Schneider celebrates drivers at Intermodal Rodeo

IntermodalRodeo[3]The increasingly complex regulatory environment often leaves transportation companies and shippers feeling like they are competing in a Wild West–style rodeo. Which way to turn and how fast to move are crucial decisions for all the players involved. Interestingly, a major key to success in each is an emphasis on safety. That is precisely why Schneider, the leading transportation, intermodal and logistics provider, recently held its fifth annual Intermodal Safety Rodeo at the company’s Green Bay, Wis. headquarters.

Each year, Schneider encourages all driving associates in its Intermodal division to participate in a driving skills competition — called the Regional Safety Rodeo — by attempting a course set up at 12 of its major hubs across North America. The three-maneuver course takes about 15 minutes to complete and tests a driver’s abilities in blind-side backing and tricky parking situations. Intermodal drivers typically perform shorter-haul “drayage” work, which involves frequent pick-ups and deliveries, often in congested urban areas. Having sharp skills in that environment is vital to the work and is the basis on which the rodeo events are developed.

The winner of each regional rodeo advances to the national championship held every August. In addition to the 12 regional competitors, the prior year’s winner is invited to defend his or her title. This year Matt McMillan of Worcester, Mass. (who won both the 2012 and 2013 rodeos) was unseated by first-time competitor Doug Dent from French Camp, Calif.

“I’m stoked — it’s a huge adrenaline rush,” Dent said after he was announced the winner. “The whole time I was nervous as could be. It was very tough.”

McMillan, who has been with Schneider for eight years, was gracious in defeat. “It was good, fun competition and very safety oriented. They always do a good job setting this up,” he said. “I was hoping for a three-peat, but if you’re here, you’re pretty good.”

The top three finishers (Dent, McMillan and Luther Williams of Houston) received points to use in Schneider’s incentive-based Pacesetter system in which drivers redeem points for valuable items and merchandise. As the overall winner, Dent was also awarded a trophy and will return to the national rodeo next year as the defending champion.

“Though we truly have the best of the best driving for Schneider, we look for every opportunity to reinforce our core value of safety first and always,” noted Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety and security at Schneider. “When the drivers participate in the regional rodeos, it gives them the chance to practice some difficult moves, and it gives our trainers a chance to help them sharpen their skills so that everyone is even safer when they’re out on the road. For those who reach the championships, the fun experience they have in Green Bay is a wonderful way we recognize and reward them for the outstanding work they’re doing.”

Other regional winners and national competitors include Richard Bailey (Worcester, Mass.), Joseph Bardon (Marion, Ohio), David Bramlette II (San Bernardino, Calif.), Cory Gartrell (Syracuse, N.Y.), Ray Guzman (Los Angeles), Cliff McKellar (Fairburn, Ga.), James Owen (Seattle), Joseph Sterling (Chicago) and Michael Waugh (Kansas City, Mo.).