Author: AM Transport

Meet the TeamOffice Environment

Written By Erik Jensen CTB Here at AM Transport, we have a number of fun events and gatherings, but my personal favorite is our annual golf outing. This year’s outing took place last Friday (8/18) at Richland Country Club and didn’t disappoint! Golf balls flew everywhere and laughs rumbled all over course. The outing is such a great time it’s easy to forget the hard work and the heightened anticipation in the office the week before the event. Here is a quick pre-golf-outing primer. Q: Who plans the event? A: Hillary and Rob do the lion’s share of the work in making the event come together. Q: Who takes part in the event?  A: Employees of A.M. Transport and their spouses. This year we had 8 teams and 33 participants. Q: How are the teams decided? A: No one truly knows how the teams are decided, and this remains one of the big mysteries in the AMT office. We all want to know who this year’s teammates will be, but we aren’t informed until the Friday Morning Meeting. At this point, the anticipation level has peaked and we are all ready to roll. The most difficult thing for some of us (yours truly) is getting through the rest of the day! Q: What takes place at the golf course? A: Well, golf of course, duh! Most of us arrived at Richland Country Club a little after 5 PM and we hit the links at 5:30. Each golf cart came with a cooler full of cold beverages and a boatload (guess I should have said “cartload”) of fun. Once we finished up on the course we all met in the pavilion to share pizza and horror stories from our round on the course. Q: Who won? A: After a bit of debate, it seems that Team One ( Michael, Heath, Hillary and Brittany) came away with the victory. Team Three (Coach “Old Eric”, David, Connor and Alyicia) claimed to finish their round nine under par, but no one believed them, rightfully. Coach’s teams have a tendency to fib just a bit. All in all, the golf outing is a great time. It gives us a chance to hang out after work and cut back while doing it. Anticipation for next year’s event is building already!...
CommunityOffice EnvironmentUncategorized

Written by Jordan Pottorff, CTB Monday marked the first total solar eclipse that was visible from coast-to-coast across the contiguous United States since 1918, and to say people were excited for it would be the understatement of the year. The national media covered the eclipse for what seemed like the entire day, social media was buzzing with eclipse-related posts, and people came in droves to areas of totality to witness the rare natural phenomenon. Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, was the epicenter of the event and the town expected an influx of over 45,000 people for the viewing of the eclipse. Surrounding towns, national parks and roadways also saw increased traffic as southern Illinois became one of the most prominent places in the country for the day. With us being based in Olney, which is a small town in southeastern Illinois and just a couple hours away from Carbondale, we had the privilege of seeing nearly 98% totality at our peak time of 1:22 pm. We did what millions of others did across the country by purchasing our official eclipse glasses and celebrating with moon-themed foods while stepping outside to catch glimpses from time to time. Despite it being an overcast day, the hours and minutes leading up to our peak viewing time looked promising but as it got closer to 1:22 dark clouds started to form over our office and eventually ended up blocking the eclipse completely when it mattered most. We did get to witness the sky change to what it would look like in the early evening and confused cicadas began to chirp, but to summarize it briefly; it was a letdown. Our viewing area and the forecast leading up to Monday made it seem like we were in for a treat, and although it was still a cool event to witness, the hype didn’t materialize. What we had all hoped to see was blocked by a dark cloud. It was your typical “Aww, shucks” moment. I’m sure you can point to several moments in your life where the hype of an event didn’t materialize and you really had no choice but to accept it and make the best of the situation. A dark cloud put a damper on our day but I learned this morning that Olney will be in complete totality when the next total solar eclipse dawns on us on April 8, 2024. You can bet the nation will be watching again, and for our sake let’s hope it’s a cloudless day....
Community

