How to Calculate How Much Water You Should Drink a Day (SlenderKitchen

The following is written by Kristen Mccaffrey on

Lots of people don’t realize the true importance of drinking enough water everyday and how it can impact both your health and your weight loss efforts. According to experts in a recent study, drinking just 2 cups of water, which is smaller than the size of a bottled soda, before meals helped dieters lose an extra five pounds yearly and help you maintain your weight loss. Additionally drinking the right amount of water daily can actually speed up your metabolic rate and help to curb overeating when your body confused hunger and thirst. But how much water is enough? Here is how to calculate how much water you should drink a day for both health and weight loss benefits.

Your weight: The first step to knowing how much water to drink everyday is to know your weight. The amount of water a person should drink varies on their weight, which makes sense because the more someone weighs the more water they need to drink. A two hundred pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day.

Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiple that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.

Activity Level: Finally you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out, since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.

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Backhaul Training Reduces Wait Time

Freight always seems to slow down in the winter. Because of this we are beginning to see a surge in backhaul needs, especially when a lot of people deliver to the same area and at the same time. To combat this we want to start training several people in the organization in backhauls. These trainees  do not necessarily have any experience with planning or backhauls, but we want them to have the capability to jump in at any time to make phone calls and help cover when our operations team gets overwhelmed.

The whole point of the new training for backhauls is to make sure our drivers do not sit for long periods of time. We have been steadily growing and adding a lot more more drivers than we have in a long time. Training for backhaul will ultimately keep our drivers moving.

All of our competitors are trying to get the same backhauls. If we get more people on the phone, we have a higher chance at securing backhauls. Our hope is that any one of our employees can jump in to help when we need it. Some may see this as an opportunity for advancement within the company. You are not necessarily bound to the same responsibilities you were hired for.

DriveCam Misconceptions and Tips

We installed DriveCam system in our trucks in the middle of 2015. We wanted to take a few minutes to share with you how the program is working.

To start off, it is important to understand how the DriveCam system works. The system has both an interior and exterior camera but that does not mean it is necessarily recording all the time. The cameras work by passively recording loops of about 30 seconds constantly, and only save footage samples of 12 seconds in the event of an abrupt movement change.

An abrupt movement change includes events such as hard braking, turning corners too fast, or a collision. These types of events will trigger the recording mechanism which records 8 seconds before the event and 4 seconds after the event for a total of 12 seconds. This is to ensure that we have footage of every major event that occurs in our trucks to protect our drivers.

Only in the event of an abrupt movement change will the footage come through to us to review. And the length of time that the camera saves footage is less than 12 seconds in length. A misconception is that camera is always sending us footage of you, this is NOT the case.

When the camera is ready and functioning properly, there will be two green lights visible. In the event of an abrupt movement change the camera will blink a red light to show that an event has been triggered. After an event is recorded the light will stay solid red on the recorder until the image is uploaded to the reviewing system. Usually the triggered footage will be uploaded overnight.

In case drivers see something happening and want to record an event, there is a button on the recorder that allows you to trigger a recording manually. This can be helpful if you need to record something on the camera.

Another misconception is that the solid red light on the recorder indicates that a driver is being recorded all the time. This is NOT the case. The solid red light only indicates that there is footage that has yet to be sent to the reviewing system, and will usually clear up overnight. If your camera light stays solid red overnight and does not change back to green the next day, there may be something wrong with the camera. In this case notify us and we will troubleshoot the issue.

It is important for the safety of our drivers that there are absolutely no obstructions to the interior and exterior recorders. The recorded camera footage can be strong evidence against your opponent in the event of a crash. We have had cases where drivers have been cleared of accusation because their DriveCam footage was able to provide proof of their innocence. It is easy for other drivers to pin the blame on truck drivers, but our DriveCam footage ensures our safety.

The Cost of Frozen Brakes and Dragging Tires

One of the big problems we are frequently seeing in the winter is when our brakes lock up and then damage the tires as they drag along the pavement. Super single is about $800 and two trailer tires ends up being around $900. So every time this happens it ends up being quite costly and causes unnecessary delays.

The reason the tires will drag is because the brakes will freeze to the brake drums. A lot of the drivers will check their brakes before they drive by marking each tire. Then they pull their vehicle up then make sure each tire has rotated.

If you do have one locked up, you can usually rock the vehicle back and forth a few times to release it. In the worst of cases you will need tap it with the hammer to release the shoe from the drum.

There is no real way at this point to avoid it. Typically this problem will occur when it is wet and warm outside, then suddenly gets cold without warning. Some people will not set the trailer brakes but set the tractor brakes when its in that kind of condition to prevent freezing.

