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  • Prime Founder Robert Low Named 2012 Central Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year

    Springfield, Missouri – Ernst & Young recently announced Robert Low, president and founder of Prime Inc., as its Entrepreneur of the Year® 2012 in the Central Midwest at a special gala at The Sheraton Overland Park Hotel in Kansas City, Kansas, on June 5. This prestigious award is given to entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

    “I am very humbled and honored to have received this award, but it really belongs to Prime’s hardworking drivers. They are the key to our success,” said Low. “I want to thank them for continuing to make Prime a leader in the transportation industry and for their commitment to hard work and safety.”

    Low founded Prime Inc. in 1970 as a 19-year-old engineering student at the University of Missouri. With nearly 30 years of experience, Low’s keen instincts and intuitive managerial style have propelled Prime to the forefront of the transportation industry by providing safe, on-time delivery of goods throughout North America. Today, the company has grown to more than 4,300 trucks and over 7,500 trailers.

    Now in its 26th year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners, including Low, continue to the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 17, 2012.

  • Prime Inc. Honors 2011 Instructor of the Year

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc. recently named Jerry Gambrell its 2011 Instructor of the Year. Since Gambrell started working for Prime two years ago, he has won multiple awards for best pre-trip inspections and proven himself to be a strong leader for Prime's driver training program.

    "Recognition like this means so much to me," said Gambrell. "Not only am I able to give back to the industry that has allowed me to provide for my family, but I'm with a company that realizes my worth and treats me accordingly."

    After a brief period of time working in healthcare, Gambrell decided that he was being called to the trucking industry. He spent about eight years with an LTL carrier, but eventually felt like he needed a change that provided more opportunities for him and his family. Gambrell eventually decided that he wanted to become an owner operator, which would allow him to manage his own business and be in control of his career, and just needed the right company to partner with.

    "I spent a lot of time researching different companies and Prime became the logical choice for me and my family. Prime had all the crucial components I was looking for," said Gambrell. "Not only were they a stable company that was well respected in the industry, but they were growing and its freight network made me feel confident that the miles would always be there."

    Now as a driver instructor for Prime, Grambrell makes it his goal for his students to leave the program feeling like they are capable and ready for what this career has to offer. The job isn't easy, said Gambrell, and he's had to learn how to adapt to different personalities and communication styles with each student. The reward of seeing each of his students succeed, however, is well worth it.

    "People always ask me why I chose Prime. With Prime, my time on the road is valued. Gone are the days of wasting my time sitting at a truck stop waiting for my next load instead of running it," said Gambrell, who moved his family from Ruskin, Fla., to Nixa, Missouri, near Prime's headquarters in order to spend more time at home when he wasn't on the road. "Now, my most valued time – my time with family – is quality. For my wife and five children, Prime was the best choice we could have made."

    See additional information on Facebook.

  • Prime Inc's Robert Low Named TCA Chairman

    Springfield, Missouri –The Truckload Carriers Association has appointed Robert Low, president and founder of Prime Inc. of Springfield, Missouri, as its new chairman. Low, who will serve for the 2012-2013 term, was sworn in Wednesday, March 7, during TCA’s Annual Convention at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida.

    Low established Prime Inc. in Urbana, Missouri, in 1970. A decade later, he moved the corporate headquarters to Springfield. What began as a one-truck operation has evolved into a leader in logistics and international refrigerated, tanker, flatbed, floral and intermodal transportation, with a fleet size of 5,700 driving associates, 4,000-plus trucks and more than 7,300 trailers.

    During his tenure with TCA, Low has served as Refrigerated Division chairman, at-large officer, secretary, second vice chair and first vice chair. He has participated in numerous committees and management panels, including the Carrier/Shipper Relations Committee, the Driver Recruitment and Retention Panel, and the Financial Oversight and Long-Range Planning Committee, among others.

    For the American Trucking Associations, Low serves as a vice president at-large and a board and executive committee member. In 2000, he received the prestigious “Missourian” award, an honor given to Missouri citizens who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of business, government, or the arts. He also sits on the board of directors of Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.

    Low ensures that Prime Inc. is heavily involved with trucking industry projects and activities. For example, the company is participating in TCA's Trucking Weight Loss Showdown, a battle to see which TCA-member team can lose the greatest percentage of weight (both individually and collectively) in a 10-week period. Prime also was involved with Wreaths Across America, an organization that coordinates veteran services and recognition through a variety of programs and educational initiatives.

    A long-time member of the Missouri Trucking Association, Prime Inc. is an active participant in MTA’s Truck Driving Championships  and other activities. Internally, the company operates a successful charitable giving program that promotes education, health and human services, environmental and relief/development efforts and the arts, mostly for organizations located in the communities where Prime employees live and work.

    Low says that he plans to focus on the health and wellness of professional truck drivers during his year at the helm of TCA. “Statistics show that our drivers die way too young,” he said. “Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, sleep apnea … these are severe issues that can – and should – be addressed. We want to attract the best drivers, retain them and then take care of them once they’re a part of the trucking family. TCA can provide the necessary education, resources and programs to help our members help their people.”

    The theme of improving driver health is a natural extension of the positive trucking image initiatives championed by Gary Salisbury, TCA’s immediate past chairman, and many of the chairmen before him. These efforts have included producing and airing a patriotic television commercial viewed by an estimated 2 million-plus households; promoting a rising country singer who sings several positive trucking songs; ramping up the Highway Angel program; and producing an informative biweekly segment on a national radio program.

    “I’ve been a proud participant in TCA’s many efforts to enhance the public’s image of trucking, and now I’m hoping we can reach out to drivers and potential drivers to build up their perceptions about a career in the industry,” said Low. “The mortality age of an over-the-road driver should not be less than non-drivers … it just isn’t right, and it doesn’t have to be that way. We can help drivers make better choices, exercise more, eat better and take care of themselves despite the nature of their jobs. We can make a difference for our drivers – we can help save the lifeblood of our industry.”

