2006 Innovator of the Year

Updated Jan 27, 2012
April 06 Ioy Cover

Name: Watkins & Shepard Trucking, Inc.

Location: Helena, MT

One aspect of Watkins & Shepard Trucking’s efforts that appealed to CCJ editors was the universal applicability. “The idea wasn’t one that was specific to Watkins & Shepard, but rather an innovation that other carriers could use and apply to their own recruiting and staffing situations,” says CCJ Managing Editor Dean Smallwood. Indeed, CEO Ray Kuntz launched the program in part as a demonstration project for the rest of the trucking industry.
And Watkins & Shepard’s boldness in taking the idea from vague concept to full implementation in about six months got the attention of Aaron Huff, CCJ’s technology editor. “At nearly every trade show or conference, executives talk about driver recruiting and retention .You seldom hear people speak of taking risks by bringing new drivers into the profession.”

“All carriers complain about the driver shortage, but most just keep using the same timeworn, ineffective methods to try and solve the problem,” Longton says. “By making it possible for people to pursue a career in trucking who have the desire, but not the financial means, Watkins & Shepard has identified and capitalized on a completely new source of drivers. The industry gets more drivers, and those new drivers get the chance for a fresh start. With its innovative approach, Watkins & Shepard sets a template for others in the industry to follow.”