In today’s climate, driver capacity concerns and retention remain top of mind for commercial fleets. Here’s a look at how three very different fleets have been able to maintain a quality workplace and environment for their drivers.

Recruiting and retaining professional drivers remains a top priority for commercial fleet owners and managers. While creating a driver-centric company culture can be challenging, communication and transparency tend to be the silver bullets for the fleets that have found success.

As a former truck driver and dispatcher, Andrew Winkler, now general manager at Chief Carriers, which runs 65 trucks and 200 flatbed trailers and is a subsidiary of Chief Industries, is well aware that communication is essential when it comes to improving and maintaining a quality workplace and environment for drivers.

“You have to constantly listen to the drivers,” Winkler told FleetOwner. “If you just have a conversation with them, you’ll start to understand and learn what’s important to them.”

Winkler got his start in the industry in 1995 as a student driver for Grand Island Express (GIE). After earning his commercial driver’s license, he drove over the road for GIE for about 10 months before accepting a position as a dispatcher. Throughout his career at GIE, Winkler progressed from student driver to solo driver, from dispatcher to operations manager and then safety director, before eventually leaving the company as vice president of operations. He took on the role of general manager at Chief Carriers in 2018.

“I think being a former driver has helped a lot not only with perspective and experience on the road, but they certainly respect you if you came up through the system after starting as a driver,” Winkler explained.

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