A company can never be too involved in the community and this was a milestone year for Stoops-Fort Wayne.
In 2015, General Manager Jim Ham began the philanthropic journey by leading his dealership to a partnership with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. But this year it went further than that; Stoops also accepted an invitation from the local United Way organization to participate in their “Day of Caring.”
For more than 25 years, the United Way has hosted multiple “Days of Caring” in the Fort Wayne area where businesses volunteer to help with a project at various parks, schools and other organizations. This year, the “Day of Caring” took place on Sept. 1 and involved more than 1,600 volunteers. Stoops was among those volunteers with 16 employees from all departments dedicating their time to helping revitalize a school playground and parking lot.
During the project, the Stoops volunteers not only reset pea gravel and repaired benches, but they also had the opportunity to meet some of the children during recess where handmade signs were shared to thank the staff for their time and effort.
But the story of caring does not stop there. Fort Wayne employees were so touched by the energy of the children and the kindness of their “Thank You” signs, that the volunteers wanted to do more. The dealership decided to collect donations from employees which would be used to purchase playground toys for the children to enjoy throughout the school year. Through the generosity of the dealership, Stoops raised more than $800 which was used to purchase basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, kickballs, super balls, sidewalk chalk, a giant Frisbee, bottled water, hats, gloves, tissues, hand sanitizer and a pizza party for the entire school … all of which were presented at an all school gathering.
Gratitude and surprise are just some of the words to describe the atmosphere in the room that day. Teachers and students alike were more than grateful for the gifts and let the Stoops staff know with hugs and high fives as they returned to class.
Stoops intends to participate in the United Way’s “Day of Caring” in 2017 where they can continue to make a positive impact in the local Fort Wayne community.
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A company can never be too involved in the community and this was a milestone year for Stoops-Fort Wayne.
Congratulations to the Truck Country/Stoops winners of the Freightliner Leland James Elite 2015-2016 program!
The Freightliner program recognizes sales professionals for their sales excellence, customer service and industry leadership.
Top 20 Elite Trip Winners
Tony Bodway — TC Oak Creek
Greg Danner — TC Kaukauna
Silver Elite Trip Winner
Dennis LeGrand — TC Dubuque
Greg Allen — Stoops Lima
Chris Bertagnoli — TC Oak Creek
Luke Burbach — TC Oak Creek
Scott Donovan — Stoops Indianapolis
Sam Gayhart — TC Oak Creek
Jim Glindinning — TC Oak Creek
Paul Hajos — TC Kaukauna
Alan Hansen — TC Rothschild
Rick Kinney — TC Kaukauna
Sales Manager Trip Winner
Michael Gleiter — TC Kaukauna
For the next year, Will Gross has the bragging rights as being named Truck Country’s Top Tech.
On the Sept. 23, 16 technicians from across Truck Country’s dealership group converged in Dubuque for the second annual Top Tech Rodeo, a contest that serves to name the company’s leading diesel technician for the year.
Of course, Gross has more than bragging rights to take from the event. Overall, Gross, of the Dubuque dealership, earned $3,500 from the contest, earning $3,000 with his first-place showing and scoring $500 as a result of winning the written exam. Greg Haring, of TC-Minocqua, finished in second place, netting him a $2,000 prize, and TC-Shullsburg’s Bobby Mosley won $1,000 after taking third place. The top-three place winners were also presented with a new jacket as a result of their efforts.
This year’s Top Tech Rodeo took place at Truck Country’s new diesel technician training center, near the south edge of Dubuque. Participants took turns rotating between eight different stations, where their knowledge of all aspects of trucks was tested.
Presented with different test scenarios, technicians were challenged to find solutions to problems facing trucks in the areas of braking, starting, electrical, after-treatment, HVAC, DOT, service info and engine. A reception recognizing the winners was held later that evening at the Julien Hotel in downtown Dubuque.
Gross, a second-generation Truck Country technician who has worked fulltime with the company for 10 years, also participated in the rodeo in 2015.
While his returning experience helped, Gross said organizers did a good job of changing the stations from the 2015 event.
“I think there were a couple of stations they had last year that they didn’t have this year,” Gross said. “You just didn’t know what to expect.”
Gross, who recently was married, said belated honeymoon could be in store with his winnings.
Haring, who was participating in the Top Tech Rodeo for the first time, called the competition “intense.” However, afterward he predicted he was would try to participate again in future years.
“The McCoys treat us very well,” said Haring, who said he would invest his winnings in repairing his home and treating his family to dinner. “I definitely think it was a morale booster. It is a good time; a good learning experience.”
In response to the demand for increased payloads on a 33,000 GVWR climate control straight trucks, Stoops Freightliner-Quality Trailer has developed a new Stoops Specialty Trucks (SST) Lite truck. The new truck was unveiled at the Expedite Expo in Lexington, Ken., in July.
The plan to develop the new SST Lite truck started by reaching out to several key customers for their input, as well collaborating with vendors to develop a design for the truck. This collaboration resulted in a weight savings, with the new model weighing just 25,580 pounds (2,200 pounds less than similar units).
Additionally, the new chassis is not only lighter, but also features a pair of new safety features. Equipped with Bendix disc brakes, the SST Lite truck has a significantly shorter stopping distance, as well as having the new Bendix SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitor System that will alert drivers when a tire is losing air pressure to prevent damage to the tire and reduce maintenance cost.
