but I always came back to at eds, irdler says. lo ed making sure know how that stuff is tied down. nside a big box, you don’t know what’s in there.” Today, Girdler is Prime’s educational e pert in ust that securement o at ed loads—and he uses his three-plus decades of driving experience to train new Prime drivers as well as those simply needing certi cation or at ed dri ing. Girdler arrived in the training position in 2010 after a stroke and heart attack—which came a couple of years after a quintuple bypass took him off the road. ut e ore that he was the at ed contractor o the year for Prime, and in 2007 he was named the Missouri Trucking Association’s (MOTA) ri er o the ear, the rst Prime dri er to receive that award. Two others have received it since, ut a at edder was the rst to re ceive it, Girdler says with a laugh. “I’ve got the ring and the trophy to prove it.” So what does the a erage day or a at ed securement trainer look like? 6 : 1 5 a . m . : Girdler wakes up in his room at the Campus Inn on North Glenstone Avenue in Spring eld, issouri, where he resides. He showers, gra s a cup o coffee and eats reak fast in the hotel’s cafeteria, or occasionally makes his way across lenstone to o ans. 8 : 3 0 – 9 a . m . : On Mondays, Girdler makes his way to Prime headquarters, where PRIME WAYS
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READY TO ROLL Salt Lake City, Utah In our very first issue, we updated you on the rapid growth of the Salt Lake City terminal. Now, renovations are underway, and drivers can already enjoy added security with new gates and a guard house out front. There is a new employee entrance, new landscaping and new long-term parking for drivers that is more secure while they’re out on the road. Construction is progressing for the new shop and new amenities building. These projects are scheduled to be completed in 2017. The terminal is growing nearly five times its original size, transforming 17,000 square feet into 90,000 square feet, with the planned design being similar to Springfield’s headquarters.
With three full-service terminals and 12 other locations nationwide, there’s always something noteworthy happening at Prime Inc. This issue, we update you on the ongoing renovations at three terminals across the country. BY ROSE MARTHIS
GROW AND FLOW Springfield, Missouri
Photos courtesy Prime Inc., Brian Singleton, Pedro Cardenas
Photo by Brandon Alms
Prime Inc is growing, and the headquarters has to keep up. Prime is working with the City of Springfield and the Missouri Department of Transportation to plan an expansion west of Mayfair Avenue. The plans extend the road north and provide an access from Mayfair Avenue to Packer Road for drivers. Relocating the traffic flow allows for wider, better turning lanes and a stoplight on Kearney Street. In addition, construction starts in November for a brand-new plaza building for fueling and for inbound and outbound trucks. Plans for the new facilities include a truck wash, more tractor-trailer parking and long-term driver parking. Inside the main building, the second floor offices have been renovated for dispatch and sales associates. The renovation also added an outdoor kitchen and courtyard area.
LONE STAR LODGING Laredo, Texas The associates in Laredo are all settled into their new location after moving in April. The new facility is open 24/7 and staffed by Prime associates, including Yard Manager Rudy Carrizales, who drove for 10 years, and Pedro Cardenas, who had an internship in Springfield while in college and moved to Laredo to take over customer service at the facility with five years of experience. Drivers now have 70 trailer parking spots, 35 tractor parking spots and a trailer wash. Inside the office are laundry facilities, showers and a break room, which drivers can use no matter what time they come in. All of this is protected with 24-hour security and guarded patrol, allowing drivers to get adequate rest with the peace of mind that no one will bother them. Long-term plans for Laredo include looking at adding a food station in the form of either a food truck or a cafeteria and a load scale for drivers. PRIME WAYS
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TRUCKS & TECH | DECEMBER 2016 how we roll
Owner/Operator Justin Wood—aka Woody—is a man of many talents. In addition to driving for Prime, Wood is a burgeoning photographer and videographer. He shares dozens of videos he has taken with his drone and camera on his YouTube channel, Woody’s Dronography, which just surpassed 2,500 subscribers. He’s also part of the YouTube Truckers Alliance, which builds community among drivers and dispenses truck10
ing advice via Facebook Live. “That’s something that’s very important to me,” he says. His truck, called the Wood Shed, is also more than meets the eye. He has decked out his Freightliner with features such as sleek chrome details, aerodynamic add-ons and custom interior lights. “I feel like it just turned into a hobby,” he says. “I wonder what else I can do to make the truck look different?”
