Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prime Drivers Compete in Olympic Distance Triathlon

10/30/2012
Prime Drivers Compete in Olympic Distance Triathlon

Driving tanker, flatbed, and refrigerated trailers, seven Prime drivers recently arrived in Anderson, S.C., to compete in the Revolution 3 Olympic-distance triathlon relay and aquabike. The triathlon, sponsored by Pilot Flying J, consists of a 0.9-mile swim, a 24-mile bike ride, and a 6.2-mile run.

Prime's Driver Health and Fitness program entered two relay teams in which each driver did one leg of the triathlon. Jeff Schmid also competed in the aqua bike, doing both the swim and bike legs individually.

Matt Young, Jason Davis, and Matt Buchanan comprised the "Matt Sandwich" team that finished in 3:37:35. Diane Kehoe, Mario Abramson and David Calhoun comprised the "Prime Allstars" team that finished in 3:58:31. Jeff Schmid finished the aquabike in 2:36:13.

It was a tough go for swimmers Young and Kehoe. As long haul drivers, they had limited opportunity to train for the long swim, and neither had ever swam with a wetsuit, which they both conceded was "too tight," forcing them to ditch the wetsuits during the swim. Both completed the swim and handed off their timing chip to cyclists Davis and Abramson. Davis, a former professional BMX bicycle racer who is competing in this year's BMX National Championships, had never ridden a high-performance triathlon bike, which was provided to him by the race organizers and Pilot Flying J.

He finished the bicycle leg in 1 hour 28 minutes and 51 seconds, riding at an average pace of 16.75 mph. Abramson, on the other hand, carried his own specialized road bike on his truck, and completed the bike leg in 1 hour 41 minutes and 29 seconds. Both cyclists competed in Prime's September Bicycle Challenge with Davis riding 154.98 miles and finishing first and Abramson finishing sixth with 33.83 miles during the month-long competition.

Buchannan finished the run in 58 minutes and 21 seconds for the Matt Sandwich team, while Calhoun came across the line with a split time of 1 hour 6 minutes and 6 seconds.

For the drivers in both relay teams, this was their first ever triathlon and they were the first long-haul drivers to be a part of the Truckers To Triathlon program created by Dr. George "Bud" Harris. Not so, however, for Jeff Schmid. In 2008, Schmid started training for sprint triathlons while driving in the Midwest. To date, he has competed in eight triathlons and earned an athletic trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine in 2010.

Schmid finished the swim in 46 minutes and 21 seconds and finished the bike in 1 hour 45 minutes and 4 seconds, riding at an average speed of 14.16 mph.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prime Receives EPA SmartWay Excellence Awards

PRIME INC. GARNERS U.S. EPA 2012 SMARTWAY EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Company remains leader for freight supply chain efficiency

October 9, 2012 (Springfield, Mo.) – Prime inc. was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with two prestigious 2012 SmartWay Excellence Awards for its Flatbed and Eco-Featherweight divisions. The annual awards are given to organizations that achieve or exceed the fuel reduction and environmental performance goals they are working toward with the help of the SmartWay Transport Partnership.
            “Earning this award is very important to all of us at Prime,” said Nick Forte, who works in Prime’s maintenance operations support. “Our philosophy has always been to conduct business in a safe and efficient manner. By winning this award, it escalates us to the top one percent of carriers in the country that are actively pursuing ways to reduce our carbon footprint, while delivering safe and on-time freight.”
            Only forty of the nearly 3,000 SmartWay partners received a SmartWay Excellence Award in the categories of shipper, carrier and logistics partners. Awardees were chosen based on their ability to demonstrate top environmental performance by adopting fuel-saving technologies and strategies to save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  The data collected helps to keep track of each freight operation’s energy and environmental efficiency, supply chain carbon and emissions performance and helps to optimize operations. The award for truck and multimodal carrier partners were announced at the American Trucking Association’s Annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev.
            “We pride ourselves in protecting the environment for our children and grandchildren and being good stewards to our limited natural resources,” said Forte. “It is important to Prime to support SmartWay initiatives as it provides a comprehensive matrix that allows all shippers to be benchmarked on overall greenhouse gas emissions and allows us to validate internal initiatives on reduction of our greenhouse gasses.”
            For more information about Prime inc., please visit www.primeinc.com or call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

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 SmartWay
EPA launched SmartWay in 2004 to help businesses improve the sustainability of their freight supply chains. Today the Partnership consists of nearly 3,000 Partners representing a cross section of the freight supply chain industry. As of today, SmartWay Partners have saved 55 million barrels of oil. This is equivalent to taking over 3 million cars off the road for an entire year. SmartWay’s clean air achievements (23.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 478,000 tons nitrogen oxide and 22,000 tons of particulate matter reduced so far) help protect the health and well-being of citizens while contributing to the nation’s economic and energy security. For more information on SmartWay, visit www.epa.gov/smartway/.

