Bob McAndrew named the National Safety Council’s
Safe Driver of the Year
Kristin Ries, Staff Writer
|Don Oren (R) with Bob McAndrew at
the 2007 National Awards Banquet on October 16.
“There is nothing more important than safe driving,” says Dart contractor Bob McAndrew. It is a statement he strongly believes in, and one of the reasons why, this year, the National Safety Council awarded him with its most elite driver safety award - the Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year award.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Safety Council, Alan McMillan presented Bob with the award at the National Safety Council’s 2007 National Awards Banquet in Chicago, Illinois on October 16.
Earlier this year Bob was named the National Safety Council’s Minnesota Driver of the Year, and in April, he received the National Safety Council’s Five Million Mile Safety Award for driving more than five million accident-free miles over the course of his career.
Bob is the only Dart contractor to reach that milestone. “There are very few who can top Bob’s credentials,” says Jim Tammes, Dart Safety Director. “And even fewer who can match his natural outgoing and friendly manner.”
Behind all the miles
It seems that around Dart, Bob is famous for two things – his safe driving and his smile. “I am friendly with everybody,” Bob admits. “I’m from the old school and I still do things the way I used to. I wave at people and blow my train horn for the kids.”
According to Bob, his positive attitude has a direct effect on his safety record. “You have to be extremely courteous of other vehicles around you,” he explains. His other safe driving rules – be alert and aware of your surroundings, drive ahead of yourself, have an “escape” route if you have to drive in bad weather, and keep your vehicle properly maintained.
“I am a big believer in preventative maintenance,” Bob says. “It keeps you ahead of the game.” Bob also stores spare parts and tools in his truck so he has them on-hand in case of an emergency or unexpected break down.
But he doesn’t just keep parts and tools in the truck for himself – he does it to help others too. “If I see someone needs help, I stop to help them,” Bob says. “And I try to share some of my experiences and knowledge with them. That’s how you learn.”
Early in his career, Bob learned a few important things on his own. “Everywhere I go I’m leaving a mark,” he says. “I earn respect by being professional. I dress neatly, stay clean, and present a good image.”
Aside from looking professional, Bob makes sure he acts professional too. “I try to be courteous and polite all the time,” he says. “I get to know everybody I work with. My customers are like family. I look forward to seeing them.”
He also considers people at Dart family and thanks them for their support. “Having a good company to be associated with and a successful safety program makes a big difference,” Bob says. “I’ve contracted with Dart for 17 years. I can depend on them and they can depend on me.”
Bob has six kids and nine grandchildren who all know they, too, can count on him. “I always try to be the best parent and role model I can be. I know I am successful because my family is taken care of,” he says with a smile.
Sellersburg celebrates a week of Contractor Appreciation
Kelly Zola, Safety Advisor
Instead of having just one day of food and fun, Sellersburg dedicated an entire week to showing contractors they are appreciated.
Monday and Tuesday we ordered pizzas and submarine sandwiches, and had barbeques on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We grilled everything! Contractors chose between chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs and brats with all the fixin’s.
Aside from the great food, we also had prize give-aways every day. Prizes included a power washer, gift cards, tires, an air compressor, a digital camera, satellite radios, MP3 and DVD players and lots of tools and other great gifts. Something for everyone and everyone won something!
The whole week was a lot of fun. Thanks for coming! See you next year.
Contractor Appreciation in Buford was fun for all
John Pinyerd, Sales and Operations Manager
We appreciate the contractors, drivers, and families who participated in the Buford, Georgia facility’s Contractor Appreciation Day on October 13. The purpose of the event was simple – to honor our contractors and drivers for their dedication to the trucking industry.
We had tons of prizes, food and fun for all. More than 70 people attended – a dozen Dart contractors attending had National (Over the Road) contracts. They came from as far away as Conway, Arkansas and Akron, Ohio and they all thanked us for inviting them to our celebration!
During the event, we honored folks for all sorts of things. Bill Bradfield, our Safety Advisor in Buford, was honored by a standing ovation for his incredible accomplishment this past year where he “opened up a can of whoop-a-tar” and beat cancer! Jerome Lester was honored for being the first Dart contactor to contract with the Atlanta Fleet three years ago, and for sticking with me as Atlanta operations grew. Berlin Decrordiva was honored for being the contractor at the party who was contracted with Dart the longest. And Walter Spikes of Nashville, Georgia was honored for foregoing the party on the spur of the moment in order to pick up and deliver a hot load that a customer had to move.
