Recently, Oakley Transport launched the Safe Driving Incentive Program, which rewards drivers for outstanding performances on the road, and already many are earning more cents per mile. Oakley’s Culture and Engagement Manager, Meghan Pilkenton, caught up with one of the participants, Jack Thornton, to ask about his personal experience with the incentive program and his opinion on the SmartDrive Video system. See the Q&A below.
Meghan: How do you feel about the Safe Driving Performance Program and the SmartDrive Video System?
Jack: I like it because it protects us. In the past I’ve been accused of accidents or unsafe driving by other truck drivers and 4-wheel drivers. The SmartDrive program is a way to prove that I am innocent. I’m glad I’ve got it for that very reason. I really helps the drivers.
Meghan: Did/Are you having to make any changes to your driving behaviors as a result of the system and incentive program?
Jack: Yes, but in a good way! I’ve had the chance to improve my skills from reviewing the videos with Oakley Transport’s Safety team. I’m now more cautious and I’ve slowed down. I better watch my speed now. As a matter of fact, I never realized how many speed limit signs there were before until I started using the video system. Having that technology in your truck definitely makes you pay close attention to everything.
Meghan: What would you tell a driver that is on the fence about the Safe Driving Performance Program?
Jack: Just do it! Protect yourself and the company. If people call in accusing you of unsafe driving, the video system gives evidence that you were doing the right thing and it isn’t your fault. Oakley Transport could be in real trouble too if there are enough drivers blamed for accidents. If we can prove we are not at fault, that helps the entire Oakley team.
Meghan: What is your next goal in the Safe Driving Performance Program?
Jack: I want to go all the way! I got the .03 cents per mile during the first month participating in the program. I’m going to work hard to get the .05 cents per mile bonus next time!
The idea of attending a four-year university post high school is a presupposed academic step that is ingrained into us since we first learned to read and write. Any other notion is often accompanied with forewarnings of a life flipping burgers or mopping bathroom floors. However, contrary to popular belief, there are actually many other outlets apart from college that still have the potential to propel you forward into a valuable and fulfilling career.
Have you ever considered trade school? This type of career path often only requires a year or less of additional education, is significantly cheaper than college and can get you into the workforce at a much quicker pace. It’s a worthwhile alternative to the traditional college route.
“Four-year degrees often saddle students with huge debt and prevent them from being successful financially. Many students would be better served going to more affordable vocational programs, which teach real-life skills and lead to stable employment for many students,” Mike Row, host of Dirty Jobs, says in an article on Freight Waves.
While there are many avenues for vocational programs, trucking is currently one of the nation’s leading trades. In fact, it is the number one industry currently in need of employees. And it’s not such a bad gig either. Students fresh out of trucking school can earn $45k to $50k as a starting salary!
Furthermore, Career School Now says that as the job market continues to flourish, less than 1/3 of positions will require a college degree, which cues the perfect time for you to look into obtaining a trucking license!
Your first step to getting behind the wheel begins with a high school diploma. Next, you’ll fulfill your commercial drivers license (CDL) requirements through a trucking school. Some of the top rated programs can be found through RoadMaster Drivers School, Sage Truck Driving Schools, Coastal Truck Driving School and American Truck Driving School, among many others.
Once you have completed your driving and knowledge exams and earn your trucker’s license it’ll be time to find employment…and the Oakley family will be waiting for you with arms wide open!
Interested in joining the Oakley Transport family? Check out our driver requirements and start paving the way to your new career. https://www.oakleytransport.com/requirements.html
We are excited to have been recognized by Commercial Carrier Journal as a 2017 Innovator for our ISO achievements. Thank you to each and everyone of our family members for making this possible!
If you are looking for a new career, there may be some opportunities in places you haven’t thought to look. Truck driving and hauling is a booming industry and constantly on the hunt for quality drivers to keep their wheels rolling. Though truck driving may seem conventional, it offers many eclectic and unique opportunities you can’t experience any place else.
If you have a spirit of wanderlust, a career behind the wheel could be your perfect match. Being a truck driver allows you to see the country’s marvels and get paid while doing it! Although CDL truck driving does require extensive time away from home, if you find enjoyment in travel, this is a great opportunity for you.
