Being there

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Chip Magner is publisher of Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail Lmagner@eTrucker.com.

There’s a whole lot of meeting and greeting going on at truck shows, and this year’s Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Sept. 6-8 expects to beat last year’s turnout. There’s always great, family-style entertainment, country star concerts and good food. Trucking families pick truck shows as their favorite vacation destination – a good chance to combine business with pleasure.

But make no mistake, there’s a lot of business going on as well.

Rich Perry, Southwest regional recruiting manager for Schneider National, plans to bring his whole recruiting team to Dallas this year. “It’s a great opportunity for the team to get together and work together as a group,” Perry says. Schneider always has a big presence at trucking shows, and its recruiters spend as much time at they can talking to truckers. “There’s no substitute for the value of face-to-face meetings with potential drivers,” Perry says. You get one chance to sell your company and yourself. You might not hear back from a driver for a couple of weeks, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about you.”

The buzz from a well-attended truck show attracts families, and companies are always on the lookout for family-oriented drivers. “It’s a good applicant pool, and we’ve always had good results from our investment,” Perry says.

Not only company drivers come to truck shows. Perry says they are hot on the trail of small trucking company owners to bring into the Schneider fold. This year they’ve added more than 20 fleets, ranging from 2 to 40 trucks, to their Partners in Profitability program. Sole proprietors and fleet owners are eligible to partner with Schneider and take advantage of their fuel, insurance, maintenance, new truck buying programs and steady freight. “It’s a win-win situation for the small fleet owner and for Schneider,” Perry says. “We can offer group discounts on all aspects of their trucking business – and provide steady freight. We get the benefit of having committed trucking professionals added to our team.” The PIP program can save an owner-operator up to $10,000 per truck per year – hefty cost saving in tight times.

Fielding questions and making a good impression take up most of the recruiter’s time at trade shows. Potential recruits want answers to basic employment questions such as pay, benefits and home time. But more than that, they want to know what kind of working atmosphere you have to offer. They are sizing you up as much as you are sizing them up. Being there and answering their questions in person makes a lasting impression.

Finally, the value to your management team cannot be over emphasized. This is your chance to see all the new products, catch up on industry news and touch base with your greatest assets, your drivers.