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family owned trucking company
A family-owned company is any company that is owned in majority by at least two members of the same family. While the phrase “family-owned” might make you think of a small-time mom and pop shop, that’s not always the case. Technically, Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world is a family-owned company. Family-owned companies also outnumber corporate-owned companies by a wide margin. Studies show that 90% of all U.S businesses are actually family-owned.  

So, what does this mean if you’re a truck driver? Like with retail, construction, or any other industry, working for a family-owned trucking company can be a much different experience than working for a corporation. Here are three perks of working for a family-owned trucking company.   

1. Treated as a Person, Not Just an Employee

family owned trucking company

Terrance and David, Lansing Building Products

At some companies, it can feel like you’re a number instead of a name. Family-owned companies make an active effort to learn about you, your family and your life outside of work. This helps drivers tremendously when it comes to having a work life balance and taking time off. 

We talked to Terrance and David, two drivers for Lansing Building Products in Jackson, Mississippi. They shared with us what it’s like working for a family-owned company. 

“Working for a family-owned company makes you feel at home and valued vs. a non-family-owned company where you feel like youre just another number,” shared Terrance and David.

2. Become Part of a Tight Knit Family

Probably the biggest perk of working for a family-owned company is the tight-knit culture. Working at a family-Owned company gives drivers the opportunity to really know their fellow co-workers and the people above them. Developing these long-term relationships is what many drivers enjoy most about working for a family-owned company.  

“The biggest benefit of working for a family-owned company is knowing that you can trust your employers to help you grow and boost your self-confidence. Also, having a caring family that makes you feel welcome gives you an incentive to work harder,” shared Terrance and David. 

It’s also not strange for drivers of family-owned companies to have a repour with the CEO of the company. Having this direct line to the top decision makers in the organization gives drivers the opportunity to suggest changes and improvements to how things are done. This means that they can have a direct impact on the company they work for.  

3. Develop New Skills Outside Your Role

Another perk about working for a family-owned company is the ability to wear more than one hat. As discussed, not all family-owned companies are small, but a good number of them are. This means that you may be asked to do some things outside your normal job description.  

While this might not be what all drivers are looking for, family-owned companies are a great place to learn new skills that will help you later in your career. These skills could be anything from hauling different types of freight l to learning the financial side of the business. If you want to become an Owner Operator or even own your own fleet one day; this kind of experience is invaluable.  

Deciding whether a family-owned Company is right for you comes down to what you’re looking for. If you’re happy with being part of a large workforce with set rules and guidelines, going the corporate route might be for you. If you’re looking for a driving job with a smaller team that will lead to new skills and experiences, then it’s time to look at family-owned companies.  

 

truck driver at loading dock

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Image via Prairie Publishing

Ron Stencel, a 65-year trucking dynasty, knows the trucking game all too well.

When he was 3, his father took him on a haul to Kansas City from Minnesota Lake. He immediately fell in love with the profession, and has spent his entire adult life dedicated to the industry. Trucking is in his blood.

Sixty-five years later, Stencel hopes pass the family business onto his son and grandson, Ron Adam.

“When school was out for the summer I could not wait to get to ride in the big truck during summer break,” Adam Stencel told Prairie Publishing, which shared the Stencels’ story

Sadly, few young people share Adam’s enthusiasm for a life on the road.

Like so many truckers, Stencel has felt the impact of fewer young people entering the trucking profession. In the article, he says new government mandates about monitoring drivers’ time has negatively affected the industry. As he explains, people often choose this profession due to its flexibility and freedom, but the new rules take a lot of the fun out of driving, Stencel says. With truckers’ every move now being monitored, that freedom and flexibility has begun to fade.

As the former vice president of the Minnesota Truckers Association, Stencel is a long-time advocate of CDL drivers. In fact, to foster a close-knit community among Minnesota drivers, the MTA began holding an annual get-together. The group had its most recent congregation on June 23. “You just don’t know how long these truckers will be around and it is important to maintain the friendships.”

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Photo via NPR.org

Step aside, Uber and Google, a career trucker is making history for self-driving tractor trailers.