Photos by Vivian Wheeler
BY STEPHANIE TOWNE BENOIT
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DRONE ZONE Wherever he travels, Wood always has his photography equipment in tow, including a drone that he won in a contest last year, which he uses to make aerial landscape videos. He’s taught himself photography and videography by researching tips, tricks and tools online. “If there’s something I want to know, I look it up,” he says. “I don’t wonder.”
COOL CHROME When Wood installed a chrome-rimmed Cobra CB radio, he noticed that it stood out against the dashboard’s basic stock fixtures. “I was sitting in there and kept looking at the chrome and I’m like, ‘It doesn’t look right,’” he says of the contrast. Ever since, he’s acquired chrome details from shops around the country and added them wherever he could.
TEXAS FOREVER Wood shows his love for the Lone Star State, where he and his wife live with family on about 16 acres in the country. Although his affection for Texas runs deep, he decided to keep the tribute subtle. “You can get stickers as big as Texas,” he says with a laugh.
BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL Wood added rope lights after seeing a similarly decked out demo truck at a chrome shop. In addition to adding atmosphere, the lights provide a softer glow at night and in the early morning hours. As for color, he chose blue, which he likes for its calming effect. He likes the color so much that he even redid a lot of the engine wiring in blue to match the rest of the truck.
Photos by Vivian Wheeler
Not only is it unique, but this 50-inch-tall chrome gearshift has actually made it easier for Wood to shift because of its extra height. The shaft has 12- and 6-inch extensions, plus an eye-catching gear knob in his favorite color.
SLICK EXTERIOR Wood installed eye-catching features like Trux Flatline LED chicken lights and a chrome visor, one of his favorite features. “When you see someone who puts a visor on you go ‘OK, that’s a person who cares about their job and their truck,’” he says. His nickname, Woody, which he earned when working as a correctional officer, is emblazoned a few places on the cab. PRIME WAYS
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installation Thanks to new telematics software, drivers get the most up-to-date programming without even having to push a button. BY ADRIENNE DONICA
Chains Will Do You Good Proper chain installation for truck tires is one way to stay safe during winter driving. BY MIKE CULLINAN
Photos by Brandon Alms
s characters often intone on the hit HBO series G am e of Th r on e s , winter is coming, and one way dri ers can e more prepared or the season is to know how to install chains on their truck s tires. rika uckworth, road maintenance ad isor at Prime, says the dri er s directory provides associates with each state’s regulations on use of chains, and that they are among the list o winter related e uipment recommended to e annually checked and purchased y Septem er . amining tires and chains should e included in a driver’s daily pre-trip checklist, Duckworth says, adding that all routes should be planned. Tires should also regularly e inspected e ore coming to areas re uiring chains. Before winter’s chill arrives, follow these instructions for drivers to install chains on their tires: ay chains out at, remo ing all tangles. When chains are placed on the tire, cross chain hook eyes must ace up. Hooks acing the tire can damage tires.
2 3 4
Lay chain over the tire, with cross chain hooks up and fastener on the outside of the tire. uck rst cross chain under the tire. Place all chains on tires. Move tires forward by driving truck forward until lever fastener is axle high. Hook inside astener rst. emo e slack and hook outside fastener. Make chain as tight as possible by hand. Use T-bar to tighten cam tighteners. Hook a ru er strap across the diameter of the wheel. ri e appro imately mile, stop and retighten.
NOTE: Periodically check chains for looseness and adjust as necessary, as tire chains can break in use. Stop immediately and repair a broken cross chain. Continued travel with a broken cross chain can cause damage to your vehicle and tires. Those seeking visual assistance can also find some helpful how-tos on chain and cable installation, along with other road assistance– related videos, on the Prime Mobile app.
ech companies are constantly trying to outdo themselves and their competitors with new models and updates to bring consumers the latest and greatest gadgets. At Prime, it’s no different, says Nick Forte, who works in the fleet maintenance department. These periodic updates help improve the fuel economy and decrease downtime issues for trucks across Prime’s many fleets, but up to this point, implementing those updates has meant bringing each truck into a shop to download and install the new programming.
