Road Team: Captain Spotlight

This week, our Road Team Captain spotlight features Becca Heck. Becca started driving for Werner seven years ago facing tough economic times. She trained on the Dollar General account and found the work very challenging yet extremely rewarding. In less than a year, she became a co-ed trainer and has since become an owner operator as well.

She is very thankful for the opportunities she has found in the driving profession. Becca is a proud wife and mother of four who resides in Illinois. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family.

Road Team: Captain Spotlight

This week’s Road Team Captain spotlight features Billy Colbert. Colbert has driven for Werner 8 years. He is a 48-state van driver who has logged over 600,000 safe driving miles.

Colbert is from Eugene, Oregon. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors. He especially likes trout and salmon fishing.

Road Team: Captain Spotlight

Our first Road Team Captain spotlight features professional driver David Conkling. David, an army veteran, has driven for Werner for 11 years and has been a trainer for 10 years. He currently drives on the Toro account for Werner dedicated. He has driven over 1 million safe driving miles and was recently selected to drive the first Operation Freedom truck as part of the Werner military program, Operation Freedom.

He served in the United States Army as a tank commander with the 72nd tanker battalion, Camp Rose, Korea. When asked how his military experience has helped him in his driving career, David said, “It has taught me discipline, time management, self-awareness and reliance.”

Conkling is a seasoned driver who has driven trucks since 1976. As his family has a long standing history in trucking, he grew up in the industry. His father ran a small fleet back in the 50’s, so he grew up in and around terminals and trucks. His great-grandfather even had a delivery service that utilized mule team wagons in Redwood, Minnesota. He can truly say that he was born into the trucking lifestyle.

Conkling has been married to his high school sweetheart for 43 years. He is a proud father and grandfather and he currently resides in Metairie, Louisiana.

Werner Enterprises Unveiled Operation Freedom Truck

On Friday, Feb. 22, in the main lobby of its global headquarters, Werner unveiled its new Operation Freedom truck displayed in full military theme. Those who spoke at the event included Derek Leathers, president and COO, Chris Polenz, associate vice president of Human Resources and John Hilgert, director of the Nebraska Department of Veteran Affairs. This truck will be used throughout the year at special events to bring awareness to our military recruiting program, Operation Freedom.

As part of the ceremony, Werner presented professional driver David Conkling, U.S. Army veteran, with the keys to the truck. Conkling is a seasoned Werner driver who has achieved one million miles of safe driving and was recently named as a member of Werner’s Road Team. Conkling will drive the truck on his regular freight routes in addition to special military engagements.

“This military truck is a special way for us to show respect and bring attention to our veterans as it travels around the country,”stated Werner Enterprises President and COO Derek Leathers. “We value all veterans as they have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms, and we are especially proud of our veteran associates.”

Werner developed Operation Freedom in conjunction with the White House veteran campaign. The Company has pledged to hire a minimum of 1,000 veterans in 2013 and more than 5,000 veterans in the next five years. Military veterans comprise approximately 20 percent of Werner’s professional driver work force and 15 percent of all Company associates.

Seat Belt Safety

Seat belts can provide proven safety and protection. According to the CDC, when lap/shoulder seat belts are used, the risk of a fatal injury to a front-seat passenger is reduced by 45 percent. The risk of a moderate-to-critical injury is also reduced by 50 percent. Seat belts come standard in any vehicle and there are seat belt laws in 49 states in the county. So why would someone make the conscious choice NOT to buckle up? Here are a few of the most common reasons:

  1. I don’t want to wrinkle my clothes.
  2. I have air bags, so it is not necessary.
  3. It’s uncomfortable.
  4. I am afraid I will be trapped if there is an accident and my car is on fire.
  5. I am good driver.

In reference to number one, if you are truly committed to safety, your last concern is wrinkled clothes. Regarding number two, air bags are technically supplemental or secondary restraint systems which defer to the seat belt as primary. As for number three, seat belts are not meant to fit loosely for comfort as they are for safety. Number four is based on the false belief that it’s safer not to wear a seat belt in case of a scenario that accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of all accidents. Most passengers who are ejected from vehicles or thrown through a windshield do not survive. And lastly, number five attaches itself to the stubborn belief that if you are a good driver, you won’t get in an accident in the first place. If only we could control all of the motoring public. Unfortunately, we can only control our own individual actions.

Since accidents will happen, the focus should be on prevention. Buckling your seat belt can mean the difference between minor scrapes and paralysis or death. When it is presented in that way, we all should be able to suffer a few wrinkles in our clothes.

Avoiding Cargo Theft

Cargo theft continues to be a problem for the trucking industry. There is some good news though. The number of cargo theft incidents dropped slightly in 2012 compared to 2011 as reported by FreightWatch International. Despite this improvement, law enforcement officials state that reported cargo theft produces an annual loss of approximately $35 billion in the U.S.

The crime of cargo theft involves a wide array of strategies and scenarios. Electronics, food, apparel and metals are the most popular loads stolen, accounting for 54 percent of total thefts. Often times, it can be as simple as opportunity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many instances of cargo theft, however, are orchestrated with more sophistication.

Regardless of how a criminal operates, driver execution is critical. Drivers must diligently maintain ownership of the tractor and trailer by following standard procedure every time. This isn’t just for the safety of the cargo but for the driver as well.