We would encourage you to always check for frozen brakes in your winter pre-trip inspection routine.

Moving Tandems When Overweight

One of our drivers Bobby Brown gave us some tips that we thought were interesting:

“When scaling while overweight always remember to move your tandems toward your problem. If you are heavy on the front, move them forward.  If you are heavy on the back, move them back.

Another tip is that every hole for pins is approximately 250 pounds. If you need to move 1000 pounds, you will move 4 pin holes. Another tip is to use chalk to mark the pavement so you can see how far to move. Bobby marks his step and then aligns it to the pavement to help him from moving too far and having to repeat the process.”

Thanks for the tips, Bobby!

Driver Managers Trained in PeopleNet Services

Our Driver Managers have reported in the past that drivers will often ask them troubleshooting questions about their PeopleNet Systems. Our Managers were struggling to provide full tech support to their drivers in PeopleNet services because they simply were not trained that way. Our solution was to train our Driver Managers in PeopleNet services so that they can fully support their drivers who are experiencing trouble with their PeopleNet systems.

It is extremely important to our work flow for Drivers to complete the PeopleNet process correctly. Whenever there is even a slight mistake in the PeopleNet process on our Driver’s side it results in delays and errors that our operations team has to go back and fix by hand. We think that training our Driver Managers will result in a higher completion rate of the PeopleNet process.

Tammy Clough, Driver Manager reports, “Our drivers usually want us to help them get through the basic PeopleNet process but the problem is often that they missed a step in the process or incorrectly performed a step. I am not fully trained in PeopleNet tech, but I am trained in most of PeopleNet services. My training has helped me better distinguish the inconsistencies and basic mistakes that our drivers may commit through the PeopleNet process.”

Hannah Jones, Driver Manager reports, “This training has been very helpful in reducing a lot of the confusion and processes behind our PeopleNet issues and communications with maintenance. I find myself able to figure out the problem much quicker and help my drivers resolve basic issues with PeopleNet technology.”

If you are experiencing trouble with PeopleNet, make sure you reach out to your Driver Manager. They are capable with PeopleNet technology and will be able to resolve your PeopleNet issues.

AutoZone: New Business Partnership

Tiffany has brought to our attention a renewed business opportunity with AutoZone. Starting January 16, we will be starting five lanes as both a primary and backup carrier solution with AutoZone. All five lanes will deliver to Danville Illinois where we will have drop authority at the Danville facility. Some of these lanes will be live unload.

Since we are dropping trailers at Danville we also will have opportunities for outbound freight from Danville, which means more miles for our drivers. We used to do business with AutoZone a few years ago but had not received any lanes for two to three years. We are excited to renew our business with an esteemed customer.

How to Use Optimized Idle and Heater

Our trucks either have an Optimized Idle system or a Parksmart system to maintain proper temperatures. The Parksmart system has its own heater and keeps the engine in the truck warm. It will maintain temperature in the truck for up to four days if working right. We wanted to write an article that explains how to use the Optimized Idle system properly to keep your truck warm.

The Optimized Idle system has two modes: engine mode and climate mode. The engine mode is set to keep the batteries charged and to keep the engine consistent at certain temperatures. With the Optimized Idle we also have a separate heater in the back, which is a lot like the heater in the Parksmart system. This is a separate device that will actually heat up the cab to keep you warm.

It is important to note that the heater works separately than the Optimized Idle system. If you have a truck equipped with Optimized Idle you should use the Engine Mode on the Optimized Idle system to maintain the batteries but then use the separate heater to keep yourself warm in cab.

Here is the instructions for operating the Engine Mode on the Optimized Idle operator manual:


Use to maintain the battery charge or keep the engine warm when the vehicle is unattended. The engine compartment alarm sounds briefly prior to any Optimized Idle engine start.

1. Start the engine and let it remain idling.

a. Close and secure the hood or cab.

b. Put the transmission in neutral and in high-range (if equipped).

c. Apply the parking brake.

2. If you have cruise control, turn the cruise master switch to the “ON” position. If the     switch is on, turn if off and on after the vehicle is idling.

3. The Optimized Idle active light flashes.

4. When the idle shut down timer expires, the Optimized Idle light stops blinking and     remains on. Optimized Idle is active. The engine will stop and restart as needed.

Stay warm out there. Call Greg Sullivan if you have any questions regarding the Optimized Idle System, the separate heater, or Parksmart system (217-728-9800 ext 255).