Written By Justin Hatten, CTB One of the values at AM Transport Services is community as employees participate in local events throughout the year. On August 5, AM Transport Carrier Managers Joe Eagleson, Sam Rodgers and Colby Shawver took part in the seventh annual Richland County Recreation Council White Squirrel Triathlon with Eagleson pedaling 14.6 miles on his bicycle, Rodgers competing in the 5K run and Shawver swimming 200 meters for the “Transport Bandits.” The trio placed third out of seven teams in the male division with a time of 1:15:04.80, behind Unfair Advantage (1:08:22.60) and Splash, Flash and Dash (1:12:56.95). Competing in his first triathlon, Eagleson finished the leg in 46:30 on his Kona Jake CX, a cyclocross bike built to withstand terrain that varies from asphalt and gravel to dirt and mud. “The White Squirrel Triathlon was a blast,” said Eagleson, who puts in 50 to 75 miles a week, riding to work nearly every day. “I enjoyed how many competitors encouraged each other throughout the bike portion the most.  I heard ‘Good job’ or ‘Keep it up’ plenty of times, even though everyone was huffing and puffing their way down Saint Marie Road. “The main preparation I made was riding up hills to get ready for the Saint Marie Road hill that I would have to ride over twice.” Rodgers runs 15 to 20 miles each week and recorded a 3.1-mile time of 22:40 during his first triathlon. “Definitely not the last,” Rodgers said. “I will be doing some full triathlons in the future for sure. “It was a great experience and a fun atmosphere. Everyone involved was very friendly and welcoming. They gave out some awesome swag to participants. It was absolutely perfect weather to be out and about.” With the temperature in the 50s the night before and at race time Saturday morning, Shawver braved chilly water at Olney’s Musgrove Aquatic Center to clock a time of 4:57. “It was pretty frigid but after the initial shock, the adrenalin kicked in and took over,” said Shawver, who swam several times a week in the pool at his house training for his triathlon debut. “I loved it. A lot of the community was cheering on everyone. I will do it next year also.” Commitment is another AM Transport value, which the “Transport Bandits” showed while working as a team to earn a top-three finish....
Trucking

Written By: Erik Jensen, CTB The long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is slated to come into effect on December 18, but as the date gets closer, the battle between the supporters and detractors of the upcoming law is increasingly contentious. The supporters of the mandate continue to state how beneficial ELDs are for carriers and their drivers.  Through ELDs, carriers are able to track their drivers with GPS tracking, and as we all know, this has become an expectation in our industry. The benefits aren’t limited to just tracking, though, as ELDs are also connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port, which allows fleets to stay on top of any vehicle maintenance issues. ELDs will also benefit drivers through reduced paperwork, allowing them to spend more time behind the wheel—and thus safer roads. The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will help save 26 lives every year. Seems like a home run, right? Not so fast. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and a number of small carriers are fighting hard to stall the mandate from going into effect in December. These groups are seeking clarifications on the technical specifications and enforcement aspects of the mandate and feel that implementation should be delayed until these specifics are clarified. OOIDA and other carriers argue that the mandate violates truckers’ amendment rights to privacy by tracking them in real time—not to mention the financial burdens it will put on small carriers and owner-operators to purchase and maintain ELDs. The fighting and lobbying doesn’t stop there. They recently got Congress involved. Just a couple weeks ago, U.S. Representative Brian Babin of Texas introduced a bill in effort to delay the implementation of ELDs by at least two years. Babin feels forcing smaller carrier fleets to implement these devices is unfair to small businesses. In a story on trucker.com, Babin said, “While technology like ELDs have great promise, I didn’t come to Washington to force these ideas on small businesses – and neither did President Trump.” Babin followed this up saying, “If trucking companies want to continue implementing and using ELDs, they should go right ahead. But for those who don’t want the burden, expense and uncertainty of putting one of these devices in every truck they own by the end of the year, we can and should offer relief.” Babin’s bill and comments were met with disdain by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), who fully supports the upcoming mandate. ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy, Bill Sulllivan, released a statement saying, “It is incumbent on regulators and on Congress to dismiss this last-ditch try by some to evade critically important safety laws.” Sullivan went on saying the mandate is “common sense, data-supported regulation” and the arguments against it are “at best specious and at worst outright dishonest arguments.” ATA also cited an 11.7% drop in crash rates and 50% drop in Hours of Service violations when carriers switched from paper logs to ELDs, according to a 2014 administration report compiled by the department of transportation. So who is going to win this battle? No one knows for sure, but if one had to guess, the money would be on the mandate going into effect as planned in December. In an article published on Transport Topics website, staff reporter Eugene Mulero expounded on the subject and said Babin’s bill is “pretty much dead on arrival, since it lacks support from GOP leadership, a Senate companion bill, and backing from the White House." In other words—good luck to those wanting to delay the implementation mandate. The next couple months promise to be interesting. Stay tuned for more news....
Meet the Team