    The following individuals were elected to assist Low and will serve as officers until the next Annual Convention, scheduled for March 3-6, 2013, at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev.:

    • First Vice Chair: Tom B. Kretsinger Jr., president and chief operating officer, American Central Transport Inc., Liberty, Missouri;
    • Second Vice Chair: Shepard Dunn, president and chief executive officer, Bestway Express Inc.,Vincennes, Indiana;
    • Treasurer: Keith Tuttle, president, Motor Carrier Service Inc., Northwood, Ohio;
    • Secretary: Russell Stubbs, president, FFE Transportation Services Inc., Dallas;
    • Assn. Vice President to ATA: Barry E. Pottle, president and CEO, Pottle’s Transportation Inc., Bangor, Maine;
    • Immediate Past Chair: Gary Salisbury, president and CEO, Fikes Truck Line Inc., Hope, Arkansas;
    • At-Large Officer: Daniel I. Doran, president, Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging, Cincinnati;
    • At-Large Officer: Daniel L. Oren, vice president, Dart Transit Co., Eagan, Minnesota;
    • At-Large Officer: Rob Penner, vice president, Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
    • At-Large Officer: Thomas Witt, president, Roehl Flatbed & Specialized, Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wisconsin

    See additional information on Facebook.

  • Prime Inc Opens Impressive Foodgrade Wash Rack in Decatur Indiana

    Reprinted from BULK TRANSPORTER.

    March 1, 2012 (Springfield, Missouri) – It can truly be said that Prime Inc's newest foodgrade wash rack was designed by wash workers for wash workers. Named Decatur Kleen, the new wash rack in Decatur, Indiana, commenced operations in mid-November 2011.

    A brainstorming storming session by wash rack workers at Prime Inc's other foodgrade cleaning facility (Savannah Kleen in Savannah, Georgia) launched the design and development effort for Decatur Kleen. The result is a worker-friendly state-of-the-art wash rack built for efficiency, safety, productivity, and environmental sustainability.

    “We put a lot of thought into this new wash rack,” says Chad Clay, manager of special projects for Prime Inc. “We wanted something that could deliver at least a 50-year life and had plenty of growth potential. We worked closely with our own experienced wash personnel, with our customer (Bunge North America), and Decatur city officials, who welcomed us with open arms.

    “We got great cooperation from everyone, and we were able to get this project up and running in a relatively short amount of time. We went from an RFP (request for proposal) from Bunge in mid-2010 to an operational wash rack by late 2011. We're very happy with the end result, a foodgrade wash rack that can clean up to 300 trailers a week.”

    Currently, Decatur Kleen is washing 20 to 22 tank trailers a day. A six-person cleaning crew keeps the wash rack running 20 hours a day (6 am to 2 am) six days a week and 10 hours on Saturday. The Decatur Kleen crew also includes a wastewater treatment operator and two loaders who shuttle Prime Inc tank trailers between the wash rack and the Bunge plant.

    The wash rack is kosher-upgrade certified. This means the facility is qualified to upgrade to kosher status tank trailers that have handled non-kosher products.

    Bunge Contract

    Tank cleaning was just a part of the Bunge contract with Prime Inc. Under the long-term agreement, Prime Inc's foodgrade tank division was awarded most of the edible oil shipments from Bunge's Decatur and Morristown, Indiana, and Bellevue, Ohio, plants.

    “This contract was a complete package,” Clay says. “In essence, we are managing their edible oil shipments from all three local plants. Building the wash rack was part of the deal, but Bunge also wanted truck and trailer maintenance, a driver lounge, and plenty of parking. In addition to our trailers, we clean some other tanks that are hauling loads for Bunge. However, the wash rack is not open for general commercial cleaning of foodgrade fleets.”

    Prime Inc's foodgrade tank division runs 226 tractors and 310 tank trailers, and 40 tractors and 65 tanks are based in this regional operation. The fleet operates throughout 48 US states and Canada. Edible oils account for 95% of the liquid bulk shipments, but the fleet also handles some other foodgrade liquids. Prime Inc is a diversified carrier that also hauls refrigerated, dry, and flatbed freight.

    With a multitude of food processors in the area, most of the shipments from Bunge's Decatur plant go to customers within a 300-mile radius. A majority of those loads are handled by 18 Prime Inc owner-operator drivers based at the Decatur Kleen facility. Longer hauls are handed off to Prime Inc over-the-road drivers.

    Ramp Up

    Prime Inc began ramping up after being awarded the transport contract for the Bunge Decatur plant in October 2010. Prime executives scrambled to find land on which to build the cleaning facility, and a job fair was scheduled to select local truck drivers, wash workers, truck mechanics, and operations personnel.

    By January 2011, Prime Inc's transportation capabilities were in place, a site for the facility had been found, and the facility design was ready. “We began hauling Bunge loads in June 2011, and we cleaned tanks at an existing single-bay wash rack near Bunge's Decatur plant,” Clay says.

    With the help of Decatur city officials, Prime Inc found a 14-acre plot in a brand new industrial park on the south side of Decatur. The location is slightly more than two miles from the Bunge plant.

    Approximately six acres have been developed so far for the Dacatur Kleen wash rack, and that includes an 18,000-sq-ft building and five acres of paved parking. “We have plenty of room for expansion,” Clay says.

    The facility is completely fenced for security and key cards are required for access. Plenty of outside lighting has been installed — also for security. Heated pads keep snow and ice from building up around the wash rack and maintenance bay doors.

    From the very start, the Decatur Kleen building was envisioned with pre-cast concrete walls. “We wanted a building that would be durable and last for decades,” Clay says. “We see pre-cast concrete as a much superior building method to the steel building construction used by many wash racks.”