PeopleNet Error with TMW

We released an article earlier about an issue with PeopleNet that stated a reoccurring issue with each PeopleNet system failing to communicate with TMW. We found that when PeopleNet fails to communicate properly with TMW it is because drivers do not log out of their cab after completing their routes.

Mark Spencer is one of our drivers who recently reported having these problems with his PeopleNet workflow process. Mark reported having completed the work process as necessary, and we found that the problem lied in his PeopleNet unit’s failure to communicate with TMW. We brought him in, and simply logged him out of his truck. This instantly solved the issue. Afterwards we and had him perform a training exercise with PeopleNet to confirm his knowledge of the standard workflow process, which now includes logging out regularly from the PeopleNet system after completing a route.

To all drivers, make sure you get in the habit of logging out every time you complete a route. This will prevent TMW communication errors in the PeopleNet system. Thank you, and happy driving.

Shipper Parking Suggestion

In the trucking industry one topic that is often overlooked is parking. Truck drivers can spend up to 56 minutes a day searching for parking according to a recent study by Commercial Carriers Journal. This can cause drivers to shut down much earlier than they need to just to secure a spot, and over time this work around can significantly reduce their pay.

The parking shortage is expected to worsen as thousands of drivers across the country make a shift to electronic logs. It is critical for drivers to plan ahead to locate available parking, but there are also steps that the company can take to help each driver spend less time searching for a spot to park.

One specific driver that has suffered from shipper parking shortage is Bobby Brown, Marvin Keller Driver Trainer. Bobby submitted a suggestion to help resolve this issue.

He suggests that the customer service representatives try to find out from the customer if they have overnight parking available before and have them include that information in the notes section of the dispatch. This will be extremely helpful for night receivers because after you are checked in, you can go off duty and save your 70 hour clock.

Bobby also suggests taking advantage of Reserved Parking Spaces that Marvin Keller pays for. A driver may pay his own parking and turn the receipt in for reimbursement or ask the Driver Manager to reserve a spot for him in advance.

Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is a process of streamlining and making our company more efficient. Often in a company we will see people following the same process without thinking about it because that is just the way it has always been done. Over time this process becomes the work process that everyone in the company follows and thinks nothing about. But we recently took a step back and evaluated the process from an outside standpoint, and what we found was pretty astonishing. We realized that there many inefficiencies in our current process, and there are many little things we can change to make our operations run much quicker. Our LEAN initiative is our mission to burn off the unnecessary habits and actions of our former work process to maximize our efficiency as Marvin Keller’s hub of operations.

We talked to Amy Graven our Driver Manager Supervisor to get an idea of this process and how it looks in our company now. She says,

“Yes, we are currently evaluating at the work process that we have in place and seeking ways we can cut back on the intensive work load that may be unnecessary. We want to hopefully find areas in our process where we are doing unnecessary double and sometimes triple work and find a more efficient solution. We want to cut back on many things and even eliminate some unnecessary processes all together. We also want to simply our process, creating a standardized process for everyone to follow. Right now in our current state we found that there are a lot of hand offs, a lot of double, triple checking, a lot of different people doing the same things multiple times. Our streamlining process is a part of the LEAN initiative to weed out the unnecessary parts of our work process.”

Seasonal Stress and How to Manage It

Driving for long periods of time can easily cause any driver to feel stressed, especially in heavy traffic. Even though we may not be able to control the behavior of drivers around us that can cause stress, we can control how we react to them. Learning to do so can make a positive influence on the quality of life as a driver. We took the time to research some of the physical symptoms of stress and included some good tips from our Captive group Cottingham and Butler to reduce stress while you are on the road.

Physical symptoms of stress can include low energy, headaches, upset stomach including diarrhea, constipation and nausea, aches, pains, tense muscles, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, nervousness and shaking, ringing in ears, cold or sweaty hands and feed, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, clenched jaw and grinding teeth.

If you feel yourself victim to these symptoms make sure you pull over and take a few deep breaths to calm down. When you breathe and provide your body with more oxygen, the less anxious you will feel. Breath in your nose and out your mouth. This is reported to have the quickest effects to deliver oxygen to your body.

Make sure that the temperature around you is not causing stress. Make sure to stay cool and comfortable in your cab. It can be easy to ignore your hunger to keep yourself on route and in good time, but driving hungry can add a lot of stress to your day. Keep snacks on hand to avoid hunger while on the road. Keeping your cab organized can also subconsciously reduce a lot of stress.

Winter Additive and Do We Really Need It?