In the truck contest, Howard Steinhart of Tunnel Hill, Georgia won the “best truck under load.” Cecil Perkins III of Akron, Ohio won the “best chrome.” And James Thomas Jr. won the “best truck overall.” For obvious reasons, I have forgotten who won the “dirtiest truck” award.
The food was fabulous. According to our informal survey taken at the picnic, no one on the planet makes better fried chicken than Jimmy and Brenda Upshaw, whose catering service provided the food again this year. A typical comment was “this chicken is better than my mother’s and my grandmother’s.”
Jimmy also debuted a sampling of his pork chops, which created quite a stir. As luck would have it, I got to test the first one he cooked for the group. When the folks at my table asked me how it was, and I could only reply, “wow,” they got pretty excited. By the third bite and the third “wow” everyone at my table was running to get a pork chop!
We appreciate the efforts of our contractors and drivers. And we are already planning ahead for next year’s Contractor Appreciation Day in Buford. We hope to see you there!
Meetings give Dart insight to improve business
Kristin Ries, Staff Writer
|On September 13, Dart contractors met with representatives at its Eagan Operating Center for one of Dart's Contractor Forums.
Do you have a suggestion on how Dart can better its operation? What about a concern or problem? Dart is listening!
Dart is interested in helping contractors run successful businesses. That’s why Dart holds forums periodically to give contractors the chance to communicate their issues and ideas to representatives at Dart’s Eagan and Dallas Operating Centers.
No subjects are off-limits during discussions, so contractors readily bring up anything from pre-planned loads to the cleanliness of trailers.
“The main purpose of the forums is to help Dart understand how to enhance the business to business relationship with our contractors and to understand how we can mutually support our customers,” says Kevin Smith, General Manager at Dart’s Dallas Operating Center and mediator of the forums.
After the forums, information gathered is passed along to different departments within Dart. Each department then reviews, evaluates and prioritizes the information to determine the order in which the issues will be addressed.
Since Dart implemented the forums, improvements have been made in several areas including trailers, pre-planned loads, and Pro Stop’s Vehicle Maintenance Department.
Dart purchased 400 new trailers, and 600 more will be added by the end of the year. In addition, Dart is investigating technology that will help determine the exact location and status of equipment.
Also, Pro Stop Truck Service, Inc. hired additional trailer mechanics to better serve contractors with trailer repair and maintenance issues.
Currently, Dart is working to better predict how many trucks will be in a specific area and how to solicit loads in that area. Two things Dart has already put into action are a new Qualcomm Macro for receiving pre-plans away from the truck and the load “Optimizer” to effectively match contractors with loads.
Macro 45 allows contractors to be dispatched while they are away from their trucks. It works when a contractor sets the Macro to show they are out of the truck and provides a phone number or e-mail address where they can be contacted. Contractors are then notified of pre-plans through their cell phone or laptop computer, so they don’t miss a pre-plan.
To enhance its dispatch process, Dart uses the “Optimizer,” a computer-based load-planning tool to match loads and drivers. After a contractor enters in accurate hours of service, the Optimizer puts together a plan for the contractor to get the most miles and best use of their time. Contractors still have the ability to accept or reject loads based on their business needs.
Pro Stop Truck Service, Inc. hired additional staff in its Vehicle Maintenance Department and increased the amount of training staff members receive. Also, the Pro Stop in Dallas added a second shift, increasing its hours of operation. It is now open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
“Dart’s intent is to do as much as we can with what is discussed in the forums,” Smith says. “We encourage contractors to keep providing us with information and to spread the word to other contractors about the forum.”
Dart Advantage LogisticsTM -- we keep your truck moving
Rob Gale, General Manager of Dart Advantage Logistics
|Managers at the 2007 Dart Advantage Logistics Annual Managers Meeting in Eagan, Minnesota.
Since deregulation in 1980, freight brokerage has progressed to become an integral part of our industry. Most shippers and carriers work with brokers or third party logistic (3PL) companies in some manner.