Prime Inc.'s Eco Featherweight Equipment.  www.ecofeatherweight.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prime Inc. Highlighted in CNN Story

Published on Sep 23, 2012 by
The trucking industry is experiencing a boom, with about 200,000 long-haul jobs open. CNN's Christine Romans explains.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Local TV News Story - Prime Fighting for Driver Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Their job is to haul heavy loads, and it turns out that's what they've been doing.  Transportation workers have the highest obesity rate in the country and truck drivers take the cake, but one local company is working to reverse the trend.

Health experts aren't surprised at studies that show more than 85 percent of truckers are overweight and more than half of those people are obese.  The lifestyle is typically a sedentary one with long hours and fast food, but a Springfield-based business wants to beat those odds.

Inside southwest Missouri's largest trucking company's headquarters is a state-of-the-art fitness facility.

"We have two fitness instructors, have classes, and do weight training, yoga," said Prime Inc. founder Robert Low. 

That in itself is a story.

"We're very aware that truck drivers typically haven't been very healthy and that's a shame."

When Low built this fitness center about a decade ago, he felt the effects,
"I lost probably about 30 pounds," Low said.

His drivers started dropping weight too.  They even won a weight-loss competition against other trucking companies, but that wasn't enough.

"I think maybe 70 to 80 percent of our drivers unfortunately are overweight and maybe half of those are obese."

Here's where the story gets its legs and arms and core.

"All this is good cardio," said Siphiwe Baleka as he squatted, shadow boxed, and did a number of full-body exercises.

In July, the former truck driver launched the company's, and maybe the country's, first 13-week fitness program specifically for truck drivers.

"I gained 15 pounds in the first two months of my driving career, and that scared me," Baleka tells us.

So, during his three-year driving career with Prime, Baleka developed the program with the driver in mind.  There are 31 different exercises, performed in different combinations 15 minutes a day, and all within just a few feet of the truck.

Participants keep a food journal and Baleka tracks their progress online.

"Yesterday this particular driver burned 5,000 calories," he said, reading off his computer screen.

Read Full Story & Watch Video Here



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prime DHF Introduces the Prime Bike Challenge


Prime takes Driver Health & Fitness to a new level with the Prime Bike Challenge.  All Prime Drivers are elligible to participate in the challenge that runs from September 1st through the 30th of 2012.  Drivers are asked to ride any bicycle for the month of September and use any smartphone app (such as "Map My Ride") or training device (such as "Garmin" or "Polar Multisport Watch") to log their distance, speed, elevation, routes, etc.  Only road miles count - no bike trianer miles or stationary bike miles.

Prime Inc. has multiple divisions within the company.  A Prime Driving Associate in each division with the most miles logged wins.  Special awards for the longest single road ride, longest single trail ride, single ride with the greates amount of elevation, over-all greatest elevation, fastest average speed for a single ride, fastest average speed for the entire competition, most state parks visited, etc. Top 50% of riders will be entered into a raffle for a unique grand prize that will be announced midway through the competition based on the number of contestants.  Award winners must present/share their mileage logs and maps.

Please visit DHFPrime.com for details.

Prime Driving Associates can find a discounted price on the Montaque Paratrooper Fold-Up Mountain Bike inside the Prime company store in Springfield, MO. 

For more information please contact Siphiwe Baleka

Thursday, August 16, 2012

National Truck Driver Appreciation & WELLNESS Week - Sept. 16-22, 2012


A new wellness component has been added to the Driver Appreciation Week that our industry celebrates each September.  This week hereafter will be known as National Truck Driver Appreciation & Wellness Week (NTDAWW).  Please join us in celebrating NTDAWW, September 16-22, 2012.  This annual event honors our nation's drivers for their commitment to excellence.

To incorporate wellness into this very special week the Truckload Carriers Association has named September 20th as “Ditch the Pack” day.  TCA is asking that everyone in our industry - from dispatchers to drivers to safety directors to executives - stop smoking for one day.  The goals are to raise awareness of the benefits of quitting and to show support for those starting or continuing their smoke-free journey. 

Prime has a long-standing tradition of attracting and retaining the best professionals in the trucking industry.  Join us in saying thank you to the best drivers in the industry, not just during National Truck Driver Appreciation & Wellness Week, but every day throughout the year!




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prime Picnics 2012



One of the most anticipated company events is the Prime Company Picnic, held in various locations throughout the country.  This year, Prime Company Picnics are scheduled in Pittson, PA and Springfield, MO on September 1, 2012 and Salt Lake City, UT on  August 11, 2012.  Last year, thousands of drivers and their family members attended the picnics, with bands, swimming and games for the entire family.

