Recent winter storms devastated parts of the South, prompting businessman Jay Wommack to offer a free service to transportation companies.
He started Texas-based Infinit-I Workforce Solutions in 1999 as a web-based recruiting firm, changing its focus to online safety training in 2005.
After seeing videos of a deadly pileup in Fort Worth, Texas, during a mid-February ice storm, Wommack decided to let clients sign up for a complimentary trial of Infinit-I’s “Driving in Winter Weather” training video. It’s one of more than 800 videos the company has produced.
“When we saw what happened in Texas and saw the cars piled up in Fort Worth and the trucks piled up, it was just gut-wrenching,” Wommack told FreightWaves.
More than 100 vehicles were involved in the pileup. Several people died in the wreckage and dozens were injured.
Wommack, who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” wanted to give back to an industry that he said has been good to him and his company. “So why not package the video and offer it for free?” he said.
Although Infinit-I has developed a platform of training to use across many industries, the company cut its teeth in trucking.
Wommack’s grandfather, who owned a trucking company for many years, eventually went broke as the fleet got bigger and harder to manage. This inspired Wommack to start a company that would help carriers and their drivers become more efficient through better training, which, in turn, would hopefully decrease accidents, save lives and protect carriers from high insurance costs and potential nuclear verdicts.
“Employees can be your best assets, but they can also be your greatest liabilities if they’re not trained properly,” Wommack stated.
Wommack uses a production strategy aimed at what he calls “process training.” The idea is to make short, “bite-sized” videos, each three to seven minutes long, so drivers can watch them frequently and easily digest the information. New content is available every month, so fleet and safety managers can routinely show drivers different videos. Drivers are tested on the material, and they can go back and rewatch videos to refresh their memories. Wommack said this approach works much better than traditional less frequent, lengthy seminar-style training sessions.
“We’ve seen the numbers from the CSA scores that prove this to be extremely effective,” Wommack emphasized. “We pioneered this in transportation, so we’re really proud of that.”
CSA stands for Compliance, Safety and Accountability, a program run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).
Mike Hallett is a veteran reefer driver for Utah-based Redbone Trucking, which is an Infinit-I client. He told FreightWaves that the immersive production style of the videos helps him focus on the content.
“The videos were more realistic because they take you out in the field,” Hallett explained. “I think that makes them much more relatable. You can picture yourself inside that video.”
Redbone requires all its drivers to score 100% on each video’s test. Hallett, who often has to drive through rough winds and snowstorms on his dedicated route, said he picks up new bits of information from the videos.
“You have to watch these things like they’re some riveting Hollywood blockbuster, because you don’t want to miss any of the questions at the end,” Hallett added. “So you pay such close attention to them.”
He believes that continuing education is important for all drivers. He hasn’t seen the new “Driving in Winter Weather” video yet, but he’s looking forward to it and appreciates Infinit-I’s generosity.
“I think it’s being a really generous corporate citizen that is safety sensitive,” Hallett said. “That just shows the sportsmanship and corporate spirit on their part.”
Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.