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“Tennessee carrier introduces training school in Morristown Saturday, classes begin April 1.
By Al Muskewitz Wright Media Editor-in-Chief
It’s two days before another milestone day for TLD Logistics Services and Roger Whittenburg didn’t mind saying he was feeling the butterflies.
Whittenburg is a TLD operations manager who, among other things, oversees the Tennessee-based carrier’s driver training schools, the newest of which offers a sneak peek to prospective student drivers Saturday.
While classes at the school in Morristown, Tenn., don’t begin until April 1 the company is hosting an Open House at the facility Saturday to introduce it to drivers. The school is located at 2415 North Davy Crockett Parkway, about seven miles off the Interstate 81 exit, and will be open to visitors starting 9 a.m.
‘I’m a little nervous,’ Whittenburg said. ‘There are about 18 different things you’ve got to do to get a school going. You wouldn’t believe there are that many, but get into it and you’ll find out.’
‘I’m nervous every time we start one. You never know how it’s going to turn out. You hope we’ll have full classes and we’ll be providing jobs for people. Everybody I’ve talked to up there is really excited about it and they think it’s a good thing.’
TLD has opened schools in Crossville, Knoxville and Lebanon over the past five years with the goal of turning out a dozen new drivers a month. Plans are in the works to offer night classes at the Crossville school.
Veteran TLD driver Mike Ragan will be conducting the classes in Morristown.
Caps, t-shirts and refreshments will be available at the Open House. Plans call for one of TLD’s 2019 Mack trucks to be on site and perhaps a visit from one of TLD’s military-themed wrapped trucks. Of course, the star of the show is the mobile truck driving simulator Whittenburg takes around the South to give potential drivers a real-time feel for the road.
The state-of-the-art simulator puts a driver in the cab of a big rig and everything he sees – from the instrument panel to the scenery – would be what he’d experience from behind the wheel. It can be programmed for an automatic transmission or up to 18 gears in a dry van or tanker. Sensors in the seats simulate the vibrations of the road. The city scenes, landscapes – and hazards – are just as you’d see them out the window.
Students who’ve experienced it have said it’s as real as it gets.
All qualified applicants attending the Open House will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Bristol Food City 500 NASCAR race.
TLD has been recognized as one of the Top Fleets to Drive For in North America four years running.
Its driver training program is one of the most affordable schools in the industry. There is no upfront cost to the student upon enrollment, with the tuition deducted incrementally from their paycheck once they start making money.
‘We’re not into it to make money,’ Whittenburg said of the schools. ‘We’re in it to make drivers.'”
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For the fourth year in a row, TLD Logistics is among the 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For, a designation recognizing the positive difference these companies make in the lives of their drivers.
“Obviously we’re very proud and grateful to have been recognized,” TLD president and COO Jim Peters said. “We consider this a great honor and obviously something we don’t take for granted. We know there’s a lot of hard work that goes into building the culture of what we’re trying to achieve at TLD and we’re very appreciative of the recognition. It helps spur us on trying to continue to improve the offerings at TLD so that we can remain in this circle.”
This year’s winners, drawn from a record number of nominees, had an average driver satisfaction rate over 91 percent and an annual driver turnover under 35 percent.
“The winners have set the bar high when it comes to keeping their professional truck drivers engaged while also providing a superior work environment,” TCA president John Lyboldt said in a news release announcing the winners. “This coveted contest reveals the tremendous efforts put forth by these driver-centric companies.”
TLD, based in Knoxville, Tenn., has become a fixture on the list by continually introducing initiatives to enhance its drivers’ experience. This year, it expanded its driver tribute program based on input from the drivers, awarding more than 30 cash awards for going above and beyond during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It has enhanced some of its independent contractor offerings. It is considering offering service checks on their employees’ personal vehicles as part of the company’s maintenance practices.
“TLD continues to raise the bar with a range of exceptional programs that get more expansive every year,” said CarriersEdge CEO Jane Jazrawy. “And with driver satisfaction in excess of 90 percent their drivers clearly approve of the efforts.”