“Drivers won’t need to do anything different and can still reap all the benefits.” Starting in January, a telematics program known as Virtual Technician Advanced allows trucks to automatically download and install software updates via cellular-based data connections. The best part? Drivers won’t need to do anything different but still reap the benefits. “This is out there to help improve their up-time,” Forte says. “It’s all about up-time and keeping them profitable.” Going forward the software will have even greater capabilities, such as predicting engine failures before they happen. “That’s a huge game-changer for the entire industry,” he says. “At this point in time, really the sky’s the limit.” PRIME WAYS
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WELLNESS | DECEMBER 2016
After gaining weight while driving for Prime, Siphiwe Baleka developed a method to get in shape while on the road, and now he’s coaching all of Prime’s drivers to a healthier, fitter future.
a sip of HEALTH Starting with Prime as a student driver in 2008, Siphiwe Baleka, known by his peers as “Sip,” has become the go-to guy for all things health and fitness.
rom playing in the leachers at his ather s asket all league games to competing in a slew o school and clu sports to swimming or ale ni ersity through out college, Sip has always had the hunger for overall well-being. Now, Sip is spreading his passion through education and his infectious personality as Driver Health and Fitness Coach and Founder of Fitness Trucking. We sat down with Sip to get to know the guy behind the lunges and learn about his brainchild, the ri er Health and itness eek Program.
Prime Ways: Has health and ﬁtness always been a passion for you? Siphiwe Baleka: es. was raised y my ather, who taught me how to play tennis. would wake up on Sat urday mornings, run into his room and wake him up yelling, ome on, let s go play. ome on, wake up y the time was was swimming competiti ely, and y the time was went to the state championships in track and won a state championship in swimming. y entire li e ha e en oyed sports and eing t.
Photos by Kevin O’Riley
BY PEYSON SHIELDS
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Baleka checks the weight of truck driver Justin Daley (on the scale) and James Burns. The weigh-ins are how Baleka helps drivers monitor and improve their overall health on the road.
workout. The app shows you and tells you exactly what to do and how long to do it and how long to rest in real time while you are doing the workout. ach workout is ust minutes. he dri er also logs e erything that he or she eats and drinks. ach week use the data to coach the drivers so that their meta olism ecomes a little it more effecti e and efficient and the dri er is urning fat while they are sitting in the driver seat.
“WHAT THOSE DRIVERS DON’T REALIZE IS THAT OBESITY IS ALREADY COSTING THEM.”
P.W.: What inspired you to be a personal trainer? S.B.: aining . percent o my ody weight during the rst two months o my dri ing career inspired me to study the science o meta olic endocrinology. was trying to answer the uestion, hat is the most effecti e, least time consuming way to lose weight nce gured that out literally hacked my own meta olism reali ed there is a nutrition and tness program or e eryone in merica e cept one that was speci cally designed or long haul truck dri ers and their uni ue en ironment and schedules. knew there was a real need and also a great business opportunity. So during my three year lease at Prime, designed a system that e entually ecame the ri er Health and itness eek Program. ith the initial success o the program, decided to get certi ed as a personal trainer.
P.W.: So what is the Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) 13-Week Program? S.B.: t s the only program o its kind in the industry. ter a dri er completes an application at dri erhealthand tness.com, they come in or a one day orientation at Prime in Spring eld. uring orientation, teach the drivers the who, what, where, when and how o the program. P.W.: What materials do participants utilize to help drive their success? S.B.: t orientation issue them a really ancy ody composition scale, a heart rate monitor watch, my cti e rucker Phase and Phase e ercise program on the Skimle orkout rainer smartphone app and a ood logging program called ronometer. P.W.: How does the app work? S.B.: ach day during the program, the dri er will do a minute cti e rucker
P.W.: When drivers are hesitant about participating in the DHF 13Week Program, what advice do you give them? S.B.: Some dri ers use cost as an e cuse the act that they ha e to take a day off to attend orientation and that they have to initially in est which is re unded y Prime a ter their completion o the program . Howe er, what those dri ers don t realize is that obesity is already costing them. Statistics show that o esity costs the a erage man , a year and the a erage woman , a year. hat s not to mention a shortened li e span, less time and less uality time with lo ed ones. P.W.: What are some of the struggles drivers face when they’re on their weight-loss journey? S.B.: he iggest and most common struggle is the misconception that dri ers ha e about what it takes to lose weight. A lot of dri ers don t e en enroll in the program because they think it is going to be too hard and they struggle with em arrassment. remind them that most o the time they are ust speculating that someone is looking at them and laughing. also remind the dri ers or e ery person that may e laughing, there is another person that they are inspiring. PRIME WAYS
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run it out: Tips to Get Started BY PEYSON SHIELDS
nourish it dress it