Jeff Runions, autonomous-truck test driver, prepares the future of the trucking industry. As he told NPR, Runions works for Starsky Robotics. They are a small company developing fully autonomous trucks for the highway. The trucks are driven by professionals once the trucks got off at the exit.

As truck drivers continue to decrease in numbers, Runions hopes autonomous trucks will be a huge opportunity for the industry to keep up with demand. In his interview with NPR, he says automated vehicles would allow drivers to spend less time on the road and more time at home with their families.

This would be a drastic change from the three weeks of on-road time he remembers from working on his own and with a commercial trucking company. In fact, Runions would like to see drivers having a “regular life” with a 40-hour work week. By making drivers’ lives more enjoyable, he hopes to spike interest in the industry from potential drivers.

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If you’re on the market for a new CDL trucking job in 2017, now is a good time to brush up on your networking skills. Several avenues exist to help you take control of your next career move, like these touted by Mary Sherwood Sevinsky of the noted career site Work It Daily.

1. Use LinkedIn

I can’t say enough about LinkedIn. Many professionals are coming to have a better understanding of the platform and how it can benefit them. But most don’t recognize what a powerful skill and knowledge building tool it can be.

By following influencers, channels and individuals as well as engaging themselves in groups, members can keep current in their industry and sharp on business in general. Discussions with those from similar and dissimilar backgrounds can broaden your horizon and give you a different perspective.

2. Join Professional Groups

Sometimes you need to see like-minded people in a different venue and in person. Online groups are fine, but nothing can replace the impact of a smiling face, warm handshake, or appreciative nod. Find or create a group near you. Meetup is becoming a great way to create and manage in-person groups.

Chamber of Commerce or industry groups in your area are likely to be accessible to you and can be a good way to learn and build your network. Networks can help you by allowing you to feel connected, but they can also help ensure you find out about opportunities in a timely way.

3. Volunteer

Yes, you can learn a lot through volunteering for charity or civic groups. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rotary, your local hospital or church can all be great places to learn and grow. Sometimes, you learn how well-off you are. Sometimes you find that you have the best social media skills (even if you consider yourself technologically challenged). Before you know it, you might be improving a skill you never knew you needed and that will benefit others as well as yourself.

4. Get Additional Education

You can take a class or go back to school to pursue a degree or certification. There are plenty of online options for formal training, but don’t forget about the brick and mortar facilities as well.

5. Schedule Downtime

You may miss learning opportunities, or at least insights, if you don’t set aside time to process your work day. Make sure you allow enough time to think about what you did and how you did it. What did you learn? Whom did you help? What did you accomplish? What could you have done better?

Think about these things – keep a work journal to capture even further opportunities to learn.

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ttnews.comBlueGrace Logistics, based in Riverview, Fla., announced that Warburg Pincus agreed to an investment of $255 million in the firm, Transport Topics reports. Also, that includes committed capital and direct investment to increase growth and acquisitions.

In addition, BlueGrace Logistics expects to increase employment in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Tampa and other markets. Overall, they plan to hire 500 to 700 new employees, nearly doubling the current 370 employees.

Whether the new jobs include CDL trucking jobs remains undetermined.

“This investment gives a major shot of adrenaline to our already fast-growing operations,” BlueGrace CEO Bobby Harris said. “We help customers transform their shipping across the country. And, for me, it’s especially gratifying to see more employees come to the company and find a great career.”

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace developed a proprietary software platform.

Overall, it provides customers who need to ship goods with multiple offers from trucking companies. New York-based Warburg Pincus “has been a long-term investor in the technology-enabled logistics market. BlueGrace is a rapidly growing innovator in that industry,” said Alex Berzofsky, managing director of Warburg Pincus. “We see meaningful opportunities for continued growth for the company. And, we look forward to supporting the BlueGrace team.”

Read the rest of the Transport Topics story here.

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Trucking Software Company Gets  Million in Venture Capital from Big Names

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One tech startup got a big financial boost this week when it received a $16 million windfall from investors. The Seattle-based trucking software startup Convoy makes a big splash with big-name tech investors. Investors include Jeff Bezos of Amazon, who likes what Convoy peddles.

