Post Date - Mar 11, 2022
In the fall, Averitt was honored to be highlighted in the Tennessee Trucking Association magazine Tennessee Trucking News (TTN) as we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We’re proud of our long history in the trucking industry and the reputation we’ve built for excelling at our work and hiring great people. The article did an excellent job covering some of the best things about our last 50 years and how we’re looking toward the future. Here’s a recap of some of our favorite parts from the article:
Up to the challenge
If you’ve been in the industry for any amount of time, then you’ll likely agree that two of the biggest challenges we face are keeping up with technology and staying on top of current regulations. The article mentioned a lot of the ways we’ve adapted to changing technologies, including smartphones, mobile apps and social media. We’re not only listening to what our customers and associates are saying and how their needs are changing, but we’re also continually looking for new ways to utilize technology to meet those needs. We’ve also done a great job ensuring our drivers have the latest in safety technology available to them, including collision-avoidance systems, lane departure systems and forward-facing event recorders.
Regulations also continue to change and adapt, and it’s our job to ensure our associates stay in compliance. We’re constantly evaluating our training systems and processes so that our associates can do their jobs well. The article also noted that we continue to focus on integrating more sustainable business practices and associate benefits, including flexible scheduling, state-of-the-art equipment, and career advancement opportunities.
Company culture and adapting during the pandemic
TTN’s article also discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, its effect on the transportation industry, and how our team responded. We had to make some modifications to our typical company culture and traditions. For instance, our CEO, Gary Sasser, used to greet each new hire with a handshake when they arrived for their in-person orientation. Instead, Gary now calls each new associate personally. It has been a great opportunity for him to get to know each new hire and welcome them to our team. We’re also extremely grateful to our associates who have remained flexible and resilient over the past two years.
In recent years, we launched our Ambassador Team - a group of retired associates who choose to stay connected to Averitt through our charitable giving and community service efforts. The Ambassador Team also continues to receive incentives for new associate referrals. This team has grown to more than 160 retired associates.
There’s also the Over 20 Team, which is how we recognize associates who have been with Averitt for two decades or more. Would you believe that there are more than 1,400 current associates who have been with our company for that long? They equal about 17% of our total workforce and have a combined total of 36,000 years of service and 15,000 years of safe driving.
Along the way, we also started the Team Up Community Challenge, which encourages our associates to give back to their local communities. In the last year alone, our associates completed more than 6,300 hours of community service in multiple areas, including clothing, food and toy drives, disaster relief efforts, and blood donations.
Driver retention is a common topic within the industry. While we have had unique success with associate longevity, driver retention continues to be one of our primary focuses. Our Driver Advisory Council, a 14-member panel of drivers, was created to gather feedback from fellow drivers and advise us on how we can improve our drivers’ work environment and quality of life. This continues to be a valuable resource for us. Our People Like You referral program has also become an important part of recruiting drivers who share our values and service-minded work ethic. Enlisting our own associates to refer people in their circles who they know would be a great fit for our team has proven successful for bringing the right people to Averitt.
Over the years, we’ve also prioritized hiring military veterans and female drivers, promoting our dock-to-driver program that helps associates earn their CDL, and focusing on our Promote from Within philosophy.
Our charitable giving
TTN also highlighted our long history of philanthropy, mentioning both our nonprofit Averitt Cares for Kids program and our work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Through Averitt Cares for Kids, we established a $1.5 million endowment to fund a lymphoma and leukemia clinic and general operations at St. Jude, as well as donated $1,000,001 both in 2019 and 2020 and $1,050,001 in 2021. Our donation in 2021 was the largest donation our foundation has ever made, and also the largest employee-generated donation St. Jude had received at that point. Since we established Averitt Cares for Kids in 1986, the foundation has donated nearly $13 million to charities and is primarily funded through the generosity of our Averitt associates.
Looking to the future
As we celebrate the last 50 years of service, it’s also important that we plan for future generations of Averitt associates and leadership. Over the years, we’ve spent time establishing relationships with a wide variety of partner providers for international services and expanding our capabilities beyond traditional LTL and truckload logistics. We’re also focusing on building up new leadership candidates and empowering them through training, mentoring and opening up new opportunities.
You can read the full article here.
Are you ready for Averitt to be part of your story? Give us a call today!