The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and CarriersEdge recognized the Best Small and Large Fleets to Drive For during Truckload 2022: Las Vegas on Monday, March 21.
The overall winner in the small fleets category is Garner Trucking, Inc., of Findlay, Ohio, and the overall winner of the large fleets category is Challenger Motor Freight, Inc., of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
The two overall winners were chosen from the Top 20 winners, consisting of for-hire trucking companies from across North America. All of the carriers were recognized for providing exemplary work environments for their professional truck drivers and employees.
Garner Trucking, which won the small fleet category, is a family-owned company that has already seen the torch passed to its second generation. The company, founded in 1960 by Vernon E. and Regina R. Garner, is led by President and CEO Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, the daughter of the founders.
“Garner (Trucking) started with one truck and now has close to 100 trucks and 400 trailers,” shared Brumbaugh. “My dad drove trucks and my mom did all the back office work, including dispatching for my dad in the early days.”
Today, the company focuses on transportation, warehousing, logistics management third-party services, and equipment repair — all operating under the umbrella of Garner Trucking Inc. Brumbaugh said her parents started out trucking agricultural goods. Now the company offers dry van service in the Midwest.
Brumbaugh feels that the people at Garner Trucking all genuinely care about one another — not just the people they work with every day but their families as well.
“I am super proud of my Garner Trucking team. I am surrounded by such caring and capable people,” she said. “You have to trust the people that you work with are representing your name, your brand as it represents you. I am so proud they care so much about Garner Trucking. I couldn’t even be considered for this award if it weren’t for the people I’m blessed to work with every day.”
When it comes to people, the doors at Garner Trucking are wide open.
“I have a diverse fleet, I have a diverse back office, and I want to continue that diversity in all areas in all ways you think diversity,” added Brumbaugh. “We are a welcoming industry and Garner Trucking should be the first choice when an individual wants to find a place to belong.”
Brumbaugh said she wants drivers to feel safe when they come to work and for their families to know Garner Trucking invests in new and safe equipment so when the drivers are done doing their job and they put their trucks in park, they will come home. Brumbaugh emphasized the importance of people at Garner Trucking and how they tie into the company’s identity.
“We can definitely say at Garner Trucking that everybody knows my name,” she said. “Our culture is family oriented.”
When it comes to large fleets, Challenger Motor Freight, Inc., definitely fits the description.
Challenger is one of the largest privately owned truckload carriers in Canada and has been consistently recognized by its customers and within the industry for the outstanding quality of its services.
Challenger’s headquarters are in Cambridge, Ontario. The Challenger Group has facilities in Montreal, Toronto, London, Mississauga, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, as well as Chicago and Long Beach.
Aside from being recognized by the TCA as being one of the Best Fleets to Drive For in the large carrier category, Challenger has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and has been a Platinum member since 2007.
Challenger President and COO Jim Peeples said that Challenger’s an active leader in many significant green initiatives, including LEED certification of its headquarters and SmartWay Transport partnership.
“Our people are the greatest asset. ‘People first’ is one of the three corporate pillars,” shared Peeples.
Challenger was started in 1975 by the company’s owner, Dan Einwechter, with a single truck. Today, the Challenger Group employs more than 2,000 people and operates a fleet of about 1,500 trucks and 3,300 trailers. The company’s trucks operate in both Canada and the U.S., crossing border approximately 500 times a day.
Peeples said Challenger’s key focus on “people, process, and technology” has resulted in the company becoming one of the area’s most recognized carriers and supply chain partners.
“There are a lot of good companies (on that Top 20 list), a lot of good companies on the stage — and for us to get identified as someone who’s leading in this particular area is pretty special,” he commented.
Hot off the heels of this recognition by TCA and CarriersEdge, Challenger has also been named the 2022 Top Fleet Employer of Distinction by Trucking HR Canada.
What’s next for Challenger?
“Continue the ‘people first’ journey,” said Peeples. “[There’s] lots more to do.”
To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating 10 or more trucks had to receive a nomination from one of their company drivers or owner-operators. The fleets were then evaluated using a scoring matrix covering a variety of categories, including total compensation, health benefits, performance management, professional development, and career path/advancement opportunities, among other criteria. Driver surveys were also conducted to collect input from drivers and independent contractors working with the fleets.
Learn more at bestfleetstodrivefor.com.
Joseph Price has been a journalist for almost two decades. He began in community media in 2005 and has since worked at media outlets in Virginia and Arkansas. He is also a commercial drone pilot and video editor. He hosts a weekly community radio show focused on goth, metal and industrial music that airs Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. at www.kuhsradio.org.