    Improved Layout

    The design and layout of the building is based on Prime Inc's Savannah Kleen location, and the staff at Savannah Kleen contributed plenty of input to the Decatur Kleen project. “We got all of the Savannah Kleen workers together for a brainstorming session on the Decatur Kleen plans,” says Miranda McCorkel, who was facility manager of Savannah Kleen at the time and now runs Decatur Kleen. “We suggested changes and improvements based on our experiences at Savannah Kleen. For instance, workers suggested electric hoists for spinners and electrically powered spinners with variable-speed controls.”

    Workers also recommended wider wash bays with plenty of working room and plenty of lighting. For safety, they suggested a stoplight system to indicate when a work platform has been lowered onto the tank trailer manway. The stop light stays red as long as the work platform is down, and the light doesn't change to green until the platform is raised.

    The end result of the preplanning provides a safe and comfortable work environment, according to McCorkel. “This is all part of our effort to set the industry standard for foodgrade cleaning with Decatur Kleen,” she says.

    The two wash bays are 105 feet long and total wash bay width is 45 feet. The ceiling is 24 feet high. Between the wash bays is a work platform and stainless steel tank hardware cleaning station, all supplied by The Peacock Company Inc.

    Positioned over the rear work area are radiant heaters for worker comfort. Additionally, the concrete floor contains a radiant heating system to keep workers warm during cold days and melt and snow and ice that may be brought in. The floor is topped with a urethane coating and slip-resistant texturing for safety and durability.

    Wash System

    Tank cleaning is done with Peacock's single-pass, high-pressure, low-volume cleaning equipment, and initial planning called for a single wash unit. “We started with a single-pass system at Savannah Kleen, and it has done a great job for us,” Clay says. “We would never do food cleaning with anything but a single-pass wash system, primarily because there is zero risk of prior product cross contamination.”

    McCorkel adds that one wash unit quickly became two. “We realized right away that we would need to units to deliver the level of service our customer expected,” she says. “That is the only way we can clean tanks simultaneously in both bays and avoid maintenance-related shutdowns.”

    Decatur Kleen bought two of the largest wash machines offered by Peacock. One is the Model 660, which is the largest in the Peacock line, and the other is the Model 636, which is the next to the largest. Decatur Kleen also has two Model 7156 pressure washer units that serve both the tank cleaning bays and the truck maintenance shop.

    The Peacock tank wash machines were specified with stainless steel heating coils for long life and cleanliness. Both units have one-micron filters on the discharge side to remove any residual particles in the water before they reach the trailers being cleaned. These filter elements are replaced daily.

    Both of the tank wash units produce 200°F water for cleaning at 22 gallons per minute and 600 psi. The pressure washer units supply 180°F water at five gallons per minute and 1,800 psi.

    Controlled Process

    All edible oil tank trailers are washed for 25 minutes minimum with 200°F-plus water. While tanks are washed, workers disassemble pumps, hoses, and other product-handling hardware for cleaning, sanitizing, and inspection.

    The tank cleaning process is set automatically with programmable logic controllers. Every wash is monitored by computer, and the data is downloaded to a flash drive. Every wash ticket is archived electronically.

    Heels and wastewater are carefully controlled throughout the cleaning process. Waste management is very much a part of Prime Inc's environmental sustainability program — entitled “Go Prime-Go Green!”

    Key highlights of the program at Decatur Kleen include extensive employee education on environmental management and sustainability, high-pressure/low-volume cleaning to minimize water usage, energy recovery in water streams, product residuals recycled back into the energy chain, high-efficiency lighting and motor systems, material recycling (paper and aluminum cans), and low-water-use sanitary facilities.

    “In tank cleaning, this starts with getting every bit of product out of the trailers,” says Michael Boyer with Agribusiness & Water Technology Inc, the company that designed the wastewater treatment system for Decatur Kleen. “Anything that goes into the water has to be removed by the wastewater treatment system.”

    This means tanks transporting viscous cargoes such as palm oil sometimes must be scraped clean before being washed. In fact, Decatur Kleen wash workers must manually scrape oil products from about one in 10 trailers prior to washing them.

    Edible oils also are captured during the cleaning process by a skimmer and separator in the wash bays. The oil goes to two recovered oil tanks and is recycled back into the energy chain.

    Water Management

    Water used in tank cleaning also is carefully managed throughout the process. In-bound city water goes to a 7,500-gallon holding tank and is warmed about 30 degrees by a passive heat exchanger before being sent to the Peacock wash units. The heat comes from equalized wash water that is being sent through the waste treatment process.

    “This is essentially free heat that helps lower energy costs for the wash rack,” Boyer says. “We're using a simple plate-and-frame heat exchanger, and it will pay for itself in about a year and a half.”

    Wash water from the cleaning process is drained from tank trailers into a sump in the floor of the wash rack. Edible oil residues are removed, and the water is sent to an equalization tank outside the wash rack.

    “Equalization is important, because we need a consistent waste stream for effective treatment,” Boyer says. “The system is sized to treat 50,000 gallons of wastewater a day, and we are handling 12,000 to 14,000 gallons a day right now.”

    Equalized wastewater flows back into the building into two agitation tanks, where pH is adjusted and coagulants are added to capture solids and any oil residue. The next stop is a dissolved air floatation (DAF) unit.

    “We've used DAF successfully for many years at many wash racks and food processors,” Boyer says. “It is a very good and reliable treatment system.”

    The last step in the process is biological treatment, which takes place in two sequential biological reactor tanks outside the building. Air for the biological treatment process comes from two large Tuthill blowers. Treated water is then sampled and released into the city sewer.

    With all of its features, Prime Inc management believes the new Decatur Kleen wash rack raises the industry standard for foodgrade tank cleaning. It's a standard that will be repeated and continuously enhanced as Prime Inc opens additional wash racks under what it is calling the “Kleen Team” banner.

