Visit any motor carrier website and it’s likely that the home page will include flashy photos, and a litany of words looking to encourage drivers to apply.
That is not so with the home page of Nussbaum Transportation where two words dominate: Purpose Driven.
Those two words are the guiding lights at Nussbaum Transportation of Hudson, Illinois, which was recently named winner of the large carrier category in the 2020 Best Fleets to Drive For contest at Truckload 2020: Orlando – TCA’s Annual Convention – on March 2.
Then click to the next page and find what could be called the company’s philosophy:
“No matter where we are, on the road or at home, life has its victories and its storms. Moments we’ll never forget, and moments we wish to forget. Through it all, we are purpose driven. That means we do more than show up. We put people and family first. We lead with faith and integrity. We own our actions, and we strive to positively impact every person we meet. Because at the end of the day, we recognize that each moment and every encounter is a God-given gift.”
Read on and you’ll find Nussbaum Transportation’s statement of faith: “We believe God owns this business and we are just stewards of it for a season.”
“That statement is everything to us,” shared CEO Brent Nussbaum, who has headed the company since 2000. “We believe that God is the reason for our success, and we believe that we’re just stewards of what He owns. He owns the company and He just expects us every day to take care of what He has given to us to take care of. People come up to me all the time and say ‘You know, how do you sleep at night?’ I tell them it’s very easy. I remember that it’s not mine and that it belongs to God. And then all He wants me to do is do my best to take care of it. In the meantime, He provides and has seen us through a lot of challenging times over 75 years.”
Nussbaum promotes the carrier’s mission to represent God to the best of one’s ability to all those the company encounters, whether they be employees, customers, or vendors.
“We do trucking because trucking supports our mission,” he shared.
Nussbaum Transportation was founded by Alden Nussbaum in Fairbury, Illinois, with a single truck and a simple vision: “If you take care of your people, the rest will take care of itself.”
The company has always made its people its first priority rather than its customers, said Nussbaum.
“I’m not afraid to tell a customer that, ‘ I’m sorry, you’re not our first priority. Our people are because if I don’t have good people then you know I’m out of business,” shared Nusbaum. He singled out professional drivers.
“This industry has not been very kind to drivers and you know, between the way they’re treated and then just the amount of time that they spend away from their families to keep goods flowing across the U.S. to keep our economy going, they don’t receive the appreciation they should,” he added.
To further invest in its employees, Nussbaum Transportation became employee-owned in 2018 through a benefit plan called an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) when the Nussbaum family transitioned 35% of the company ownership to employees.
Brent Nussbaum said a few years ago, the Nussbaum siblings (there are seven with six having been in the trucking business at one time or another; three are still in the business) sat down to discuss the future of the company and decided that at no time in the future did they envision selling the company to another carrier.
“Becoming employee-owned fits the company’s values of taking care of employees, rewarding commitment, and protecting Nussbaum’s heritage and culture,” said Nussbaum.
Until 2001, Nussbaum had both a truckload and a less-than-truckload business.
A trend in the late 1990s prompted Nussbaum Transportation to go strictly truckload.
“In the late ’90s, we started seeing all the big box stores come into existence. We were in the LTL business, which meant we hauled a lot of freight back and forth between shippers and mom and pop businesses such as appliance stores and plumbing stores,” shared Nussbaum. “When the big box stores took over, they were ordering in truckload quantities. We started watching the whole debacle and said if we don’t get out of the LTL business, it’s going to take us out of business. I don’t know what that statistic is today because I would say with Amazon it has come back up, but LTL got down as low as 7% of everything that moved in the U.S. and truckload went the other direction.”
To be considered for the Best Fleets to Drive For award, carriers must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them. They are then evaluated across a broad range of categories reflecting current best practices in human resources.
Nussbaum Transportation has been among the Top 20 for six consecutive years and in 2019 won the small carrier overall category.
The overall large category winner contest was sponsored again this year by EpicVue.
Visit bestfleetstodrivefor.com for more information about the contests.
Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.