As a trucker, you are at the helm of America’s support system. From food to pharmaceuticals, the country heavily relies on the transportation of their goods to keep their business operating (aka job security!). Thus, it’s your responsibility to ensure each product is delivered on time and in excellent condition. So if you work well under the pressure and stress of deadlines and can confidently navigate weather conditions, road construction and heavy traffic, trucking may be your calling!
Furthermore, starting a trucking career doesn’t require a four year degree and earning your Commercial Driver’s License is relatively simple. There are multiple driver training schools available, and some like America Truck Driving School and Road Masters offer programs that can be completed in as few as four weeks. During training, you will undergo a combination of classroom testing and hands on practice to ensure safety and competency on the road. Within a short period of time, you will be headed down a path toward your new career.
Trucking could also be a fitting job option if you crave independence and variety in your schedule and despise being walled in by a cubicle. In this position, you are the captain of your ship. From music choice to the amount of breaks you take, as long as marks are hit and deliveries are efficient, you are free to conduct your work schedule in the way that best suits you.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a truck driver, we would love for you to call Oakley home. Please visit our website, oakleytransport.com, or feel free to contact one of Oakley’s recruiters at 888-791-2309. They would love to welcome you aboard the family and kick start you to a new, great career!
Cavaliers for the Community: Oakley partner Love's Travel Stop raises millions for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals
The famed travel stop company raised $2.76 million dollars for CMN Hospitals. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospital treats hundreds and thousands of children with trauma, diabetes, cancer, surgical needs as well as infants in NICU. These hospitals are governed under a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase funds to support gaps caused by medicaid and insurance coverages. Love’s stepped in to help fill that void through donations.
“We’re so grateful that Love’s Travel Stops’ employees and customers helped smash this year’s campaign fundraising goals,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, in a press released published by Love’s. “The generosity and dedication that everyone has shown to help their local communities and save kids’ lives is tremendous.”
To help acquire the finances vital for CMN’s services, Love employees facilitated a five week donation-focused campaign with activities that included 5k runs, bowling and fishing tournaments, cookouts and more.
Additionally, during National Coffee Day, Love’s utilized the help of caffeine lovers to increase their contributions. Every 24 oz coffee and cappuccino was discounted to $1, and every sale was accorded to the hospitals.
Despite hurdles that were met along the way as a result of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, employees were still able to raise over $2 million, setting a new company record.
“Every year, our employees show passion for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and this year they also demonstrated perseverance,” said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications for Love’s, in the company’s press release. “Other locations stepped up their fundraising efforts so we could still make a difference for kids while employees in storm-affected areas focused on recovery efforts.”
We are extremely proud to partner with a company whose efforts within the community speak volumes of the organization’s true character, Owner and Founder Thomas E. Oakley says.
“Loves philanthropic effort speak volumes of the organization’s true character, and we at Oakley are extremely proud to partner with the company, Owner and Found Thomas Oakley says. “Throughout our partnership with Loves, we see and feel their genuine care about the drivers on the road. These actions along with their contribution to the community are pillars of a strong partner."
Drivers and staff are the heart beat of Oakley Transport, and recently, a whole lot of love has been pulsing through their veins. After two powerful hurricanes sent a monsoon of tragedy flooding through Texas and Florida, an explosion of kindness arose from the most unlikely of places. Despite their own messes, Oakley employees have shown the ultimate act of selflessness by helping pump life back into the ventricles of their community.
When Hurricane Harvey practically halted life in Houston, TX. area, Oakley staff from around the country scrambled to move fleets to safety and lend a hand to those stranded in affected areas. A few weeks later they found their efforts on repeat in the south.
Because Irma’s treacherous winds threatened disaster upon Florida, Oakley’s headquarter terminal in Lake Wales made the decision to close for the week, even though it was imperative operations continued.
When a normally 24/7 staffed HQ is suddenly disabled, it takes an incredible team effort to keep the wheels rolling. Without fail, Oakley staff from around the country stepped up to the plate, working overtime to cover lost hours in Lake Wales and ensure the company did not miss a step. Even after Irma, those who had no water or power were still coming to the office daily.
