A 2017 annual survey by the American Transportation Research Institute cited driver shortage as the number one concern facing the trucking industry, and the aging workforce is a major contributing factor.
Atlas® leadership and agents alike have strategies in place to stay ahead of the issue, and investing in the development and retention of the industry’s next generation is a priority across the board.
Dan Lammers, Sr. Vice President of Operations, Ace Relocation Systems (0062), knows the value each generation of drivers brings to the business and leverages the experience of tenured drivers to help prepare the younger generation for success.
“You can’t stop investing in people. Long range thinking requires short term spending,” says Dan. “Give them a sound foundation to work on, and be patient with them. Expect them to start cautiously. If they want to rush out of the gate, slow them down. Safety, regulations, customers, finance, maintenance, managing labor, navigating in new cities are all big challenges. Don’t put the younger people in a position to fail.”
From the perspective of the younger generation, it’s this type of forward thinking that attracts new talent to the business. Hear more from a few of Atlas’ next generation PVOs.
“I began working for A-1 Moving & Storage in high school. My father owns our agency, and my grandfather started it. In 2013, I felt that if I was going to one day be in charge of our company,
I never want to be over someone doing a job I have never done myself. I decided to get my Class -A CDL and began driving over the road and gained a love for long-distance moves. In the next 10 years, I see myself hopefully taking over my father's role as President of A-1 Moving & Storage and taking our company to new levels of success. I was recently nominated by Atlas Van Lines and selected by AMSA for the AMSA Super Van Operator-Rookie of the Year Award. I am incredibly honored to not only be nominated by our van line, but also to be chosen for this award. I believe agents can more effectively recruit younger drivers by recognizing someone's potential at a young age and pairing them with seasoned, successful PVOs so they learn how to properly handle a relocation and get a better understanding of the fulfillment a career as a PVO can provide.”
“I enjoy trying to out-do my performance with each move I complete. I also enjoy making one of the most stressful events in someone’s life as simple as it can be. A happy and satisfied customer makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. My father-in-law is a PVO for Atlas, and he trained me and gave me the tools to be a successful relocation specialist and businessman. Without the guidance of Herb West Jr., I really think my moving career would be short. I believe that the drivers with good attitudes should do their part to help recruit.This goes back to us being the faces of Atlas.”
“Not just anyone can be a mover. It's not that any one aspect of the job is overly difficult, but there are so many little jobs within the job. A good owner operator needs to be a good business man or woman. He or she has to know how to handle finances and taxes. A good mover must also sincerely care about the customers’ belongings as if they were his or her own.
A good mover must also be a good conversationalist. Sometimes it’s not enough to just take care of customers’ belongings. You have to also make them feel comfortable with you and your crew. On top of that, a good mover must be a good driver. We are looking for motivated individuals who love travel and love experiencing life. People who don't settle for mediocrity in anything they do. I think a few things we could do to help with recruitment are establishing a stronger presence at collegiate and high school job fairs, recruiting military members leaving the service, developing agent laborers into drivers, and optimizing the exterior image of the agency and van line through updated and visually appealing equipment.”