Little Improvements Every Day Add Up to Big Changes

Question: How do you change the trucking industry?

Many people, including professional drivers, have lots of ideas and suggestions of the things they would like to see changed within the trucking industry. But actually identifying and implementing change is far more complex.

Tracy Gardiner.jpg

Tracy Gardiner

Enter Tracy Gardiner, Director of Continuous Improvement for Transport America, who believes that changing the trucking industry starts with identifying small changes that have an opportunity to make a big difference.

Finding small changes starts by focusing on the most important connection between a customer and the point of delivery: the driver and their truck.

With 25 years of experience in helping to improve the Best Buy consumer and employee experience, Gardiner looks for opportunities and flaws within the Transport America system to help the company make its drivers more successful.

For example, Transport America invested in a satellite tracking system for its trailers after thinking about how its drivers use their time. If a driver is spending time searching for a trailer at a giant warehouse distribution center, that’s time not spent moving a load or getting the driver the miles that he or she would like.

How did Gardiner know that it was an opportunity to fix in the first place?

By looking at the data.

“I’m a data person,” Gardiner says. “I’m constantly looking at our data for evidence to support a better way of doing something. I’m always asking: ‘Why, why, why?’”

Those “why” and “how” questions might include:

“How much time does it take us to service a truck and how could we reduce that time?”

“Why do we look at the number of miles a driver is driving and not look at how that driver is best utilizing the hours he has available?”

“How can we make a driver’s home time more awesome?”

“Why do drivers leave for another company and what can we do to show a driver that Transport America is the best choice?”

To make changes, Gardiner says that Transport America relies on a collaborative effort from drivers and fleet leaders to make suggestions based on their day-to-day experiences and suggestions from the company’s leadership team.

With so many suggestions to process, Gardiner relies on a 4-step process based on Franklin Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution (1. Focus; 2. Act; 3. Engage; and 4. Accountability), which helps her to identify which suggestions offer the biggest opportunity for positive change.

“We all want to improve things and make things better,” says Gardiner. “The Four Disciplines approach helps us to focus on what we want to change, why we want to change it, and how we’re going to get it done.”

“So, if our goal at Transport America is to help our drivers become successful drivers,” she adds, “we have a process to not only identify that problem, but to make measurable changes to obtain the outcomes we desire.”

That’s why Gardiner spends so much time thinking about, and gathering data, to improve the driver experience. Because Transport America understands that drivers are the critical link to the happiness of its customers, focusing on making changes at the micro level will lead to bigger changes throughout the company, and possibly the industry.

“We’re not here just to make changes for changes sake,” Gardiner says, “respecting our drivers means respecting their time – giving them smarter work, and more control over their time on the road and at home. And the data helps me see where there is an opportunity to get better.”

Transport America Steps Up to the Plate for Driver and His New Bride

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls now and then.

Nick Brown, who has been driving for Transport America for a little more than a year, was on cloud nine.

A few years before joining the Transport America team, Nick was working in a chicken processing plant a few hours south of Atlanta, Georgia when he met a woman named Karenia. They started dating and about a year ago they decided to tie the knot.

Karenia Frank

One of the promises they made to each other on their wedding day was to better their position in life. Nick supported Karenia in her dream to leave the world of chicken processing and become a forensic scientist.

Prior to working at the chicken processing plant, Nick had been a driver for a couple of years. He was itching to get back on the road and Karenia wanted to help him find a job as an OTR driver.

“My father had been a truck driver, so I understood where he was coming from,” said Karenia, “I wanted to support him. I understood the lifestyle and knew that it meant he would spend more time away from home and me.”

Karenia and Nick looked hard to find a trucking company that would really care about Nick. The last company he worked for didn’t supply him with the miles he needed to make a decent living, and often did not get him home as promised.

Nick knew he made the right decision to leave his previous company on his last day, when the company told him to leave his truck in Arkansas. The company didn’t give him the money he needed for a bus ticket back to Albany, Georgia, where he and Karenia call home. So, Karenia drove all the way to Arkansas to pick up Nick, who was basically left stranded.

