Fremont Contract Carriers, Fremont, Nebraska, and Wannemacher Enterprises, Lima, Ohio, have been recognized by the TCA as the Best Fleets to Drive For. Fremont Contract Carrier, which offers a wide range of transportation services, took the top honor in the more-than-100-drivers category in the inaugural annual competition. It has 261 drivers.

Wannemacher Enterprises, a service provider for transportation and distribution services, earned the recognition in the fewer-than-100-drivers category. The company has 56 drivers.

In conjunction with CarriersEdge, a provider of online driver improvement programs, TCA created the annual Best Fleets to Drive For campaign to identify and recognize “the top employers in the for-hire trucking industry who set the gold standard when it comes to a driver's work environment,” said Chris Burruss, TCA president.

Ranked second in the over 100 drivers category was Erb International, a temperature-controlled fleet based in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. Tri-Alexander Transportation, Muskogee, Oklahoma, took that spot in the under-100-drivers category.

The Best Fleets to Drive For competition is open to any for-hire carrier in the US or Canada with 10 or more trucks. Fleets have to be nominated by at least one of their drivers or owner-operators. More than 75 fleets were nominated.

Nominated carriers are evaluated on the wide range of criteria, including compensation, benefits, career opportunities, professional development, and overall work environment. In addition, surveys are conducted among drivers to collect information on the fleet from the driver's perspective.

Clever ideas

The competition revealed a lot of creative programs developed for drivers by the nominated fleets. Here is a sampling:

  • Creekbank Transport, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, 56 drivers: Managers are empowered to provide spot bonuses through a VIP Points program. VIP Points can be redeemed for a variety of merchandise.

  • Don Hummer Trucking Corporation, Oxford, Iowa, 159 drivers: The company solicits driver input and feedback through regular online opinion surveys on various topics.

  • Hi-Tech Express, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, 27 drivers: Created a lending program for audio books and DVDs, all donated by drivers, to improve life on the road.

  • Laidlaw Carriers Van, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 323 drivers: Company officials meet with new drivers 14, 40, and 80 days after hire to ensure that everything is working out for both parties.

  • Melton Truck Lines, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1000 drivers: There is a concierge service to help drivers and their families with errands and other odd jobs.

  • TransX Group of Companies, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1326 drivers: A company intranet and peer groups provide drivers methods for sharing best practices.