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TRACK IT When it comes to running long distances, tracking your distance by doing the same route in your car and scanning the odometer is a thing of the past. With today’s technology, trackers that you wear like a bracelet or watch are setting the stage for how you communicate your workout. “The fitness tracker that I like the most is the Polar M400,” Wendy Hardman says. “It is a GPS watch that can track distance and pace during a run, as well as monitor heart rate and keep a log of all activity tracked through the day.” The tracker Hardman recommends also calculates a fairly accurate calorie burn, has a versatile timer and can sync to an iPhone or Android. Hardman says that though there are a slew of trackers on the market ranging anywhere from $100 to more than $350, dropping serious change on one that has more features than you need isn’t worth it. ANALYZE IT While some of us might just hit the pavement and hope for the best the first few times around, Hardman recommends getting a gait analysis prior to picking up running as your new hobby. “For the analysis, they take a video from behind from your knees down while you run on a treadmill,” Hardman says. “They watch it frame by frame and analyze your gait (the way you run). This helps show you where you have imbalances or stride issues that can cause injury.” Most running stores offer free gait analyses (Hardman recommends Ultramax Sports, 1254 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, Missouri) and can utilize that data to recommend shoes that are best suited for your specific needs. And speaking of shoes, Hardman recommends investing in a great first pair of shoes to help prevent injury. NOURISH IT No matter what form of exercise you’re doing, this factor always seems to be an important one: nutrition. Even though nutrition requirements are different for everyone, Hardman says that proper diet and hydration can play a huge factor in the efficacy of your training. “Water is always a vital necessity, but some runners like to drink an electrolyte beverage as well,” Hardman says. “Eating before and after a run is also very important. Before and after running, a whole carbohydrate and protein is ideal. Many runners like fruits, oatmeal and other cereals before followed by some form of protein and carbohydrate afterward for recovery.” For those taking longer jaunts, Hardman recommends wearing a fuel belt, which attaches around your waist and can hold small snacks and water bottles. However, nutrition varies from person to person, so listen to your body and learn what works for you. DRESS IT Throwing on sweats and channeling your inner Rocky Balboa may seem like the most effective way to sweat it out during your run, but Hardman recommends staying away from cotton. “Running shirts should always be made of a synthetic or technical fabric,” Hardman says. “Cotton T-shirts don’t wick sweat well and prevent the evaporation of sweat, which is vital for body temperature regulation. Cotton basically absorbs sweat and doesn’t allow for airflow or ventilation, trapping hot sweat and air against the body.” Hardman says other than making you feel hot and sweaty, your increased body temperature can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Pairing proper attire, including athletic socks, with hydration will help your run go breezily.
just keep running Running has always been a mainstay for exercise beginners. Whether you’re setting out on the road, hitting a trail or striding on a treadmill, it’s a workout that seems seamless—everyone knows how to run. Don’t let the beginning running blues get you down—these Prime associates talk about what keeps them motivated to hopefully give you that extra push, too. BY PEYSON SHIELDS
ANNCLAIRE CLAY, DRIVER PERSONNEL “I started running about seven years ago as something I could do by myself wherever and whenever,” says Clay, who has three children with her husband, Chad, who also works at Prime. “All you need is a good pair of running shoes. It’s a great way to release stress and maintain fitness.” “I was never big into athletics, but as I got older and working here at Prime, fitness is all around you here!” Clay says. “I’m not as avid of a runner as I wish I could be, but I try and balance being a wife and mom, working and then running. I believe what motivates me is that sense of accomplishment you feel afterward. Personally, if I commit to do a few races around town, that motivates me to run and helps me not get burnt out.” LIZ WASSON, SUBROGATION REPRESENTATIVE, CLAIMS DEPARTMENT “I really started getting into running about four years ago,” Wasson says. “I don’t know if I would be considered an ‘avid runner,’ but I did run more than 1,000 miles in 2015—about 1,300 miles.” Her goal is to run more than 1,600 miles this year. “I had a high school friend that wanted me to do a mud run with her about four years ago,” she says. “It was a 10K with obstacles. She has always been a runner, but I wasn’t. We started training for it two nights a week, and I learned to build up my mileage little by little. That started a trend, and I did my first half-marathon November of 2014. I’ve learned to adapt training and running in different weather, extreme cold or extreme hot. You just have to get out and do it.” JULIE WILLIAMS, HR BENEFIT SPECIALIST “I started running with some friends from a previous job, and it’s something I’ve continued, as I enjoy going with a group of friends,” says Williams, who completed her first marathon last year with a running group. “Without my ladies from my running group, I would have never been able to cross that finish line,” she says. I’ve run with them for several years. Prior to joining this group, I would run 13 miles straight, and it did a number on my body. This group uses the run/walk method and allowed me to achieve running the marathon last year.” “During the weekdays I run by myself and I listen to rap music, mostly Eminem,” she says. “The beats really help motivate me.”