Lifeblood of the Organization
 The Prime Company Picnic honors those that the company understands are the lifeblood of the organization – drivers and independent contractors.  Although Prime makes it a point to let them know throughout the year how appreciated they are, the annual picnic celebrations allow the company to not only honor the drivers and independent contractors, but their families as well, who often must sacrifice much while their loved one is on the road.

Picnic Fun
Each Prime Company Picnic offers fun events for the entire family.  At past picnics, inflatable games, water slides, and face painting were a hit among the children, while the casino-style games were popular with the adults.  Guests enjoyed delicious picnic-type food and beverages as they played volleyball, softball and badminton.  Those that did not participate in the sports activities were able to enjoy live music from bands that played during the picnic.

Truck Competitions
In addition to the fun family events held at the Prime Company Picnic, two competitive truck-driving events are also part of the entertainment.  The Truck Driving Championship tested driver skills on a course that simulates situations drivers often encounter while on the road.  The Truck Pride and Polish Championship determine which driver has the most well cared for and best looking truck in the Prime family.  Prizes are awarded for both competitions.

Prime is excited for this year’s Prime Company Picnic and they can’t wait to see you there!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Siphiwe Baleka - Folding Bike

A Truck Driver Triathlete and his Montague Folding Bike


From time to time, we’ve done stories on the blog about Montague riders on the road with their bikes. For people who have to travel for and with their work, such as roadies and truckers, having a bike that’s easy to transport is important, since there’s not always space in the back of a trailer or in a sleeping cab for a non-folding bicycle.

Montague Paratrooper in the sleeper cab. Photo courtesy of Siphiwe Baleka.

But there’s at least one truck driver out there who’s taking it to the next level. Siphiwe Baleka is a long haul trucker who not only travels with a Montague Paratrooper in his cab – he trains on it. A former Ivy League swimming champion for Yale in the early 1990s, when Siphiwe began his career as a trucker in 2008, he started to gain weight and didn’t like it. Although he spent many hours sitting in his truck, he was determined to find the means and motivation to stay in shape (you can see more about this at his website, Fitness Trucking). He decided to start training for the Ironman Triathlon.

Although Siphiwe keeps to a tight driving schedule, he finds time to work out every day, whether it’s a ride, run, swim, or any combination of the three. He tries to get 2 hours in before he starts driving, but when that’s not possible, he splits his workout, doing an hour in the morning and an hour later in the day.

Unfolding the Montague Paratrooper in 3 easy steps. Photos courtesy of Siphiwe Baleka.

And his training has been successful. In 2011, Siphiwe competed at the Masters Triathlon National Championship here in the U.S., where he placed 87th in his age group. He also traveled to South Africa this April, where he completed an Ironman Triathlon, improving on his 2011 Nationals result, finishing in 11:59:14, which was good enough for 50th place in his age group and 216th overall (if this doesn’t sound like much to you, consider that there were close to 1400 participants. 216th is not too shabby).

Getting in shape for the Ironman in Jackson Lake, CO. Photo courtesy of Siphiwe Baleka.

Siphiwe has made it his personal mission (and business) to show other truckers that they can be active, fit, and compete at high levels. He also has a series of exercise DVDs for truckers, showing them exercises they can do in their cab while driving, or in just 30 minutes outside their cab. This is really important as people become more aware of the health problems caused by obesity and inactivity.

On behalf of Montague, I’d like to wish Siphiwe continued success at his triathlon and swimming competitions. Keep on trucking with your Montague bike!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jerry Gambrell - 2011 Instructor of the Year for Prime Inc.


March 26, 2012 (Springfield, Missouri) –Prime Inc. recently named Jerry Gambrell its 2011 Instructor of the Year. Since Gambrell started working for Prime two years ago, he has won multiple awards for best pre-trip inspections and proven himself to be a strong leader for Prime's driver training program. "Recognition like this means so much to me," said Gambrell. "Not only am I able to give back to the industry that has allowed me to provide for my family, but I'm with a company that realizes my worth and treats me accordingly."

After a brief period of time working in healthcare, Gambrell decided that he was being called to the trucking industry. He spent about eight years with an LTL carrier, but eventually felt like he needed a change that provided more opportunities for him and his family. Gambrell eventually decided that he wanted to become an owner operator, which would allow him to manage his own business and be in control of his career, and just needed the right company to partner with. "I spent a lot of time researching different companies and Prime became the logical choice for me and my family. Prime had all the crucial components I was looking for," said Gambrell. "Not only were they a stable company that was well respected in the industry, but they were growing and its freight network made me feel confident that the miles would always be there."

