During such a time as this, our drives are more important than ever. At Oakley Transport, we are proud to have a family of professionals who know how to come together in a time of need so that America's families can get fed.
One such dedicated driving hero is Gary Marr. Gary isn’t new to the transportation sector and has been with the Oakley family for more than four years.
Let’s get to know local driver Gary Marr with a Q&A:
Q: How and when did your trucking career begin?
A: I started driving trucks while in the Michigan Army National Guard. I started out driving a dump truck and finally moved up to semi-hauling heavy equipment.
Q: What drew you to this industry?
A: I got into this career because I was looking for work, and my older brother recommended I try it.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a truck driver?
A: My favorite part of this career is the daily challenges - you never know what is coming next - and the freedom of not being stuck in an office.
Q: Why did you choose Oakley Transport as your home?
A: I used to go to Miami and would drive past them. I thought, “if I ever moved to Florida, I would want to work there.” Plus, I noticed the shiny equipment.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested, but unsure, about joining the trucking industry?
A: This isn’t a job. It’s a life style. If you’re willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be very gratifying.
Do you want to start a rewarding career with the Oakley family? Check out our job listings and find right fit for you: https://oakleytransport.plansource.com/jobsearch/.
Getting heart healthy can be an intimidating commitment, especially if you aren’t really sure where to start. While it does require discipline, taking care of your heart and your body can be simple if you are willing to make a few changes. Not only will it improve your quality of life, but it will also make your job easier and more sustainable. Stay tuned to learn what steps you can take to make better choices.
Be Smoke Free:
The Heart Foundation published an article about how to best nurture your heart, saying that one of the best ways to maintain it is to be smoke free. “Smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. It reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages blood vessels walls.” It's easy to smoke to fill the time between customer loads. Try munching on carrots, chewing sugar free gum or sucking on some peppermints instead to keep your hands and mouth busy.
Manage Your Blood Cholesterol
While your body needs cholesterol to function properly, too much of it is harmful to your heart. Heavy amounts of cholesterol build up in your arteries, restricting blood flow. While high cholesterol can be caused by a variety of factors, food is a common contributor. Thankfully, you can take control over it today! According to the Mayo Clinic, foods packed with trans fat and saturated fat will spike cholesterol. Think fried foods, margarine, baked goods, processed snacks and meat (most things you find at a gas station).
One way you can keep these delicious foods in your life, minus the bad stuff, is to invest in an air fryer! When the need for yummy fried food hits, pop a chicken thigh in the air fryer with some seasoning and let the magic of the technology work! Less calories, less cholesterol and the same great, fried taste!
Eat A Variety Of Nutritious Food
Along with eating less trans and saturated fat, try to keep salt to a minimum (think pizza, burgers, boxed breakfast food, most things at fast food restaurants.) Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of healthy foods into one sitting. Get a Magic Bullet Blender for the truck, freeze your favorite fruits and pulse them into a treat that resembles more of a sorbet than a smoothie. Nutritious and delicious and super heart healthy. For other healthy options, check our other food blog below.
Be Physically Active
“Regular activity makes you less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. It also helps control other heart disease risk factors, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight,” the Heart Foundation article states. Getting in some exercise while you are on the road isn’t hard. Take a brisk walk in the morning before you head out on the road or get some resistance bands to keep up muscle strength without having to leave the comfort of your cab. Here are three easy band exercises.
If you want more ideas for various exercises you can do while you are on the road, check out one of our previous articles about trucker fitness
For more information about how to stay heart healthy, make sure to check out the Heart Foundation's website for more tips and tricks. A healthy heart is a happy heart!
It’s a new year and what better way to kick off this season than with the Oakley family? If you’re thinking about joining the team, or have already signed up, we want to make every step easy and smooth, from the time you download and sign the application to when you get behind the wheel.
Here are some tips and tricks for packing and a run-down of what you can expect when you arrive at our HQ terminal in Lake Wales, FL for orientation.
Firstly, we know travel isn’t cheap. We offer a $300 incentive for all drivers attending orientation as well as $150 per orientation day after you have accepted your first dispatch for payment. Additionally, we provide travel compensation/reimbursement and handle scheduling and arrangements — so make sure to keep your receipts. Below is a list of covered items.
When you pack for the big week, please double check that the below essentials make it with you on your travels.
As far as your suitcase is concerned, pack clothing that makes you feel comfortable. We only ask that you follow these rules.
Now comes time for the part you’ve all been waiting for— Orientation! Orientation always takes place on a Monday and will last between four to five days. For Dry Van/Reefer drivers, on-boarding will last till either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. Tanker drivers should plan to finish either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Despite your position, below are a few action items everyone can expect:
While the information above covers the framework of orientation week activities and information you need to know prior, we understand you may still have some questions. We’re happy to answer any of them. Click the button below to learn more and find contact information for our team members.
This Christmas, we feel there is no better way to spread holiday cheer than giving to others. We’ve participated in Baby DJ’s radio station since 2014 and we are in full swing for it again in 2019.