  • Prime Inc. Honors 2011 Contractors of the Year

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc. recently named its 2011 Contractor of the Year award recipients. This annual award is given to the best drivers in each division for displaying the highest level of service, professionalism, productivity and safety practices. Winners are hand-picked from among each department’s recipients of Prime’s Contractor of the Month awards for the previous year, based on their dedication to safety and several other factors, including mileage, on-time deliveries, driving record, fuel consumption, productivity and customer service.

    “Prime’s 2011 Contractors of the Year are some of the top drivers in the industry and a clear example of the hard work and commitment to safety Prime is known for,” said Stan Auman, Prime Inc. dispatch manager in the refrigerated division. “These drivers are why Prime enjoys continued success.”

    The following individuals were recognized with Prime’s 2011 Contractor of the Year awards:

    • Refrigerated Division: Independent Team Contractors James Burrow and Jeff Johnson; Independent Contractor Edgard Lopez; and Company Team Drivers Shane and Johnna Morgan.
    • Flatbed Division: Independent Team Contractors Samuel Gonzales and Michelle Melendez and Company Team Drivers Todd and Virginia Newcomb.
    • Tanker Division: Independent Contractor Clinton L. Brown and Company Driver Andre J. Bryan.

    “It is an honor to recognize these drivers as part of the Prime family,” said Auman. “We thank them for their commitment to on-time delivery, fuel efficiency and safety, as well as customer service.”

    Each 2011 Contractor of the Year receives a personalized achievement plaque on permanent display in Prime’s Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo. They also each receive a free Prime jacket, $1,000 cash and a gift certificate for the Prime store.

    Congratulations to Prime’s 2011 Contractors of the Year.  For more information on Prime’s services or career opportunities, call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Prime Inc. Driver Named MoTA Driver of the Month

    Springfield, Missouri – The Missouri Trucking Association (MoTA) recently named Prime Inc. driver Thomas Miller its August Driver of the Month. As a part of this elite honor given to drivers who exhibit leadership and a high level of professionalism, Miller will also be eligible to receive MoTA’s prestigious Driver of the Year award.

    “It’s just an honor to be nominated for the Driver of the Month award,” said Tom Crawford, MoTA president and CEO. “This award says that Miller is consistently one of the best of the best drivers in the state.”

    Miller joined Prime four years after beginning his professional driving career in 1996. During his tenure with Prime, Miller has become a Smith System certified driver and a CDL instructor. He has also been recognized as a 1 million mile safe driver and was recently named a 2011 Prime Contractor of the Month, an award based on several factors, including mileage, on-time deliveries, driving record, fuel consumption, productivity and customer service.

    “Drivers are nominated by their safety directors, but their driving record is not the only consideration for this award. We look at whether each driver is active in his or her community, such as serving in a church, as a scout master or in other areas outside of trucking,” said Crawford. “We also look to see if the drivers are leaders within their own companies or if they’ve taken a leadership role in mentoring or training. Choosing a driver for the Driver of the Month award is never an easy task.”

    In addition to a certificate from MoTA recognizing his achievement, Miller also received a watch and a resolution from Missouri state legislature memorializing the award. He will be recognized at MoTA’s annual banquet at the state capitol and become a part of MoTA’s ambassador program with the legislative bodies.

    For more information about the driving opportunities at Prime Inc., call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Safety Agency Says Truck Drivers Shouldn't Use Cell Phones While Driving

    Reprinted from KSPR.

    Springfield, Missouri — The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that truck drivers not use cell phones, even hands-free devices, while driving. Ozark truck drivers react to the recommendation.

    The recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board comes a year after a truck driver on his phone caused a crash that killed 11 people on a Kentucky interstate.

    Right now it's just a recommendation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would still have to adopt it.

    In Missouri and 34 other states commercial truck drivers are already prohibited from texting behind the wheel, but this ban would go much further.

    John Fobes is in the driver's seat of a pretty powerful weapon.

    "This is really not a truck- this is an 80,000 pound missile."

    He'll gladly tell you why, but usually not while he's driving.

    "If I didn't do this literally every day, take students out here, we wouldn't be talking," Fobes explains.

    That's because even on this practice course, the CDL instructor with more than two decades of trucking under his belt, says this conversation is distracting.

    That's why fobes doesn't use a cell phone either but, he says, of others do. The NTSB is recommending they don't.

    "Of course everybody has cell phones but they're using headsets," says Prime Inc.'s Director of Safety Don Lacy.

    While Springfield-based Prime tells its drivers to keep the driving and talking to a minimum, Lacy says it's tough to regulate. But the company would be comfortable with government regulation in that area.

    "A truck driver will make as many as 100 decisions in a single mile," says Lacy.

    "I have read a report that stated the only industry that makes more decisions in a day than a truck driver was an air traffic controller," seconds Fobes.

    Both say the job is already hard enough without a cell phone.

    According to Fobes if a semi-truck is traveling between 55 and 60 miles per hour it takes a minimum of 400 feet to stop, and that's after the driver has taken a second and a half to analyze the emergent situation and engage the brakes.

    That's why Fobes always keeps two hands on the wheel and a quiet cab. He says as a result: "I've gone about 2 and half million miles accident-free." (2:15)

    Fobes self-regulates.

    "Common sense should tell you when you're dealing with people's lives you need to pay a little bit more attention, but no amount of legislation is going to correct that," he concludes.

    We talked to about a dozen truck drivers at the TA Travel Center off I-44 near Strafford Tuesday.

    About half say they never use cell phones while driving, half say they use hands-free devices, and all say they support a ban of- at least- handheld phones while driving.

    Prime tells us the trucking industry's safety record is the best its been in its history and has been steadily improving the last couple of years.