Now as a driver instructor for Prime, Grambrell makes it his goal for his students to leave the program feeling like they are capable and ready for what this career has to offer. The job isn't easy, said Gambrell, and he's had to learn how to adapt to different personalities and communication styles with each student.

The reward of seeing each of his students succeed, however, is well worth it. "People always ask me why I chose Prime. With Prime, my time on the road is valued. Gone are the days of wasting my time sitting at a truck stop waiting for my next load instead of running it," said Gambrell, who moved his family from Ruskin, Fla., to Nixa, Missouri, near Prime's headquarters in order to spend more time at home when he wasn't on the road. "Now, my most valued time – my time with family – is quality. For my wife and five children, Prime was the best choice we could have made."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Prime Inc. Driving Principles: Service

Service: We will provide quality service that meets or exceeds our customers' requirements.

Prime Inc. Driving Principles: Fun

Fun: We will provide a work environment that is enjoyable. We will select associates, vendors and customers that we can get along with and enjoy.  We believe that life is too short not to have fun.

Prime Inc. Driving Principles: Excellence

Excellence:
Our goal is to be the best. We will strive for total quality and continuous improvement.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stormi In Her Purple Prom Dress

David Standridge drives for Prime.  His great niece (Stormi) loves the color purple and couldn't help but pick out this dress for her 7th Grade Prom.  Her Great Uncle's truck just happened to be her favorite color too.  It was definitely photo op time!

Family vacations are on the horizon with Stormi out of school for the summer.  When asked where the Standridge family plan to go for their summer vacation, KK (David's wife) and Stormi both said "to the terminal! Prime has become a family thing for us, everyone there is so friendly." 

David is training his brother Lance through the Prime PSD Program.  Prime truly is a family affair for David and his wife.  Thanks for the pictures David.  This is a great story and we hope Stormi had a great time at her Prom!  She looked beautiful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Michael Finney - Prime Driver Profile

Meet Michael Finney.  Michael grew up in Baltimore, MD then moved to Atlanta, GA at the age of 12.  That's where his life was shaped.  Michael's Grandpa was a truck driver that did dedicated runs up to Chicago and back.  Michael would often times ride with him on the truck during the summers.  A star basketball player (all county) on his High School team, Michael's life changed in his last game of the season.  A serious ankle injury all but shattered his dreams of playing in college.  The recovery time of the injury turned out to be longer than anticipated.  He woke up one day trying to figure out what to do next.  His Grandpa told him that he better figure it out!  That's when it hit him..."I want to drive a truck." 

Michael says that he learned a lot from playing sports and none more important than paying attention to details.  Hard work and dedication can get you far in this life.  Michael Finney is living proof of that.  He has been driving a truck for nine years and is currently a Driver/Trainer for Prime Inc.  When asked why Prime?...Michael says that it's in the equipment.  Prime pays attention to details from the cleanliness and quality of their equipment to the way they treat their drivers.  Michael's hard work and dedication fits well into Prime's business model and in return he has the opportunity to make more money.  Michael is in control of his own destiny at Prime and he takes it seriously.

When asked why he isn't on the basketball court every time he comes into the Prime Terminal in Springfield, MO - his response was a testament to why he is so successful.  "I love to play basketball and want to play every chance I get.  The only times I won't play is when I have a student on the driving pad.  That student is my responsibility.  They deserve my 100% attention and I am 100% focused on their success. I can't give that if I'm out playing ball."

An avid collector of hats (200+) and shoes (20+), Michael stays true to the things he enjoys.  His three favorite sports teams are ironically..."the teams everyone enjoys to hate - Lakers, Cowboys & Yankees," Michael said with a smile.  He plans to get a Koby Bryant decal on his LA Lakers themed Prime Truck.

Michael Finney has been driving and training with Prime for over a year and a half.  If you see Michael in any one of our terminals, introduce yourself.  Just don't volunteer to guard him on the basketball court! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Don't Keep the Change


Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center Maintenance
Worker Jon Brown suggested that all the money collected
from the hotel's fountains be donated to the Make-A-Wish
Fondation. Now the hotel donates every penny and owner
Robert Low matches every donation made in the fountails.
/Nathan Papes/News-Leader
by: Springfield News-Leader - April 14, 2012

Jon Brown spent two years watching coins fall into the fountains at the Ramada Oasis hotel and convention center.

The hotel has three indoor fountains and more outside, and it’s Brown’s job to clean them periodically. The coins were saved for employee parties or some other function.
“Everyone tosses change in the fountains and makes a wish — so I thought, let’s donate to Make-A-Wish,” Brown said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of local children with life-threatening illnesses. He said what planted the idea in his head was a party at the hotel. A young girl had asked for a pool party as her wish through the foundation. Brown said he was touched that of all the things the girl could have requested, all she wanted was a chance to swim with friends.

