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Meeting Minutes-July 6, 2018

Driver Advisory Board Meeting

Friday, July 6, 2018

Oasis Convention Center

Next Driver Advisory Board Meeting: Nov 2018

Driver Board Members

Timothy Ryan

Ricky Oneill

Michael Hammonds

Blake Nichols

James Jackson

Reba Hoffman

Joseph Hancammon

Jeff Knudsen

Woody Sprott

James Sherman

Troy McKinney

Wayne Asher

Tobias Alexander

Glen Horack

Jerald Thomas

Charles Smith

Alan Godfrey

Danny Gibbons

John Bodenchak

Thomas Miller

Dee Sova

Tiffany Hanna

Jason Danner


Presentations followed by Q&A:

  1. State of the Industry (Darrel Hopkins, Prime Inc. Controller)

  2. Sales (Steve Wutke, VP of Sales & Marketing)

  3. Payroll (Shaun Ryker, Director of Payroll)

  4. Road Assist & Maintenance (Paul Higgins, Director of Maintenance)

  5. Safety (Steve Field, Director of Safety)

  6. Driver Operations (Jim Wilkins, Director of Flatbed & Tanker Operations and Pat Leonard, Director of Reefer Operations)

  7. Driver Development Program (Stan Kasterke, Manager of Training)

  8. Technology (Brianne Madura, Network Administrator)

Key Action Items from Meeting:

  • Create an informational video on trailer tails and securement of them

  • Review governed speeds for company drivers and lease drivers

  • Create a tarping/securement area for Flatbed Drivers and communicate info to fleet

  • Create a designated area for temporary storage for tarps on the training pad (Springfield, MO).

  • Communicate to trainers when former students leave Prime so they can reach out

  • Review certification of Instructors/Trainers and consider recertification every so many years

  • Create How To video on pad reservation

  • Provide info to fleet on customer reviews and why they are important

  • Create phone line to call in to hear Prime Hold Messages

Key Takeaways from Driver Advisory Board Members:

Michael Hammonds (Lease Driver-Flatbed): I’m having a successful orientation to the trucking industry through my first two years in Trucking. After being here for 2 years, I know I made the right decision to come to Prime Inc. I credit senior department members with their acknowledgment of understanding the value of Prime Drivers. That acknowledgment secures my success that I have a voice at Prime Inc.

Tim Ryan (Owner Operator-Tanker): I have been proud to have been selected to be a member of D.A.B. I felt a lot of good issues were brought to the attention of management so far. I wasn't able to attend this week’s meeting due to being sick but did attend the Thursday get together. During the meeting, more issues and a lot of the same issues were brought up along with some of the other drivers concern's that they haven't seen much progress. I myself have seen some progress with the prime apps, parking issues and working on payroll. Evidently some of the other drivers feel change should take place overnight when that would be impossible. As with anything else, change takes time. I have been with Prime since 1998, and I have seen a whole lot of things change and how Robert stands up for his drivers. That's why I’m still here and look forward to being here until retirement.

Reba Hoffman (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): Your Driver Advisory Board is 100% dedicated to making your driver experience at Prime the best in the industry. The drivers who serve are seasoned and passionate. The senior management is engaging and sincerely wants to hear where we fall short and how we can improve. Working together with you in mind, the team tackled tough driver related issues and is working on solutions to make it easier and more rewarding for you to do what you do. (I might sound a bit like a commercial but I don't apologize. I figured other guys would speak about the specific issues we discussed but my biggest takeaway from the DAB meeting was that this is more than an advisory board in name only. There really is a very sincere desire to make things better and I think the entire fleet should know that).

Rick Oneill (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): We had a great meeting. I think the biggest thing to come out of the meeting were plans to improve communication. Also my prime app 3.0 and all the upgrades coming with it.