  • Contractors and Drivers of the Month Named at Prime

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime recently recognized 17 of its drivers for reaching one million or two million miles of safe driving for the company during March, April and May.

    “Recognizing our driving associates who reach a million miles or more without a preventable accident is a real honor for us,” said Don Lacy, Prime inc. director of safety. “This milestone takes a lot of hard work, attention to detail and a high level of professionalism on the road and it certainly isn’t easy to reach.”

    Driving two million safe miles were Paula J. Lyke and Juan J. Guerra.  For this achievement, Lyke and Guerra each received a custom-fitted lambskin leather jacket, a lapel pin and certificate.

    Drivers who reached a million miles and have been at Prime for seven years with no preventable accidents reached the Gold Million level. They were: Donald A. Fields, Michael W. Gandee, Darrin Lee Jackson, Phillip A. Matchett, Charity E. Thomas, John J. Penders, Victor L. Blackburn, Juan Guerra Jr., Mark C. Kidwell, Mark E. Oldham, Dillip Ramnanan, Peter J. Sampson, David A. Williams, Matthew E. Allen, Bonny J. Fisher, Howard F. Smith and Jerald R. Thomas. The Silver Million level was awarded to drivers with three consecutive years at Prime having no preventable accidents plus four years with a previous carrier with no preventable accidents. They were: Angelo R. Maio, Thomas L. Carroll, Jerry Haecker, Charles A. Lane and Janice M. Olsen.

    For passing the one million mile mark, the drivers were given an engraved plaque and watch, a certificate and a lapel pin.  Plaques bearing the names of all of these individuals will also hang in Prime’s Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo.

    Congratulations to Prime’s one million and two million milers.  For information on Prime’s services or career opportunities, visit our Careers page. For more information on the Contractors of the Month Award, click here.

  • Prime Inc. Announces Qualcomm Text Messaging System

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc. recently announced a new feature for any driver assigned to a truck operating under Prime's authority. This new feature allows drivers to choose to have their Qualcomm messages delivered directly to their cell phones as text messages.

    "At Prime, we're constantly looking for ways to make information easier to access for our drivers," said John Hancock, Prime Inc. director of training and driver recruiting. "The Qualcomm text messaging system allows drivers to have crucial information literally at their fingertips."

    Although the messages will still be sent to the drivers' Qualcomm units as usual, the new feature will allow drivers to receive on-the-job important information in a more accessible way than ever before. Once a driver activates the feature, text messages will be sent to the phone only when the truck is not moving. This safety feature complies with DOT regulations of not texting while driving.

    For more information about the driving opportunities at Prime Inc., call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Prime Inc. Raises Min Revenue Per Mile To $1.02 For Refrigerated And Flatbed Division

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc., headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, which pays its contactors 72 percent of revenue has again raised its minimum guarantee for independent contractors in its refrigerated and flatbed divisions, ensuring earnings of no less than $102,000 for every 100,000 miles completed. This enhancement in guarantee still allows the operator to share in gains of the marketplace, but have the assurance that it will never be lower than $1.02 per mile. In order to take advantage of this new opportunity, existing Prime operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum.

    "It has long been Prime's belief that contractors should be paid on percentage of the revenue," says John Hancock, Prime's recruiting director." Contractors, who are only being paid on a flat per mile rate, are not benefiting from the potential of the marketplace. With our percentage pay program, our operators immediately benefit from market improvements."

    Hancock adds that Prime's independent contractors in this new program also enjoy a simple, easy to understand fuel surcharge program that holds the cost of fuel at $1.20/gallon at six miles per gallon (HHG miles).

    "Prime's customer base and growth mean we can deliver superior earnings to our operators, and they get that immediate reward. With our freight network, we're confident of our ability to pay b and still go no lower than $1.02 per mile plus the fuel surcharge," says Hancock. "Now is a great time to join Prime when you can share in the market, yet still have this $1.02 per mile minimum in place as peace of mind."

    This latest increase for contractors is effective June 1, 2011 and is available to all new and existing operators (existing Prime operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum).

    For more information about the driving opportunities at Prime Inc., call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

    $1.15 Guarantee for Independent Contractors Tanker Division


    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc., a Springfield, Missouri-based refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and logistics trucking company, has announced a new revenue guarantee program for independent contractors in its tanker division. This creation in guarantee ensures earnings of no less than $115,000 for every 100,000 miles (HHG miles) completed, allowing the operator to share in gains of the marketplace but have the assurance that it will never be lower than $1.15 per mile on average. In order to take advantage of this new opportunity, existing Prime tanker operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum.

    "Our guarantee really allows the tanker contractors to benefit from the potential of the marketplace, while having an assurance of a minimum level of revenue at 70 percent," says John Hancock, Prime's recruiting director. "Contrasted against companies that only pay a flat per mile, our program offers contractors the opportunity to be rewarded for the uptick in the marketplace and what the market offers. Contractors who are only being paid on a flat per mile rate are not given that opportunity, nor do they have the assurance of a guaranteed minimum to count on."

    Prime independent contractors in this new program also enjoy a simple, easy to understand fuel surcharge program that holds the cost of fuel at $1.20/gallon at six miles per gallon (HHG miles).

    "Prime is in the fortunate position of having a very strong customer base and freight network," says Hancock. "That's why we're confident of our ability to pay 70 percent and still go no lower than $1.15 per mile plus the fuel surcharge."

    This latest increase for contractors is effective June 1, 2011 and is available to all new and existing operators (existing Prime operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum).

    For more information about the driving opportunities at Prime Inc., call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Prime Inc. Raises Min Revenue Per Mile To $1.15 For Tanker Division

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc., a Springfield, Missouri-based refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and logistics trucking company, has announced a new revenue guarantee program for independent contractors in its tanker division. This creation in guarantee ensures earnings of no less than $115,000 for every 100,000 miles (HHG miles) completed, allowing the operator to share in gains of the marketplace but have the assurance that it will never be lower than $1.15 per mile on average. In order to take advantage of this new opportunity, existing Prime tanker operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum.

