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The Log Book: Custom-wrapped Kenworth to haul Capitol Christmas tree

ATA delivers supplies to Afghan refugees in Wisconsin

A Kenworth T680 Next Generation truck will be used in the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree delivery. (Photo: PACCAR)

The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: A Kenworth truck is set to deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree for the eighth time; a project44 partnership offers camper vans for employees to work from anywhere; and ATA’s road team delivers supplies to Afghan refugees in Wisconsin.

Custom-wrapped Kenworth to deliver US Capitol Christmas tree

On Tuesday, truck manufacturer PACCAR revealed a special Kenworth T680 Next Generation that will be used to transport the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from California to Washington, D.C. 

This will be the eight consecutive year that a Kenworth will be delivering the Capitol’s Christmas tree. The Kenworth has been wrapped for its celebratory journey, decorated for this year’s theme, “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree,” showcasing a sunset over the Six Rivers National Forest, where the tree, which is scheduled to be harvested Sunday, is located. 

Special Kenworth T680 Next Generation for U.S. Capitol Christmas tree delivery. (Photo: PACCAR)

This new Kenworth features a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, the company’s latest SmartWheel technology and a customizable 15-inch digital display with full forward LED lighting.

The truck will be driven by Cheney, Washington-based, flatbed freight hauler System Transport. Employees Bill Brunk, Jeremy Bellinger, Mike English, Terry Jefferson, Robert Lee and John Schnell will drive the truck during the 3,300-mile journey. 

System Transport employees Lonnie Epley, Joel Eggert and Sean Magee will help support and service the truck until the tree, named Sugar Bear, is delivered to the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 16.

(Video: US Capitol Christmas Tree – Youtube)

Project44 offers new employee perk

On Tuesday, supply chain visibility company project44 announced a partnership with mobile suites company Roameo to offer team members access to camper vans and conversions to either work out of or to use for their own pleasure.

“Whether we’re ‘sharing the wheel’ to solve exciting industry challenges together or a team member is at the wheel of a Roameo mobile suite headed toward a workspace in nature, the outcome is the same – inspired teams that are equipped to engage in meaningful collaboration that drives customer success from anywhere,” said Jett McCandless, founder and CEO of project44.

The new perk has been a huge hit for employees, who booked out the fall pilot program dates 10 minutes after the partnership was announced internally.

Some employees have used it for weekend getaways while others have used it as a way to work from a different setting for an extended period of time.

“Driving cross-country is my favorite pastime, so taking my work on the road was a no-brainer,” said Sara Vermilyea, a communications manager at project44. “I drove from Chicago to Colorado to reset and returned to work feeling fully recharged.”

ATA delivers supplies to Afghan refugees in Wisconsin

This month, the American Trucking Associations partnered with the Afghan Youth Relief Foundation to deliver 24 pallets of supplies to Afghan refugees who have been resettled in the United States at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

When these refugees first arrived in the United States, they were taken to Dulles Expo Center in Virginia to quarantine and be processed. During that time, a number of Virginia residents donated clothes, diapers and other necessities to support the refugees. 

Now that these refugees are being moved to other bases across the country, the ATA has worked with its America’s Road Team to deliver those leftover supplies to other bases that are currently housing refugees like Fort McCoy.

The trucks facilitating those moves are driven by ATA’s America’s Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks. These drivers are chosen through the ATA as they have demonstrated their commitment to the trucking industry and the importance of growing industry recognition through grassroots efforts. 

These efforts include attending educational events to explain the difficulties of managing safety and compliance on highways. America’s Road Team also works with a variety of organizations to move charitable goods throughout the year.

ABF Freight driver Nate McCarty and Yellow Corp. driver Jeff Payne worked together, in two different trucks, to deliver 24 pallets of supplies to Fort McCoy earlier this month.

“These people had been through so much, so if we could make things just a little bit easier for them, it was just something we had to do,” said Payne.

ATA Executive Vice President Elisabeth Barna said, “Trucking is always first to respond when people are in need. Whether it is drivers like Nate and Jeff delivering for these refugees or the countless drivers who respond to natural disasters every year, this is the kind of commitment to service we expect from our professional heroes.”

Have a transportation-related human-interest story to share? If so, please contact [email protected]

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Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at [email protected]