Jimmy Jackson (Company Driver-Refrigerated): Rates going up across all divisions, turnover at prime is way down compared to the rest of the industry. We are at 47% vs 95% in the industry. We attained a significant discount on fuel with Loves. Looking into different ways of getting information communicated to drivers through as many avenues as possible. Going to be getting a line we can call and have access to all on hold messages to learn more information on ways of doing business or best practices. Always striving to get better at driver utilization but need help with drivers understanding PTA and give up to date eta. Looking to getting better access to overnight or evening supervisors. New Comdata cards that have less fees, more point of sale location, and separate cards for family members with quick and easy money transfer. Still looking into changing payroll cut off to Wednesday to help service our customers. Having issues with not covering loads because of load doesn't make payroll but there is a significant amount of loads primes losing that load early in week vs loads loaded a day or two later. We are leaving money on the table with refusing or nit covering loads and payroll will still hit banks on Fri by end of business. All banks are regulated to run deposit before withdraw. We can now book our own shop apt without having to go through Road Assist. New setting on reefers Calles dry out mode. On current self-deploy trailer tails they stick out approximately 5 inches more on each side. Can use a ratchet straps to pull door in about 3 more inches. Going forward prime has reengineered new tail mounts to allow better opening of doors. Our FMCSA scores have dropped drastically. We are retaining drivers a lot better now with offering ace2 class earlier in their career. Working on load optimization offer 3 loads to choose from. A lot of time, money, and effort has went into this to help give drivers a chance to run their business. New survey is going to be coming out that our customers want feedback so they can help take care if drivers, please fill these out. New app is going to simply and make our job a lot easier. A lot of changes are coming please be patient and open to these changes.

Blake Nichols (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): The meetings went good and great news about rates going up and putting more money into our pockets. Also the new black trailer tails are being made to work better and to open up and be easier to latch open and the will sit more flush against the trailers. A lot of great things coming in the future. Please contact me if you have any concerns or questions you would like to discuss. Thanks Blake Nichols

Joseph Hancammon (Owner Operator-Refrigerated): I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Driver Advisory Board meeting. I was extremely impressed by the various members of management in attendance. The information that each of them provided reaffirmed my belief that Prime is taking proactive steps to stay ahead of the curve within the industry. Everyone from Robert Lowe on down was extremely open and receptive to the feedback that the various driver members provided. I walked away from the meeting thankful for the opportunity to participate while looking forward to seeing actions taken from the various items that were discussed.

Jeff Knudsen (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): Absolutely enjoyed the meeting. Was very surprised to have seen so many in office people there. I left there feeling very positive that prime really wants to hear our concerns and questions. So very proud to be a part of this committee and look forward to the next one.

Glen Horack (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): We on the board have brought up a lot of issues that we hear from you our fellow drivers. The wing hinges on the self-deploying tails is getting fixed. The new app is being tested and will soon be out to the fleet. I think we have made a lot of progress on preplanning loads. We are getting close to testing a 3load offering for dispatch to the driver. As a company I believe they are trying to fix some things in the training department. Might take a while but they are working on it. One of the biggest things brought up was communication and they are listening and trying but we got a ways to go on that. These are some of the things we have brought up after hearing from other drivers. We get a lot of bad press saying we don’t care about other drivers. But I promise you most of the drivers on the board are listening to other drivers concerns and bringing them up. Things don’t get screwed up overnight nor will they get fixed overnight. I guarantee you if Robert puts the money up for these meetings he wants something to come out of it.

Woody Sprott (Owner Operator-Tanker): No subject is off limits. You can bring up any topic you wish. But it is a business meeting and as such it is an exercise in problem solving or in creating new opportunities that previously did not exist. The DAB is not sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall and then expecting to have your wish list granted. The goal is make the difficult proposition of driving a truck more consistent appealing and rewarding after group discussion of workable ideas. We are never going to make driving an easy job. It will always be challenging and sometimes dangerous. But we are the tough hombres who chose this as a profession and we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t know how to face adversity - and win!

Danny Gibbons (Company Driver-Flatbed): I was one of the lucky drivers chosen to be a part of the driver advisory board, it nice to know that our company again I comment our company, cares enough about us as hard working drivers, to listen to issues and concerns that drivers have, we strive to be the best we can be, for ourselves and family. We are one big family and we can work through issues as we help our prime family grow. I will do my best to voice our concerns as well as share with you my fellow drivers, what we are working on. Be safe, be smart Danny G

Dee Sova (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): This Driver Advisory Board meeting was probably one of my favorites. We made sure to inform the new members to “speak up,” and that they did. Every question and comment was on point. For me Tobias and Reba stood out. Their responses to the topics at hand were poised and very well spoken. And I appreciated it so much. I sort of stood back this meeting, for one....I wasn’t feeling well at all. No one knew that. At the same time, I was so impressed with the dialogue, that I had no time to focus on how I was feeling.

