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Initiative to start 150 women-owned transportation businesses reaches halfway point

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Expediter Services and Women In Trucking Association said Wednesday that the collaborative initiative between the two organizations to create 150 women-owned businesses in transportation is on the verge of seeing 75 new trucking start-ups generated within the program.

In reaching the halfway mark in a little more than a year following the program’s official launch at Women In Trucking’s 2017 Accelerate Conference, the 150 Business Challenge has become a proven platform that offers accessible financing as well as operational and business support for women who have an interest in a career path within the trucking industry.

Expediter Services first proposed the 150 Business Challenge to Women In Trucking last fall. The program immediately captured the interest of Forward Air and Panther Premium, a service of ArcBest. These two leading transportation companies became the primary participating carriers for the program, and both carriers have benefited from the addition of non-asset capacity in a driver market that, according to the latest industry estimates, has a shortage in excess of 50,000 people behind the wheel.

The 150 Business Challenge follows the proven working model that Expedited Services utilizes in offering truck ownership opportunities and assisting the program participants in establishing profitable small businesses through a variety of support mechanisms found within the Expediter Services community, according to Jason Williams, president of Expediter Services.

Community. professional drivers interested in the Expediter Services truck ownership programs, like the 150 Business Challenge, go through a screening and qualification process, including an evaluation period.

Williams said in addition to looking at work history, it is during the evaluation period program that participants are given the opportunity by Expediter Services to demonstrate their attitude, their aptitude and their work ethic.

“The company’s process for qualifying truck ownership program participants is unique because it places a greater emphasis on a driver’s work history over a traditional credit score. ES offers qualified participants competitive, market-rate financing for professional drivers seeking to own trucks from the leading equipment brands in the industry,” he said.

“We believed that the 150 Business Challenge could help to make a difference in our industry, and it’s been amazing to witness what has taken place in the past year. As an organization, we could not be more pleased with the results coming out of this program,” said Ellen Voie, President and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association. “The 150 Business Challenge has become a true source of empowerment and opportunity for women in the trucking industry. One of the obstacles that Women In Trucking is working to address is to get women involved as business owners in the trucking industry, and the 150 Business Challenge offers the ideal launching platform for those women who have the drive and desire to establish or expand their own transportation operations.”

“One of the founding principles of our company is to be of service and to provide opportunities to people. As we developed our truck ownership programs, we took note of the hurdles women have faced in trucking from a financial standpoint when looking to start a business. By working with Ellen and her team at Women In Trucking and by partnering with Forward Air and Panther Premium/ArcBest, we believed that we could help open the doors to more women-owned businesses while bringing additional capacity into the industry,” Williams said. “One of the most rewarding parts of the 150 Business Challenge for our team at ES has been the opportunity to work with the amazing people coming into the program. It’s been a thrill for us to see these small businesses get started, achieve success and grow.”

The small businesses that have been established through the 150 Business Challenge have established a solid track record of success and growth, according to officials at Expediter Services, who said this group of small businesses started through the 150 Business Challenge are generating a combined revenue total well in excess of $1.5 million per month. Participants have their choice of operating their trucks within expedited, truckload or LTL through Panther Premium and Forward Air.

According to Expediter Services officials, while the program will close December with over 70 total start-ups that have utilized the 150 Business Challenge, the number of deals in the pipeline and the ongoing discussions with professional drivers interested in operating their own small trucking businesses have the program on track to surpass 75 start-ups in early January.

“As we begin our second year with this program, we’re ready for the continued growth we expect to see,” said Williams, who also serves on the board of the Women In Trucking Association. “For our team at Expediter Services, this a grass-roots effort that we approach one person at a time, one business at a time, one truck at a time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

Lane Departures: Why would California lawmakers saddle trucking with the ABC test?

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Well, he said he’d do it.

If you look elsewhere on this website, you’ll see a story I did about a week ago about AB5, a bill passed by the California Senate on September 10 into the waiting arms of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had long telegraphed he was looking forward to signing it.

Yesterday, he did it. And come the new year, trucking is going to have to live with it.

AB5 — the full name is the “Employees and Independent Contractors” bill — is ostensibly intended to prevent employers from exploiting workers and skirting expenses by relying on “independent contractors” to make their businesses run instead of hiring full-fledged employees, who come with all kinds of nasty baggage like guaranteed minimum wages, overtime and payroll taxes, mandatory breaks, insurance and other horrific profit reducers.

The bill got off the ground in the wake of a court case last year in which a delivery company called Dynamex was determined to have improperly reclassified its workers as independent contractors in order to save money.  In making the decision, the court applied what is known as the ABC test, which presumes all workers should be classified as employees unless they meet three criteria.