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At the Triple Crown Detail Shop, trucks go in grimy and come out glistening. Meet the team of people who make the magic happen and arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afraid to get a little dirty.
BY JULIE SEDENKO DAVIS PHOTOS BY BRANDON ALMS
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The detail shop team washes between 900 and 1200 trucks every week with anywhere from 80 to 130 trucks getting the full detail treatment.
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One of the last steps is taking a truck through the automatic wash system in the wash bay.
here are no top hats, capes or wands behind the scenes at Prime’s Triple Crown Detail Shop. It’s hard to believe, looking at the truck transformations that take place here, that there’s no magic involved. Instead of hocus pocus, it’s simply a lot of hard work and a dedicated team of Prime associates who take pride in each and every detail. PAST AND PRESENT Triple Crown started in 1999 with just two bays in Prime’s Plaza Building. Today, the shop has its own building. “In the five years I’ve been here we’ve doubled in size,” says Manager Terry Wood. “Capacity is always our biggest issue. Prime seems to grow faster than we can keep up with.” There are plans to add another five truck wash bays at the Springfield location. In addition, there are two other detail shops in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and Salt Lake City to help with the growing fleet. “Prime is ever-evolving, always changing to adapt to the current needs of the industry and its drivers,” Wood says. DETAILS DETAILS Triple Crown’s team washes between 900 and 1,200 trucks every week with anywhere from 80 to 130 trucks getting full detail treatment, including accessory installation. Some of these trucks are prepared for new Prime drivers, others are sold through Pedigree Truck Sales. That means stripping decals, truck numbers or any other identifying information. The goal for every truck is to make it look brand new. As if this wasn’t enough work, “We have, on occasion, detailed Prime’s plane, bass boats and a horse trailer and steamed and cleaned grills for the North Star Grill,” Wood
“In the five years I’ve been here we’ve doubled in size. Capacity is always our biggest issue. Prime seems to grow faster than we can keep up with. ” — TERRY WOOD
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Tyler McGinnis sprays a truck in the wash bay to clean anything off that the automatic system didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get.
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PRIME treatment DRIVER FRONT: STARTS AT $60. Includes the entire floor and cleaning from the curtains forward.
DRIVER FULL: STARTS AT $140. Includes installation of televisions, citizens band radios, chain racks, step boxes, refrigerators and satellites. Please take out all your belongings beforehand.
Catlin Greer paints the hood of a truck. After that, he will polish, buff and wax the chrome.
DOG WASH: STARTS AT $2. Includes shampoo, cream rinse, flea shampoo and flea dip.
PERSONAL VEHICLE DETAILING: STARTS AT $45. Includes interior service, wash and tire shine. An appointment is required.
says. “We also do all the company vehicles and shuttles.” The shop also takes care of personal vehicles for Prime associates. To get it all done, the detail shop opens at 7 a.m. and runs until 3 a.m. The truck wash never closes. SIX STEPS TO SHINE There are six departments within the Triple Crown building: wash bay, detail, polish, body shop, interior body and install. The departments not only have to coordinate with each other but also with other shops and with
driver appointments outside of Prime. “It is a massive jigsaw puzzle, and we try to make the pieces fit together the best we can,” Wood says. The Install Department fits trucks with headache racks, side boxes, televisions, CBs, refrigerators, satellite systems, chain racks, additional storage and much more. The wash bay boasts state-of-the-art machinery to assist in cleaning the trucks. While the machine is a huge help, the truck wash is not solely automated. “No machine can take care of everything, but it definitely makes our jobs much,
much easier,” Wood says. There’s also a wheel polishing machine and a paint booth where paint can be custom matched for a truck’s removable parts. CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT Washing a truck is a job in itself. Taking a vehicle that has served as someone’s home for three or four years and making it look new requires someone special. Someone who sees what they do as more than a job. Someone like Triple Crown’s Foreman, Sherrie Wilson. “She really makes this place sing,” Wood says.
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Jeremy Wilson works on welding a timber bracket on a headache rack.