As a matter of fact, there is a good chance that one of the loads you have hauled came from Dart Advantage Logistics.
Who is Dart Advantage Logistics?
Formerly Advantage Transportation, Inc., Dart Advantage Logistics is a broker and 3PL provider based in Eagan, Minnesota, with 14 offices across the United States.
Since it was established in 1996, Dart Advantage Logistics has grown to be an established and reputable company. It is a proud member of the Transportation Intermediaries Association’s Platinum Performance Program (P3). The P3 acknowledges the best practices and highest performance levels between brokers and motor carriers.
As part of the Dart network of companies, Dart Advantage Logistics has become an important source of contractor-friendly freight. That’s why you can count on us to keep your truck moving.
Dart has bake sale, helps manager
Kristin Ries, Staff Writer
On September 12, Dart employees held a bake sale to raise money for Kerry Olson, Dart Regional Accounts Manager.
Due to health issues Kerry will be out of work for months. To help, employees at Dart’s Eagan Operating Center baked their favorite treats and brought them in to the office to sell. The sale raised $2,400 for Kerry.
“Thank you to everyone who baked and bought items in the bake sale,” said Mary Chute, Director of Operations. “It’s truly amazing what a group of people can accomplish when they work together.”
The Great American Truck Show 2007
From the booth to the Safety Advantage Simulator – Dart was busy
Sandy Alcala-Villagran, Fleet Services Administrative Assistant
|Dart's booth and simulator at the Texas truck show.
On August 23, 24 and 25 Dallas, Texas hosted the Great American Truck Show (GATS). What an event!
Each year I help coordinate Dart’s participation in the show. A truck show as big as GATS means that everything has to be planned and ready to go, right down to the last detail. And when you add Dart’s Safety Advantage Simulator to the mix, it can get downright scary!
Calvin Gilbert, a recruiter at Dart’s Dallas Operating Center, drove the Highway Sales, Inc. show truck into the convention center. Randy Peterson, Dart independent contractor and operator of the simulator, maneuvered the truck and trailer around the Dallas Convention Center through the other booths.
Several Dallas and Eagan recruiters helped set up Dart’s booth and the simulator. It took over 15 hours just to set up. Did you ever imagine, when you walk through the show, that much effort has gone into putting it all together?
In the end we managed to have a really good show. We worked all three days and 280 people took the Dart Advantage Safety Challenge.
To take everything down and get it back out the door on the last day was a challenge, but since the simulator and show truck were the last ones into the convention center, they were the first ones out.
What a sight to see – Randy maneuvering a 53-foot trailer and conventional Volvo through a maze of booths, displays and equipment! We were quite proud of him.
I really appreciate the help from everyone who pitched in to help make the show a success. And to those Dart contractors who stopped by to go through the simulator and say hello – we hope you enjoyed it!
Dart contractor takes course to Improve business
Kristin Ries, Staff Writer
|I’m not just a truck driver I’m an entrepreneur. - Allen Wolf
You’ve probably heard about ATBS*. And you might have heard about the course they offer – Course of Advanced Business Standards (CABS) – to help owner operators understand and improve their business. But how would you like to learn more about it?
Recently, Dart contractor Allen Wolf completed CABS and, here, he shares his experience.
Why did you take the course?
Allen: In mid-August, Chaun Burch from Dart’s Dallas Operating Center called to ask me if I wanted to do the course. I didn’t even think twice about it.
What was your motivation for taking the course?
I’m not just a truck driver I’m an entrepreneur. I wanted to manage my business better and get help with taxes and managing my budget. I would like to own more trucks one day, and I know the course will help me in other business ventures. It’s just smart business.
What topics does the course cover?
There are 12 lessons on 13 CDs that cover everything from balancing your home budget and business costs to improving your health. Each lessons consists of three to four seminars and scenarios that relate the lessons back to a truck driver.
Why are some of those topics important?
It forces you to think about what you need to do to meet the bottom line. A lot of people don’t look at the bills at home. Do you have a car payment, house payment, etc.? If you can’t meet the house expenses, you can’t meet the business expenses. It brings you over the threshold where you can manage your business rather than your business managing you.