Like the court case, the bill, which will codify the ABC test across the state, seems to have been at least in spirit aimed at companies like Dynamex that are part of that there so-called “gig economy” all the young folks are so hopped up about. Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are almost always mentioned as Public Enemies 1A and 1B of supposed independent contractor charlatans.

The problem with AB5, its critics say, is it proposes to perform an appendectomy with a chainsaw, ripping into industries that have long-established business models that extensively use independent contractors to the satisfaction of all involved.

A great big example would be trucking, because it appears the ABC test would prevent carriers from contracting with owner-operators or smaller fleets in California. I’ll let you imagine the consequences if that’s true.

If you’ve read the article, or your planning to read the article, I’d like to apologize in advance because as I’ve been learning about this AB5 business, I have some lingering questions that I could not answer. I have calls out to a couple of experts on the legal and logistical nuances. Unfortunately, experts don’t observe journalistic deadlines.

But then, I figured, this story is going to be around a while, so we can keep building on what we know. I may have answers to some of these questions by the time you read this. Or maybe you will be able to provide some of the answers. I mean, you don’t need to have a title or a degree or be part of a think tank to know a thing or two.

My first question is this: They didn’t pull this ABC test out of thin air. A majority of states already use the test in some manner on matters of job status. California’s application of ABC is based on Massachusetts’ broad, strict use of the test. So, hasn’t trucking had to contend with this standard there and in in other states already? I haven’t heard reports of empty store shelves in Massachusetts. Is there some simple workaround already in existence just waiting for cooler heads to prevail?

Second, from what I gather, ABC has had its critics for as long as it’s existed. Is it just the sheer size of California’s economy that makes this case so important or somehow different?

I’m going to go way out on a limb and say “probably.” Last year, California’s economy outgrew that of Great Britain. If it were an independent country, California would have the fifth-largest economy in the world. And what happens in California rarely stays in California. The state has a major influence on the rest of the nation.

California’s economy is closing in on $3 trillion a year. Real estate, finance, the entertainment industry and that nest of tech behemoths in Silicon Valley are responsible for big chunks of that.

And let’s not forget agriculture. California ranches and farms reaped $50 billion in receipts in 2017. That’s a lot of food, a lot of truckloads.

California also has some of the nation’s largest seaports. The Port of Long Beach alone sees about $200 billion in cargo a year, with 11,000 truckloads leaving the port each day. And most of what doesn’t go by truck from there eventually winds up on a truck somewhere inland.

Add it all up, and trucking is a huge player in the California economic machine. Why would lawmakers want to strip its gears with this law? Some lawmakers are even on record saying they are worried about what this could do to the industry. Then why are they doing it?

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, is not some gung-ho rookie lawmaker. She’s in her third term, and she already has made a national name for herself as a champion of the working class with several pieces of legislation she has supported.

AB5 could fit into that collection quite nicely. But it isn’t a trophy she needs in a hurry. She won her last two reelection campaigns by about a 3-1 margin.

And she’s also been around enough that she surely understands that despite its best intentions, the broad-stroke, one-size-fits-all approach AB5 takes will do more harm than good to many industries, including trucking.

In fact, she’s as much as said so. Gonzalez has already indicated that once the bill becomes law, she’d be open to making amendments and granting exemptions.

So why wait? The bill already grants exemptions to real estate, to doctors and dentists. Even newspaper delivery people got a last-minute, one-year exemption.

The California Trucking Association and the Western States Trucking Association pushed for an exemption. Dozens of truck drivers testified in Sacramento. And you have to think state legislators are at least vaguely aware of what goes on in their own districts.

So, they could grasp the importance of the guy who throws a newspaper in their driveway from a passing car at 4 a.m., but not of the people who deliver, like, everything everywhere all the time?

We all know how long fixing bad legislation can take. Even if they put it on the “fast track,” how much damage will occur before trucking can get an exemption?

I did hear back from one legal expert on the matter. Greg Feary, president and managing partner at Scopelitus, Garvin, Light, Hansen and Feary LLC, said there are a couple of cases in Ninth Circuit Court that could spell relief for the trucking industry. Even so, the legal system can move almost as slowly as the legislative system. He estimates California truckers are going to have to live with AB5 for at least a year.

Questions abound. I’m not looking forward to some of the answers.

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The Nation

Trucking submarine style in Texas

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Texas is getting hit hard with flooding.  This takes it to new levels!


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The Nation

Flooding in Texas – That cab’s gonna be a bit damp!

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KHOU reporter Melissa Correa happened to be on scene and captured this video.  Another motorist grabbed a hammer and rope and saved the drivers life.

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