Meanwhile, Stoops has partnered with Thermo King and Wabash National to provide the latest in refrigeration technology. Thermo King recently released its new T880 model Truck Refrigeration Unit, with electronic throttling valve technology and modulation which provides the tightest temperature control in the industry. Stoops’ newest vendor partner, Wabash National, recently released its new all-composite reefer body. Over the past several months, Stoops Specialty Trucks worked with Wabash National to create a spec especially for the Expediter business.
“This truck body is truly a ‘game-changer’ that provides 20 percent weight savings as well as a 30 percent increase in thermal efficiency,” said Jeff Jones, sales manager for Stoops’ specialty trucks.
Stoops also continues to work with Bolt Custom Trucks in developing custom sleepers. By using a new composite material in the floor and cabinet bases, the pair were able to save a significant amount of weight as well as enhance the insulation value. Bolt also recently released its new bunk restraint system to further enhance safety.
On May 20-21, almost 300 truck drivers, 32 mechanical technicians and over 800 attendees from all around the state of Ohio converged on Kalahari Resorts & Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio, for the 2016 Ohio Trucking Association Truck Driver Championship (TDC) and the Technician Competition.
Stoops Freightliner, of Lima ,was the main sponsor and competed with two technicians in the competition, Nate Lehman finished in second place overall and won one station, while Jeremiah Larabee took third place overall and was the winner of three stations. They both have been sponsored to compete in the national competition in Raleigh, NC.
Meanwhile, Steve Burke Jr., of Stoops’ fleet customer, Dick Lavy Trucking, was the overall champion.
Kylie Hamp, of Stoops Lima, was the company representative and carried out the sponsor duties for the week.
After months of preparation and construction, Truck Country moved into its new state-of-the-art facility earlier this year. The new dealership is located at 3201 Hwy 61/151, Dubuque, Iowa.
To commemorate the move, Truck Country will host a grand opening/open house celebration throughout the day on Wednesday, May 25. At 4:30 p.m., the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, as well as other community leaders, will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Just a few hundred yards south of Truck Country’s former dealership building, the new 52,000-square-foot operation is nearly double the size of the old location. Among other highlights, the dealership features an expanded shop, which features 21 service bays (compared with 10 at the old building), a new alignment rack, detail bay and a flywheel resurfacing area.
Meanwhile, the facility also features an enhanced parts show room and a significantly larger drivers’ lounge, as well as additional office space and a larger parts storage area.
“As a certified Freightliner Elite Support location, the new dealership can provide customers with the best in customer service and amenities,” said John Gile, general manager at Truck Country’s Dubuque location. “We look forward to showcasing our new, first-class operation to the public.”
Everywhere he goes recently, Garner Trucking’s Gary Smith feels like the center of attention. And there’s a good reason for that.
Since Sept. 19, Smith has been driving a brand new “Freedom Truck,” a Freightliner Cascadia emblazoned with patriotic-themed décor. The 2016 model features the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore on the driver side paneling, while the Lincoln Memorial and a view of the U.S. Capitol are showcased on the passenger side rear paneling.
Garner President WAl presented Smith, the company’s driver of the year, with keys to the truck at the business’ annual meeting.
“Gary Smith is enjoying the attention that his new wheels create,” recounted Sonja Walsh, an administrative assistant for Garner. “He has stories of how people from all walks of life come up to him to comment on the beauty of his truck. He said some elementary children have even come up to him with excitement that they recognize pictures on his truck from their social studies in school.”
Garner Brumbaugh said the decision to acquire the Freedom Truck was based in part on the company’s involvement with the Truckload Carriers Association, which supports patriotic initiatives like delivering wreaths to cemeteries to honor deceased veterans and transporting a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall to communities around the country.
Garner Brumbaugh praised Stoops Freightliner’s Lima location, as well as sales representative Ed Quatman, with helping make the truck a reality.
“We’ve had a long-time relationship,” she said. “They really worked with us.”
Garner Trucking is a family-owned and operated business that is marking its 55th anniversary in 2015. Garner Brumbaugh is a second-generation president of the company, succeeding her father, Vern, who passed away in 2007.
Today, the regional transporter employs 160 employees and utilizes approximately 100 trucks and 400 trailers as it typically makes deliveries from western New York to the Mississippi River and from Michigan to as far south as South Carolina.
Truck Country’s second class of internally, educated certified service technicians completed their studies last month.
Nine students from across the Truck Country family of dealerships completed the intensive 10-month training program, where they split time between studying and training at the company’s Technician Training Center in Cuba City, Wis. and working at their home dealerships.
This year’s graduating class included: Brandon Sisler, of Truck Country-Dubuque; Zach Dillman, of TC-Dubuque; Jarett March, of TC-Shullsburg; Devon Foley, of TC-Shullsburg; Travis Brown, of TC-Cedar Rapids; Austin Colbrese, of TC-Davenport; Dustin Bankes, of TC-Davenport; Anthony Clayton, of TC-Appleton; and Dustin Dix, of TC-Appleton. Dealer trainer Terry Straw led the class for the second consecutive year, while Jon Pedley joined him.
Program graduates completed their studies with a celebration on July 3, McCoy Group President and CEO Greg McCoy, as well as Truck Country of Iowa Vice President Bill Roth and Truck Country of Wisconsin Vice President Dan Armstrong addressed students.
Meanwhile, general managers and service managers from the dealership group were invited to attend the festivities.
The Truck Country open house events head to Wisconsin this week.
You are invited to join the Truck Country team at our Madison location today, Aug. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy lunch and visit the Detroit Component trailer and chat with Freightliner Team Run Smart drivers Jeff Clark and Henry Albert.
The open house tour continues tomorrow in Milwaukee, in Wausau on Wednesday and Appleton on Thursday.