“We looked at four trucking companies who had offices or support centers in or near Atlanta,” says Karenia. “We went with Transport America because it felt like they really stood by their values, such as caring for drivers and putting safety first.”

After Nick joined Transport America in November 2014, the couple was thrilled to be making the life changes they had dreamed of. Nick was happy to be driving again and Karenia was happy in studying criminal forensics. They were newlyweds with a bright future ahead of them.

Then came the curve ball: Karenia was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in April.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, “Stage 3 cancer means the breast cancer has extended beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs. Although this stage is considered to be advanced, there are a growing number of effective treatment options.”

While Karenia is still fighting the cancer, she’s made a lot of progress and is now going through radiation treatments to kill the last cancer cells in her body.

Throughout their battle with cancer, Transport America has been there 100% to support them through their struggle.

“I couldn’t believe the response from Transport America,” says Karenia. “Compared to how Nick was treated at his old company – the difference has been like night and day. Transport America made sure Nick was home for my surgery, and then for the start of my chemo treatments.”

“His fleet leader, Andre Soissons, has just been awesome,” Karenia adds. “I won’t sugar coat it. It’s been hard and we’ve had to adjust, but with Andre’s help, Nick has been there for me when I needed him.”

Andre is a Fleet Leader based out of Transport America’s Eagan headquarters. He oversees 35 solo OTR drivers who are located throughout the United States. When Andre learned about Karenia’s battle with cancer, he had a sense of what the couple might be going through because the wife of one of his coworkers was also fighting breast cancer.

“Nick is fantastic driver and always goes above and beyond for Transport America. When it came time to support Nick and his wife in their moment of need we didn’t have any hesitation in stepping up to help,” says Andre. “I talk with the spouses of several of my drivers. I feel it’s as important to build relationships them as it is with our drivers, We’re all part of the same team.”

To ensure that Nick can get home on time to be there for Karenia, Andre works with his planning and customer service teams to ensure that Nick is scheduled for freight that can get him there.

“Once I learned of Karenia’s diagnosis I wanted to check in with Nick to see how she was doing and how he was holding up. Whether it was 10 minutes or half an hour I just listened to Nick,” says Andre. “I know it can get lonely out there on the road and I take pride in being there for my drivers in good times and bad.”

Karenia and Nick’s story represents just one of many stories of how Transport America values the support of spouses, significant others, and partners in the lives of its drivers, and how the company is dedicated to meeting them more than half way in providing drivers the support they need to stay focused on the road.

It’s just another way that Transport America is the trucking company that is changing trucking.

Investing in Trucks that Matter to Drivers

Professional truck drivers care deeply about the trucks they drive. It’s not only about performance; for many drivers, their tractor is their home away from home.

Phill Reynolds, a 20-year trucking industry veteran gets it. As a truck mechanic in the U.S. Army, a mechanic and branch manager with Penske fleet for ten years, and as Transport America’s Vice President of Maintenance, Reynolds understands the value that professional truck drivers place on their vehicles.

In his job, Reynolds oversees the maintenance of 1,400 Transport America tractors and 4,200 trailers. His network spans across nine maintenance facilities employing more than 100 personnel who are dedicated specifically to procuring and maintaining Transport America’s fleet.

Transport America Service Center

In selecting new trucks, Reynolds relies on a combination of data (maintenance records) as well as direct feedback from Transport America’s drivers. The feedback comes through face-to-face interactions at the company’s maintenance centers, and online surveys.

“We’re constantly looking for input,” says Reynolds. “Tapping the insight of our 1,700 drivers helps us select the tractors that meet their needs, and the actual equipment with which they interact on a daily basis. Creating a better driver experience is an investment that pays off in serving our customers better.”

Based on the feedback of its drivers, Transport America has made a number of changes to its tractors. Some of these changes include:

  • Fitting tractors with fuel filling ports that reduce the chance that a driver will get dirty while fueling a vehicle;
  • Adding better lighting to the back of its tractors to increase visibility while hooking up a trailer;
  • Installing XM Radio in all tractors to provide drivers more access to the satellite radio stations that matter most to them; and
  • Switching from traditional 10-speed manual transmission to automatic transmission.

Data collected by the company’s mechanics allows Reynolds and his team to match driver opinions and comments with information trends that help forecast performance, reliability and safety issues.

“Reliability goes hand in hand with how frequent a tractor needs to be serviced,” says Reynolds. “Downtime plays a huge factor in the selection of our tractors. We carefully measure it because it’s big deal to us, and to our drivers.

“Our drivers do not want hassles on the road. It’s their home away from home. They want trucks that are reliable. They want to get where they’re going. You need to think beyond the price of a truck when you’re buying it to see the costs of a driver’s time.”

Having a strong relationship with truck manufacturers has been critical for Transport America in fine-tuning its fleet to meet the needs of its drivers. Transport America has worked with Freightliner for more than 20 years, and added Kenworth to its fleet about three years ago.

That strong relationship also extends to providing truck and trailer service wherever a load takes a Transport America driver. In addition to Transport America’s support centers, the company provides 24/7 emergency roadside assistance through 8,700 maintenance garages in the Freightliner and Kenworth truck maintenance networks.

“To me, it’s all about respecting a driver’s time,” Reynolds says. “We spend a ton of time and money in buying great trucks for our drivers. We’re fully vested in attracting and training mechanics and giving them the tools they need to keep our trucks up and running. This is how we care deeply for our drivers, and ultimately, for our customers.”

American Vets: Transport America Wants You!


Dean Patterson has worked for 16 years for Transport America. He had served as an owner-operator, and a fleet leader. On top of that, he currently coaches more than 80 drivers on driver safety at the Transport America’s Eagan Support Center.

Dean Patterson Transport America

Dean Patterson

Before Patterson joined the Transport America team he served as an Army Ranger back in the early 1990s.

Isaac Contreras has worked for Transport America for nearly six years. He started out in recruiting and today he’s an extended coverage fleet manager out of Transport America’s Eagan Support Center. He’s responsible for the second and third shift, as well as weekend shifts, and oversees relationships with 36 drivers.

Contreras served for six years in the Navy as a diesel mechanic, including a stint on the U.S.S. Thach, a guided missile frigate. He also had a run with the SBU-22 Riverine Warfare Group.

While Army and Navy don’t always see eye-to-eye, at Transport America vets like Patterson and Contreras wholeheartedly agree that the company goes out of its way to welcome vets with open arms.

Why? It’s for one simple reason.

“It’s because vets make for great drivers,” says Patterson.

“Because of their military training, most vets are punctual, disciplined, have a can-do attitude and take safety seriously,” Patterson says. “When you respect them, they respect you, and with that mutual respect and teamwork, together, we serve our customers better.”

According to Contreras, approximately 13 percent of Transport America’s fleet of 1,700 drivers are vets or active members of a National Guard unit. With that many vets for drivers, Transport America is dedicated to meet the needs of this special group. Some of the ways that Transport America demonstrates its support for vets include:

  • Hiring fleet leaders who have military experience to better understand the needs of its drivers;
  • Creating opportunities for veterans to reach out to one another to share their experiences;
  • Supporting drivers serving as members of the National Guard who are called up to active duty; and
  • Putting stickers on trucks to let others know that a vet is driving a Transport America truck.

More than anything else, Patterson and Contreras are committed to knowing their drivers.

“At other places, you’re just a tractor driver with miles. At Transport America, I want to know every one of my guys. They’re not a number to me. I want to know their names and I want them to know that we take care of our troops.”

Knowing its drivers is just one factor that attracts vets to drive for Transport America.

“I think the other reason is that we expect a lot from our drivers,” says Contreras. “Our drivers understand that we expect them to conduct business the Transport America way. We empower our drivers. We expect them to be the captains of their ships. And in doing so, we’re putting our trust in them to put safety first and to work within the structure and culture that we’ve established.”

“I think vets get that, and that’s why some of them refer to the brotherhood of being a Transport America driver,” Contreras adds. “They know that we’ve got their back.”









Values Drive Transport America Drivers

Changing the Trucking Industry by Focusing on Driver Safety

Sometimes, it can get a little crazy out there; from drivers who are texting to people driving their cars with their knees. Transport America drivers have seen just about everything, but they are committed to helping educate everyone on the road to ensure we all get home safely.

As Transport America driving instructors, Dexter Wright, Joebob Wilson and Chris Powers watch the road for the most part from the vantage of the passenger seat. Each day they provide by-the-minute instruction to Transport America drivers. As experienced professional drivers, they train both drivers who are fresh out of truck driving school to seasoned professionals on how to drive the Transport America way, which emphasizes value-driven driving. Values such as integrity, respect, excellence, and above all else the constant focus on driver safety.

“Here’s where we’re coming from,” says Wilson, who has nearly 20 years of truck driving experience. “I thought I was a good driver before I joined Transport America four years ago, then I went through their driver instructor training. Boy did I learn a lot.”

As trainers, all three agree that they’ve become even more aware of what it takes to master the art of truck driving.

“Becoming a teacher and taking on the responsibility in building the safe driving habits of other drivers has elevated my game,” Wilson adds.

Driver Instructor Chris Powers


To Wright, who has been driving for Transport America for 13 years, only one thing matters – keeping your complete attention on the road.

“We see a lot of people behind the wheel texting with, and talking on, their cell phones,” says Wright.

But bad driving behavior isn’t just limited to using cell phones say Wright, Wilson and Powers. It’s not uncommon, they say, to see other drivers cut in front of their trucks, tailgate, erratically shift lanes, put on make-up while driving, eat with two hands, wear headphones, and much, much more. They’ve even witnessed four-wheel drivers operate their cars with their knees, and hanging their feet out the door – while steering.

As driver instructors, they can’t emphasize enough about how important it is to reduce distractions while you’re driving, and to drive defensively to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash with someone who is not paying attention to the road. While they can’t control the behavior of other drivers on the road (four-wheelers, two-wheelers, and 18-wheelers), Transport America drivers are trained to take control of what they can.

“For example, a lot of accidents can occur in and around a loading area,” says Wright. “We always get out of the truck and go back, behind the trailer to look before we back up. That’s our company policy. And we live it.”

Driver Instructor Dexter Wright

Driver Instructor Dexter Wright


As you pull up to Chris Powers’ white Transport America cab and trailer, he apologizes for the dirty mirrors. Powers has just pulled into the lot of Transport America’s Eagan support station.

“Wait a minute,” as he pulls out a bottle of Windex and a paper towel. He sprays down his mirrors, and wipes until they sparkle.

“At Transport America, we all keep a bottle of window cleaner handy,” Powers says. “Having clean mirrors and windows is critical to driving safely.”

While being ready to clean your windows at a moment’s notice may not mean much to some drivers, to Wright, Powers and Wilson, it’s those small differences that separate Transport America drivers from the rest of the pack.

“We believe that a driver needs to be completely focused on the road, and maintain 360-degree awareness of what’s around him or her at all times,” says Powers. “You can’t do that if the radio is too loud, you’re eating a sandwich that requires two hands, or you’re squinting because you aren’t wearing sunglasses.”

To get into the zone, Wright, Wilson and Powers recommend that all drivers – not just Transport America drivers – change their driving behavior to emphasize the following:

  • Maintain three points of contact – two hands on the wheel, one foot on a pedal;
  • Always maintain at least a space of seven seconds (about 700 feet) between you and another vehicle;
  • Put all cell phones completely out of your view;
  • Tell family members and friends that you’ll contact them when you’re at a complete stop. Transport America has a zero tolerance policy for cell phone or Bluetooth usage while driving. If you need to call, it needs to be from a safe location (truck stop, rest area, motel, shipper/receiver, etc.);
  • Pull over when the driving conditions are unsafe, or if you’re feeling drowsy or sick;
  • Avoid distractions (eating, drinking, tuning the radio, or anything else that prevents you from keeping your eyes completely on the road);
  • Always get out of the truck to look before backing up; and
  • Keep lane changes to a minimum.
Driver Instructor JoeBob Wilson

Driver Instructor JoeBob Wilson

As trainers, Wright, Wilson and Powers could offer a much longer list of do’s and don’ts, but that’s not the point. Even though Transport America trucks are equipped with some of the most advanced safety equipment in the trucking industry, the most important piece of safety equipment is openness to learning and a commitment to driving fully aware.

“Every time you get behind the wheel, you need to make a commitment to safety,” says Wright. “I don’t know about you, but I enjoy my home time, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I get home safely.”

“My wife likes knowing that our company takes safety this seriously,” he added.








Making the Transport America Driver Team


The Transport America recruiting team celebrates a big week of new drivers!

Each week, more than 2,500 drivers across the United States apply to Transport America for the opportunity to become one of the company’s drivers.

So what does it take to make the Transport America driving team?

To Mike Bash, Director of Recruiting Operations for Transport America, the answer is simple. “We’re looking for people who want to be more than just a driver. They’ve made up their minds to become the best professional truck drivers on the road.”

Transport America isn’t looking for drivers who jump from one bonus opportunity to the next, or drivers looking to add another company to their long list of previous companies that they’ve driven for.

“We’re looking for drivers who have embraced the professional driver’s lifestyle,” says Bash. “That means if they’re married or in a committed relationship, their loved ones understand what’s required and support them at home. It means they’re open to learning how to become an even better driver. It means they don’t just think about themselves and the load they’re hauling, but they think about the complete picture while they’re on the road – their safety and the safety of those who are driving around them.”

Of course, Transport America looks at a number of factors when sorting through the several hundred applications it receives each day. Like other trucking companies, the organization does its homework when considering driver candidates. The company carefully reviews a driver’s work history, motor vehicle report (driving history records), rehire status, and criminal history. For drivers attending a truck driving school near one of Transport America’s 13 support centers, the company creates opportunities to learn about up-and-coming drivers by partnering with school officials and driving instructors.

But, unlike some other trucking companies, Transport America looks beyond the words stated on an application to find the real story behind a driver.

“Of course we look for clean driving histories,” Bash says. “Every trucking company does that. But what we’re really looking for is improvement. From year to year, is the driver making strides to improve their driving, and do they take the lifestyle of a professional driver seriously.”

Often times, Bash says, that commitment to professionalism is revealed during Transport America’s orientation and training, which all drivers must go through, whether they’re fresh out of truck driving school or have been driving for 20 years.

“We approach professional driving differently than other companies, and that becomes pretty apparent when a driver goes through our training program,” Bash says. “They see, for example, that we really walk the talk about driver safety. If they’re not on board with our commitment to safety, then that’s a good time to part ways.”

After going through Transport America’s initial training and orientation program (which varies, from full-on training for drivers new to the profession to additional training for more experienced drivers), Transport America drivers receive ongoing updates throughout their driving career with the company to reinforce the company’s values-based approach to driving and safety.

“We surround a driver with an army of people to help them be successful,” Bash adds. “We encourage open communication between our drivers and their fleet leaders. We invite our drivers to share with us the issues that they’re dealing with in their personal and professional lives. And, we are continuously working with them to improve their driving skills.”

All of this effort is exerted by Transport America to achieve two goals: driver focus on the road, and driver respect. When a driver is completely focused on what they’re doing, Transport America increases their safety (as well as the safety of those around them), they become more productive, and they feel more confident in who they are and in what they do.

“People who drive with a purpose are better drivers, and that’s good for all of us,” says Bash. “When I see a driver who understands that it’s not about the trucks or about the loads, but it’s about the people, then we know we’ve made our mark. That’s how we’re trying to change the trucking industry.”

