Archive for the ‘Driver Stories’ Category

July 22nd, 2014

Open Letter from company President, Joe Dagnese

As part of my onboarding at Con-way Truckload, I decided it would be best for me to learn what we do from the ground up by taking a truck trip. I set up the week to spend five or six days out on the road with Mr. Frank Merrill, one of our professional Driver Finishers. We had a mix of tough days with short miles, mechanical issues with our trailer, and axle weight distribution problems on an automotive parts load, but we powered through, logging a total of 2,327 miles – not bad for a rookie.

My experiences from the trip were humbling and helped validate the key areas we are working on to improve our company. We have to think differently about how we approach what we do, and how we do it. One of the most important things I realized was that engaging management with our driver workforce is critical.

I discovered, during a long conversation with Frank one night, that management and drivers don’t always communicate well with each other. For example, a question was posed by one of our drivers in a “Your Voice is Heard” call, which, although the senior management team answered the question, they didn’t really answer the true underlying question. It took Frank and I almost 30 minutes of back and forth to get at what was really being asked. We, the management of the company, need to take more time to truly understand what the driver issue or need is. I have asked our management team to ensure we are addressing the true root of the questions being asked. I would also ask that you, our professional driver, try to frame up questions as transparently as possible. If you see an improvement opportunity, state the problem and reason it is an issue. Of course, your suggestions and input as to how to address the problem are absolutely welcome. To submit a question or issue, email communications@conwaytruckload.com.

Frank and I also discussed the Smith Key Principles of Safety in detail as part of creating a safe driving environment, which is the foundation of our culture. What I found is that these same principles apply to how we need to think about transforming our company to make it stronger.

1. Aim high in your steering = Aim high in your goals for success.
2. Get the Big Picture = Every employee at Con-way Truckload should know how their job fits into achieving our company goals.
3. Keep your eyes moving = Have eyes for improvement to eliminate waste and inefficiencies. Do not accept “this is the way we have always done it” unless it is proven to be true.
4. Leave yourself an out = Our key focus priorities will change with the landscape of the market. It is imperative we stay ahead of what is happening around us.
5. Make sure they see you = Be a relevant company in our industry and with our customers.

I appreciated both Frank’s time and honesty. The trip opened my eyes to some important issues facing our drivers, company and industry and my purpose is to ensure that we continue grow stronger as a whole. I ask you all to share your thoughts and ideas to help us all improve. Thank you for your commitment to safety and to Con-way Truckload.

Stay safe out there,

Joe Dagnese
President, Con-way Truckload

July 18th, 2014

In his 22 years with Con-way Truckload, Tim Hicks has spent more than one million miles on the road. In addition to driving for us, Tim has been a fleet manager and a customer service representative among other positions. Most recently, he has taken on a new role in the company as a driver advocate.

Tim’s new position at Con-way Truckload will be focused on drivers. As driver advocate, his goal is to improve the experience of professional drivers who are already employed by Con-way Truckload. We want to make our employees feel appreciated by spotlighting drivers for their strengths and positive contributions to our company, and by rewarding non-driver employees for their dedication to our drivers.

Tim Hicks

That’s right, professional drivers. Tim’s position revolves around YOU!

So far, Tim has helped us identify unsafe backing locations and to implement the Trailer Hotline, a phone number that our drivers can call to report trailer issues, such as being left a mess by their peers. We have also added drivers to the Tractor Supply Dedicated fleet, helping reduce the amount of short mile loads by our over-the-road fleet.

“It is important to me to show our drivers that they have our full support,” said Tim. “Not only is it vital to the professional culture at Con-way Truckload, but also to the economy as a whole. Our non-driver employees play an important role in the scheme of the business, and we hope to show them our appreciation as well.”

A special thank you to Tim for his dedication to this initiative. If you have any suggestions as to how we can improve your experience at Con-way Truckload, please let us know by emailing us at communications@conwaytruckload.com or on our Facebook page.

June 13th, 2014

When Barbara Cummins met her husband Richard, truck driving was the last career she ever thought she would end up pursuing. Richard had been driving for Con-way Truckload and Barbara was a teacher. When they fell in love and got married, Barbara’s goals changed.

“I was afraid of driving anything bigger than an SUV,” she said. “But Richard suggested that being a team on the road would be fun, so I gave it a shot.”

Barbara and Richard have been on the road together for nine years, so far.

According to the couple, the best parts of driving together are enjoying the interesting sights and experiences, having someone to share every day with and never having to worry about being lonely. They don’t have to miss one another.

There are challenges to being on the road together as a married couple, however.

“As a team, one of you is usually working,” said Richard. “There can be a lack of free time together. And, there is very little space.”

Richard notes, the fact that his wife is always by his side makes up for the drawbacks, however. “I would never continue to do this without her.”

The Cumminses stressed that the trucking life isn’t for every couple. They made a pact at the beginning of their adventure on the road that they would put their relationship first. If either of them chose not to continue driving, they would both stop. They also stress communication as being a key aspect to enjoying time on the road together.

“When we talk to other couples, most of them can’t spend too much time together if they want their marriage to survive,” said Richard. “If you enjoy spending time together, there is no job better than this. Every day is an adventure.”

Do you have any tips or stories about your time on the road as a team driver with your spouse? Share them on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Con-wayTruckload.

Cummins