    "Our guarantee really allows the tanker contractors to benefit from the potential of the marketplace, while having an assurance of a minimum level of revenue at 70 percent," says John Hancock, Prime's recruiting director. "Contrasted against companies that only pay a flat per mile, our program offers contractors the opportunity to be rewarded for the uptick in the marketplace and what the market offers. Contractors who are only being paid on a flat per mile rate are not given that opportunity, nor do they have the assurance of a guaranteed minimum to count on."

    Prime independent contractors in this new program also enjoy a simple, easy to understand fuel surcharge program that holds the cost of fuel at $1.20/gallon at six miles per gallon (HHG miles).

    "Prime is in the fortunate position of having a very strong customer base and freight network," says Hancock. "That's why we're confident of our ability to pay 70 percent and still go no lower than $1.15 per mile plus the fuel surcharge."

    This latest increase for contractors is effective June 1, 2011 and is available to all new and existing operators (existing Prime operators must contact the leasing company to sign a one page addendum).

    For more information about the driving opportunities at Prime Inc., call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Don Lacy Named TCA's Safety Professional of the Year

    Springfield, Missouri – Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) named Prime Inc. director of safety Don Lacy as the 2011 Safety Professional of the Year. This award, also known as the Clare C. Casey Award, was presented to Lacy during the 30th annual Safety and Security Annual Divisional Meeting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on May 16, 2011.

    “TCA’s prestigious Safety Professional of the Year award recognizes those whose actions and achievements profoundly contribute to promoting trucking safety programs, procedures and overall better safety on our highways,” said Robert E. Low, president of Prime inc. “We are honored to have one of these award recipients as a part of our staff. Under Don’s leadership, Prime now has the best safety record ever in our 40-year history.”

    Lacy, who has focused on driver safety for over 46 years, was an Operations Manager for Prime from 1989-1991 before re-joining the company as director of safety in 1996. Today, he is directly responsible for the safety initiatives and directives for the company’s nearly 5,000 drivers and its fleet of more than 4,000 trucks. Lacy also implemented numerous initiatives that have increased safety awareness and cost savings at Prime, including the establishment of “Prime University,” the company’s sophisticated training center; weekly safety and communications meetings with drivers; and safety programs in safety technology, rollover prevention and electronic log implementation.

    “I am truly honored to have been named the 2011 Clare C. Casey Award recipient,” said Lacy. “Keeping drivers and the public safe on the road has always been my top priority. I couldn’t have achieved all these things without the support of Prime and our exceptional drivers.”

    For more information about Prime inc., please call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Update on Prime's Involvement in Joplin

    Springfield, Missouri – Prime Inc., a refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and logistics trucking company based out of Springfield, Missouri, is well known for making a difference in the community and surrounding areas.  The recent devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri provided yet another opportunity for Prime and the company’s associates to step up and make a difference.

    Last week, Prime sent two 53 foot refrigerated trailers to Joplin filled with food, water, clothing and supplies for victims of the devastating tornado.  All of the supplies were donated by Prime and the community of Springfield, Missouri.

    Dozens of Prime associates have stepped up to help the victims.  A chef within the organization is on site with the American Red Cross Joplin preparing food for the City of Joplin disaster victims and its volunteers.  Prime associates and President Robert Low have also contributed over $10,000 for food and supplies to the local Red Cross.

    In addition, Prime supplied water to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, the only working hospital in the area.  Because there was no running water in the area for nearly a week, Prime utilized their Tanker trucks to pressurize the water to get it pumped to the hospital while also transporting water from a nearby city with the company’s tanker trucks.

    “We are only doing our part,” said President of Prime Inc. Robert Low.  “We have business interest on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I vividly recall the devastation left there in the wake of Katrina and how important and appreciated the relief efforts were to our 1,100 Biloxi associates whose homes and personal belongings were destroyed.  Joplin is reminiscent of that same devastation; our hearts go out to all the people affected.  It’s our chance to do for others what others did for us.”

    The recovery rebuilding efforts in the Joplin, Missouri will continue for months and years to come, and Prime is committed to being a big part of those efforts.  For more information on the relief efforts supported by Prime Inc. visit Prime on Facebook or Flickr.

  • Prime Inc. Recognizes Million Mile Achievements

    Springfield, Missouri – Seven exceptional drivers were recently recognized by Prime inc. for reaching one million or three million miles of safe driving for the company.

    “This milestone takes a lot of hard work, attention to detail and a high-level of professionalism on the road,” said Don Lacy, Prime Inc. director of safety. “Safety is our number one priority here at Prime and we are honored to recognize our driving associates who achieve a million miles or more without a preventable accident.”

    Driving three million safe miles was Larry Lewis.  For this achievement, Lewis received a check for $5,000, a 3-million-mile leather jacket, a decal for his truck, a jacket patch and an individualized plaque in the Prime Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri.

    Drivers who reached a million miles and have been at Prime for seven years with no preventable accidents reached the Gold Million level. They were: Karrie L. Mann, James H. Patrick, David M. Smith and Gary Vandokkenburg. The Silver Million level was awarded to drivers with three consecutive years at Prime having no preventable accidents plus four years with a previous carrier with no preventable accidents. They were: Michael J. Benisz and Charles E. Jones.

    For passing the one million mile mark, the drivers were given an engraved plaque and watch, a certificate and a lapel pin.  Plaques bearing the names of all of these individuals will also hang in Prime’s Hall of Fame.

    Congratulations to Prime’s million and three million milers.  For more information on Prime’s services or career opportunities, visit our Careers page. For more information on the Millionaire Program, click here.