However, these employees weren’t heroes merely because of their dedication to the job. It was by their simple acts of kindness to brighten people’s days that made them drivers in shining armor.
Generators, gas, food and air-conditioned hotel rooms were all provided for those who needed help getting back on their feet. Oakley even bought 50 pizzas one day just so their employees could enjoy the comfort of a hot meal.
The love also went beyond Oakley’s tight-knit family as staff went out of their way to provide for strangers in their community. People raved about their generosity on the company’s Facebook page.
“An Oakley employee named Ashley Stewart was in the Batteries Plus Bulbs store in Lake Wales today and realized we had no AC. She returned a couple hours later with three fans and a case of water for my employees. She asked for nothing in return, but I think she deserves a little recognition. You should be extremely proud to have such a fine person representing your company.” - Facebook Review on Oakley Transport
Texas and Florida experienced a lot of tumult and hurt in the past weeks. But Oakley demonstrated their true philanthropy by coming together to do what they do best, be a family and spread the family love to those around them.
CCJ Innovator: Oakley Transport takes the lead in food safety management, quality
In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act expanded the domain of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration beyond regulating food producers alone.
“Everyone in the entire food supply chain is now responsible to the FDA,” says Allen Warner, director of quality for Oakley Transport (CCJ Top 250, No. 139). “The FDA had rarely walked into a trucking company before, so that puts us on a different level of inspection and responsibility.”
With the FDA’s broad authority to regulate the food supply chain, motor carriers began to investigate how the agency’s new rules would impact their organizations. The wheels of government turned slowly.
“It kept going on,” says Tommy Oakley, president and chief executive officer of the Lake Wales, Fla.-based company. “The (FDA) would pass the ball from one group to another, and it never got traction.”
As the process dragged along, Oakley saw an opportunity to take the lead. Tommy, and the management team, began working with customers and trade groups such as the Juice Products Association, which represents the fruit and juice products industry, to establish standards and best practices for food safety and food defense.
Having been in the food industry since 1961, Oakley Transport had become familiar with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications. Many of the fleet’s customers had quality management systems; most motor carriers in the food sector did not.
More than three years ago, Oakley Transport’s management team decided to earn ISO certifications without being pushed by regulations or prodded by customers. The company started on this path to get ahead of FDA and customer requirements.
“We try to look five to 10 years ahead and see where we are at,” Oakley says.
ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized standard for quality management. ISO 22000 sets requirements for a food safety management system, but leaders saw opportunities to improve customer service, safety and other areas beyond food safety.
“The whole program is customer-focused,” Warner says.
Soon after Oakley Transport started on this path, the company hired Warner to steer its ISO certification process. He came from a 35-year career at Pepsi, where he led quality initiatives.
“We realized we had to convert a trucking company into a food hauler of all bulk commodities,” Warner says. “It sounds simple, but the company is much different now. We are no longer just a trucking company, but we are a food transporter that is customer-focused.”
Among the first orders of business was to revamp the fleet’s training programs, focus employees and change its culture to that of a food transporter.
Whereas many over-the-road carriers will dispatch a new driver after only a couple of days of training at the office, Oakley Transport’s driver orientation training takes a minimum of five days and can last up to two weeks.
“Most trucking companies want to feed the machine and get (drivers) producing,” says Ryan Walls, director of risk management and driver relations. “We can’t do that with what we do.”
In retrospect, creating new quality management policies and procedures for employee background checks, seal security, tank washes and other areas was the easy part. The harder part was change management.
“It was pretty painstaking, because we had to change the whole culture of the company,” Oakley says. “People had to be thinking these things every day, know the processes, and if they had a problem, they had to know where to go look for it.”
As Oakley Transport rolled out new quality management and continuous improvement programs, its customers and vendors took notice.
“The last thing we want and the customer wants is to contaminate food anywhere,” Walls says. “We absolutely work with customers to make sure their products are coming onto and leaving our trucks in pure form. That for us is the end game.”