As winter weather rolls in truck drivers have to deal with the issue of fuel gelling. For those who do not know what it is, fuel gelling is the process of thickening in diesel fuel as the weather gets colder. Fuel gelling can cause your fuel filters to plug up. If this happens your truck will not start.

Many truck manufacturers warn drivers to not use additive because most trucks already come equipped with cold weather combatting system. In those cases using additive will harm the after treatment system. We sat down with Greg Sullivan our Senior Truck Technician to find out what steps to take to deal with the colder weather in our trucks. Greg says,

“I did some research on it, and I found that all the fuel we buy for our trucks during the winter months have been treated with additive already and come winterized prior to purchase. If you purchase fuel from Love’s, TA, or Petro it is going to come already treated during the winter months. So we really do not need to add diesel fuel additive. All of our trucks are also equipped with heaters that heat the fuel and prevent fuel gelling, and all of our trucks come with ParkSmart heaters or have an optimized idle feature that help start and stop the truck in colder months without problems.”

Winter Weather Driving Tips

In a previous article we mentioned that we have recently changed our insurance plan from a traditional insurance provider to a captive group. If you had not read that article, a captive group is basically a group of transportation companies who group together to provide companies financial insurance within the group. Each company will pay for this insurance to cover members of the group. It is a system that is more beneficial to our company because our insurance provider has similar goals and values as we do, but it does impose more risk than a traditional company.

Because of this risk, captive groups will highly value safety within their respective companies. Our group is managed by a company called Cottingham & Butler, and they hold safety conventions multiple times a year to collaborate with others in the group to encourage and share ideas on how to prioritize safety within the group.

Amanda McKee is one of Marvin Keller’s representatives who attends Cottingham & Butler’s safety convention, and she sat down with us to talk about some of the ideas that Cottingham & Butler provided on winter weather driving.

Tip # 1: Winter weather means less visibility through the windshield. We need to combat this. Before you drive clear the ice and snow completely from your vehicle’s windshield. Also be sure that your windshield washer reservoir is filled with freeze-resistant cleaning solution.

Tip#2: Winter weather means slippery roads. If you happen to start skidding and losing traction the best way to recover is to turn the steering wheel in the direction you are sliding. If the back wheels are sliding left, steer left. If you are sliding right, steer right.

Tip 3: If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), maintain steady and consistent pressure on the brake pedal. If your vehicle does not have ABS, press the brake pedal gently and release, press and release, pumping more rapidly as you slow down. This is to mimic the ABS system manually. If you press the brake hard without the ABS system it will make your skid worse.

Tip 4: Just because the road ahead appears clear does not mean there is no ice. Ice can sometimes appear non-reflective, but end up being very slippery. This is called black ice. Always proceed with caution and expect the road to be icy if in winter weather conditions.

Tip 5: When stopping behind another truck, a good rule of thumb is to stop at a distance where you can see clearly beneath the bottom of their truck. This ensures that you start stopping at a distance that will prevent collision if you hit ice while you are braking.

Tiffany’s New Role in Sales and Business Development

Our organization has done a great job the past couple years at managing our operations and creating a pipeline of quality, talented drivers. But one area where there is room for improvement is our focus to bring new business to the company.

We plan to make some changes in operations January of 2017. We are starting a process of transitioning and evolving the roles of operations personnel so that Tiffany White and Rick Ellis can spend the majority of their time on business development activities. Tiffany will still maintain her responsibilities as head of recruiting while taking on additional responsibilities in business clientele.

We are excited to see where Tiffany takes the company because she has a lot of years in operations.  Her understanding of the operational side of the business makes her uniquely qualified and well suited to bring in new business transaction that matches the operational requirements of the company.

We have already had some success with Tiffany providing leads on new accounts that lead to new customers. Joe Keller, CEO of the company sat down with us to talk about Tiffany’s new role. He says,

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tiffany for a few years now. She’s had the opportunity to learn about every position in operations, which makes her an extremely valuable asset to the company. What I have noticed about Tiffany is that she is a quick learner, she has a lot of confidence, and she has demonstrated an ability to develop trust and positive rapport with people. That is a very valuable skill set to have to develop leads for the company. She makes it look easy. That’s a compliment.”

The whole process of making our company more efficient is a process called streamlining, and our official name for this streamlining process is the Lean Initiative. Tiffany’s new role is one large part of our company-wide Lean Initiative.

New Office Hire: Travis

Marvin Keller has been seeking to expand our business and invest effort into landing more accounts.  Recently the company brought aboard Travis Bartels from Mattoon Illinois to play a big role in operations, which will free up Rick Ellis, current Vice President of Operations to focus on other areas of the company related to growth.