  • Voice Your Opinion: Keep the Current Hours-of-Service Rules

    Keep the Current Hours-of-Service Rules (HOS) Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers.

    The FMCSA has proposed revisions to the regulations for hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.  We would like to encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting your thoughts to the FMCSA.  This news release has information on the proposed changes as well as how to express your opinion.  All comments received by the FMCSA will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov/ under “Proposed Rule” FMCSA–2004–1960.

    Since 2004, the U.S. trucking industry has been operating under a set of safety rules that govern rest periods, work shifts, and driving hours for commercial truck drivers. These rules were developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) based on an exhaustive review of available research on the science on driver alertness and working hours, and strike the crucial balance between safety and economic vitality.

    Source: Safe Driver Hours

    These changes – if implemented – will result in a number of adverse consequences:

    • A reduction in pay due to less wage-earning time each day;
    • The need for additional, inexperienced, potentially unsafe drivers;
    • Increased freight costs causing a devastating impact on a fragile US economy.

    To voice your option, visit SafeDriverHours.com.

    FMCSA’s CURRENT HOS RULE FMCSA’s PROPOSED HOS RULE
    All Property Carrying Drivers and Motor Carriers All Property Carrying Drivers and Motor Carriers
    Minimum Off-Duty Hours Between Shifts 10 consecutive hours Same as current rule.
    Total On-Duty Window in Each Shift 14 consecutive hours Significant Changes -14 consecutive hours with release from duty required at end of driving window; Only 13 hours of the 14 hour window are productive work due to new “rest break” requirements described below; 14 hours window is extendable to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate for issues such as loading and unloading at terminals or ports, however, drivers are still limited to 13 hours on-duty.
    Total Hours
    (On-Duty+Off-Duty+Rest)
    24 hours 24-26 hours
    Maximum Driving Hours 11 10 hours of maximum driving time and 11 hours of maximum driving time are proposed for comment; FMCSA’s “currently preferred option” is 10 hours.
    Limit on Consecutive Hours Driving None May drive only if it has been 7 hours or less since last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes
    Mandatory Rest Break During Shift None At least 60 minutes of rest break time during each On-Duty Window; may be taken in one block or broken up into two 30 minute rest breaks
    Maximum Cumulative On-Duty 60 hours in 7 days
    70 hours in 8 days*
    *for carriers that operate 7 days a week
    Same as current rule.
    FMCSA’s CURRENT HOS RULE FMCSA’s PROPOSED HOS RULE
    All Property Carrying Drivers and Motor Carriers All Property Carrying Drivers and Motor Carriers
    Cumulative On-Duty “Restart” Voluntary: 34 consecutive hours off-duty resets a drivers cumulative on-duty back to zero (or restarts a drivers 60 hour weekly clock) at any point in a driver’s 7 day cycle Voluntary: The length of the restart period is variable since it must include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.
    Sleeper Berth: Splitting Off-Duty Time Team and Solo Drivers:2 periods totaling > 10 hours; 1 period must be at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth; second period of time may be spent either in or out of the sleeper berth. Same as current rule
    On-Board Recorders Voluntary Use Same as current rule
    Federal Exceptions & Exemptions All existing exemptions and exceptions remain. Slightly modified Oilfield exemption, and removed 16 hour provision in 395.1(o).
  • Prime Inc. Announces 2010 Drivers of the Year

    Springfield, Mo. - Prime Inc. recently named its 2010 Contractor of the Year award recipients. The best drivers in each division are honored with this annual award for exhibiting exceptional service, safety practices, professionalism and productivity. Winners are hand picked from among each department’s recipients of Prime’s Contractor of the Month awards for the previous year, based on several factors, including mileage, on-time deliveries, driving record, fuel consumption, productivity and customer service.

    “Our drivers are a key component of Prime’s continued success,” said Stan Auman, Prime inc. dispatch manager in the refrigerated division. “The 2010 contractors of the year are the perfect example of hard work and dedication.”
    The following individuals were recognized with Prime’s 2010 Contractor of the Year awards:

    • Kirk V. Allen: Refrigerated Division Solo Independent Contractor
    • Rickie Branham & Ernest Medina: Refrigerated Division Team Independent Contractor
    • Luther Smith: Refrigerated Division Company Driver
    • David Rundle: Flatbed Division Independent Contractor
    • Terry W. Riley: Flatbed Division Company Driver
    • Michael A. Tucker: Tanker Division Independent Contractor
    • Tracy J. Vierhout: Tanker Division Company Driver

    “These drivers have proven their commitment to on-time delivery, fuel efficiency and safety, as well as customer service,” said Auman. “It is an honor to recognize these drivers as part of the Prime family.”

    Each 2010 Contractor of the Year receives a personalized achievement plaque on permanent display in Prime’s Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo. They also each receive a free Prime jacket, $1,000 cash and a $25 voucher for the Prime store.

    Congratulations to Prime’s 2010 Contractors of the Year.  For more information on Prime’s services or career opportunities, please call 1-877-PRIME-JOB.

  • Prime Inc. Expanding Pittston Service Operations Center

    Pittston, Pa. - Prime Inc. is expanding the existing company location in Pittston, Pa. We are rebuilding the facility, creating more amenities and extras than any other location of its kind in the region.

    Prime Inc., one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, is investing nearly $17 million in an expansion project that will include a total renovation of the location and major improvements dedicated to the comfort and convenience of the carrier’s associates and contractors. Construction on the facility began this summer, and completion is targeted for December, 2011.

    When complete, the unique facility will include work-out equipment, 24-hour café, private sleeping rooms, hair salon, laundry, showers and a new driver’s lounge. The expansion will also include a new operations area, a full service shop, training center, state-of-the-art fuel center and a truck/trailer wash with detail shop.