What is the most important lesson you learned in the course?
It helped me understand the tax structure. That keeps you out of a serious bind with Uncle Sam. I also learned doing a good pre-trip inspection keeps you out of a lot of trouble. And that it’s what you do, like improving your fuel mileage or reducing your fuel costs, that makes a difference. It might save you a penny here and a penny there, but with a hundred of those pennies you save a dollar. There’s certain things you can’t control in this industry but there’s a lot of things you can.
On a scale of one to ten (one being easy and 10 being difficult), how would you rank the course?
One! It is very easy. A three-year-old could do it. Well, not a three-year-old, but as long as you can read and write, you can do it. The format of the course is very simple. And ATBS is there for you 100% while you take the course. You have a representative who is YOUR representative to help you. I spent a lot of time on the phone with my representative going over things while I was taking the course.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
I did it in about seven days. One day I did four lessons – it took me 12 hours. But you have six months to complete the course. You have plenty of time to do it at your own pace.
Did you have to take any tests?
There are 12 quizzes, one at the end of each lesson, and a final exam at the very end of the course. When a lesson is over the CD tells you to stop and answer the questions at the end of the section. You can go back through the booklet or replay the CD before answering the questions, and then when you are finished, you fax the quizzes in and they (ATBS) grade them and go over the wrong answers with you. You have up to three times to take a quiz over if you fail. But it’s impossible to fail.
The final exam is taken online, so you see whether the answer is right or wrong just after you enter an answer. You have to get an 80% or better to pass the final, and you have three hours to take the exam.
Was the course worth the cost?
Oh yes! It costs $350. What this program does for you, you’ll make that back 20-fold.
How do you think taking the course will affect your business?
I’m glad I took the course. I think ATBS will help keep my head above the water.
Would you recommend other owner operators take the course?
Yes, because it gives you a broader picture of the industry. It helps you understand what your role is, Dart’s role, the customer’s role, the DOT’s role, etc. I think employees at Dart should take the course. I know where they’re coming from and they can understand where I’m coming from.
What advice would you give to others who are considering taking the course?
Do it at your own pace, and do it in the order of the lessons. Get over your fear of failing. Owning a business is kind of like skiing – you have to get over your fear of falling. Success is 99% perspiration and 1% motivation. It’s how much work you put into it.
If you are interested in taking CABS or would like more information about ATBS, contact Carissa Berres at ATBS at 877-826-9076.
At Dart’s Dallas Operating Center, contact Chaun Burch, Contractor Services Manager, at x8768; Jim Nichol, Operations Manager, at x8521; Ron Moore, Director of Operations, at x8556; or Kevin Smith, General Manager, at x8760.
In Eagan, contact Sheila Ask, Fleet Manager, at x1468; Brian Putnam, Sr. Fleet Manager, at x1411; Roger Meyer, Sr. Fleet Manager, at x1331; or Randy Luckow, Operations Manager, at x1422.
*ATBS is the largest owner-operator business services provider in the United States providing services to owner operators leased to fleets as well as owner operators running on their own authority. You can contact ATBS by calling 888-640-4829, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or going to www.ATBSshow.com.
Bring your truck to Pro Stop®!
Kristin Ries, Staff Writer
This year, Pro Stop Truck Service, Inc. announced new locations in Kansas City, Missouri; Commerce City, Colorado; and Buford and Tifton, Georgia bringing its total to eight locations across the nation.
Pro Stop offers complete truck and trailer repair services*. Bring your truck to the Pro Stop nearest you for major mechanical repairs, body and glass repair, air conditioning repair, truck lube, D.O.T. inspections and tires.
Pro Stop also offers road service and towing through its Vehicle Maintenance department. If you need roadside assistance please call x5051.
Don’t forget about Pro Stop’s monthly specials for Dart contractors. This month, Pro Stop will winterize your truck for $99, and/or you can get $5 off each battery you purchase. Schedule your maintenance in advance to take advantage of the monthly specials at Pro Stop.
For more information on Pro Stop visit www.pro-stop.com.
* The Pro Stop shop in Kansas City, Missouri currently offers trailer repair service, but may offer tractor repair in the future.
Copyright 2007 Dart Transit Company