SIMCOE, Ont. - A select group of KRTS (Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists, Inc.) representatives, preferred KRTS carriers, local politicians and media gathered for a breakfast seminar Aug. 24 t...
SIMCOE, Ont. – A select group of KRTS (Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists, Inc.) representatives, preferred KRTS carriers, local politicians and media gathered for a breakfast seminar Aug. 24 to discuss the new Transportation Program being offered this fall at Fanshawe College’s Simcoe, Ont. campus. The six-week course is Professional Truck Driver Institute (PDTI) certified and company officials say it will be welcome news for local trucking companies and larger transportation firms looking to hire entry level drivers.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the industry,” said KRTS president, Kim Richardson. “We look forward with great anticipation to working with Fanshawe College and the trucking community in Simcoe and the surrounding area.”
Fanshawe College seems equally anxious with what the future will hold for its school with the addition of the new program.
“We’re very much looking forward to this partnership,” said Fanshawe College’s Kathy Baker.
KRTS has received numerous awards for its outstanding service and commitment to the transportation industry. Past awards have included Jobs Ontario “Employee of the Year” award, the Ministry of Transportation’s “Award of Excellence” and the Chamber of Commerce “Business Achievement Award.”
The AZ Commercial Driving program’s first class is Sept. 26. About 100 graduates will graduate from the course per year in addition to the 300 graduates KRTS is geared to produce from their Caledonia, Ont. facility.
For more information on the new Transportation Program at Fanshawe College contact Jayne Gunn at 519-426-8260 or visit the KRTS Web site at www.krway.com
In addition to discussing the new partnership between Fanshawe and KRTS, speakers took the opportunity to address how to recruit and retain drivers in lieu of the apparent driver shortage in the industry.
“We all have the same problem: we all need quality drivers,” said Richardson to the many carrier representatives present. “(But) there’s no shortage of drivers – there’s a shortage of qualified drivers.”
Richardson, who has fronted his family-run business since 1989, stressed that treating drivers like people rather than commodities is one sure way to help retain them for more than six months.
“We’re not in the education business, we’re in the people business. Take care of the people business and the education will take care of itself,” he said.
He took a spin on the old saying, ‘If you got it, a truck brought it’ with his more people-oriented phrase, ‘A truck didn’t bring nothing – a professional driver brought it.’
Schneider National Inc. was the first carrier to get onboard with Richardson’s people-friendly approach when looking for drivers back in 1989. Peter Million, driver recruiting manager with Schneider, could tell there was something different about Richardson’s approach right away.
“First thing Kim said to me was, ‘What can we do to help?'” Million said. “It was very refreshing.”
Million also said that while other training courses didn’t really seem to care what happened to their students after they graduated, Richardson took the time to make sure his students were making the right decisions – even if that meant telling them they weren’t right for trucking.
Ray Haight, current chairman of the PDTI, was the guest speaker at the event and discussed his own methods on recruiting and retaining drivers with his brand of trucker ethics which he calls ‘The Code of the Road.’ Haight said a lot of a carrier’s success with recruiting and retaining drivers requires getting back to basics.
“I think it would be great if we pulled drivers together and asked what (the industry or company) should look like,” he said. Simple things like educating a driver properly and creating a sense of community in a company through things like driver appreciation days can help ease high turnover rates according to Haight. “It’s a people business and we have to pay attention to it as an industry,” he said. “Some say they don’t make a truck driver like they used to. Well, that may be true, but what have you done to change that?”
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