Written by Steph If you are a mom, you are a working mom. It’s a full-time job. But some moms also work out of the home because we want to or need to. Having a career is complicated by motherhood, even when you love your non-Mom job as much as I do. My mom-job begins when the alarm starts starts its annoying beep at 530 AM. How lovely it would be if I could just get ready for work, but I can’t. I have to allow extra time for my daughter to complain about waking up, to decide what clothes are appropriate for her social life, to choose between PopTarts or eggs. If school is in session, this process is further complicated by homework that might be lost or unfinished, lunches that need to be made or paid for, and transportation which is usually, you guessed it—the Mom! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Let’s not forget about daycare. Who hasn’t had to drag a reticent child to daycare with a child or two hanging on the legs, screaming not to be left? I’ve been there, done that. And all before 7AM. It’s no wonder that half the time, I walk out the door remembering all the stuff I have forgotten. If you have kids, there are always papers to be filled out and turned in! When I arrive at AM Transport, I’ve already worked a half-day! I love my career, and I put everything I have into my work day—including using my lunch hour to pay bills, run to the grocery store for supper supplies, pop into the post office for stamps or a package, stop by the gas station for a refueling. Why would anyone use their lunch hour in such a fashion? I’ll tell you why—kids are the slowest individuals on the planet. Running errands with kids isn’t my idea of a good time. I’d rather eat a sandwich on the go. When I leave work, I head straight for my girl with the grand hopes that she has had a good day. Rarely does she get into the car without the words, “I’m hungry.” Seriously, do kids eat all the time, or only when their moms are around? And thus begins the second half of my mom-work day. You know the drill—dinner, practices, ball games, dishes, laundry, homework, couch-time with folks you gave birth to. Did I forget yard work, housecleaning, bath time—I’m not sure this list ends. Until bedtime, that is! Settling into sleep is a great time for me to remember all the things I wish I’d completed—texting my mother back, responding to that Snapchat from my best friend, RSVPing the birthday party next weekend and getting a birthday present. Luckily there’s always lunch hour the next day. If you are like me, family life and a great job are worth all the sacrifices and hard work. So a big high five to you moms out there! You definitely deserve that glass of wine tonight!  ...
Community

Written by Justin Hatten At AM Transport Services, hard work is mixed with fun. Throughout the course of the year, AM Transport employees participate in a variety of social events, culminating with the Christmas party. To kick off 2017, AM Transport hosted its first Chili Cook-Off on January 13 as judges picked winners based on five categories – aroma, texture, flavor, initial bite and lingering bite.  Eight cooks participated with Jesse Baker (spiciest chili), Laura Matthews (judge’s choice) and Colby Shawver (people’s choice) crowned champions. A St. Patrick’s celebration and AM Transport Bowl-A-Rama was held on March 17 as Bert Lathrop earned top honors, rolling a personal-best 203. A week later, AM Transport employees laced up the sneakers and showcased their basketball skills during the March Madness Shootout, won by Chad Martin, who upset top-seeded Connor Dixon in the championship round to take home the trophy that currently resides on his desk. In May, the AM Transport team took part in National Bike to Work Day for the 12th-straight year and the company will hit the links on August 18, competing in the AM Transport Golf Outing followed by the Halloween party on October 27. In addition to the social activities, AM Transport recently hosted Kickoff to Summer featuring a limbo contest to start the day. For lunch, hot dogs and bratwursts were cooked by Jason Doris on R2BQ, AM Transport’s mobile grill. Along with bowling, basketball, and golf, employees go head-to-head in a bags tourney, play in the AMT Fantasy Football League and NCAA Tournament bracket challenge, participate in a weight-loss challenge and partake in the No Shave November mustache and beard contest with the winner announced during the Christmas party. Speaking of Christmas, AM Transport headed into the studio last winter, cutting the first-ever AMT Holiday Album last winter produced by Connor Dixon. AM Transport also prides itself in volunteering and participating in local programs and events, including Richland County Recreation Council Bunny Hop 5K, White Squirrel Triathlon, Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Richland County Middle School 5th Block and Musgrove Park Clean-Up Day headed by Joel Carey, who oversees the weekly summer landscape maintenance project at Musgrove Park as well. Giving back to the community of Olney is just as important to AM Transport as serving customers and carriers....
SalesSelf Improvement

