Last year, the tone of the trucking industry was focused heavily on relationships.
This year, the economy has shifted — and so has the industry. Now the concept of relationships is not leading conversations as frequently, something that could impact recruitment efforts and overall growth for companies down the road, especially for companies that rely heavily on partnerships to keep business moving.
Having been in the trucking industry for nearly two decades, Courtney George, head of transportation and industry relations at Wreaths Across America (WAA), began her career as a recruiter and attributes what she learned about work relationships to her success at the nonprofit organization.
“Relationships are key to what we do at Wreaths Across America,” George said. “Every year we grow because we focus on maintaining relationships and getting out and meeting new people.”
WAA’s mission is to remember the fallen at military cemeteries, honor and appreciate those who serve and continue to express the importance of service to country and community.
“Remembering is so important,” George said. “We ask the volunteers who lay the wreaths to say [the names of the fallen] as they lay each wreath [at a grave]. Freedom isn’t free. We want to teach the public, every generation, the importance of this.”
WAA, established in 2007, attributes its success to its partnerships within the trucking industry.
The wreaths being contributed to grave sites across the country and world need to be transported and delivered. Last year alone, the trucking industry transported 2.4 million wreaths to roughly 3,200 locations. Because of these partnerships, this year WAA was able to add 500 new locations to its distribution list.
“We couldn’t do it without relationships in the trucking industry,” George said. “They are the heartbeat of this organization and what we do. We are so lucky that so many transportation partners, whether it’s an owner-operator or a large trucking company, support us in what we do.”
According to George, many truck drivers have expressed interest in participating in the effort and even said they do not want to be hired by a carrier that does not partner with WAA. That’s why partnering with WAA can be used as a potential recruitment tool, especially for companies efforting toward veteran-friendly hiring initiatives.
“Anybody can say they are a veteran-friendly company, but what are you doing to show it?” George said. “We have several veteran drivers. At the end of the day, they are watching to see what you as a carrier are doing to put actions behind your words.”
To learn more or to donate, sponsor or volunteer, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.
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