June 6, 2013 (Springfield, Mo.) – Mario Almendarez, a lease operator at Prime, Inc, rode a total of 538.99 miles to win Prime’s 2013 May Bicycle Challenge. Mr. Almendarez took the lead from Ange Mwiseneza during the last week of May by riding an incredible 204.59 miles. Mr. Mwiseneza finished the competition in second place with 488.5 miles, while Jeff Schmid finished in third with 155.34 miles. The month long competition was designed by Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coach Siphiwe Baleka in an effort to further the culture of fitness among Prime’s drivers.
Twice a year, Prime, Inc. sponsors a month long bicycle challenge to encourage drivers to be more active as part of its award-winning Driver Health and Fitness program. Drivers who carry a bike on their truck can participate, and they use smartphone apps to track their rides. Commenting on how he was able to ride so many miles, Mr. Almendarez said, “It all comes down to location and trips. I was lucky to be in the south last month with a lot of short trips and good weather. Up north where I usually run I probably wouldn’t have done as well.”
Roy Romo, who finished second last year during the September Bicycle Challenge, finished fourth this year’s May challenge. “As a Prime Student Driver Trainer,” said Mr. Romo, “I found riding a bike an enjoyable way to see and explore more at the places I travel to, as well as a way to exercise. The bike challenge gave me the incentive to ride more often and farther than I would have otherwise. I encourage every driver to find a way to get out of the truck and exercise as often as you can.”
Last year, Prime and bicycle manufacturer Montague partnered to provide high quality fold-up mountain bikes to the fleet. “Twenty-eight drivers now carry a mountain bike inside their tractor cabs,” said Baleka, “and more and more drivers are riding. Mario and Ange had an epic battle and pushed each other in friendly competition. I am very impressed and inspired by their efforts,” said Baleka.
If you know anything about trucking, you won’t be surprised to hear that over-the-road truck drivers have a life expectancy that’s 12 to 16 years shorter than the average American man. It’s a job that combines long, sedentary hours behind the wheel; the constant high stress of piloting a large, heavy combination vehicle in traffic and at high speeds; shifting sleep cycles in a 24/7 business; and limited choices as to when, where and what to eat.
“As an industry, we spend a lot of money on equipment, but the most important assets are the people,” says Don Lacy, director of safety for truckload carrier Prime Inc.
Believing that “a healthy driver is a safer driver,” Prime decided to address the issue with a health and fitness program specifically designed for a driver’s lifestyle. And to establish and run that program, the fleet hired a full-time coach who combines experience as both a truck driver and a high-level athlete.
Siphiwe Baleka was a highly successful competitive swimmer while he was a student at Yale University, but once he graduated, he gave up competition to travel around the world. Eighteen years later, looking for a way to earn a living while he figured out the next stage of his life, Baleka went through Prime’s driving school and became a leased owner-operator with the fleet for three years.
While he enjoyed the new job, he also noticed that the lifestyle was having a less positive effect on his weight and health, so he began training to compete in triathlons as he drove. The training routine he developed involved exercises he could do in or around the truck in 30 min. or less, as well as ways to eat a healthier diet. Those efforts not only brought him success as a master-class triathlete, but also led him to develop a series of 29 DVDs to share his program with other drivers.
Prime was so impressed with the DVDs that it began offering them through its online training website. Then this summer it hired Baleka full-time as its first driver health and fitness coach.
Baleka’s basic program runs 13 weeks, teaching drivers how to eat and exercise on the road so they can achieve healthy body weights and maintain them. Drivers, who pay an initial fee of $300 as a sign of commitment, apply online. Once accepted, they attend a one-day orientation class and receive program materials and exercise equipment. Baleka checks in with each driver daily, offering small, incremental changes to their routine with the goal being weight loss of about 1 lb. a week. He also checks their progress on a daily 15-min. exercise routine that includes 31 bodyweight exercises that can be completed in or alongside the truck. Once every four weeks, each driver is routed through Prime’s Springfield, MO, headquarters for an in-depth consultation and biometric evaluation. Every driver who completes the 13-week program is then reimbursed $300.