Where a driver parks and how he or she behaves plays a large role in that. Drivers should use their surroundings to their advantage by backing trailers up against fences or buildings to prevent anyone from gaining access. Parking in well-lit, heavier traffic areas near buildings and fuel islands is a safer choice as well. Long-term parking at rest stops or highway shoulders should not be an option nor should taking a load home or leaving it unattended for the weekend.

While no fleet is immune to cargo theft, being a vigilant driver in all practices can make the difference.

Recipes for the road – Strawberry Banana Parfait

Whether you are looking for a fruit-filled breakfast option or a better-for-you dessert – enjoy the flavors of layered seasonal fruit, crisp flakes and creamy yogurt in this delicious parfait.

½ medium ripe banana, mashed
⅛ teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup plain non-fat yogurt
½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup complete bran and wheat flakes ready-to-eat cereal

1. Stir banana and vanilla into yogurt
2. In one 10-12 ounce glass, alternately layer the yogurt mixture, strawberries and cereal. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving

Nutrition Facts 
Nutrient Value %DV 
Calories 190
Saturated Fat 0 0%
Sodium 200 mg 8%
Potassium 448 mg 13%
Calcium 200 mg 20%
Vitamin D 95 IU 24%
(0.66 mcg)
Dietary fiber 7g 28%

Maintaining healthy habits on the road.

One of the biggest lifestyle challenges facing over-the-road (OTR) truckers is maintaining healthy habits. The nature of the job is sedentary and the work can be somewhat monotonous. Eating, snacking and sitting most of the day is not conducive to good health. Small changes in your daily choices could make all the difference.

Truck stops offer a convenient break from the road. A driver can fuel, shower, eat, shop and even rectify maintenance issues all in one stop. Truck stops can be real time savers but there is another stop that, if added, could make a positive impact on your health and provide convenient nutritional options. That place is the grocery store.

Most grocery stores offer sufficient parking for tractor-trailers and usually the back of the parking lot is the best choice. This is good as it also creates an opportunity for a nice walk for legs that need a good stretch and some exercise. Once in the store, scout out easy to eat nutritious foods to add to your diet. Here are a few suggested healthy items:

  • Pre-washed bags of lettuce or spinach
  • Pre-washed and cut vegetables (to eat alone or put on your lettuce)
  • Pre-washed and cut fruit
  • Whole pieces of fruit that are easy to clean (apples, oranges, plums, bananas)
  • Grilling meat (especially chicken and turkey breasts)

In addition to a healthy diet, it is equally important to exercise. Down time is the perfect time to add a convenient physical fitness activity of your choice to your day. Look for ways to incorporate walking or other forms of exercise into your daily routine. A set of weights or a resistance band can easily be stored in your cab for use in your free time. Thirty minutes of exercise a day really can make a difference.

Finally, do not overlook the importance of proper rest. Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of overall health. Adequate sleep is necessary for you to fight off infections, to support your metabolism and to work safely and effectively. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. If you are getting less sleep than that, adapt your schedule and include more sleep in your routine.

There are plenty of options out there that promote healthy living so don’t take the easy road. With proper food choices and strategy, you can rise to the challenge and improve your health. It’s all up to you.

Driver Spotlight: David Farmer

Werner Enterprises proudly awarded professional driver David Farmer with his 2 million safe driving miles award last week at the 4th Quarter Driver Recognition Ceremony.

Farmer, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was praised by his dispatcher, Kyle Schreiber, for his discipline and dedication on the job. He has been a Werner driver for 24 years and currently covers the lane from Ogden, Utah to Paris, Texas. “Slow is fast” is his motto regarding safe driving. His advice to other drivers is “to look at what is out and enjoy what is out there.”

In his free time, one of his favorite past times is rock crawling in his Jeep.

We congratulate David Farmer on achieving the milestone of 2 million safe driving miles.

Werner honors six safe Drivers

Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Phillips recently presented five drivers with the award for 2 million safe driving miles at the 4th Quarter Driver Recognition Ceremony.  In addition to a plaque signed by Werner Enterprises’ Chairman Gary Werner, each driver also received the following gifts: an engraved watch, aluminum mud flaps, patches, tractor decals, a cash award and a gift certificate to Corporate Rewards. The 2 million mile driver award recipients are as follows:

  • David Farmer of Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Lloyd Nelson of Eagle, Neb.
  • Reginald Shaw of Dallas, Texas
  • Bryan Shirley of Papillion, Neb.
  • Kevin Stacy of Salineville, Ohio

Following the 2 million mile awards, Chris Polenz, associate vice president of Human Resources, presented the Humanitarian Award to driver Mark Randall of Mesquite, Nevada.

On October 24, 2012, Randall and his trainee were traveling west on I-80 in the metro area of Omaha, Nebraska, when they noticed a motorcyclist in front of them following much too close to the car ahead. The motorcyclist struck the vehicle while attempting to pass it which sent him crashing to the pavement right in Randall’s path. In anticipation of possible danger, Randall was able to safely slow his truck to a complete stop within eight feet of the motorcyclist. Because Randall remained aware of his surroundings at all times and diligently maintained control of his truck, the motorcyclist survived.

Congratulations to these award winners. We will be putting these drivers in the Driver Spotlight in the following weeks.

Copyright 2017 Werner Enterprises

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