Ronald Gross, Inc. Celebrates Over 55 Years of Service
CABOT, PA…. Ron Gross started driving truck right out of high school in 1958 and continued driving until 2014. Ron purchased his first truck at the age of 25, a used 1960 single axle Brockway. He founded Ron Gross Trucking in 1965, still operating with a single truck. He then purchased a second truck in 1974 and hired one of his cousins to drive it. Ronald Gross, Inc. has experienced steady, controlled growth since then, growing the fleet to 45 company trucks and 9 owner-operators.
In the mid 1970s, Ronald Gross, Inc. began hauling for Moonlight Mushrooms, located near Butler, Pennsylvania. At the time, Moonlight Mushrooms was the world’s largest producer of mushrooms. Ron and his drivers were pulling open top vans loaded with various types of compost into the mushroom mines. The fleet grew to 4 trucks and with the decline of Moonlight Mushrooms, Ron Gross started trip leasing steel out of Butler and Brackenridge, Pennsylvania. In 1982, he purchased their current location in Cabot, Pennsylvania. It wasn’t long after the industry deregulated that Ronald Gross, Inc. applied for and received their own operating authority.
Today Ronald Gross, Inc. is 100% flatbed with their primary commodity being steel. The hauls are mostly regional, running primarily east to west along I-70, I-80 and US 30 in a 450-500 mile radius of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1990 Ron decided to “lighten up”, spec’ing trucks and trailers as light as possible to accommodate additional coil weight. This enabled a nice market niche for the company to be able to haul coils that are on the heavy side.
Ron Gross drivers are paid by percentage, with an average length of haul of 2,300-2,440 miles per week. The company offers a $1,000 per week guaranteed minimum pay. Drivers grossing over $1,500 per week receive a $100 bonus and over $2,000 per week receive a $200 bonus.
Ronald Gross, Inc. enjoys an extremely low turnover rate (30% annually), largely because drivers like working for them and the excellent benefit package that they offer. Many drivers have worked at the company for 25-35 years. They have one driver, Steve Rodgers, who has been with the company for 31 years and who has driven 3 million safe miles without a chargeable accident. There are also two 2 million miles safe drivers and 8 million mile safe drivers. Vice President Ronnie Gross, Jr. stated, “We have always tried to take care of our drivers. We know each one of them by name and many times their spouses and children as well. We understand the challenges these men and women face every day as Professional Truck Drivers because everyone here, including my Mom, Ruth, has driven truck at one time, with the exception of the two ladies who work in the office.”
Ronald Gross, Inc. offers a comprehensive benefit package that includes 100% company paid hospitalization for drivers and their children, as well as paid holidays, paid vacations, twice yearly safety bonuses, a company matched 401K, short term disability insurance and life insurance, a family eye care plan and a profit sharing program.
In addition to the family work environment and great benefit package, Ronald Gross, Inc. makes a concerted effort to spec their trucks with driver comfort in mind. Over the years they have purchased about every make of truck in the business, but now run Freightliners and Macks. They have been spec’ing bigger sleepers, more driver amenities and even some chrome to add a bit of bling to their trucks. The average age of tractors in their fleet is 3 years or newer. While they utilize side kits, the company also has a number of trailers equipped with tarping systems from Aero and Load Covering Solutions. Most of the trailers are also equipped with rear steps for the driver’s convenience.
Ronald Gross, Inc. also enjoys an excellent safety rating and very low CSA scores. They hold two safety meetings each year, usually in May and November. The safety meetings have become known for the hearty breakfast that Secretary/Treasurer Connie Harbison (Ron’s daughter) cooks for the drivers.
In an effort to retain some of their company drivers who have chosen to become owner-operators, Ronald Gross, Inc. has instituted a limited Lease to Own Program to keep some of these talented individuals with the company. President Barry Gross said, “One of our drivers wanted to purchase his truck from us and become an owner-operator and we wanted to accommodate him. We had never leased owner-operators, but the individual said, “Hey, I want to keep working for you!” So, the company has lease purchased a few trucks to our drivers and leased them back to the company so we can keep these great individuals working for us and at the same time, help them to realize their dream of being an owner-operator.”
A few years ago, Ron Gross, Sr. passed ownership of the company to his children. Today Barry Gross serves as President, Ronnie Gross, Jr. is Vice President and Connie Harbison is Secretary/Treasurer. Connie’s son Ben Harbison works in dispatch. When asked about some of the most significant changes he has seen in the trucking industry, Ron Gross, Sr. stated, “The biggest change I have seen is the equipment. It is a lot safer and more comfortable but unfortunately also has a lot more breakdowns. Also finding good drivers who don’t job hop is a challenge.”
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ronald Gross, Inc. didn’t lay off any of their drivers and continued to pay them their full wages, even when things got slow. Lately however, business has been strong, and the company expected things to pick up even more in the very near future. If you are interested in a driving career at Ronald Gross, Inc., give Ronnie Gross, Jr. a call at 866-809-2194.