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Bendix workers in Mexico channel their inner Vikings

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Employees at the Bendix facility in Acuna, Mexico, took a break from manufacturing advanced truck safety systems to construct Viking-style longboats. The activity was a weekend team-building exercise. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

When people in trucking hear the name Bendix, they think of an industry leader in cutting-edge driver safety-assist technology. They think of Bendix’s ever-evolving Wingman system, and how its individual components, like its Electronic Stability Program, or ESP, and its collision mitigation and lane departure warning systems have been brought together in the latest incarnation, Wingman Fusion.

The company is unquestionably at the forefront of 21st-century trucking technology. It turns out they might be handy if you’re planning a raiding party.

Bendix’s manufacturing plant in Acuna, Mexico, is a sprawling complex. Opened in 1988, the 412,000 square-foot operation consists of three state-of-the-art facilities and a logistics center. The operation employs more than 1,800 workers.  Knorr-Bremse, the parent company of Bendix, considers the Acuna operation to be one of its jewels, naming it its top-ranked plant worldwide in 2011.

But even the best need a little boost now and then, and when management decided to hold an entertaining, team-building event at the hi-tech Mexican facility, they of course took their inspiration from 10th-century Scandinavia.

On a recent Saturday, about 200 employees from the Acuna plant got together for a little lighthearted but purposeful competition meant to foster creative thinking and communication. The groups were split into teams and given the challenge to build two, 45-foot wooden Viking boats.

Each team split into groups, each tasked with building a certain part of the boat, emphasizing how a team approach can be effective in achieving goals. The teams were faced with time, planning, and strategy challenges.

Acuna plant manager Jackie Perez explained the challenge was more than a chance to wear horned hats and have a laugh or two.

“It helps us consolidate practices that allow us, as a company, to achieve shared goals, drive camaraderie, and, above all, work together every single day for the same common purpose,” Perez said.

The ship-building activity was followed up with a conference on emotional intelligence, “designed to drive synergy and a sense of belonging through a deeper understanding of tools and recommendations to become more productive, maintain a positive attitude, and consolidate the company’s values,” according to a company press release.

“I was pleased to share and experience great team spirit, joy, and enthusiasm during the activities performed, culminating with the goal planned at the beginning of the event, building Viking ships,” said Belem Fierro, human resources manager at the Acuna plant. “These activities, as well as the emotional intelligence conference, are part of the training programs that Bendix is driving to continue to create leaders. The skills developed through these programs will contribute to a sustainable growth that will allow us to continue being the best in what we are and what we do.”

Just so long as they don’t decide to sack and pillage anywhere.

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The Nation

Trucker lets out a good belly laugh as he rolls past the weigh station

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Everyone needs to catch a break now and then.

We found this on YouTube.  It was posted by James Ewing.

We are also not sure if this is James in the video, but we love a good belly laugh!

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Dashcam catches multicounty chase of stolen semi

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Sheriffs in Ohio had to use stop sticks to finally end the chase with a big rig that led authorities on a multicounty chase.

Stephen Wolfe was charged with stealing the semi from a business in Michigan last weekend.

Courtesy: NBC4 WCMH-TV Columbus

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Pilot Flying J opens 28th Illinois location, this one in Marshall

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Employee stand in front of the Pilot Flying J location in Marshall, Illinois, which offers more than 64 truck parking spaces and a Truck Care Service Center with roadside assistance. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Flying J continues to grow its presence in Illinois with the opening of a new Pilot Travel Center and Truck Care Service Center in Marshall this month.

The travel center features full amenities for area residents, the traveling public and professional drivers, while adding approximately 50 local jobs and other economic benefits to the community. The Truck Care Service Center includes a two-bay garage and will add approximately 10 jobs to the area, with up to six positions currently available.

“We’re committed to making a better day for people living, working and traveling through Clark County and across the nation,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “We continue to invest in new stores to bring convenience, quality, great food and amenities to those who are traveling the roadways.”

This Pilot Travel Center offers many amenities, including 12 gasoline fueling positions and eight diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling; PJ Fresh pizza and grab-and-go offerings prepared on-site daily, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit cups and an array of hot and cold snacks; Pilot’s Best Gourmet Coffees, including bean-to-cup selections and cold brew; Taco Bell; Truck Care Service Center; driver lounge and five shower rooms; public laundry; Western Union; CAT scale; and everyday products for quick shopping needs

The new facility will be Pilot Flying J’s 28th location in Illinois, including travel centers and dealers, and it is expected to contribute $2.7 million annually in state and local tax revenues. In August, the company also acquired and rebranded a travel center in Vandalia, Illinois, adding a Denny’s restaurant to the Pilot Travel Center located at 10 Interstate Drive.

To meet the needs of industry traffic and provide repair services to professional drivers, the travel center in Marshall will provide more than 64 truck parking spaces and a Truck Care Service Center with roadside assistance. The Truck Care team is seeking ASE-certified technicians with diesel mechanic experience and offers career development, competitive weekly pay and great benefits. To learn more and apply, visit jobs.pilotflyingj.com/technician-and-shop-jobs.

In honor of Pilot Flying J’s history of giving back and commitment to fueling life’s journeys, the company is donating $2,500 to benefit the Marshall Community Unit School District C-2’s technology program.

“Pilot Flying J is honored to be a part of the Marshall community and to contribute to the local school district,” said Randall Fritz, travel center general manager for Pilot Flying J. “Our friendly team members look forward to serving our guests and providing a clean, all-in-one fuel stop with a variety of food, drinks, supplies and amenities.”

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