GOSHEN, Ind. — Spending 35 years with one company is impressive. For a driver to accomplish that with a transportation company — now that’s almost unheard of.
“I got the sense right away when I started with AG Trucking in 1984 that they were a family-
oriented company that truly cared about its drivers,” said Rick Miller, who drove for the company for 25 years before transitioning to his current role as a recruiter for AG Trucking.
“The company always had us in well-maintained, quality equipment and made a point to make life easier for us drivers on the road,” he explained. “I actually encouraged my dad to come work for the company, and he did. He spent 20 years driving for AG.”
According to Casey Stump, vice president and general manager for AG Trucking, maintaining a high level of driver satisfaction is a key component to AG Trucking’s success. The Goshen, Indiana-based company specializes in hauling food-grade liquid and material, such as sand and limestone, across all 48 contiguous states as well as Canada. AG Trucking also has a small regional division dedicated to hauling dry bulk commodities throughout the Midwest.
“We’ve worked hard at establishing a company culture where drivers want to be,” Stump said. “We have several driver-focused programs in place and provide our drivers with Kenworth T880s that are spec’d to maximize driver comfort. We have a number of drivers who have spent more than 15 years driving for us — some eclipsing more than 30.”
AG Trucking operates 157 company-owned Kenworth trucks, including 120 Kenworth T880s purchased since 2017 from Palmer Trucks-Fort Wayne, Indiana. The majority of the T880s are spec’d with 76-inch mid-roof sleepers, 450-horsepower engines and 9-speed manual transmissions.
According to Tim Boehlke, founder and president of AG Trucking, Kenworth vocational trucks have long been a part of the company’s operation.
“Kenworth trucks have played a large role in our business since the very beginning,” said Boehlke, who founded AG Trucking in 1978.
“We’ve operated other truck makes in the past, primarily trucks that we’ve acquired through business deals with companies, but we have always found trucks manufactured by Kenworth to be the best.”
AG Trucking specs all its Kenworth T880 76-inch mid-roof sleeper units with refrigerators, inverters, TV mounts, Kenworth Diamond VIT interior trim packages and other driver-centric options to enhance the over-the-road experience, according to Stump.
“We’re always looking for the latest features and amenities we can spec our trucks with so that our drivers are as comfortable as they can be on the road,” he said. “Aside from what we’ve added to our trucks, our drivers have mentioned how much storage space they have in their sleepers.”
While providing drivers with amenities that allow for a more comfortable stay on the road is key to maintaining high driver acceptance of the trucks in the fleet, Stump acknowledged that operating reliable equipment is just as important. The more the company maximizes its uptime, the more profitable its drivers and the company are. Drivers in the company’s food-grade liquid and pneumatic divisions easily exceed 100,000 miles per year on the road.
“At the end of the day, our drivers want to be in equipment that they like driving and that is reliable,” Stump noted. “Drivers don’t want to be in equipment that breaks down all the time, and we don’t want to accrue the costs associated with that.”
With driver turnover a top concern for most fleets, Stump said providing drivers with high-quality equipment, combined with other driver-focused programs, has helped AG Trucking stay well below the industry turnover rate.
“By providing drivers with high-performing and comfortable trucks, not only are we able to better retain our top drivers, we’re also able to recruit and gain the attention of quality candidates,” he said. “We are able to reduce the costs involved with onboarding new drivers. And when we do need to hire new drivers, we’re able add experienced and safe drivers who will fit right in.”