By Jordan Pottorff, CTB Have you ever heard the phrase “change is a good thing”? Chances are you have and I’m sure it was met with some form of hesitance as the vast majority of us don’t like to venture out of our comfort zone and embrace something new. It’s human nature. Well, I’m a person who has battled change – both for it and against it - in the past and has worked to embrace it throughout my personal and professional life. At AM Transport and in the transportation industry as a whole, change is coming and change is coming fast. We all know about the upcoming ELD mandate and other trends starting to gain momentum in our industry, but it’s easier to look at massive change within an industry that the national media is reporting on than looking in-house for changes that could boost company morale, communication, energy, production, and even the bottom line. Just in the last week we have shuffled the makeup of our “teams” in the office. We all work together as one well-oiled machine but nearly everyone in the office moved to a different desk and will be working alongside a different set of people to accomplish what’s always been our goal, which is to provide the best customer service in the industry. Gone is Team Charlie, gone is Team Phoenix and soon we will be saying goodbye to a trusty communication tool and a key software piece that’s been a mainstay in the company since I joined in 2015. This isn’t admitting failure or trying to provide a “shock factor” to everyone in the building. To me it’s about striving to be better than we already are and recognizing the positives change can create to reach our full potential as a company.     As part of the sales team at AM Transport I can’t tell you how many times we have embraced change. We’ve changed things up in a way to attract new business and carve out a niche in this ultra-competitive industry. We have had various marketing and email campaigns, we have switched up our packets that are stuffed full of company information, we have targeted new industries, we have focused on new territory and we have done nearly everything in between.  We believe diverting away from what worked in the past and embracing something new is what keeps us hungry and ahead of the curve. So, shake things up, put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, try something different before you’re left wondering what went wrong. Embrace it! After all, change is a good thing....
3PLBest PracticesGPS

By Jesse Baker, CTB With Technology rapidly advancing in the Transportation industry, it is important to understand some of the foundations for what is starting to become common place.  Today, we will focus on GPS.  Everybody has heard the term, but let’s dive in to exactly what it is and how it works. GPS, short for Global Positioning System, uses three parts to help either ourselves or others locate where we are.  So what are these parts and how do they work?  Let’s check it out! Satellites – Satellites, which orbit our earth, are in set positions.  Thus we can rely on them to give accurate feedback for location.  There are thousands of satellites available to be used by receivers.  This is where you have probably heard “triangulate their location” as 3 (or more!) satellites are being used to bring to a point the location of the receiver. Receiver – The receiver is the device that sends out the signal to the satellite.  This is very commonly your phone, but can also be that new ELD or several other devices.  Once the receiver sends a signal to several satellites, it will calculate its distance from them and be able to diagnose an extremely accurate location! Ground Station – The ground stations are the regulators for the satellites.  They make sure they have not drifted off course, and if they have, they adjust for the movement of the satellite so that the receiver’s calculations for location can stay accurate. The great thing about GPS is how quickly it all works!  These waves move at unbelievable speeds, allowing accurate updates to be obtained as quickly as snapping a finger.  So if you are in the business of wanting to be accurate and quick in your updates to customers and wanting to keep them happy, then start utilizing the readily available GPS and improve your business as quickly as you are located!...
3PLBest PracticesCarrier ManagerintermodalSales

