Welcome to our first digital edition of the OpenLine newsletter! As the summer comes to an end, I would like to reflect back on this season’s events and inform you of a few company updates.
I would first like to congratulate our Drivers of the Month Joe Cull, Juan Chavez Delgado, and Donald Trego as well as our Rookies of the Month Nathan Smead, Christian Bonilla, and Dale Gregory. We are so appreciative of your commitment to our company and the hard work that has earned you this well-deserved recognition.
Furthermore, this past summer marked a couple of very important milestones for our company and several folks. July 1, 1989 is the day that Bob Peterson, with 6 office folks, a clunky big AS-400 (FRED 1), and 30 Owner/Operators began operations as GlasTran in Tulsa.
GlasTran started in very humble beginnings in a trailer on 5-acres just up the street from our current headquarters. Bob had purchased the glass division from CFI in Joplin with the intent on starting an open equipment company that mirrored CFI with top of the line equipment and excellent service. The largest customer at the time was Ford Glass based in Tulsa, so Tulsa was selected as the “home location”. Bob asked Randy Rhines who was working in the IT department at CFI to take a leap of faith and join him in Tulsa on the adventure.
The initial business plan worked and GlasTran expanded and moved out of the trailer into a new 10,000 square foot facility on the same property. The building was barely broke in when Bob purchased Melton in late 1991, which prompted a move to a larger facility and started the 20-year path toward our eventual new and ultra-cool building we have now.
Of personal note, I am forever in a debt of gratitude to Bob for hiring me in 1991 to join GlasTran. Randy is a personal friend, along with being a long-time wonderful business associate. We have shared many laughs and fun times over the years. There are not two more talented folks in the trucking industry in their respective roles than Bob and Randy. Randy, your leap of faith in 1989 proved to be the right move. Congratulations to both of you for getting it all started on what has been, and continues to be, a wonderful ride for so many folks.
Our next big milestone was on July 12th when Mike Blackmon celebrated his 40th anniversary with Melton. Mike started with Melton in 1979 in North Little Rock, Arkansas as a Safety Inspector. Mike found the Melton job through a local job placement office. After about a year on the yard, Mike moved inside the terminal to dispatch. Mike eventually found his way to the main office in Shreveport, Louisiana where he continued working in Operations. Mike made another move to the Mobile, Alabama office for a bit, and then back to Shreveport, where he remained until he, along with his wife Sue (whom he met at Melton), moved to Tulsa in 1992 after the GlasTran purchase. Mike proved to be an immediate impact person when we purchased Melton and I was very happy he made the move to Tulsa. His incredible operational knowledge certainly helped both of the companies through the merger.
I would be remiss to not remember Sue who kept everyone (Mike) under control with her calm approach while adding her special touch to Melton that made us southern friendly. I know she is super proud of Mike for his accomplishments. Mike has held many positions in Operations over the years, and today serves as Operations Project Manager. Congratulations, Mike, on reaching this impressive milestone!
I also have some exciting news to share regarding a new benefit that will put more money in our drivers’ pockets! We know several of our drivers have been requesting the option of a per diem plan since the tax law changes and we are pleased to provide a solution based off of your feedback. Over the road drivers will receive a per diem rate of 14 cpm and Regional/Dedicated drivers will receive 10 cpm per diem. Although the initial enrollment period for existing drivers has ended, you will have a chance to opt-in during Open Enrollment at the end of October.
On the subject of driver feedback, we’re receiving some incredibly valuable commentary through our new driver survey system, WorkHound, that we launched this summer. Drivers receive a weekly text message to fill out a survey anonymously and add comments about their experience with our company. The survey is short, simple, and easy-to-navigate. Our leadership team then reviews each survey response daily for action items that be drawn from your feedback. We’re always anxious to hear from you and are proud to provide a new tool that will allow drivers to quickly and accessibly provide feedback.
Throughout the summer months, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several custom Ambassador trucks come to our yard in Tulsa for distribution to our newest Ambassadors of the Road. We now have well over 100 Ambassadors on the fleet and their loyalty to our company is unique and beyond appreciated. I look forward to seeing many more Ambassadors added to the list in the coming months and encourage you to visit the Photos page for a look at our latest group of Million Milers!
Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication that makes Melton great!
Russ Elliott – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer