Proud to Drive For Transport America
Each day, thousands of friends of Transport America check out the company’s Facebook page and weigh in on really important matters, from offering tips on driving safety to sharing the weirdest things they’ve ever witnessed while driving (no UFOs spotted, unfortunately).
And from coast to coast, what’s become evident is the legion of loyal and enthusiastic Transport America fans. Especially Transport America drivers who stand tall and proud for the company for which they drive.
Take fans such as Sheryl “Georgia Girl” Lanier, a long-term trainer for Transport America. Five years ago, as a relatively new driver for the company, Sheryl received a message while at Transport America’s Atlanta terminal when she received word that her daughter was in active labor. Without hesitation, the company took Sheryl’s next loads off her hands and told her to go be with her daughter.
“My fleet leader said, ‘just go’,” says Sheryl. “They pulled me off my route, found another driver and got me home. And, I was there for the birth of my first granddaughter and second grandchild.”
“I’ve driven for other companies, and I just want to tell you, no other trucking company would have done that,” Sheryl says. “None. Period. Long before I heard the phrase ‘driver driven,’ Transport America was living it.”
As a trainer, Sheryl spends lots of time with drivers who are new to the company, from experienced drivers who are orientating themselves to how Transport America approaches customer service, to drivers who have just earned their CDL and are hitting the road for the first time. As part of that process, Sheryl likes to find out why drivers choose Transport America.
That’s when Sheryl talks about Transport America PRIDE:
P stands for People. We are not a number. Transport America recognizes us as real people with families, hobbies and life outside the truck.
R stands for Respect. Transport America respects its drivers to make decisions involving our safety whether it involves shutting down due to the weather or simply not feeling totally comfortable with the task at hand.
I stands for Inspiration. Transport offers growth from within. Whether it be from the truck to the office or from standard driver to a student driver instructor.
D stands for Dedication. Transport America is constantly working to improve its systems.
E stands for Equipment. The company works to provide the best equipment for their drivers that makes their jobs easier and safer.
As a member of Transport America’s Driver’s Council, Sheryl is among a group of drivers who meet four times a year to discuss driver complaints, concerns, needs and ideas.
“Having worked at other trucking companies,” says Sheryl, who has been a professional truck driver for nine years, “I know a lot of drivers can feel helpless when it comes to dealing with their company. But at Transport America, me and the other members of the Council give voice to our drivers and work hard to think through solutions that meet their needs.”
“And I know that the people who run this company take that input seriously,” she adds. “It’s reflected in the company we are – in how we do things day to day, the people we hire, and the equipment we use. Drivers really do have a say at Transport America, and that’s why I’m so proud of this company.”
Benji Smith, a former Marine who’s known by his handle, Ka-Bar, has been driving with Transport America for two years, and has been driving since the early 1990s when he broke into the industry as first-time driver with Swift.
That’s a “qualified” two years, that is. That’s because Benji flirted with the green grass at another company, and then returned back to Transport America.
He was contacted by his former Transport America dispatcher who left for another trucking company. The dispatcher told Benji: “It’s exactly like Transport America except they pay better.”
“But as soon as I walked into the orientation, I knew something wasn’t quite right,” Benji says. “I looked at this piece of paper they put in front of us and had us sign. It said: “If you leave within 90 days, you pay us $150 to recover the costs of orientation.”
“I mean, that pretty much says it all,” Benji says. “Well, it just got worse. In just 30 days, I drove in three different trucks due to equipment problems, and I heard the same old lines about ‘we believe in safety, but get the load there.’”
So less than 40 days after leaving the company, Benji called Transport America’s Southeast Regional Division Leader, and asked if he could come back.
“He said: ‘I’ve been waiting for your call,’” Benji says.
Having driven for a number of companies, both as a company driver and as an owner-operator, Benji says that Transport America really does do things differently than other companies.
“So many drivers get hung up on the cents they’re paid per mile,” says Benji. “What really matters is their respect for the driver. They take safety seriously. If you need to pull over, they respect your decision. And, if a problem arises, they work hard to find a solution if you remain reasonable.”
“I like what Transport America stands for,” he adds. “I really believe they’re trying to change the trucking industry. They’re doing that by putting safety first, giving you good equipment, and encouraging their drivers and fleet leaders to work as a team and make smart decisions.”
A few weeks ago, Benji was at the Transport America’s Atlanta support center when he bumped into a new driver who was heading home before completing his training. The new driver had worked with two different trainers and was told that he wasn’t ready for the road without further training.
“Listen, any company that’s worth a damn isn’t going to put you out there until they feel you’re ready,” Benji says. “Some companies will. But not Transport America, and that’s why I’m proud of this company. They care about the safety of their drivers as well as other drivers on the road.”