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Challenger CEO takes aim at rumours (November 01, 2008)

TORONTO, Ont. - Rumours of Challenger Motor Freight's demise are "complete hog wash," the company's chairman and CEO said during the sixth annual Recruiting and Retention Conference hosted by Over the...

TORONTO, Ont. –Rumours of Challenger Motor Freight’s demise are “complete hog wash,” the company’s chairman and CEO said during the sixth annual Recruiting and Retention Conference hosted by Over the Road.

Company founder Dan Einwechter admitted his company is struggling with the same challenges as everyone else in the industry.

However, he said his company will survive the current downturn, thanks in part to the equity it has built in its massive Cambridge, Ont. headquarters.

“People said when we built this facility, we had finally lost it, we could never pay for it, we’ll go out of business,” Einwechter said.

“It has doubled in value in three years and I cannot imagine at all…going through the tumultuous times we’ve had in this industry without having this as part of our arsenal of weapons we used in the challenges we’ve faced.”

Einwechter said the last two years have been “the absolute toughest that I have witnessed” in 33 years in the trucking industry. However, he also said he has faith the industry will rebound.

“I think that many companies that survived have learned from it and will go on to be bigger, better companies and go on to manage their capacity in a better fashion,” he said.

As far as the rumours are concerned, Einwechter said the trucking industry is “the master of misinformation and rumours.”

“As much as we’re collegial and very close with each other, we’re also highly competitive and it creates a unique environment for rumour-mongering,” Einwechter told fleet managers and HR professionals gathered for the three-day conference.

The company has been addressing the rumours head-on by distributing audiobooks carrying state-of-the-company addresses and posting frequent updates on monitors at its headquarters.

Einwechter said he feels Canada’s trucking industry is well-positioned for a recovery.

“I think it’ll get better. Rates are going up with capacity restrictions. I think we’re going to be in a sweet spot if the Canadian dollar stays exactly where it is,” he said. “But the US problem with this $700 billion issue and fuel (prices) can make me a liar overnight.”

The majority of Einwechter’s presentation centered around Challenger’s driver retention strategies, which earned the fleet an OTR/SelecTrucks of Canada Canadian Retention Award last year.

Watch future episodes of our WebTV show Transportation Matters on Trucknews.comfor segments of Einwechter’s speech.

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