Overall, Convoy’s software matches trucking companies to firms that need products transported.

Transport Topics magazine said word of the $16 million in new venture capital for Convoy. This comes only months after Convoy made a foray into Washington state’s technology scene. In addition, they raised $2.5 million in seed money from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, among others.

“The new round, led by Menlo Park, California-based Greylock Partners, with participation from high-ranking Amazon.com executive Jeff Wilke, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, Acosta Executive Chairman Gary Chartrand and LinkedIn executive Mike Gamson,” Transport Topics wrote.

Convoy creates software that connects truck drivers with freight that needs hauling. The startup developed a website and app into which freight companies enter information about what they need moved. It includes the equipment required. Next, Trucking companies then swoop in and claim the job. The traditional model involves companies working with third-party brokers to find truckers. Convoy lowers transport costs by cutting out the middle man and automating part of the process.

Convoy raised this second round of funding thanks to its rapid growth and increasing demand from trucking companies.

The company now stands at 31 employees

They preppe to relocate to a larger, 6,000-square-foot office space. It also announced this week that it will expand into Oregon. It plans to use its new funding to continue its expansion throughout the year.

“One of the only limits to our growth is how fast we can hire the people that we need,” Forecki said.

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XPO Broadens Its Reach in HealthcareWhile CDL trucking jobs may be the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear XPO Logistics, this article about the company’s latest news centers on its further expansion in the healthcare sector.

XPO Logistics landed a contract as the third-party logistics provider for Trinity Health. The two companies stated this in a release March 9.

In a news article about the agreement, Transport Topics said Trinity manages 90 hospitals and 124 continuing-care facilities in 21 states. Now, they construct a $26 million supply distribution center in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“The facility services the Great Lakes region of the Midwest. In addition, they serve as the first of four such centers planned,” Transport Topics wrote. “XPO signed on to ‘manage and operate’ the new facility as Trinity’s ‘contract logistics manager’.

“This initiative represents an enormous change in the way we stage and move supplies to our hospitals,” said Lou Fierens, a Trinity senior vice president. Also, Ashfaque Chowdhury, XPO’s president of supply chain in the Americas and Asia-Pacific commented. The facility “boosts the local economy and deliver on our promise to Trinity Health of consistent, efficient, high-quality service.”

XPO spokesperson Gary Frantz said XPO Logistics stays active in the healthcare sector. In fact, they remain active for nearly 10 years. Furthermore, its clients include health systems such as Trinity and medical supply manufacturers.

 “Now, combined with the larger resources of XPO’s supply chain group, and our experience helping major brands in other verticals pursue supply chain-led business transformations, we have a tremendous solution set to offer to the health care community,” Frantz said.

Site preparation begins before the end of March, and construction takes about a year.

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A new profile of the domestic small business climate in USA Today says that potential wealth isn’t the No. 1 motivator for small business owners, including those in trucking.

More than financial rewards, many small business owners seek more personal rewards, such as  creative expression and overall satisfaction.

The results apply to small business owners in various industries, whether they’re trucking companies hiring or something else entirely.

“For small business owners – like many young people entering the workforce — opening their own business is about quality of life and a sense of independence,” the article stated.

“When you’re a small business owner and want to make things happen, they do happen,” says Octavio Pina, 54, an Allstate agency owner in Santa Ana, Calif. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that if you do this, you’ll arrive at the point you want to be. You’re making things happen for yourself and your family.”

The USA Today study drew on federal data and a national survey of small business owners.

It seeked to understand the “health and vitality” of the U.S. small business sector.

The study found high levels of optimism (scoring 79 out of a possible 100) and innovation (73). What do small business owners get out of this working environment? Nearly half of the more than 2,600 who were surveyed said being their own boss gives them enjoyment. More than a third cite flexible work hours. And nearly a quarter get satisfaction from creating something all their own or following their passion. The real surprise? Just one in five point to money as one of their top two motivators.

The article goes on to say that other small business owners say they’re inspired by their own ability to control their destiny.

