Editor’s Note: Welcome to View From the Top, a new series for Truckers News. In each feature, we’ll talk with one of trucking’s leaders about how their company and the industry are dealing with the unprecedented challenges and changes wrought by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
These are heavy days, ones in which social media newsfeeds often overflow with gloom or doom and sometimes both. And, rightfully so. The COVID-19 coronavirus has blanketed much of the country, millions are jobless and self-isolating, and the economy is in dire straits.
Still, Raider Express Vice President Mike Eggleton is upbeat about how this Forth Worth-based protein hauler has responded to the crisis, how it’s performing, and what’s ahead.
“We’ve never been stronger as a company,” said Eggleton in this interview for Truckers News’ View From the Top podcast series. “I would tell prospective employees, everybody still has to eat. Shelves still need to stay stocked so come drive a truck. It’s a different world, but you’ll love it.”
And, it appears people are taking Eggleton at his word. This family-owned reefer carrier with more than 320 drivers stays busy as the pandemic sidelines many businesses, including some trucking companies. In the process, Eggleton says Raider has made numerous adjustments including:
- buying 15 new trucks
- buying a fifth-wheel camper to serve as a driver lounge at its terminal
- making trips to a local Walmart three or four times a week to buy provisions for drivers
- bringing in lunch each day for folks still working at the office and distancing those people from drivers
- constantly seeking sources for hand sanitizer
- hiring four new people to thoroughly clean trucks as they come into the Raider yard
- cleaning the offices and driver lounge constantly
- taking the temperatures of drivers and office staff every day
But, it is still holding classes for new drivers, driver turnover is low, and construction progress continues on its large, new facilities Eggleton says will open this summer.
“I’m just extremely proud of what Raider has accomplished,” said Eggleton, adding that the company, the trucking industry, and the country will emerge stronger from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.