1997 Contractors of the Year

1997 Contractors of the Year

Refrigerated

Jim Putnam gives it his all 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A workaholic who is totally committed to his driving career and his family, Jim has this to say about his attitude: "When I'm on the road I give Prime 110%. When I'm at home, I give my son Bobby 110%. That's just how I am. I've always been that way." Primarily because of his dedication to safety, exceptional customer service and hard work, Jim was named Prime Refrigerated Division's 1997 Contractor of the Year.

Jim, who lives on a 5-acre farm in Knobnoster, Missouri, joined Prime over seven years ago because he liked the idea of being his own boss and he felt that he had the discipline and the drive to succeed. "When I first came to Prime I had no idea what it took to be an independent contractor, but they're so helpful and they have a great program," Jim continues. "Why not let Prime get you going without putting several thousand dollars down on a new truck?"

Jim decided while he was in the Army that he wanted to be a professional truck driver. "Driving has always felt like the natural thing for me to do," Jim says. "After graduating from a driving school south of St. Louis, I heard about Prime's lease program and I had to check it out. I'm glad I did. I'm happy here. I plan to be at Prime until they run me off."

Flatbed

You may never meet anyone more committed to the trucking industry than Ed Valentine. Ed, Prime's 1997 Flatbed Division Contractor of the Year, is equally dedicated to his bride of over fifty years, Wilma Valentine. Driving trucks since before the couple was married, Ed met Wilma when he was delivering ice to a peach farm in Southern Illinois where Wilma worked. They were married on November 24, 1947.

"Driving for Prime is a family affair in the Valentine household," says Wilma, who became Ed's co-driver when they joined Prime in June, 1989. She continues, "When Ed and I came to Prime, so did our son, his wife and our son-in-law. Our son kept the flatbed truck that he and Ed drove. Ed and I then drove a reefer for about fifteen months, then we switched back to flatbed and we've been running flatbed ever since."

Ed logged his millionth mile for Prime in September and is a Gold Level member of the company's Millionaire Program. He has maintained a 100% on-time delivery rate throughout his nine years with Prime.

The Valentines' six children treated them to a trip to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary. "We plan on retiring in about a year," says Ed. The Valentines, who also have fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, now live in Harrison, Arkansas. According to Ed, "When we retire, we're going to hit the road again in our camper trailer and visit places we haven't see yet." Ed and Wilma are no doubt "in it for the long haul."

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