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Recruit and Retain: Transport America: Expect something good

With Betsy Waldrop, Transport America recruiting director


Location: Eagan, Minn.

Drivers: More than 2,000

Power units: 1,850



By Carolyn Mason


At GATS, Transport America’s recruiting team used hula dancers at its booth to promote a Hawaiian trip giveaway for anyone outside the company with a CDL.

Betsy Waldrop, director of recruiting for Transport America, says she’s thrilled with the industry buzz and driver goodwill generated by the Eagan, Minn.-based carrier’s Big Fat Sweepstakes marketing program. Now in its second year, truckers from across the industry are talking about the program and giving thumbs-up for opening the sweepstakes to drivers outside the company.

While there are plenty of giveaways and competing sweepstakes, Waldrop wanted Transport America’s effort to stand out. Her goal – finding qualified drivers in a shrinking pool – requires outside-the-box solutions, and the sweepstakes is one example of how she’s attracting good drivers.


How does the Big Fat Sweepstakes work?

Anyone outside the company with a CDL can enter. Every few months, a winner and their guest receive round-trip airfare, two night’s hotel accommodations, $1,000 in spending cash and ground transportation to the event site. The destinations are exciting, and last year’s winners said it was the trip of a lifetime. The grand prize is a trip for four, and this year they went to Disney World.


What is the philosophy behind the sweepstakes?

We wanted to promote our message to a wide range of drivers. They find out about our driver-friendly culture, and offering the chance for an all-expense-paid trip generates excitement. It’s one thing to win a trip, but it really ratchets up the buzz when you add spending money for expenses.

This promotion continues the message of a driver-friendly company.”

– Betsy Waldrop, Transport America recruiting director


How does it affect retention?

Our OTR solo retention rate is 58 percent, considerably better than the industry average. We pay well and offer a wide range of driving options. This promotion continues the message of a driver-friendly company.


How do you promote the sweepstakes?

At MATS, Transport America’s team drew a crowd of attendees who had photos taken with costumed Disney characters.

We promote via social media, online newsletters, industry publications and trade shows. During MATS, we drew a crowd with costumed Disney characters. Attendees swarmed the booth, had photos taken with Snow White and Tinker Bell and filled out sweepstakes entry forms. It was goofy and fun. At GATS, we promoted the Hawaiian destination and had tastefully attired hula dancers at the booth. They attracted quite a buzz!


What did the winners think?

Bob and Gloria Holland of Burleson, Texas, registered at GATS and were stunned to find out they won the first trip, which included two World Series tickets, two nights stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas, transportation to and from the game by Landmark Limos Service and $1,000 in spending cash for meals and entertainment. All of the winners have a blast, and their positive word-of-mouth endorsements propel entries.


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