Looking for a Few Awesome Drivers

Think that Transport America might be right for you? Transport America is always looking for professional drivers who are committed to learning and growing as drivers and as people. In particular, Transport America is looking for drivers who are open to driving solo over-the-road, solo regional, team over-the-road, and dedicated routes. If you’re interested, click here for an application, or call: 877.223.1759






One Mile at a Time: How to Become a Million-Mile Driver


Transport America Million Mile DriversHave you ever wondered how to attain the elusive goal of one-million, accident-free miles?

For many professional drivers, attaining this goal is one of the greatest milestones in their career.

At least it is to driver Farid Salem, who has been driving with Transport America for ten years.

“If you want to achieve a million miles, you’ve got to love your job, and I love mine,” says Salem, a solo professional over-the-road driver from Oklahoma City.

And what’s his secret? “It’s taking driving a minute at a time,” Salem says. “It’s about putting in the time as well as keeping your focus every minute of the way.”

Logging about 2,500 miles a week, Salem says it’s critical to put safety first.

“Your mind must be on the truck and the road at all times,” Salem says. “To do this, you have to eliminate as many distractions as possible. You need to think about the here and now only. Avoid drama in your life. Make calls back home only when you’re at a complete stop. Get plenty of sleep.”

Salem admits that having a great support system at home has been instrumental to reaching a million miles. His wife, Melissa, used to team drive with him before health issues forced her off the road. But, because she and the rest of his family understand the lifestyle and professional demands on a driver like Salem, he’s able to center himself before he gets behind the wheel.

Even with all of his years of experience, Salem is constantly on guard.

“This is a craft,” Salem says. “I’m aware that at any time, something could happen. Especially when you least expect it. For example, when you’re within a few miles of your destination – that’s when a lot of drivers let down their guard.”

2 Million Safe Mile Driver Steven Mills

2 Million Safe Mile Driver Steven Mills

Of Transport America’s approximately 1,760 drivers, about 5 percent have driven a million or more miles safely. A handful have achieved two or more million safe miles driven, including: William Bell (2 mm), Bryon Bigelow, Jr. (3 mm), Tom Canilla (2 mm), Donald Dunmire (2 mm), Loren Ellingson (2 mm), Thomson Freeman, Jr. (2 mm), Robert Harp (2 mm), David Lepak (2 mm), David Peterson (2 mm), and Bruce Weicht (2 mm), and Herbert Windl (2 mm).

To Gary Falldin, Transport America’s Vice President of Safety and Security, what matters the most is that every mile, whether it’s a driver’s first or his 3 millionth, is a safely driven mile.

“Between the latest safety equipment and technology with which we equip all of our trucks, our extensive training, and policies such as “you’re the captain of your ship,” we are doing everything in our power to help our drivers achieve a million miles.

What separates million mile drivers from other drivers?

According to Falldin, two things need to come together – miles and mindset. A driver simply has to put in the miles. If a driver averages a 100,000 to 125,000 miles a year, it may take a driver from eight to 10 years to achieve a million miles.

The other most important factor is a driver’s mindset.

“From what I see, our million-mile drivers are patient,” said Falldin. “They don’t become rushed. They take their time. They don’t get upset when a four-wheeler or another truck driver makes a poor decision. They stay calm. And they slow down.”

To celebrate reaching a million miles driven safely, Transport America presents drivers with a custom-leather driving jacket, a belt buckle, and a shirt. Drivers are formally recognized with a ceremony at Transport America, which involves all of the employees’ at the company’s headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota, coming together to congratulate the new million miler.

“It really is a sight to see. When you think about it, it truly is an incredible feat,” Falldin adds. “Those are the kind of drivers we want more of at Transport America.”









New Driver App Helps Transport America Stay Better Connected

Transport America Drive Phone App

The new Driver App from Transport America breaks the chain that used to keep drivers in their trucks and let’s them be anywhere to stay better connected with their fleet leader, customers and other drivers.

If you’re going to walk the talk about changing the trucking industry for the better, then you better bring your “A” game. And that’s exactly what the new Transport America Driver App does. It leap frogs other driver apps available through Apple App Store or the Google Play Store to give Transport America a distinct, game-changing advantage over other truck drivers on the road.