Working in collaboration with local companies, sponsors and nonprofits, XL 106.7 Baby DJ’s Toy Drive seeks to provide underprivileged families with an unforgettable holiday experience for their children. Already, we have had numerous Oakley family members generously give, organize and deliver gifts.
Among those who contributed their resources and time, four Oakley family members shine in particular.
Along with these four outstanding employees, numerous other Oakley staff also donated toys and volunteered their time to load up the gifts and shuttle them to Baby Dj’s radio station to be dispersed to children and families in need of assistance.
If you’re an Oakley employee and haven’t donated yet, it’s not too late. Plus, there’s perks.
In exchange for ONE present, our employees will be allowed to wear jeans the week prior to Christmas (12/16/19-12/20/19). A donation of FIVE presents or more and you can wear jeans the following week AS WELL (12/23/19-12/27/19).
We will have bins located in HR for your convenience. Please feel free to drop off any time during the day! Let’s be sure to make this year the best year yet!
All donations are due to HR by Wednesday, December 18, 2019.
Finding a job post-active duty can be difficult for many veterans. We believe the trucking industry can help turn that around. Forbes listed trucking as one of the top 10 jobs for veterans. The benefit? The trucking field extends far beyond driving. From distribution and warehouse operations to a large number of administrative and mechanical positions, veterans have a world of opportunity at their fingertips in this industry. They have a world of opportunities with the Oakley family!
You’re probably wondering what specifics make the trucking industry and our family a good fit for veterans. Let us explain:
Experience: Many veterans have gained experience operating large vehicles during their time serving in the military. CDL training is one of the first steps taken for those entering the industry. This training is a specialized instructional program and can be completed in as little as seven weeks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Military Skills Test Waiver program is a great way to fast-track provided certain requirements are met. There is also a large number of Post-9/11 GI Bill approved trucking schools where veterans can gain relevant experience and certifications.
Teamwork: Those who have served in the military understand the value of teamwork and how diverse people can work together to achieve goals. Teamwork grows from a sense of responsibility to colleagues. Many have developed lifelong relationships with fellow servicemen they have relied on in the field. In the trucking industry, and especially here at Oakley, we thrive on teamwork. We constantly encourage our staff to build relationships with one another because we’re more than just a business, we’re a family. We rely on one another, knowing we can never accomplish as individuals what we’ve been able to do as a team.
Stamina: Veterans have performed their jobs under some of the most stressful situations. They are required to set priorities, accomplish missions and meet schedules on a daily basis. Servicemen and women offer grit, self-discipline and are mission-focused. These abilities prove to be valuable no matter what job a veteran may hold within the trucking industry.
Leadership: The military trains veterans to take charge and accept and execute responsibility for tasks and their own behavior. This means thinking critically and working efficiently. These are the skills that make an excellent leader. These traits are part of the military mindset and are also expected of professionals at Oakley. Whether you’re training drivers, managing a fleet, or on the road, possessing these skills are what develop a great leader, and a great leader is a quality worker and family member.
The sacrifices made by our veterans are far reaching and we believe it is important to bridge the gap as they transition into a new season of service. Military service may be in the past for veterans but at Oakley Transport we know they still carry with them skills and abilities that will last them a lifetime and would contribute greatly to the Oakley family.
At Oakley Transport, we are a family for anyone who is willing to put in good work behind the wheel. As long as you have a heart for the road, eager determination and a bit of grit, we want you to be part of our team.
In our eyes, the steering wheel knows no gender. However, according to the American Trucking Association, the percentage of women truckers in the industry is vastly low compared to men - landing at a total of 6.6%. But the industry is changing, women are being advocated for, and we at Oakley Transport are standing alongside other organizations like Women In Trucking to back the movement.
“Oakley Transport supports gender diversity in the transportation industry within all positions,” Oakley Transport Director Of I.T. Julie Hall says. “I am excited about what 2020 holds as we bring recognition to and promote the accomplishments of the women of Oakley Transport.”
According to a WSJ article, the number of women truckers have increased almost 70% since 2010. Why? Equal opportunity. Fleets are paid by experience, route, miles covered, per load, etc, and are never segregated by gender. Furthermore, the industry is evolving to better accommodate women with various upgraded technologies in seating, pedals, gauges, and ease-of-use when it comes to unloading product.
“The Oakley family has embraced this equality and focused on growing our fleet by hiring qualified driving professionals from all walks of life and with various backgrounds,” Oakley Transport Culture And Engagement Manager Meghan Pilkenton relays. “Oakley’s fleet of drivers is currently 4.6% women. We have a goal of getting that to 10% in 2020.”
With these numerous developments, it’s clear that women are not only wanted in the industry, but they are needed.
“The growth in women in the industry comes as demand for transportation workers is high, boosted by the expansion of e-commerce,” the WSJ article says.
For women who are interested in joining the industry, but are hesitant about their place in a male-dominated field, an article by the Advanced Technology Institute lists numerous advantages for being a woman behind the wheel.
• Women are believed to take fewer risks than men. Companies appreciate that.
• Women are believed to do a better, more critical job at filling out paperwork.