Wilson spent more than eight years detailing trucks; she’s been administrating Triple Crown’s operations for the past five years. Although she works in the office nowadays, Wilson hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be on the floor and detail particularly filthy trucks. She remembers the feeling of looking in at a truck after a tough project and thinking, “Wow. I did a good job.” She doesn’t detail trucks today,
“I get to help drivers [and] guide them through processes throughout the company.” — SHERRIE WILSON
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but she does apply that same “It makes you feel really good when passion to serving her customers. the drivers compliment you on a “I get to help drivers [and] guide job well done. That’s what it them through processes throughboils down to: It’s the driver.” out the company,” she says. Terance Sewald is also part of — TERANCE SEWALD Prime’s Triple Crown team. He’s worked for the company off and on since 2001. “Prime is probably the best place I’ve ever worked,” he says. “They’ve always treated me well. It’s a rewarding job.” Sewald remembers a driver who wanted to lease a particular truck. It was the right make and model, even the right color. But it was so gross inside the driver wasn’t sure it could be salvaged. Sewald worked on the truck for hours. He says the driver was blown away. “He couldn’t believe it was the same truck,” he says. “I got it so clean.” That’s what drives him. “It makes you feel really good when the drivers compliment The Triple Crown team is you on a job well done,” he says. “That’s what composed of 10 detailers it boils down to: It’s the driver.” and five installers that all work tirelessly to make Wood also takes pride in seeing hard work sure the fleet is spotless. pay off. “I love seeing the finished product of our labors,” she says. “When you take a truck that has been through the ringer and make it look brand new, it’s a really great feeling. When that truck leaves here and looks clean and professional and maintained, it’s a pride of Prime and how we treat our business and operation.” WICKED WEATHER There are some unique challenges to detailing trucks. The weather can make the job incredibly difficult. “It’s very hard sometimes,” Wilson says. “You get 100 degree weather with 100 [percent] humidity. You’re sweating bullets and drenched and exhausted, but the job still has to be done.” The shop is equipped with floor heat to make winter months a little more bearable. Still, the cold slows things down. “De-icing a truck takes forever,” Wilson says. During weather extremes, Wilson takes a little extra pride in a job well done. “There’s satisfaction in knowing we accomplished a lot of work in a day, no matter how hot or cold it is,” she says. PET PROJECTS Every truck that comes through Triple Crown Detail Shop has been someone’s home for a long period of time. Wilson says: “Some drivers are clean. Some are very bad.” That is a huge understatement. Some of the most memorable jobs are trucks that have served as home to drivers and their pets. “When you get a driver that doesn’t care, it’s hard to stomach sometimes,” she
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says. “Then we have drivers with pets and you would never know it because they’re immaculately clean.” Trucks serve as home to puppies, kittens, fish, lizards, even snakes, as Prime’s pet policy allows drivers one pet weighing less than 40 pounds. One driver thought his snake had slithered away and was gone. The snake had, instead, been quietly hiding behind something located under the truck’s bunk. “When we went to clean it out, there’s this snake looking at us,” Wilson says. “I believe it was a Burmese python.” Some stories seem unbelievable, but the team is unfazed. “Nothing ceases to amaze us because we’ve seen it all,” Wilson says. The shop caters to drivers with furry friends by
offering a pet wash equipped with shampoos and flea dips. SOMETHING SPECIAL Triple Crown Detail Shop is a crucial component to the company. “I like to feel like I am part of something special and that what I do makes a difference,” Wilson says. “I definitely feel like I am a small part of something very special here at Prime.” Looking at the transformation of these trucks, it’s easy to see what these associates accomplish is very special. Sometimes, it’s downright supernatural. Wood says, “We tell everyone we perform magic out here.”
SHOP NUMBER OF TRUCKS WASHED EACH WEEK:
900 – 1,200 NUMBER OF TRUCKS DETAILED EACH WEEK:
80 – 130 HOURS SPENT GETTING A TRUCK READY: As little as an hour or as long as two days LIFETIME OF A PRIME TRUCK: Flatbeds, approximately four years. Reefers, usually three years. When they are at the end of their service with Prime, trucks are made ready to be sold through Pedigree Truck Sales Division. NUMBER OF DETAILERS:
10 NUMBER OF INSTALLERS:
5 NUMBER OF TRUCKS NEEDED TO ACCOMMODATE EACH NEW ORIENTATION CLASS:
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Soldiersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; graves at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Colorado were decorated in 2012 by Wreaths Across America. Prime Inc. drivers help deliver wreaths throughout the U.S.
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adventures on the road
Remembering from the
ROAD Prime Inc. delivers products to places all across the country, but some deliveries are more meaningful than others. Each December Prime drivers hit the road for the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America, which helps decorate the graves of soldiers nationwide.