“Our top management folks have recognized we have to be creative and continue to come up with things that are going to make TLD a better place to work and I see the effort from our top management team in trying to do that,” Peters said.
Overall winners in the large and small fleet categories will be announced during the TCA Annual Convention March 10-13 in Las Vegas. TLD will compete in the large fleet category, where three-time overall winner Bison Transportation is among the competition.
TCA and CarriersEdge just announced the best of the best in their 2019 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For! What a better way to celebrate their 11-year anniversary than with a record number of nominees and finalists.
In order to be considered for the Best Fleets Program, each company must have 10 or more operating trucks and much be nominated by one of their owner operators or company drivers. Fleets are then further evaluated with a scoring matrix that covers a wide variety of variables such as:
Career path / advancement opportunities
Driver survey results
Now introducing, the 2019 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For:
American Central Transport, Inc. – Kansas City, Missouri
Bennett Motor Express – McDonough, Georgia
Bison Transport – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Boyle Transportation – Billerica, Massachusetts
Central Oregon Truck Company, Inc. – Redmond, Oregon
Crete Carrier Corp – Lincoln, Nebraska
Epes Transport System, LLC – Greensboro, North Carolina
Erb Transport – New Hamburg, Ontario
FTC Transportation, Inc. – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Garner Trucking, Inc. – Findlay, Ohio
Grand Island Express – Grand Island, Nebraska
Halvor Lines, Inc. – Superior, Wisconsin
Landstar System, Inc. – Jacksonville, Florida
Maverick Transportation, LLC – North Little Rock, Arkansas
Motor Carrier Service LLC – Northwood, Ohio
Nussbaum Transportation Services, Inc. – Hudson, Illinois
Prime Inc. – Springfield, Missouri
Thomas E. Keller Trucking Inc. – Defiance, Ohio
TLD Logistics Services, Inc. – Knoxville, Tennessee
Transpro Freight Systems Limited – Milton, Ontario
Every year, CarriersEdge in partnership with Truckload Carriers Association publishes their list of the 20 best Fleets to Drive for in North America. This list identifies for-hire carriers providing the best workplace experiences for their truck drivers.
For the second year in a row, TLD Logistics has won the coveted award and recognition of being one of the 20 Best Fleets. This takes into account our driver satisfaction, our excellent CDL driving schools, our state of the art fleet of trucks, our retention rate, competitive pay, and many other benefits enjoyed by TLD truck drivers.
If you are interested in becoming a truck driver or attending truck driving school, TLD is always hiring, and we offer our own CDL school with locations in Knoxville, TN and Crossville, TN.
We offer fantastic perks including driver safety bonuses, a referral program, fuel bonuses, and pay incentives for hauling over-sized loads. TLD Logistics offers all drivers paid vacation, 8 paid holidays per year, group medical insurance for the employee and family, a vision plan, dental coverage, cancer insurance, and sick pay. Come find out why our competitive benefits and driver satisfaction rating have led to us being one of the top 20 fleets to drive for two years running!
If you are interested in truck driving jobs or employment in the trucking industry, you should make yourself familiar with the option of team driving. When most think of truck driving, they think of one man, one truck and lots of road; however, that is not always the case.
Team driving is a term for two people who alternate driving and managing hauls on the road. Team driving allows truck drivers to make longer routes without exceeding their hours of service carefully monitored by FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
FMCSA does require team drivers to limit their off-duty hours to only 2 hours in the passenger seat. This guideline ensures drivers spend the remaining 8 of their 10 off-duty hours in the sleeper berth. While one driver is off-duty and catches some shut eye, the other can log more mileage.
In addition to being more efficient, many trucking industries also provide incentives for team drivers. Incentives have been known to include increased pay-per-mile rates and/or priority dispatch. In addition to company incentives, team drivers also have the benefit of having regular schedules and consistent pay checks.
Last but not least, four hands is simply better than two. Pre-trip inspections become less of a hassle while the company ensures a less isolating experience.