    “Prime continually looks for ways to make our associates’ experience with us better. The investment dollars required for this dynamic, exciting expansion is well worth it to us here at Prime,” says Adam Landau, Prime’s manager in Pittston. “This will be a major improvement for all associates.”

    Mr. Landau adds that the expansion will provide the capability to add more jobs and revenue to this region. “Now is a great time to join Prime as we have many new opportunities developing,” he says.

  • Prime Inc. Promotes Awareness, Treatment of Sleep Apnea

    In 2001, Prime Inc. set out to learn all it could about sleep disorders and fatigued driving, two critical issues facing the trucking industry. As part of the effort, Prime invited Dr. William C. Dement, the “father of sleep medicine,” to visit the company and conduct a seminar involving a group of Prime and CFI drivers.

    From Dr. Dement, we learned about Obstructive Sleep Apnea and some of the telltale signs and symptoms of the sleeping disorder that affects more than 20 million Americans, including many drivers. Dr. Dement even demonstrated the “choking” or gasping for breath sounds associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

    The reaction from drivers was very interesting; they were engaged and wanted to know more. Several members of the group, including myself, volunteered to undergo a sleep test or PSG (polysomnogram) at a local medical center that had a sleep lab and a sleep specialist. Soon our group of drivers became the lab’s best customers.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea is not an overly complicated disease. In many cases, it can be easily treated with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or blower to aid breathing while asleep. After a period of adjustment, the benefits come quickly: more energy, less daytime drowsiness, lower blood pressure, loss of weight and most important of all, a safer driver.

    In 2009, Prime opened its own sleep lab at our Training Center and partnered with a vendor who helped us reduce the down time for treatment from one week to less than 15 hours. The results have been gratifying for the company as well as the drivers. You know the effort and cost of the program is well worth it every time a driver looks you in the eye and says, “You saved my life. I feel better than I have in years.”

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been the subject of considerable misinformation and misunderstanding, which is why educating our drivers about this disorder is so important. At Prime, we feel we have an obligation to our drivers to take a proactive role in promoting better health.

    Don Lacy is the Director of Safety at Prime Inc.

  • Cliff and Wanda Humphrey of Prime Inc. named TCA Highway Angels

    Springfield, Mo. – Cliff and Wanda Humphrey, team drivers for Prime Inc., of Springfield, Missouri, have been named Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angels for stopping to help at the scene of a horrific accident.

    On July 19, 2010, the Humphreys were driving eastbound on I-40 through rural New Mexico. As they approached Exit 243, they heard the unmistakable bang of a forceful collision and saw a huge fireball and smoke where the overpass crosses the interstate. A passenger car, which had been the rear escort vehicle for a convoy moving the body of a huge, wind-powered generator, had been hit by a van and shot out of the cloud - on fire - into the left lane.

    Stopping their truck about 200 feet from the crash, Wanda called 911 while Cliff grabbed a fire extinguisher and began spraying the flames. The driver from the lead escort vehicle ran down the embankment yelling that his wife and son were inside the burning car. He ran to the driver’s door and tried to open it, but the impact of the collision had crumpled the rear of the car and warped the center post, hopelessly jamming the door. He screamed to his wife to “Get out, get out!” The wife was in the driver’s seat, unresponsive and slumped to her right with her head in the center armrest. The son was in the back seat.

    Cliff joined the man in trying to force the doors open, but to no avail. By now, his fire extinguisher was exhausted, and the whole interior of the vehicle was aflame. Cliff and the man stood about two feet from the car, trying to reach through the window to get to the woman’s seatbelt, but the heat and flames were too intense and kept driving them back. The husband repeatedly grabbed the scorching edge of the door, but could not pry it open. Although two or three vehicles stopped and several people were spotted watching from a distance, no one else helped, and eventually everyone but the Humphreys left the scene.

    Tragically, because of the remote location of the accident, the police did not arrive until 30-45 minutes after the 911 call was placed. The fire trucks and paramedics took even longer. There was nothing the Humphreys could do except watch helplessly as the wife and son perished in the fire in front of the desperate husband and father.

    “In this business, I accept the fact that there are going to be accidents and that I might get involved with them sometimes,” said Cliff Humphrey, a seasoned truck driver who has helped many people during his 37 years on the road. “But this was truly the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I felt so helpless because there was nothing I could do. If I could have climbed through the window to save those people, I would have.”

    The Humphrey’s story does not end there. While Cliff, Wanda and the man dealt with the horrors taking place in front of them, they began to notice some popping sounds. There had been a gun in the car, and now bullets were ricocheting around them; the tires were also exploding, and the horn and emergency lights were turning on and off as the car’s systems failed. Despite this chaos, Wanda, who was standing a few feet away, had the presence of mind to notice that both Cliff and the man (who was in shock by this point) were standing in pools of burning gasoline from the ruptured gas tank. Cliff took the man’s arm and was maneuvering him away from the car when Wanda yelled out that the man’s slacks were on fire. Cliff and Wanda instinctively scooped up handfuls of dirt from the shoulder of the road to smother the flames. The man suffered serious burns on his legs, but survived. If Wanda hadn’t warned him, it is possible that all of his clothes could have caught on fire; he might have lost his leg, or worse.

    Prime Inc.’s John Hancock says he feels the Humphreys showed great courage with their actions and is very proud to call them part of the Prime family of drivers and associates. “I not only have the privilege of working with Cliff and Wanda, but also consider them to be personal friends of mine,” says Hancock. “They are the type of people that would go out of their way to help anyone in need, so I am not at all surprised that they put themselves at risk in order to help someone else. Cliff and Wanda are what I would consider the perfect example of what every company strives to have as a representative of their business.”

    As Highway Angels, the Humphreys have received lapel pins, certificates, and Angel patches they can place on their hats or clothing. Prime Inc. also received a certificate acknowledging that two of its drivers are Highway Angels.

    Since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angels program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.

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