“It was that pool party that really got me thinking,” Brown said. “Children are amazing, so simple. It’s just the littlest things.” He told General Manager Missy Handyside about his idea, and she passed it on to hotel owner Robert Low. “It was just a great idea, and we just had great support,” Handyside said.

Low jumped on board, and even offered to match all the donations made in the fountains.
But the idea didn’t stop there. The hotel contacted Springfield Sign & Neon, which donated plaques for each of the fountains explaining the program. The sign company designed and installed the plaques, and didn’t ask for any credit in the process.“They didn’t even put their logo on it or anything,” Brown said.

In January, the hotel and Low presented more than $500 to the organization. Handyside and Brown expect that amount to grow, as more people notice the signs and chip in a bit more than before. “It’s a lot more quarters,” Brown said. As proud as he is of the program, he hopes it doesn’t stop with the Ramada Oasis.
“There’s other ideas people can come up with. “And other foundations too,” he said.



David White & Prime Drivers Bring Home Hardware - MoTA Safety Conference


David White (Prime Inc.) - MoTA Safety Director of the Year
Jefferson City, MO --The 2012 Missouri Trucking Association (MoTA) Spring Safety Conference was attended by nearly 80 Safety Professionals and featured ten speakers.   The two day event was sponsored by the MoTA Council of Safety Supervisors at the Country Club Hotel & Spa, Lake Ozark, Missouri, March 21 & 22, 2012.
    The conference was highlighted by the 65th annual Safety Awards Banquet honoring the trucking industry's finest safety and driving professionals with nearly 150 company officials in attendance.
    For thirty-one of the last thirty-two years, the Missouri Trucking Association has received the coveted Summa Cum Laude Award from American Trucking Associations' State Association Recognition Program for effectively fostering and promoting highway safety programs within Missouri for the greater good of the trucking industry and all highway users.  Accepting the award was Danny Sexton, who served as Chairman of the Council of Safety Supervisors during the 2010 contest period.     
    Three major fields of safety -- the Fleet Safety Contest; the Missouri Drivers of the Month and 2011 Driver of the Year; and the Safety Director of the Year -- shared the spotlight at the banquet.   
  
   The 2011 Missouri Driver of the Year is Robert Miller, a driver for Transport Distribution Company of Joplin, MO.  Mr. Miller has been a professional driver for over 30 years and has driven nearly four million miles during his career.
   Colonel Ron Replogle, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, presented Mr. Miller with a ring and a framed certificate from the Missouri Trucking Association for his excellence in highway safety.
    After having received an engraved watch and resolutions from state legislators during ceremonies at their own companies, the Drivers of the Month for 2011 were presented with a commemorative engraved memento from the Missouri Trucking Association.  Introducing each of the drivers was Tom Kolb of Midland Transports in Jefferson City, MO and Chair of the MoTA Board of Directors.  The drivers of the month, their company and hometown are listed below:
January - Robert Miller, Transport Distribution Company, Miami, OK
February - Henry Grider, TCSI/Transland, Inc., Aurora, MO
March - Ronald Hoover, Prime Inc., Casper, WY                         
April - Chester Surface, Jack's Truck Rental, Holts Summit, MO
May - Mark Bramel, O & S Trucking, Inc., Sulphur Springs, AR
June - Glen Horack, Prime Inc., Elkland, MO  
July - Charles Mason Conlee, Prime Inc., Fair Grove, MO  
August - Thomas Miller, Prime Inc., Bunker Hill, IL
September - Larry Thurman, Walmart* Transportation, Lake Ozark, MO
October - Gerald Hulsey, D & D Sexton, Inc., Carthage, MO
November - Ralph 'Gene' Conduff, D & D Sexton, Inc., Carthage, MO
December - Donald Decan, Transport Distribution Company, Russellville, AR
    
    Dave White
, Prime Inc., Springfield, MO, was presented the "Safety Director of the Year" award for his outstanding leadership in safety related programs designed for the trucking industry, his company and the community.  Presenting the winner's plaque and an engraved clock from the Missouri Trucking Association to Mr. White was Jim Pruett, the current Chairman of the Council of Safety Supervisors.
    
