Gypsum Express, Ltd. - “Our Drivers Make The Difference”
Caption: John Wight, President of Gypsum Express and the Gypsum Corporate Headquarters in Baldwinsville, New York.
Caption: 300 new ProStar (above) and Cascadia tractors (below) have recently arrived in the Gypsum Express fleet.
By Steve Pollock
BALDWINSVILLE, NY… If you run the New York Thruway there is a good chance that someday you will see John Wight, President and CEO of Gypsum Express, Ltd. pulling a set of doubles down the highway. John Wight started trucking in 1976 with a single pickup truck and a trailer and still believes that if you manage a trucking company you should get out and deliver a load and spend a night in the sleeper at a truckstop occasionally. This provides a clear idea of just what your drivers have to contend with on a daily basis. John will often deliver the first load to a new customer in order to see what is involved and to be sure that logistically everything is working smoothly. He doesn’t tell the customer that he owns Gypsum Express; he prefers to be treated exactly as one of his drivers would be on a normal load delivery. As John stated in this interview, “I enjoy getting out with the guys and putting it into the wind and driving. I like driving much more than sitting behind a desk in the office.” However, when you have 550 power units, 1,500 trailers and 9 terminals, it can tend to take up a lot of your time, so John has to put in his share of desk time as well.
Gypsum Express is a unique flatbed carrier. As their name suggests, Gypsum Express hauls primarily wallboard with a limited amount of steel and paper. The corporate office in Baldwinsville, New York also operates some vans, serving the adjacent Anheuser-Busch plant and some of its suppliers. By maintaining a 3:1 ratio of trailers to tractors, Gypsum Express can spot empty trailers to be pre-loaded at the Gypsum plants. This facilitates a drop and hook load on nearly all outbound freight. The network of nine terminals located in Baldwinsville, NY; Shadyside, OH; Carrollton, KY; Aliquippa, PA; Demotte, IN; Savannah, GA; Shoals, IN; Waukegan, IL; and Fairless Hills, PA provide irregular route hub and spoke freight moves from Iowa to the Eastern Seaboard. There are many regional loads, some short haul freight, and about 20% dedicated short haul freight where drivers are home every night. Regional drivers are home every weekend unless they choose to keep running. Gypsum Express presently has opportunities available for about 100 drivers throughout their terminal network.
Gypsum dispatchers help drivers maximize their on-duty driving time and the drop and hook is a big help in this area. The company runs completely hours of service compliant and uses electronic logs to help eliminate log mistakes and allow for better time management. Some Gypsum drivers have legally logged 3,000 miles per week with good driving time management. The work is there, along with the ability to make a good living.
The company operates a fleet of 550 late model power units. Recently Gypsum Express took delivery of 300 new tractors comprised of International ProStars and Freightliner Cascadias. They also purchased 300 new Fontaine Revolution flatbed trailers. The fleet will continue growing to meet expanding customer demands, which will in turn create even more driving opportunities. John Wight stated, “Our reputation sells our company. Our customers get the service they are looking for at a fair price. As a driver, if you keep your door closed and the wheels turning, you can make a good living at Gypsum.” Wight estimates that many of the Gypsum plants are presently operating at 60-70% capacity and as that capacity increases, so will Gypsum Express’s fleet size.
Gypsum Express, Ltd. drivers start at a base pay of 41¢ per mile loaded on E-log with additional compensations for tarping, detention time and more. In January of this year the company implemented a new fuel economy incentive bonus. The top 50% of drivers with the best fuel economy at each terminal receives up to 2.5¢ per mile bonus, which is paid out monthly. Gypsum Express also offers achievable safety bonuses as well.
Drivers enjoy working in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Because Gypsum Express owner John Wight is a driver, along with many of the company’s staff and management who are also CDL holders, they understand the challenges faced by today’s Professional Driver. At Gypsum Express they believe that respect is a two-way street and it starts with your first call to a recruiter near you. Gypsum Express has a non-alert CSA status and one of the industry’s lowest turnover rates at just 33%. John Wight also has a lot of respect for safe drivers. He believes in rewarding safe drivers and has paid out over 4 million dollars in safety bonuses since 2001. Drivers can earn a yearly safety bonus, consecutive year safety bonus and a new fuel bonus incentive. For additional info, call 866-317-6556 or log onto www.gypsumexpress.com.