BY JESSICA COVERT
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eventy-year-old Pat Minnick is just one of Prime’s many drivers, but she’s among the group of drivers who went to Arlington National Cemetery in 2014 as a volunteer for Wreaths Across America. She says the people at the wreath-laying ceremony were the highlight of her visit. “They were so gracious and so wonderful,” Minnick says. But Arlington wasn’t the first trip Minnick made to support the cause. Before Prime officially partnered with the nonprofit organization, Minnick was on the road hauling wreaths. She had read about Wreaths Across America in USA Today in 2007, and she knew it was a way she could give back. In this case, she says, it was a way she could
pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for the United States. Minnick owned her own truck, but she was missing one crucial element—a trailer. So she asked Prime if they would let her borrow one and to her surprise, the company said yes. In December 2007, Minnick hitched up a trailer with “Prime Floral” emblazoned on the side and started her journey to Harrington, Maine (the home of Wreaths Across America) to pick up her load of wreaths. Then, she was off to Fort Bliss, outside of El Paso, Texas. Since then, she’s been back to Fort Bliss many times and to Arlington once. Minnick says she’s taken a year off here and there since 2007 but plans to return to Arlington again this year.
Photos courtesy Prime Inc.
Prime drivers make the trip to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to deliver wreaths.
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A Cadet in the Missouri Civil Air Patrol places a wreath in the Springfield National Cemetery in Missouri.
Long before Minnick took that first voyage, Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, had made a trip to Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12 years old. On that trip, a seed of an idea was planted that later grew into Wreaths Across America. In 1992, Worcester Wreath Company had a surplus of wreaths. Worcester decided there was an opportunity to honor veterans in the national cemetery. Decorations were laid on each grave quietly until 2005, when a photo of the wreaths covered in snow started circulating on the internet. By 2007, the organization Wreaths Across America was officially formed and working to spread its mission of remember, honor, teach: remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach your children the value of freedom. In 2008, wreath-laying ceremonies took place in more than 300 cemeteries across the United States and Puerto Rico, plus 24 overseas cemeteries. The
This year, National Wreaths Across America Day is December 17. You can help out by volunteering to drive and deliver, but even nondrivers can get involved.
Drivers and non-drivers can donate to purchase wreaths that will go to military cemeteries by visiting wreathsacrossamerica. org. But if you’d rather donate your time, there’s also the option to participate in wreath-laying ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to place wreaths on graves during the ceremonies. Ceremonies are held across the nation. Find information about ceremonies near you at the Wreaths Across America website.
Ceremonies take place all over the country, and Associates can find out about the ceremonies close to them by visiting the Wreaths Across America website, wreathsacrossamerica.org. U.S. Congress even officially named December 13, 2008, the first Wreaths Across America Day. Over the years, the effort has expanded to include more decorations in more cemeteries. So Wreaths Across America’s need for trucking support has grown as more drivers are needed to deliver wreaths to wreath-laying ceremonies. So Prime stepped in to lend a helping hand. Andrea Mueller, Prime’s Coordinator for Wreaths Across America, says the company started working with the nonprofit around 2010 by providing volunteer drivers to deliver to Arlington and other cemeteries across the nation. Prime delivers 10 to 20 loads of wreaths each year, Mueller says, all with the help of its drivers. But all employees can help out. Anyone can donate to purchase wreaths and also participate in wreath-laying ceremonies, she says. Wreathlaying ceremonies take place all over the country, and associates can find out about the ceremonies close to them by visiting the Wreaths Across America website, wreathsacrossamerica.org. Many of the drivers who have delivered wreaths have close connections to a veteran, but plenty are veterans themselves, like Jerome Lobo. Lobo served in the U.S. Army. He put his name in the hat as a trucking volunteer last year and took his first Wreaths Across America trip in December 2015. During his trip, he traveled through Missouri delivering wreaths and attending ceremonies. Those ceremonies made him think of his cousin’s service during the Vietnam War. Much of the country disagreed with getting involved in Vietnam, he says, and the soldiers who fought didn’t get the hero’s welcome past veterans had received. Depression was very real for his cousin PRIME WAYS
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Prime drivers go to cemeteries all over the country, including Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.
Reaching Near and Far: According to the Wreaths Across America website, the effort has grown to include more than 1,100 ceremonies in the U.S., at sea and at national cemeteries overseas. Cemeteries across America host wreath-laying ceremonies with the help of trucking partners like Prime. Drivers from Prime have taken wreaths to Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia.