    The Grand Trophy winner in the "Fleet Safety Contest", a competition among motor carrier fleets for the best "no-accident" record on a fleet-wide basis during the 2010-2011 contest period, was Transport Distribution Company of Joplin, MO.  Accepting the trophy on behalf of Transport Distribution Company were Mr. Steve Page and Mr. Larry Kloeppel.
    Plaques were presented to the winners in each of four divisions of competition by John Joines, assisted by Jim Pruett and Brent Stacy, both of Great West Casualty, sponsor of the fleet safety contest awards.  The winner in the "Local Division" was FedEx Freight, Harrison, Arkansas.  Honorable mention in the local division went to D & D Sexton, Inc. Carthage, MO.  
    In the "Over the Road, Up to One Million Miles" category, the winner was Hull Trucking, Inc., Old Appleton, MO.  Honorable mention in the Up to One Million Miles category went to Twehous Excavating, Inc. of Jefferson City, MO.
    The plaque winner in the "Over the Road, One to Five Million Miles" category was Transport Distribution Company, Joplin, MO; honorable mention in this category went to D & D Sexton, Inc., Carthage, MO.
    In the "Over the Road, Over Five Million Miles" category, the plaque winner was Walmart* Transportation, St James, MO; honorable mention in this category went to FedEx Freight, Harrison, Arkansas.


Friday, March 16, 2012

TCA’s New Leader, Robert Low, Eager to Improve Driver Health

By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the March 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

Prime Inc. President Robert Low puts his commitment to improving truckers’ health on the line at lunchtime, playing full-court basketball with co-workers. “Driver health and wellness is a personal passion of mine,” he told Transport Topics this month during the Truckload Carriers Association meeting in Florida, where he was elected chairman and promised to make health and wellness a priority.

Low, 62, highlighted that commitment with a focus on longevity of drivers, whose life expectancy is at least 15 years fewer than that of the average American. “That is just not right,” he said. Drivers “just want to work and love to work,” Low said. “They are [literally] dying to work. We need to do something about that.”Other health facts are sobering.Low cited the fact that at least twice as many drivers smoke and have diabetes, compared with other workers, and only 8% exercise regularly.

While Low didn’t mention it, a study by the American Dietetic Association found that 86% of drivers are overweight or obese. That’s three times the national average for all workers (see story, p. 22). “If you care about your people, you have to follow through,” said Low, who added that he’s being realistic in thinking that it won’t be easy to get drivers to stop smoking, lose weight and exercise.

Low, who stands about 6 feet tall, continues his commitment more than four decades after filling the shooting guard position at Skyline High School in rural Urbana, Mo., about 50 miles north of Springfield, Prime’s headquarters.“I really enjoy the experience,” Low said of playing indoor five-on-five games. He added that workers sometimes dunk the ball over him. Before the court was built in 2000, lunchtime games were played in a truck yard, shooting at a basket fastened to a building and dodging trucks backing in and out.
He keeps playing because, “I really enjoy the experience,” he said.

Asked why driver wellness is a growing priority now, Low said, “We have a lot more information on the detrimental effects of sleep apnea. We understand how devastating diabetes is. It’s an epidemic — a progressive disease that is devastating if not treated.”

“These are conditions that can be corrected and cured with the right kind of health care and voluntary lifestyle changes,” he added. “We have the information; we have the knowledge; we know how to make it better.”Some pro-health steps already are being taken, both in the industry and at Prime, which ranks No. 22 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada.
TCA has developed a health-screening kiosk and promoted wellness with a Weight Loss Challenge among carriers.

Prime has two full-time trainers at its fitness center to help with exercise, nutrition programs and smoking-cessation programs.The company also has a fitness center and trainer in its Pittston, Pa., terminal. Low particularly praised driver Siphiwe Baleka, an owner-operator for Prime, who has competed in triathlons and has produced a set of exercise and nutrition tapes for other drivers to use while they are working.

The tapes include push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches, the use of resistance weight bands and even yoga, Low said. There also are potential business benefits to improving driver wellness, as the driver population ages and a shortage becomes more acute.“We have to do this,” Low said. “You have to scratch your head and say, ‘What are we going to do going forward?’ to find drivers.” Low also pledged to step up the industry’s image-building campaign with a driver focus that was started by his predecessor as TCA chairman, Fikes Truck Line CEO Gary Salisbury.

“The image is very important for our industry’s drivers and their families,” Low said. Drivers “deserve to be respected like any other member of society, and in many cases that isn’t done.” Part of the image effort will be to continue programs such as Highway Angel, which recognizes drivers who help people in distress, and Wreaths Across America, which places wreaths on the graves of fallen veterans.

There’s more to be done on a broader basis with trucking’s image campaign, Low said, citing the success of the rail industry’s efforts. The railroads, with more than $70 billion in annual revenue concentrated at six large carriers, have spent as much as $50 million on their image campaign, he claimed, although an Association of American Railroads spokeswoman said later that AAR’s image spending was much lower.
The rails’ image campaign promotes their private capital investment and environmental benefits, using tweeting birds in the background of radio advertisements.