To date, three classes have completed the program, achieving on average a weight loss of 1.3 to 2 lbs. per week, according to Baleka. By the end of the 13 weeks, he says, the techniques they’ve learned have simply become part of healthier lifestyles that should stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Baleka also has a class to help drivers with more ambitious fitness goals such as training for and competing in triathlons. Not only is Prime’s driver health and fitness program a success on the individual level, but it is also having a positive impact on the fleet’s driver recruitment and retention, says Lacy. “When you offer people a way to extend their lives and feel better, it sends a message that we care about our drivers, that we want them to have a long and healthy life.”
January 17, 2013 (Springfield, Mo.) – America’s Road Team, a national public outreach program for safety led by an elite group of professional truck drivers, recently named Prime, inc. independent contractor Thomas Miller as one of the America’s Road Team Captains for the organization. Miller is the first person from Prime to be nominated for this prestigious honor.
“Being a road team captain is the highest honor for a professional driver. We are the voice of the professional truck drivers,” said Miller, who lives in Bunker Hill, Ill., with his wife and two daughters. “This will allow me to communicate the message of safety to legislators and insurance companies. Through education and training, we can further safety awareness.”
The American Trucking Association (ATA) created the “America’s Road Team” in 1986 to educate the public about highway safety and the trucking industry. Every two years, the organization chooses exceptional professional drivers to serve as Road Team Captains. These Captains spend a few days each month meeting with the motoring public, the news media, students, transportation officials and government leaders to discuss the trucking industry’s commitment to safety.
Miller was one of 19 chosen drivers out of the thousands who applied. In order to be considered for the position, he had to submit a video, letter and a list of accomplishments and certifications to the ATA. Miller became a professional driver 17 years ago and has successfully completed his fifth truck lease Success Leasing. This has earned him over $95,000 in lease completion incentives in addition to what he has earned driving a truck with Prime inc. He has also been a CDL instructor for four years and a trainer for over 13 years.
“We congratulate Thomas on this incredible achievement and are proud to call him a Prime associate,” said John Hancock director of training and driver recruiting for Prime. “He is a great example of the hard work, dedication and commitment to safety our driving and non-driving associates are known for.”
PRIME INC. HONORS FALLEN SOLDIERS WITH WREATH DELIVERY
Wreath-laying ceremonies took place Dec. 15, 2012 across America
December 12, 2012 (Springfield, Mo.) –Prime inc. recently announced its participation again this year as a sponsor for “Wreaths Across America™ Day”, which took place on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 12 p.m. EST.This memorial event, held annually on the second Saturday in December, relies on the help of volunteers, active organizations and the generosity of the trucking industry to perform the custom of placing wreaths on veteran graves across America.
Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at Arlington National Cemetery, veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states, as well as some internationally. Prime’s participation in the event is an annual tradition for the company. The company continues to sponsor runs, and Prime hauled wreaths for this year’s ceremonies through four stops in Missouri including Bloomfield, St James, St. Louis and Springfield, as well as a run in Arlington, Virginia and Fort Bliss, Texas.
“It is an honor for us to be able to pay tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said John Hancock, Prime inc. director of training and driver recruiting. “Our hope is that every grave can be decorated for the holidays to signify just how important their service was to our country.”
Ceremonies around the nation were performed in unison at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 15. Each ceremony included a flag ceremony, the traditional taps and a 21-gun salute. One member from each branch of the military placed a wreath on a grave. To find out more about Wreaths Across America or to donate to a specific cemetery for next year's event, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
About Prime inc.
Founded in 1970 by Robert Low, Prime inc. is North America’s most successful refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and logistics trucking company. Headquartered in Springfield, Mo., Prime's personnel, equipment and technology remains on the cutting edge of the transportation industry, and the company's growth remains steady and well managed. For more information about Prime, please visit www.primeinc.com.
About Wreaths Across America ™
Wreaths Across America™, a non-profit 501-c3 organization, was formed as an extension of the Arlington Wreath Project. The Arlington Wreath program began with the donation and laying of 5,000 Christmas wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery by Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington in 1992. The program was expanded in 2006 to create Wreaths Across America™, providing wreath donations nationwide. The wreath laying, held annually on the second Saturday of December, is now in its 19th year of existence with over 450,000 wreaths placed on a veteran’s grave.