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If you want to be successful, work yourself into a frenzy. Or so we’ve been led to believe, anyway.

But one psychologist, Emma Seppala, says something quite the opposite in her new book, “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success.” Business Insider highlighted Seppala’s Top 6 pointers for living a happier, more successful life.

The good news is, Seppala’s pointers are easy enough for all of us to do, anyplace, anytime. So the next time you’re working at your CDL trucking job, try to work some of these approaches into your day. You’ll be happy you did.

1. Live in the moment

In today’s working world, we’re encouraged to work nonstop in order to stay on top of everything. We’re also constantly checking things off our to-do lists. But research suggests that when we’re focused on the present, we’re much more productive and more charismatic.

2. Be resilient

If we can train ourselves to be more resilient to the setbacks in our lives, we’re more likely to bounce back from them, a 2004 study suggests. The study found that resilient people were able to recover faster (as measured by their heart rate and blood pressure) when they used positive emotions to respond to a stressful experience.

3. Keep calm

In 2014, Seppala and her colleagues conducted a small study of 21 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Half of them were assigned to do breathing meditation, and the other half received no intervention. The group that did the meditation reported lower PTSD symptoms and anxiety a month and even a year later.

4. Do more of nothing

In Western society, we have this ingrained notion that we need to constantly be doing something, or we’re not being productive. But in fact, research suggests that we are most creative when we’re not at our peak alertness. The findings suggest that we’re at our mental best when we’re not especially alert or focused. So if we want to be creative, we need to give ourselves more time off.

5. Be good to yourself

Research suggests that a fear of failure can lead you to choke up, make you more likely to give up, and lead to poor decisions such as cheating or making questionable investments. It may also make it harder to pursue the career you want. Instead, Seppala said, be kind to yourself and observe your negative thoughts from a distance without letting yourself really dwell on them.

6. Be compassionate

Finally, we often assume that we should be looking out for ourselves first and foremost. But in fact, research suggests that you’re better off nurturing supportive relationships with others. If you have good relationships with your boss, colleagues, or employees, you’re more likely to inspire loyalty, which in turn makes everyone more productive, Seppala said.

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5 top tips for owner operators | Owner operator truck driving jobsEditor’s note: This is Part 1 of a multi-part feature to help owner operators get the most from their business.

Terry Martin of Oakley Trucking, Little Rock, Ark., has held an owner operator trucking job for the last 20 years. He knows a thing or two about what it takes to thrive in owner operator trucking jobs long-term.

It’s not easy, he says, but with the right business practices, it can be done. Here are Martin’s top 5 tips for running your business more profitably as an owner operator, in his own words.

1. First thing, you gotta want to work.

If you’re not running, you’re not making any money. Chances are, you bought a big truck and you have a big truck payment. If that truck ain’t running, you ain’t making any money. You’ve got to want to work. I grew up on a farm. We worked from sunup to sundown. That’s just what I know, from being out here on the road, too.

2. Establish a strong preventative maintenance program.

Doing the little things, like making sure your truck’s greased and your tires have adequate air pressure, will make or break you. Preventative maintenance is crucial. Put some money aside for it. Because if you break down on the road, it’s going to cost you and it’s going to cost you big. There are a lot of little things an owner operator can catch before things start going wrong. Your batteries start aging, change them. Check the tire pressure and tread depth. If you have good air pressure, that will save you on fuel.

3. Find a good company that’s a good company for you.

They’re out there. Talk to other owner operators on the road and ask their opinions. Talk to the company and see how long owner operators typically stay there. If they have a high turnover ratio, that’s not too promising. Different companies do different things. Find a company that’s going to take care of you and keep you running.

4. Drive responsibly so you’ll get decent fuel mileage.

Try to maximize your fuel mileage as much as you can, because that’s where you’ll make a lot of your money. You can save a lot of money just by saving on fuel. The more you can cut down on your fuel costs, the more money you’ll put in your pocket.

5. Last thing, keep yourself healthy.

If you’re getting sick and not passing your physical, you can’t afford to be down. Eat right and try to get some exercise. When you’re not healthy and you’re not allowed to drive, you’re not going to be making a living.

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