Photos courtesy Prime Inc., Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock
the time, the U.S. was heavily involved in the Iraq and others like him, and Lobo says his cousin later War, and soldiers were loaded in Jeeps and other died after his return home. vehicles speeding down the highway. But the most moving part for Lobo came at his Minnick says as she moved into the passing lane last stop at the National Veterans Cemetery in to give the convoy room, she started seeing heads Springfield, Missouri. There, he saw the graves of and arms popping out of windows as they passed Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers and says he her trailer. The words Wreaths Across America was taken back in time. “That’s history,” Lobo says. “And that’s some- were written on either side, she says, and there was a wreath on the front of the truck. thing I want my kids to see.” Even more than the Some soldiers gave her a thumbs up, others history was the need to remember the soldiers who smiled and still others cheered. It served as a regave their lives doing their duties, he says. minder to Minnick why she volunteers her truck The need to remember drives Minnick to keep and her time. “At least they knew somebody cares,” volunteering hours and miles in her rig. She says she says. when she first decided to volunteer, she loved that But one question was heavy on her mind. “I she could do something small for them. wondered how many of them got a wreath the next “This was a brilliant, wonderful thing,” Minnick says. “This can make a difference. Not a big differ- year,” she says. She might never know the answer to that quesence, but a little one.” On one of her trips to Texas, she was able to see and feel the impact her volun- tion, but for both her and Lobo, it’s about the big picture—honoring those who were called to serve. teerism makes. Minnick met a military convoy merging onto the “We are not forgetting those who paid the ultimate price,” Lobo says. “We’re still about America.” interstate outside Fort Sill in the early 2010s. At PRIME WAYS
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U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ingrid Parker, Garrison Commander at Picatinny Arsenal, places a wreath on the grave of Private Joshua Case during a 2015 Wreaths Across America event in northern New Jersey.
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Prime calendar Stay up-to-date on industry and community events.
prime time Prime associates and their children get one-on-one time with the jolly man in red this holiday. BY ERIN GREGORY
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA DAY Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to remember, honor and teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 1,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
COMPANY CHRISTMAS PARTIES
Keep an eye out for information on your site’s holiday party!
NINTH ANNUAL CHILI COOKOFF Springfield, Missouri Proceeds go to the Ozarks Food Harvest.
NIGHT OF THE MILLIONAIRES
Photos courtesy Prime Inc., Andrea Mueller
he long-anticipated holidays will be upon us before we know it, and for many that means a busy schedule, heavy expenses and travel. But for one kind soul it means a red suit, cheery demeanor and generous offerings for the Prime Inc. family of associates. For the past several years, Prime has invited the Easter Bunny to attend the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Because the visit is so wellreceived among families, the company decided to ask Santa to stop in around Christmastime. This will be Santa’s third year making an appearance at Prime. Santa is a simple man. His only affiliation with Prime is that his daughter, Carie Garrison, the in-house Payroll Administrator, and son-in-law, Dennis Davis, work there. So why did he choose to take on this symbolic, highly important role for the holiday season? Simply because he loves it. “Santa enjoys spreading Christmas cheer, so when he was asked if he could stop in to visit Prime, he was more than happy to make it happen,” Garrison says. “It is entertaining to see the reaction of the children with Santa. Most of them are very excited and enjoy meeting and talking with Santa. As a parent, I love seeing the smile on my child’s face when he is talking to Santa. The grown-ups can be quite entertaining, too. I think for some of the grown-ups seeing Santa takes them back to their own childhood.” Nearly 30 families throughout the organization visit Santa each year to celebrate the season. During his visit, children of all ages have the opportunity to meet Santa, have their picture taken with him and talk to him about their Christmas wish list. Cookies and hot chocolate are provided. Andrea Mueller, Prime Inc. Recruiting/Media Coordinator, helps to organize the event every year and enjoys the boost in morale Santa provides the organization. “We like that it brings a little entertainment and magic to the terminal around the holidays,” she says. “Our drivers are typically away from home for three to four weeks, and we want our terminal to feel welcoming and fun. Little events like this one were created to bring that fun aspect to our Prime life.” Because Santa is so busy this time of year, Prime anxiously awaits for his availability. At this time, it is too early to know when his visit will take place for 2016. More information will be available after Thanksgiving.
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View From the road
Photo courtesy David Richards
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 email@example.com. Include your name and caption information about where and when the photo was taken.
Driver David Richards took a break by the picturesque mountains in Scipio, Utah, off of I-15. He loves the opportunity to see the views the country has to offer. “I've been all over the country and seen a lot in my travels,” he says. “Also, being a trainer, I have the opportunity to give back and help others achieve their dreams.”
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