Healthy Fleet Challenge inspires TST Overland Express

by Sonia Straface

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — This year, TST Overland Express is focusing on ensuring the health and wellness of its employees, customers, and company. The company is rolling out a brand new wellness program designed to help its employees get more active, eat better, and quit smoking. You could say it’s TST’s New Year’s resolution.

According to president Robert O’Reilly, the wellness program is in response to Healthy Trucker’s Healthy Fleet Challenge, which encourages participants to walk as much as possible during month-long contest periods. Participants measure their steps with fitness trackers like Fitbits or smartphone applications like Moves, and their steps are posted on an online leaderboard. At the end of the competition, the team with the highest average step count per day won bragging rights.

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Glenn Caldwell of Healthy Trucker (far left) congratulates the TST team for winning the Healthy Fleet walking challenge in December.

“I’m a member of the OTA’s Education Foundation committee, and in June 2014 Glenn (Caldwell of Healthy Trucker) did a presentation on the Healthy Fleet Challenge,” said O’Reilly on how he was introduced to the challenge. “At that point, I hadn’t heard about it. He did a video presentation and he showed some of the companies involved and to my surprise, TST Truckload was part of it…and that got me wondering about it.” 

O’Reilly said he was curious about the challenge and decided to join the Truckload team when the wheels started turning in his mind to get more of the company involved.

“But then I started talking to my executive group at TST Overland Express and we thought this could be a really good thing for us to get involved in. We thought it could be really fun and we knew we already had a really competitive group, and quite honestly, we had some people who were in better shape,” he said. “So then we decided to get the TST Solutions LP group started in January 2015 with the Healthy Fleet Challenge.”

The TST Solutions LP group saw great success last year, winning the most recent Healthy Fleet Challenge by a landslide in December 2015 and placing second in the year’s first challenge, which ran from January-May 2015. In addition, two of its nine members, Reg Peters and Paul Bomben combined lost 75 lbs during the first Healthy Fleet Challenge of 2015.

The success of the small TST group participating in the walking challenge really turned the heads of the senior staff at TST and they wanted to get the whole company involved.

“We had a manager’s meeting coming up in the fall of 2015,” explained O’Reilly. “We talked about it as a group and asked ourselves, how do we introduce this wellness theme to the masses? And what we decided to do was to have the theme of our upcoming company meeting to be wellness. So what we did – and these were terminal managers across the country as well as administrative managers, basically the senior group of the company – was, as a theme, we broke it into five teams and we gave them all objectives on what to focus on.”

As a team, the senior staff came up with a new logo for the wellness program that encompassed the program’s goals: employee wellness, company wellness and customer wellness.

“Because for a company to be successful and healthy, you have to have good, healthy employees and good, healthy customers,” explained O’Reilly.

It was also decided that to get more involvement, O’Reilly would have the company pay for half the price of a Fitbit or Garmin fitness tracker once employees showed they reached 75,000 steps on the tracker. This would allow employees of TST Overland to participate in their own internal walking challenge.

After it placed flyers explaining the fitness tracker reimbursement program and the internal walking challenge at its 21 locations across Canada, O’Reilly said employee participation grew. TST Overland now has more than 100 participants in its company-wide walking challenge that pits employees against each other based on their terminal location. There are four teams: Head Office, Ontario, Quebec & Labrador and Western Canada.

O’Reilly said he thinks reaching 100 employees shows the dedication of TST employees.

“I think we reached so many employees because of the way we’ve introduced it,” he said. “Plus, we’re a really competitive group, that really likes to have a bit of fun. We always encourage employee involvement. During National Transportation Week, we make sure we host breakfasts and BBQs, we really want to get that sense of team and family in there.”

But the wellness program is much more than just a series of internal walking challenges, O’Reilly said. There will also be quarterly newsletters going out to employees with various healthy themes like how to quit smoking and tips on how to get active. In addition, blogs highlighting success stories will be posted regularly and members of the appointed wellness committee will be available to employees who have specific health-related issues and questions.

“It’s one thing to reimburse people, but I’m hoping through the newsletters and blog posts and getting this team challenge going, that we’re able to encourage a lot more employees to join the challenge,” O’Reilly said, adding the focus on wellness is important because of trucking’s aging workforce.

“So far it’s going amazing,” said O’Reilly. “At our larger terminals we’ve heard that people are coming in before their shift to walk as a group. I came in yesterday morning and I got in at 7:30 and it was -16 degrees and people were just walking back from their morning walk. Here at the head office, there are three floors and we have an elevator, but now people are taking the stairs and trying to get their steps in. So there’s a lot of enthusiasm in it and I hope to see that continue. I really hope by the end of the year we can get to 200 participants across our terminals.”

To join the Healthy Fleet Challenge and get your business involved, visit or call 1-855-422-8333.

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