News from the Fleets

CRST International marked its 50th anniversary by opening a 500-square-foot museum at its
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, headquarters.

Items on display include company newsletters, photographs, toy CRST trucks, the company’s first time clock, the typewriter used by founder Herald Smith to type invoices in the early years, wheel alignment equipment from the repair shop and a microfiche fuel bill reader.

Smith founded CRST in 1955 after realizing that livestock trucks returning empty to Cedar Rapids from Chicago cost somebody money. He bought Cedar Rapids Steel Transportation Co. and hired the livestock drivers to haul steel on their return trips.

Today CRST International is the nation’s 10th largest truckload carrier, with $620 million in revenues in 2004. It has three operating companies: CRST Van Expedited, CRST Logistics and CRST Malone.

RICH MARTEN, an owner-operator who is the first Werner Enterprises driver to drive more than 1 million miles in a single truck, donated his rig to the Werner museum at company headquarters in Omaha, Neb. He bought the Freightliner FLD 120 Conventional new from Werner in 1993 and put more than 1.6 million miles on it.

WISCONSIN EXPRESS LINES co-founder Wallace Tielens died April 20 at his Humboldt, Wis., home. He was 76. With his son, Bruce, the Green Bay, Wis., native founded Wisconsin Express Lines with one truck in 1975. Today, as WEL Companies, the carrier runs 120 trucks.

O&S TRUCKING named Wayne Mahu of Mountain Grove, Mich., its Driver of the Month for March. Mahu has been with O&S for eight months and is a Highway Watch member.

SCHNEIDER NATIONAL thanked its 22,000 drivers, mechanics and office personnel during its annual Associate Appreciation Days, June 6-10. Fleet executives met with employees in small groups to hear their concerns; they also pumped drivers’ gas and washed their windshields.

THE BUTLER BOYS – Jim Butler and his two sons, Reese and Brad, all of whom drive for FedEx Ground – won three divisions and the team title in the Montana State Truck Driving Championships in Billings. Jim won Sleeper Berth, Brad won Straight Truck, and Reese won Twin Trailers, as well as being declared the overall winner. All three Butlers qualify for the National Truck Driving Championships, Aug. 16-20 in Tampa, Fla.

Awards & Recognition

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NAGLE TOLEDO of Walbridge, Ohio, has increased starting pay by 3 cents per mile, to 40 cents, for over-the-road drivers.

Nagle Toledo also offers a bonus program of 2 cents per mile for meeting safety incentives and efficient driving.

SMITH TRANSPORT, based in Roaring Spring, Pa., honored Pat Long with its Lifetime Achievement Award and an award for 20 years of safe driving.

Smith has assigned Long a fully chromed Peterbilt 379 that has received show truck awards.

FIRSTFLEET driver Larry Ratliff of St. Joseph, Mo., was recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association as a Highway Angel.

Ratliff, while driving on I-24 through Illinois, stopped to offer assistance to a woman who was squatting on the other side of a bridge railing, about 150 feet above a river. He tackled the woman as she prepared to jump. Ratliff stayed with the woman until help arrived.

Ratliff received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for his efforts, and his employer, FirstFleet, also received a certificate.