That campaign has been advancing at a time when some rail shippers are pressing legislators in Washington to boost rail competition, so far without success. Low said he’s looking for ways to increase commitment to upgrading trucking’s image from the diverse truckload industry, with tens of thousands of carriers. He’s backing that effort with a $5,000 personal funding pledge.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Robert Low (CEO & Founder - Prime Inc.) Named TCA Chairman


By CCJ STAFF
Published March 7, 2012

A long-time member of the Missouri Trucking Association, Prime Inc. is an active participant in MTA’s Truck Driving Championships and other activities. Internally, the company operates a successful charitable giving program that promotes education, health and human services, environmental and relief/development efforts and the arts, mostly for organizations located in the communities where Prime employees live and work.
The Truckload Carriers Association has appointed Robert Low, president and founder of Prime Inc. of Springfield, Mo., as its new chairman. Low, who will serve for the 2012-2013 term, was sworn in Wednesday, March 7, during TCA’s Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.
Low established Prime Inc. in Urbana, Mo., in 1970. A decade later, he moved the corporate headquarters to Springfield. What began as a one-truck operation has evolved into a leader in logistics and international refrigerated, tanker, flatbed, floral and intermodal transportation, with a fleet size of 5,700 driving associates, 4,000-plus trucks and more than 7,300 trailers.
During his tenure with TCA, Low has served as Refrigerated Division chairman, at-large officer, secretary, second vice chair and first vice chair. He has participated in numerous committees and management panels, including the Carrier/Shipper Relations Committee, the Driver Recruitment and Retention Panel, and the Financial Oversight and Long-Range Planning Committee, among others.
For the American Trucking Associations, Low serves as a vice president at-large and a board and executive committee member. In 2000, he received the prestigious “Missourian” award, an honor given to Missouri citizens who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of business, government, or the arts. He also sits on the board of directors of Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn.
Low ensures that Prime Inc. is heavily involved with trucking industry projects and activities. For example, the company is participating in TCA’s Trucking Weight Loss Showdown, a battle to see which TCA-member team can lose the greatest percentage of weight (both individually and collectively) in a 10-week period. Prime also was involved with Wreaths Across America, an organization that coordinates veteran services and recognition through a variety of programs and educational initiatives.
Low says that he plans to focus on the health and wellness of professional truck drivers during his year at the helm of TCA. “Statistics show that our drivers die way too young,” he said. “Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, sleep apnea … these are severe issues that can – and should – be addressed. We want to attract the best drivers, retain them and then take care of them once they’re a part of the trucking family. TCA can provide the necessary education, resources and programs to help our members help their people.”
The theme of improving driver health is a natural extension of the positive trucking image initiatives championed by Gary Salisbury, TCA’s immediate past chairman, and many of the chairmen before him. These efforts have included producing and airing a patriotic television commercial viewed by an estimated 2 million-plus households; promoting a rising country singer who sings several positive trucking songs; ramping up the Highway Angel program; and producing an informative biweekly segment on a national radio program.
“I’ve been a proud participant in TCA’s many efforts to enhance the public’s image of trucking, and now I’m hoping we can reach out to drivers and potential drivers to build up their perceptions about a career in the industry,” said Low. “The mortality age of an over-the-road driver should not be less than non-drivers … it just isn’t right, and it doesn’t have to be that way. We can help drivers make better choices, exercise more, eat better and take care of themselves despite the nature of their jobs. We can make a difference for our drivers – we can help save the lifeblood of our industry.”
The following individuals were elected to assist Low and will serve as officers until the next Annual Convention, scheduled for March 3-6, 2013, at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev.:
• First Vice Chair: Tom B. Kretsinger Jr., president and chief operating officer, American Central Transport Inc., Liberty, Mo.;
• Second Vice Chair: Shepard Dunn, president and chief executive officer, Bestway Express Inc.,Vincennes, Ind.;
• Treasurer: Keith Tuttle, president, Motor Carrier Service Inc., Northwood, Ohio;
• Secretary: Russell Stubbs, president, FFE Transportation Services Inc., Dallas;
• Assn. Vice President to ATA: Barry E. Pottle, president and CEO, Pottle’s Transportation Inc., Bangor, Maine;
• Immediate Past Chair: Gary Salisbury, president and CEO, Fikes Truck Line Inc., Hope, Ark.;
• At-Large Officer: Daniel I. Doran, president, Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging, Cincinnati;
• At-Large Officer: Daniel L. Oren, vice president, Dart Transit Co., Eagan, Minn.;
• At-Large Officer: Rob Penner, vice president, Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
• At-Large Officer: Thomas Witt, president, Roehl Flatbed & Specialized, Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wis.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Prime Inc. joins the TCA Trucking's Weight Loss Showdown

Watch Prime's video submission into the contest!