• Women are know to communicate well and form good relationships with customers.
• Trucks have become more user-friendly and don’t require lots of strength to unload.
Unlike most professions that take years of schooling, truckers can start a career in less than a 12 months. Plus, women can join the industry at practically any age.
“One of the biggest demographics that we’ve seen start to join our industry are mothers who have raised their children and are looking to see the beauty and splendor of the United States while maximizing their earning potential,” Meghan says. “We offer a premium employment opportunity that caters to a family-friendly, work/ life balance with regular home time availability as well as an incredible potential to earn."
In light of the recent devastation experienced by a large number of residents in our island nation neighbors, we as a family have decided to take up donations to aid in relief efforts for the Bahamas.
We will be collecting donations of non-perishable goods, medical supplies, hygiene products and items for children. We have reached out to "Sun 'n Fun" in Lakeland, FL. who will be transporting donations via private planes down to the Bahamas.
We will set up collection bins in the Tractor Shop Lounge, the HR Department and Operations Department at our Lake Wales terminal beginning today through Driver Appreciation Week. You can also donate monetarily through the Sun 'n Fun organization. To contribute, visit their website - https://www.flysnf.org/help_bahamas/
Thank you so much in advance for your participation and let's show everyone how Oakley rolls in a time of need.
Below you will find a list of items you can donate.
Oakley family! Driver Appreciation Week is here. We are so excited to be able to celebrate and honor your hard work on the road and the success you've brought to our family with some good ole games, prizes (daily raffles!), food and company. Please view below for your terminal's schedule of events for the week.
Lake Wales FL.
West Memphis, AR.
*Terminal Manager Barry Namez will buy lunch for any drivers that come into the terminal throughout the week.
Cedar Rapids, IA
“In 2007 a study done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue was a critical factor in 13% of all accidents involving large, commercial vehicles. In another study, over 50% of drivers reported driving while drowsy at least once and 25% reported having actually fallen sleep at the wheel,” states an article from Sleep Help, a sleep-heath education site dedicated to bettering waking life by improving sleep.
How is your sleep, Oakley family? Do you feel well rested when you are behind the wheel or do you need help improving your shut eye? Sleep is your main sidekick when it comes to being successful on the road. If you’re having trouble getting proper rest, check out some of these facts and tips below.
According to Guardvant, a global leader in safety solutions for the industrial sector, peaceful sleep offers, 1) health, 2) safety, and 3) productivity for truckers. When you are well-rested, you will have higher reaction times, a stronger immune system and less cravings. It’ll also help you think clearly and make safe decisions behind the wheel, ultimately boosting efficiency during hauls.
How do you know when you are tired and how can you achieve better sleep? Sleep Help says to become aware of drowsiness signs, like yawning. If you feel yourself starting to crash, do not attempt to make yourself stay awake. Tactics like blasting the air conditioning or radio will help for a few minutes, but it won’t last. Know when to pull over.
When you do settle down for a snooze, Open Access Government, a digital publication that provides an in-depth perspective on key public policy ares, offers some suggestions in their article The importance of sleep for commerical drivers.
A few years back, we wrote a blog that highlighted simple ways truckers can stay fit while on the road (read it here). Because exercise is beneficial for staying alert and efficient behind the wheel, we wanted to remind our Oakley family of some quick tips and tricks for staying fit on the go.
It’s as simple as committing to even just four minutes of exercise a day. Try easy movements like walking, running, jumping jacks and crunches, slowly building up to 15 minutes of consecutive work. Travel with small weights and resistance bands that you can pull out for a few moments at a truck stop. If you are stuck on what exercises you should do, check out the Active Trucker Fitness Program (available on Google Play and Apple App store).
Although these tips are something every type of trucker can implement, with it being the end of July, the summer heat can put a damper on exercising outdoors. Trucker News offers a few suggestions on how to stay safe while you workout this summer in their article 5 Tips for Exercising Safely in Summer's Heat
Firstly, make sure you are hydrated before and after physical activity. This doesn’t just include water. Try eating popsicles made with real fruit (no sugar!), chilled fresh fruit like watermelon, smoothies, raw veggies like celery and cucumber, etc.
Second, get your timing right. The best time to exercise is in the morning, before the sun comes up. According to Trucker News, “it’s usually hottest outside between noon and 3 p.m. and it remains warm into the later afternoon.” However, if it’s still too hot in the morning, try some body weight exercises like crunches pushups, jumping jacks and planks inside your cab.
Buy breathable clothing, like sweat wicking shirts and hats, and make sure to put on sunscreen. If you choose to exercise during the day in the heat, take it easy, especially if you have any health issues. Always make sure to check with your doctor first. “According to the American Heart Association, some medicines like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics can impact the body’s response to heat,” the Trucker News article stated.
Lastly, know when to stop, taking notice of early signs of dehydration. Those include, “thirst. dry or sticky mouth, dry or cool skin, headache, muscle cramps, dark-colored urine, dizziness, etc.”
Like we said in our last blog - “whatever your regimen may be, always keep this in mind: Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Our employees are our most valuable assest.