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​Truck Drivers Deserve More!

By Steve Pollock

February, 2018

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LINCOLN, NE… Crete Carrier believes that Professional Truck Drivers deserve more pay. Crete President and COO Tim Aschoff states, “During a recent road trip to meet and talk with drivers who drive for Crete, as well as some who do not, I quickly reaffirmed that driving a tractor-trailer for a living in not an easy job. There are many things beyond just driving the truck that a Professional Truck Driver must deal with – from time management to weather and road conditions, being away from home and mixing it up with 4 wheelers – a driver deals with a lot every single day. Not to mention being responsible for a piece of equipment and a load that is often worth a quarter of a million dollars or more is a huge responsibility. That is why at Crete Carrier we appreciate everything it takes to be a Professional Truck Driver and we also realize that Crete Carrier’s success is a direct result of our driver’s efforts and professionalism. This is why we have not only instituted a pay raise, but also offer our drivers a benefit and retirement package second to none in the industry.”

Crete Carrier is one of the top 20 largest privately owned carriers in the nation. The company has a fleet of 5,600 power units and 13,000 trailers, operating as three separate entities: Crete Carrier – dry van; Shaffer Trucking – temperature controlled; and Hunt Transportation – open deck hauling. The company also has 350 owner-operators in the fleet. Established in 1966, Crete Carrier remains family owned and debt free. Crete still embraces “Good Midwestern Family Values” by taking care of all of their employees. Working at Crete is not a stepping stone to a better job, it is a place to start a career and eventually retire.

Crete believes in paying drivers what they are worth. OTR drivers start at 47¢-53¢ per practical mile. The top 50% of the drivers in the over the road fleet earn an average of $73,000 annually. Crete chooses their freight customers carefully, finding shippers that will work within the Hours of Service guidelines and optimize Crete’s shipping lanes. They also look for shippers willing to pay for premium service in order to maintain superior driver wages. This allows Crete drivers minimal deadhead and an abundance of available loads, providing maximum mileage opportunities.

All of the employees at Crete are eligible for the company’s Gold Standard Benefit Package, which includes health, dental, and vision coverage; life insurance; paid vacation time and a 401K retirement plan. In 2017 the company paid out $8 million in shared profits, giving each eligible employee about 3.7% of their earned income in shared profits.

The Crete, Shaffer and Hunt Transportation fleets are all proud of their reputation as safe and compliant carriers. The company was 2nd among the Top 25 Truckload Carriers for having below average CSA scores and has been ELD compliant for more than 5 years. They have also received multiple safety awards from the ATA. A further testimony to Crete’s treatment of their drivers is the fact that the company is 1/3 of the national average for driver turnover rates. The company operates late model Cascadia and ProStar tractors, on average 2 years old or newer, which are loaded with driver amenities.

Here’s a couple of “Crete Stories” from their drivers”:

James Lawson, Company Driver, Years at Crete: 12: “I’m out of the Greensboro terminal. I came to Crete to work in October 2004, and before then I was in the military for 21 years. I retired in 1997. During my retirement we had JB, Werner, and Schneider to do their orientation briefing. So I said, “Well listen, I got to start working somewhere so let’s go with trucking. So I did. Schneider picked me up, got me trained up and everything else. After being with them for four years, I said well ok I’d like to go somewhere else. So I went with another company. I was with them for five years, but they went out of business. When they went out of business I had no job, so I called up Crete and in two weeks time Crete had me a new job. Alright! Once I came on with Crete, they gave me a pay raise right off the bat, so that was a good thing because that’s what I like. They have good pay, the equipment is good. One of the biggest things that I like about Crete is that they got good equipment, they have medical, dental, and those things are important as well. I mean I like that as well. I do get VA benefits; they help me out with the medical costs. They are a well-known company, everybody always talks about them. Everybody asks me questions about you know what they do and I tell them the truth. With them, you got the 401k, which I don’t really participate in but the profit sharing that’s good. I like that. I’ve been with Crete and I’ve had like three or four driver of the month awards. I also have a million mile award and that’s it. Thank you!”

Terri Hall, Company Driver, Years at Crete: 1: “Hello, this is my story on how I became a driver – I’ve had my CDL for over three years and I just had my one year anniversary with Crete, Prior to that I was an RN, worked in the ER for 20 years, specializing in trauma. I came out here in 2014 with a spouse to learn to drive and be a team and his gambling addiction was the demise of that plan and our marriage. I had two choices, go back to nursing or learn to drive and that’s what I wanted to do and I love it out here, I love the freedom. I can’t say enough about Crete as a company, there’s no perfect company, but they’re pretty close in my opinion. I don’t know too many companies that you can come to with little experience and start out at .46 to .48 cents a mile, there’s plenty of freight. I don’t do as much sitting as I did with a previous company and I’m amazed at how many other Crete drivers I pass out here in route, I’m talking sometimes 20 trucks a day. I have a great asset manager, Jody Zeggers. Everyone I’ve ever dealt with on the other end of Crete in the office has always been kind and very professional. I don’t know too many companies that give free profit sharing or have Christmas parties for employees and will do their best to get you there. They have a good pet policy; they’ve allowed my dog to ride with me. It means a lot to me as a driver to have a companion on the truck with me. Their health insurance is great. I never have any problems getting home for home time. They have a passenger program, I’m getting ready to pick up my first passenger, my boyfriend - this is going to be interesting. If you’re considering Crete Carrier, they’re a great company, you’re not going to get any better and welcome aboard and I hope you all have a great day. Thanks.”

Crete is currently hiring experienced drivers and recent driving school graduates throughout the US. They require a minimum of 4 months OTR experience or training from an approved driving school. Candidates must be at least 22 years of age, have an acceptable driving record, stable and verifiable work history, a Class A CDL and no alcohol offenses or positive drug screens in the past 5 years. Crete is also presently leasing owner-operators for their fleet. For additional information call 888-837-6520.


Left to right: Crete President and COO Tim Aschoff with driver Greg Hall and Account Manager Carl Bailey.

Tractors from the Crete, Shaffer and Hunt fleets – a combined total of over 5,600 power units.

Crete President and COO Tim Aschoff with a Crete driver of 26 years, James Nelson. Aschoff went on a recent road trip to talk with the company’s drivers at Travel Centers that they frequent.

Crete owns lat model tractors, Cascadia and ProStar – 2 years old or newer.