Trucking’s Weight Loss Showdown kicked off on Jan. 24, as teams of 12 drivers and staff from 11 TCA-member trucking companies throughout North America embarked on a special program to determine who can achieve the greatest percentage of weight loss in a 10-week period. The program, administered by Lindora Clinic, providers of medically based weight-loss and health management wellness programs, stresses a low-carbohydrate, low-fat, moderate protein menu plan coupled with exercise, nutrition education, and lifestyle changes. The first-ever Showdown is one of TCA’s ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellness of truck drivers and all trucking industry staff.

Learn more about the program here: http://truckingsweightlossshowdown.com/

Prime Inc. and Success Leasing

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crane High School Career Day


Alex Conlan (Prime's Tire Manager) took a few minutes out of his day in February to teach eager high school kids about the Transportation Industry and Prime Inc.  Crane High School (located in Southwest Missouri) had their annual career day on February 21st.  Crane asked if Prime would talk to their students about driving a truck and the business side of transportation.  Alex discussed the importance Prime places on Safety and Customer Service.
Alex discusses Prime's equipment with Crane H.S. students.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1st Annual Advanced Fleet Program Conference




This invitation only event is Prime Logistic's very first conference.  The Advanced Fleet Program is one of the most exciting programs going at Prime Inc.  Here are the highlights of the program:

Run with a leader in the industry while maintaining your own business authority.
  •  24/7 Road assistance
  • Access to pool of more than 4,000 late-model trailers, so you always pull the trailer that best utilizes your power unit
  • Access to Prime’s vast freight network with one reload manager
  • Qualcomm tracking technology
  • Advance available guaranteed at the time of “loaded” call
  • Paid by direct deposit
  • Scan documents at truck stops
  • Get Paid 76% NOW 77% of line haul, plus 100% of fuel surcharge paid by customer
    • *($1 million primary auto liability coverage and $1 million excess auto liability coverage required)
  • Fuel card is provided, giving you access to Prime’s fuel system discounts
The First Annual Advanced Fleet Program Conference will be held on March 29th & 30th.

We have invited our top carriers within the Advanced Fleet Program to share their views on shipping and Prime in particular.  We value their comments and welcome their ideas for making our partnership the best it can be.  This spring, they will join us for two days of communication, education and recreation at the Palace Casino Resortwww.palacecasinoresort.com

Communication:
Our AFP conference is designed to combine presentations about industry trends with discussions on challenges and opportunities recognized by carriers. 

Education:
Learn what’s new with the Advanced Fleet Program and hear industry insiders speak on their secrets to success.

Recreation:
After our morning meeting we have planned a list of activities for them to choose.  Golf, Fishing, Spa or Casino.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


ATA SUMMARY OF FMCSA’S CHANGES TO THE
HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS
12/22/2011

On December 22, 2011, FMCSA publicly announced controversial Hours of Service rule
changes. The key elements of this rule are described below.
Key Elements of the December 2011 HOS Rule:

Maximum Driving Hours – FMCSA retained the current 11 hour driving time limit, but
placed a limit on the number of consecutive driving hours. No driving may occur if more
than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last break of 30 minutes or more.

Restart – Any restart period must include two consecutive nighttime periods (from 1
a.m. to 5 a.m.), and must be at least 34 consecutive hours long. Drivers are permitted
to use the restart provision only once in any seven calendar days.

14 Consecutive Hour Day (now called Driving Window) – The rule retains a 14
consecutive hour driving window. With 30 minute rest break, maximum on-duty time
within the 14 hour window is 13.5 hours. No driving may occur after 14 consecutive
hours since coming on duty; non-driving work is allowed past the 14 hour driving
window.

Mandatory Rest Break – Drivers will not be permitted to drive if 8 hours have passed
since their last break of 30 minutes or more. (Only 1 break may be required depending
upon timing).

Off-Duty in A Parked CMV or In Passenger Seat – The rule allow drivers to record
time spent in a parked CMV as off-duty time. Also, team drivers would be permitted to
record up to 2 hours of time spent in the passenger seat of a CMV in operation as offduty
time, if it is just before or after an 8 hour sleeper berth period.

Oilfield Exemption – Waiting time at an oil well or natural gas site will not count toward
calculation of the 14 hour window but must be recorded as off-duty on a paper or
electronic log.

Egregious Violations – A driver who exceeds, and/or a motor carrier that allows a
driver to exceed, the driving time limit by 3 hours or more be considered to have
committed an egregious violation and be subject to the maximum civil penalties of
$2,700 for drivers and $11,000 for motor carriers – for each offense.

Effective Date & Compliance Date This rule will be effective in late February 2012,
and the oilfield exemption change must be implemented by then. However, interstate
motor carriers and drivers will not be required to comply with the remainder of the new
rules (restart change, rest break requirement, etc.) until July 1, 2013.