Transport America drivers, like the drivers for other companies, face the day-to-day problem of physically staying in their truck cabs in order to receive communications from their fleet leaders, such as instructions about their current or next load. Instead, they need a solution that reflects their daily reality – drivers need to stay in touch with their fleet leader when they’re in a truck stop, at a shipping dock, or working from their home office.

Now, with the new Transport America Driver App, conveniently available on their smart phone, they’re free to leave their trucks and securely share information with their fleet leader and view other critical information – while they’re enjoying a hot meal in a truck stop, or when they’re watching one of their kids play ball over the weekend.

With the new Transport America Driver App, Transport America drivers can access features such as:

  • View messages sent to the MCP200 in your truck
  • Get notifications for new messages or maintenance updates
  • View Freight Point details, including address, parking status, and directions
  • View trailer and relay partner locations
  • Create and send free-form, Lumper Request, and ETA/PTA updates
  • View settlement summary information, including net pay, early in the week
  • View current trip info & Support Center info
  • Receive alerts about upcoming compliance events (CDL exp., Medical, etc.)
  • Sign up a driver for a referral bonus
  • Use the TA inspection app, for less experienced drivers who could benefit from a guide around the truck

Transport America Driver App

“We talked to a lot of our drivers to design our new app,” says Tom Benusa, chief information officer for Transport America, “and we continue to test it with a group of hand-selected drivers who are continuously helping us to improve it.”

“Our intent is to respect the time of our drivers better,” Benusa adds. “Drivers hate waiting around. They hate being chained to their cab. They hate searching for a trailer. Our new app gives Transport America drivers more power over their time. They can now quickly find a trailer that they need to pick up at a large distribution center, and see where their relay partner is when handing off a trailer to the next driver.”

Chris Powers, a Transport America driver who lives in Kennesaw, Georgia, who joined the company two years ago, says the new Transport America Driver App is making his life a lot easier.

“It’s very cool. It is so easy to use. You don’t have to spend hours trying to figure it out,” says Powers. “Whether you’ve grown up with hand-held technology, like some of our younger drivers, or you’ve been in this business for a couple decades, getting the information you need, when you need it, from wherever, shows a great deal of respect for drivers.”

Scott Braam, a Transport America driver who lives in the Twin Cities, seconds Power’s comments.

“My favorite feature on the new app is its ‘relay truck mode,’” Braam says. “Prior to having this app, we would have to call dispatch and wait on hold. Now, there’s no more waiting. I’ve got all the information I need to keep moving.”

The new Transport America Driver App is just the beginning of a new wave of technology that is changing the trucking industry for the better. From real-time weather reports customized for a specific driver to the use of predictive technology, this is just the first step that Transport America is exploring to enhance the communication between its drivers, fleet leaders and their customers.

Pat Barnett, an over-the-road driver with more than 30 years experience who remembers sitting on pay phones to talk with dispatch, sums it up best: “There was nothing glamorous about doing it the hard way. I don’t care how many years you’ve been driving, if you’re not embracing new technology, you’re missing out. This new app has sure made my life a lot easier. I’m proud of our company. They’re the kind of tech-savvy trucking company I want to be with.”




Quest for Quality Awards | Transport America Drivers Play Key Role in Quest for Quality Award

Transport America earns number one spot for second time in four years

Lots of companies win awards.

But there aren’t many awards out there where a customer’s vote tells the world, or at least, the rest of your industry, that you’re doing more than okay; you’re the best at what you do, based on their actual, real-life experience in working with your company and its employees.

That’s what’s behind the Quest for Quality Award, which is announced each year by Logistics Management magazine, a trucking industry magazine whose readers primarily Quest For Qualityinclude corporate logistics managers and directors. In other words, the people that hire companies like Transport America to move their stuff around North America.

Each year, more than 4,600 logistics and supply chain professionals vote on the performance of trucking companies, big and small. The Quest for Quality Award goes back three decades and is regarded as the industry’s most important measure of customer satisfaction and performance excellence. So winning it, is a big deal.

