The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: Johnelle Hunt joins in celebration of J.B. Hunt’s 60th anniversary, XPO celebrates graduates of its online university’s LTL leadership class and the ATA prepares for its virtual championship this Saturday.

J.B. Hunt celebrates 60th anniversary

The supply chain solutions provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday with a virtual Facebook event and small, in-person celebration at the company’s headquarters.

The virtual event kicked off with a personal message from co-founder Johnelle Hunt, who thanked employees and employees’ loved ones for dedicating themselves to the company’s commitment to success. 

“I know what it’s like to live as the wife of a truck driver,” said Hunt. “I know the sacrifices they make and I want to say thank you to the families of all those drivers that have come through this company and are still with this company. You make a sacrifice everyday because it is a tough job to have out there.”

Near Little Rock, Arkansas in 1961, Hunt and her late husband Johnnie Bryan Hunt founded the company as a rice hull operation, recycling the protective covering of rice to be used for applications such as building material, fertilizer and fuel. Later, in 1969, Johnnie Hunt bought five trucks and seven trailers to begin his trucking business which would eventually grow to the $10 billion full-service logistics company it is today.

J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ:JBHT) has created various content to celebrate its anniversary, including blogs showcasing employees with decades of experience servicing the company’s customers.

“It’s hard to narrow down a favorite memory after 33 years,” said a senior director of Driver Personnel in a recent company blog. “I would say that those times when J.B. Hunt himself would walk through and pat everyone on the back were definitely very special memories!”

She also described the innovation she has seen from the company during her tenure.

“I would say one of the biggest changes I’ve seen over the years is transitioning away from taking students to only hiring experienced drivers. This was considered an extremely bold move within the industry and we were told we would fail. Obviously, they didn’t realize that when we set our minds to doing something it gets accomplished. The other major transformation I’ve seen would have to be moving from being an over-the-road driving company to a company that provides a wide array of transportation solutions.”

J.B Hunt’s chief commercial officer and executive vice president of people and human resources Shelley Simpson has been at the forefront of a lot of that change, including the introduction of J.B. Hunt 360, its digital freight matching tool. 

During the event, Simpson pointed out that while the company has seen positive change and innovation, one thing has remained the same: the J.B. Hunt logo.

“There’s nothing more powerful than seeing that scroll. Anytime somebody sees that, they see our drivers, they see our commitment,” said Simpson. “Our customers are constantly saying, ‘Can you do more?’ It reminds me of what Mr. Hunt said – ‘Is it big yet?’ Our customers are saying that to us as well, and that’s exciting.” 

To observe the anniversary, J.B. Hunt has created custom-wrapped trailers that will be driven by the company’s more tenured drivers. Hunt will continue to post content on its website’s anniversary page throughout the year.

XPO celebrates graduates of its LTL development program

As part of the company’s focus on diversity and inclusion, the transportation services company XPO Logistics launched its internal eLearning platform XPO University in 2020. 

With classes tailored to various elements of transportation, including truckload, less-than-truckload, and technology, it aims to create an accessible development program for employees.

Recently, XPO (NYSE:XPO) celebrated 48 individuals who completed its LTL Freight Leadership Certification which included over 20 hours of online learning focused on operations, technology and best leadership practices for moving LTL shipments.

Since the class’s development earlier this year, XPO has seen over 1,200 employees pass the LTL program, receiving certified polo shirts, certificates of completion and direct recognition from the company’s LTL leadership.

Offered in 10 different languages, XPO University develops employees with training in various fields including sales, dock and freight leadership positions, COVID-19 safety, mental health awareness, sustainability, compliance and human trafficking awareness. 

The eLearning program also helps facilitate the company’s “Grow at XPO” program which helps frontline workers advance in roles with more responsibilities and higher pay within the company.

ATA prepares for National Battle of the States

After cancelling its annual National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Championships due to COVID-19 concerns, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is hosting its National Battle of the States Virtual Truck Driving Championships this Saturday to highlight its driving professionals dedicated to safety.

Related article: ATA announces Virtual Truck Driving Championship

Event participants are the top 10 drivers from the individual state competitions held throughout the summer. 

Drivers will have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions based on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, trucking culture and a facts sheet for drivers given to participants from the ATA prior to the competition.

The winner will receive the sponsored title of Bendix Grand Champion and a $5,000 prize. Second place will receive $2,500 and third place will receive $1,000 from the ATA.

The event can be viewed from 6:00-8:00 PM EST on Saturday, August 24th through a Microsoft Teams link.

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