By Joel Carey, CTB While in recent months much of the news in the transportation industry has been a clamor of who’s crafting which latest future-rattling technology applications, some shippers may find great benefit from a step back for fresh consideration of the original transportation game-changer. Intermodal rail transportation has evolved in the past several years from a perhaps well-deserved reputation for unreliable service, poor communication, and tracking, and damaged freight, to a level of operational efficiency and customer service that rivals most over-the-road trucking options - often at substantial savings. Though OTR dry van truckload has been firmly a shippers market for some time, upcoming industry changes such as the electronic logging device requirements that take effect at the end of the year are likely to put pressure on OTR capacity and begin to nudge truckload rates back uphill. Many shippers are already testing the waters of Intermodal as this potential TL capacity crunch approaches – some entirely new to the idea, and others who are taking a second look. Shippers with relatively durable palletized freight that can be limited to a gross weight of 42,500 pounds and loaded at facilities in reasonable proximity to a primary rail ramp can readily garner savings of 10-30% over TL rates in certain lanes. Lanes from the Midwest to the West Coast and the Midwest to the Northeast are prime examples where current Intermodal rates are well below OTR. To enhance shipper’s options that might encourage the shift to Intermodal, the major railroads have recently opened new service in lanes from the lower Midwest to the Northeast and Florida which also offer competitive pricing. With the exception of ensuring thorough bracing and an extra day in transit on most routes, a shipper might otherwise not even notice these days that their freight is riding the rails rather than the road.  The Class I railroads have made excellent use of Internet technology to provide effective communication of shipping orders and appointments, as well as 24-hour position tracking and notifications.  The Intermodal specialists at AM Transport closely monitor all shipments and can provide any level of detailed reporting that our customers might request. Spot market Intermodal capacity is readily available for next-day pickup or beyond, so why not do your shipping budget a favor and consider a solid and cost-effective alternative?  AM Transport is ready and able to discuss the benefits and options that Intermodal might present to your shipping operations....
3PLHealthOffice EnvironmentSelf Improvement

By Erik Jensen, CTB My wife Hannah and I are expecting the arrival of our firstborn child any day now. The emotions we feel leading up to the big day are often overpowering, but the predominant feeling is joy. I still remember the out-of-the-world happiness I experienced when I found out Hannah was pregnant. It was right around Halloween and we were getting dressed for the annual A.M. Transport Halloween Party (which is a blast, by the way). It was hard keeping the good news to ourselves, but we managed to have a great time anyway. Waiting for our baby to be born is difficult, especially these past couple of weeks when I know it could happen any moment. And even though I understand that it’s out of my hands, patience has never been one of my strengths. So I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I admit that when I want something, I want it immediately or yesterday if possible. So waiting a full nine plus months? This seemed impossible. My only glimmer of hope was the possibility of finding out the gender of the baby—which my wife quickly dashed with an iron fist. Ugh. I wasn’t super happy about this, but then again, I’m not the one carrying the baby. So once again, my patience was tested. Fast-forward 38 weeks and things still haven’t changed—this patience thing is really hard. Just a couple weeks ago we had our final ultrasound and I was tempted to take a sneak a peek even though I was told to put my head down and cover my eyes (I’m assuming I could have found out the sex).  And even though I really wanted to, I didn’t. When I think about that moment now, I’m happy I didn’t look. It’s hard to be patient, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Seeing my kid for this first time and finding out if it’s a boy or a girl will be the apex of my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I plan on carrying this new-found patience into my career at A.M. Transport. Yes, I will still want things to happen quickly and hope for expedient email responses, but sometimes it ok to wait for a bit. Life is like a fine wine, with age and time, things become divine....