Some shipper customers have asked Oakley Transport to certify the quality of their own private tank washes. The fleet welcomes such opportunities to audit its customers and vendors to help them be better, Warner says.
The focus on quality recently led to an alliance with one of its vendors, Quala, which operates more than 60 wash locations nationwide.
“They put in some first-class food bays for us, ” Oakley says. “We also partnered with them to put in terminals at their locations, which has created great efficiencies for us.”
Last year, the Juice Products Association, which includes many of Oakley Transport’s customers, held a meeting at the fleet’s headquarters to draft new testing specifications for the quality of tank washes nationwide.
“Food safety and defense has to be taken seriously,” Warner says. “When you help a customer or a supplier, everybody wins.
Unlike any food transport company, Warner says Oakley takes its customer complaints one step further and tracks its own internal errors. The company also conducts random simulated mock recalls to insure that the processes in place are being followed. Findings are acted upon and changes are made to continuously improve its processes.
Sometimes an error or “rejection incident” may be a shipper issue such as the loading of the wrong product in a tank trailer. Also, a shipper or receiver may have a capacity issue and not be prepared to take 7,000 gallons of product upon delivery.
Any type of incident, no matter how minor, is investigated by a team to conduct a root cause analysis and come up with a solution.
Oakley Transport’s acceptance rate — or loads without a rejection incident — currently is above 99.8 percent, which represents more than a “3 sigma” in terms of quality, Warner says. “We will continue to strive for improvement everyday and serve the needs of our customers by providing on-time delivery of cargo in the same condition that it was received.”
Oakley Transport also formed a cross-functional Performance Excellence Team that meets at least once per month to review all of the company’s quality initiatives and to discuss process improvements, Warner says. Each department has a subcommittee that executes the plans.
The fleet also works with its vendors and customers on quality initiatives. Trailer seal policies are one area where improvements have been made.
“We work with suppliers and shippers to make sure food stays safe throughout the entire supply chain,” Warner says. “For instance, some might use plastic seals. We insist on using a steel cable. This is much more difficult to cut or have an issue with.”
Every time drivers make a stop along a route to fuel or for another reason, they must inspect all trailer seals and send a macro message through the in-cab computing system to verify all seals are intact.
Upon delivery, drivers can use a mobile app to scan the bills of lading with the seal numbers written on the paper. The company strives to make things as efficient as possible for drivers.
“We are continually working to streamline the process for the drivers wherever we can,” says Zane Schwenk, director of national customer service. “It makes our lives easier, and it really makes the lives of our drivers easier who have one of the toughest jobs.”
In August, Oakley Transport completed the certification process for ISO 22000:2005 and ISO 9001:2015, becoming the first liquid food grade transportation company globally to earn both.
“This process has been a challenge, but it’s been terrific,” Oakley says. “It’s the best thing we have ever done with the company.”
We wanted to take this opportunity to truly thank our drivers, from the bottom of our hearts, for being the backbone of our company and for continuing to represent Oakley Transportation as a leader on the industry. Thank you for your hard work and dedication and thank you for being part of the Oakley Family. Happy Driver Appreciation Week!
Trucker Sees Horrific Crash And Goes Running, But Notices His Dash Cam Caught A Miracle
David Fredericksen, a professional truck driver, saw a car going the wrong way on an interstate in Biloxi, Mississippi. He watched in horror as the vehicle slammed into a truck and exploded before his very eyes. His dash cam recorded the tragic crash.
Within seconds, the entire car was on fire. David prayed, left the safety of his truck, and rushed to the scene with a fire extinguisher. He was terrified of what he would find, but he didn’t hesitate to help.
“God, please don’t let me have to deal with somebody halfway burned alive, screaming,” he thought to himself.
David thought the two people inside the car — an elderly woman and her 1-year-old granddaughter — were surely dead. But then something incredible caught his eye: he saw a little head pop up in the back window.
David tried to yank the door open as the metal began to melt. He prayed even more before climbing into the back seat, where he grabbed the little girl as the fire raged on.
There are many reasons why David says what happened next is an absolute miracle.
Click this link to watch the video.
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