Choosing top performers in categories such as motor carriers, intermodal services, airlines, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, third party logistics and ports, Logistics Management readers rate carriers on on-time performance, value, information technology, customer service, and equipment and operations.

“The reputation of our entire company, from our drivers to the president, is on the line in the award selection process,” says John Mooney, Transport America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Each vote for Transport America is a vote based on the valuable relationships we’ve built over time with our customers. The underlying foundation of those relationships is our performance. Our drivers have played a huge role in that process.”

According to Logistics Management, Transport America ranked number one in on-time performance, value, information technology, and customer service — out-scoring the competition and placing number one among dry freight carriers.

This award represents the third time within the past five years that Transport America has won a Quest for Quality award and it’s the second time that the company was named the “best in the dry freight category.”

“Our customers are telling us and the rest of the industry that Transport America is leading the pack in terms of performance, value and customer service,” says Mooney. “That’s something we’re very proud of, and it sets a new bar of excellence for us.”

For Transport America drivers the Quest for Quality Award is another indicator that Transport America is hiring and retaining exceptional drivers, and that the effort in developing a culture that promotes strong, open partnerships between Transport America drivers and their fleet leaders is working.

“A lot of factors have to come together to win the Quest of Quality Award,” Mooney adds. “It’s clear that when we put all the right pieces in place and we show up with our “A” game attitude, Transport America wins hands down.”

Pulling Over

At Transport America, our drivers are the Captains of their Ships. And that means making the call to pull over when driving conditions are not safe.


Blizzards and closed freeways are usually associated with the Midwest, Northeast and the Rockies, but in February 2014, Transport America driver Dan Becker found himself pulling over in Atlanta, Georgia, of all places.

“It was a terrible ice storm! The worst ice storm that anyone could remember for a long time. Everywhere you looked — cars and trucks were stuck on the freeways. It shut down Pulling OverAtlanta and most of the state for at least two days,” says Becker. “There was no doubt in my mind that I had to get our truck off the road. Fortunately, I was able to pull into the Transport America service center in Atlanta.”

Driving for Transport America for more than 17 years, the past 14 years as one of the company’s trainers, Becker pulls over with confidence when the weather gets bad, knowing the entire company, supports his decision.

“A lot of other trucking companies give it lip service,” Becker says, “but at Transport America, we really believe it. Whether its bad weather, fatigue or sickness, our company respects us as professional drivers. They expect us to use common sense and make the call.”

Gary Falldin, Vice President of Safety for Transport America, says “The ‘Pull Over’ policy is a cornerstone value at the company. Nothing we do is worth endangering the life of our drivers or the motoring public. Ever. If it’s even a question, safety always wins out.”

The policy, which has been in place for some time, really differentiates the company from its competitors, according to Falldin, who joined Transport America six years ago.

“We came to realize that many trucking companies give a ‘wink’ to this policy and tell their drivers to go through with the delivery even in poor weather conditions,” Falldin says. “I was at one of the major small package delivery companies for 25 years and the drivers where pushed to drive in all weather conditions – it’s not like that at Transport America, the driver truly does have the final say on what is safe.”

It’s a policy that pays for itself, says Falldin. Drivers not only respect the company more, but Transport America customers come to respect the company for two things: placing a high value on life and safety and ensuring the integrity of their load.

“It goes without saying,” Falldin says. “Of course a customer would rather have their load delivered a little later and completely intact than having it involved in an accident.”

To aid Transport America drivers in making smarter decisions while on the road, the company sends regular updates about severe weather.

“We don’t want drivers who take chances at Transport America,” says Falldin. “We want drivers who value safety and don’t drive when they are tired, not feeling well, or in bad weather conditions.   We want drivers who truly care about their own safety and the safety of others on the road.”

And that’s a message that resonates with Becker and the new drivers with whom he’s entrusted in preparing to driver Transport America’s distinct red, white and blue trucks.

“My wife is one of those people who is really thankful that Transport America is the kind of trucking company that not only has this policy in place, but really lives by it,” Becker says.