Wayne Asher (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): Hello Prime drivers, this makes me 24 years at Prime. They have been very good to me and family. I am proud to be on the first advisory board and have worked hard to get our ideas and opinions to make your driving career at Prime a worthwhile and valued experience. I have made some poor decisions in my 35 years of driving but the best one was coming to Prime. My take away from the meetings are that in the very near future we will able to choose between 3 loads. The in-house staff are willing to listen to our ideas. The CEO Mr. Low is considering updating to larger sleepers for couples and teams. Also there are new updates coming to the prime app check it out. Also considering scheduling an Ace2 class it may be beneficial to your bottom-line. We wish you the best. Wayne Asher

Alan Godfrey (Owner Operator-Refrigerated): Drivers Advisory Board? What do they do? What have they done? Who is listening to them? Well as a new member I went to my first meeting with these questions in my head. And I would like to share with you what I learned pretty much self-explanatory what the drivers Advisory Board is to selection of drivers chosen to speak to representative of our company Prime about conditions among other things we would like changed or at least for them to be aware of what it is like to be a driver and how certain policies might affect a driver. I welcome the opportunity to be heard to represent you the driver in this regard. What have the previous drivers Advisory Board done and I found they have done a lot it's just it's not completely recognized and some things are still working on it is a work-in-progress this is a large company it is like turning an aircraft carrier around in the middle of the ocean it's not something that happens immediately but one of the things that came out of this recent meeting is that our drivers want to know what this board is accomplishing and we are working on this as we speak to better notify you the driver that things are being done and we are here as your fellow drivers to hear from you. Here is my most surprising thing though who is listening to the driver Advisory Board I thought okay put 40 drivers in a room with about eight representatives from the company and listen to Us Gripe all day but boy was I wrong. I am here to tell you that this meeting was done in such a way it really impressed me first yes we drivers got together and we griped a lot while we determined what we wanted to be said and asked. Then the next day we met with the company Representatives and our questions complaints were heard and well-received it was done in a very professional manner and everybody from Rob Low the owner that holds an important title including safety payroll Road assist and the divisional operations personnel training and human resource everybody was there and it was not a couple our meeting it was an all-day event and no one got up with better things to do that day they were all there to hear us while communicating what Prime is working on based on previous board meetings. So if you've ever wanted to have the full attention of the executives of Prime this is your opportunity let a driver Advisory Board member know what is on your mind and we will do our best to present it to our company the best way we can. They are listening. Look for links to email the drivers Advisory Board we do get these emails we may then reach back out to you for more information about what you are commenting about.

John Bodenchak (Lease Driver-Flatbed): I understand the importance of a training program but it seems that eats up so much time. I would love to talk more on driver retention, stop or at least slow down the revolving door. At one of our meetings read a couple of the exit interviews, tell the group why people are leaving lots of drivers call in to get advice, help or just vent but they get voice mail or they hear mail box is full. The overheads are nice and we learn more about our growth but remember it's a drivers meeting. I have loved serving and wish I could stay longer but at our board meetings give a driver agenda time, let them have bullet points they want to address. Thank you for this opportunity.

Thomas Miller (Lease Driver-Refrigerated): First and foremost, I was and am honored to have been nominated and selected to be a member of Prime’s Driver Advisory Board. I hope I will represent you, the driver, to the best of my ability. In today’s transportation industry, new issues big and small pop up daily. A lot of those are met head on by the company before we as drivers ever see them. There are the ones however, that we see at the “street level” first. That is where YOUR DAB members come in. To convey those issues, and also the internal issues at Prime itself, up the chain of command, and work together on solutions. This past DAB meeting was my first. I was very pleased at the level of support, listening, and understanding the board members received. Of the issues discussed, some was already being addressed, some are going to be, and some cannot be due to business constraints. But ALL was heard and discussed. I very much look forward to what lies ahead. For those that question the whole idea behind the board, it’s not a mechanism to just deliver talking points. It truly is a down and dirty meeting with drivers and management. There are several conversations that go on, some very friendly and some frustrating, but all are productive. The great part is no topic is off the table, we can speak our minds, and there is no fear of any kind of retribution. Exactly how it was intended to be. I personally am in most of the Facebook group pages. I watch them closely for legitimate issues, in fact, the items I brought up at the meeting, all came from Facebook. 1. New trailer tails not opening far enough - already addressed - a new hinge is being used going forward. 2. TNT training - already addressed - trainers won’t be expected to team run with new student until ready. 3. Communication - already addressed - we are already seeing a better flow of information. However, if you want better communication, we can’t complain about the number of messages we receive. This just a sampling of topics discussed. I expect great things from your Drivers Advisory Board. Again, I’m honored to represent you,, fell free to reach out to me, I’ll do everything I can. As I said, I can be found easily in the Facebook groups. Be safe out there.

If you have any questions/feedback/ideas, please contact the Driver Advisory Board by submitting a form on

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