Travis has started out strong in his role as the Central Illinois Planner, a role given to him so that he can learn all aspects of operations. The goal is to eventually transition him into a larger role as Operations Manager where he would be responsible for all daily operations.

The plan is for Rick to focus on other areas on the company related to growth such as sales, coaching and general development of operations personnel.

According to Rick, Travis is always eager to learn and has picked up the concepts of the asset aspect of the business quickly. Before coming aboard with Marvin Keller Travis worked in brokerage for a year and a half. At his previous company he was responsible to cover loads his company had with outside carriers. Rick says that this gave him good insight into our side of the business. He says,

“We are on the other side, being an asset based transportation company. Before coming here he was calling the asset carriers to receive loads. Now he is on the asset side doing planning and helping to deliver loads. He also does a good job at getting loads when needed for our trucks.”

Travis is from the local area, Mattoon where graduated and went to the military. After spending over eighteen years serving in the Marines he retired and worked locally in Mattoon. While he was in the Marines Travis worked primarily in logistics on the ground. He started off driving a truck and eventually took his place as gunner sergeant. His experiences in the military include performing preventative maintenance on vehicles, convoy logistics in Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan, and working in the transportation sector moving equipment and also troops for incursion. He developed a familiarity with the equipment in transportation and even has his commercial driver’s license.

New Mobile Capture App

Marvin Keller has suffered greatly over the years by using a painfully slow documenting system for far too long. We are excited and proud to announce that we are finally making the jump to a mobile documenting technology that will make the paperwork process much simpler for everyone.

The Mobile Capture app will be available for download in the Apple Store or the Google Play Store and installed directly on your personal smartphone device.

The feature we want to highlight today is the ability for drivers to scan in their paperwork using their mobile phone camera. We anticipate that it will save them a lot of time because they will no longer have to stop and use the slow Transflo system that requires everyone to scan in their documents physically. Instead they will have an app on their personal phone that allows them to take a picture of their documents to send to the indexer immediately.

The app is fully integrated with our TMW system, which means drivers no longer have to manually insert their order numbers or driver IDs. Instead they will be able to tap on a drop down menu allowing them to quickly choose their order number, tap their driver ID, take a picture, and quickly send it to the indexer. For our operations team it sounds too good to be true. They currently spend countless hours indexing orders by hand. Now with the Mobile Capture app, they can devote that time to accommodating our drivers on the road. Productivity will increase all around.

For drivers who do not have access to a smartphone device, we have talked about providing tablets solely for the usage of the new Mobile Capture app. For drivers who do not have a mobile camera on their smartphone, there is an alternative scanning option for an in-cab portable scanning device that connects to your smartphone via bluetooth. After using this scanner, it wirelessly sends the picture directly to your phone’s picture gallery where it can be uploaded to the Mobile Capture app.

If you have trouble adjusting to the mobile platform, there will be tech support available for quick installation of the application and general tech support over the phone or at headquarters. As we move closer to the official change we will provide an in-depth step by step training resource about easy installation and use.

The future is now. It had been in our pockets all along.

More Safety Bonuses for Drivers

Even though the Marvin Keller fleet has had outstanding success in Safety CSA scores and ratings, as a company we are always seeking to raise the bar towards practices that keep our drivers safe. Our current safety bonus rewards drivers if they maintain clean records in areas such as preventable crashes, or road-side inspections and violations. Moving forward we think our drivers deserve more compensation for their attention to safety practices.

As a company we have prioritized rewarding our safest drivers for clean marks, but we would like to see more drivers in our fleet receive those bonuses. Our idea is to start engaging our drivers with up-to-date safety training materials that can be accessed online. These materials will not be mandatory, but will be a reward for those top drivers willing to take extra initiative in keeping our roads safe. Our plan is to provide a cash bonus for drivers who complete these online training materials.

We will develop various safety campaigns that these training materials will address. Future campaign ideas include winter weather driving, trailer safety, dealing with driver fatigue, distracted driving, critical crash prevention, national safety month, high frequency crashes, seasonal driving, crash reporting, speeding, CSA scores and many more.

We plan on releasing these training materials along with their participation cash bonuses in the near future. Stay tuned for more information regarding these bonus.

Elite Driver Habits: Idle Time

As a company it is our responsibility to make sure we keep our drivers informed about good road habits that increase your profits. One of those habits is reducing the idle time of your truck. We talked to Greg Sullivan, Marvin Keller Senior Truck Technician, about idle time and how it affects the overall economy of our drivers.

Idle time is the time that the truck is running but not moving. A lot of drivers are in the habit of keeping their trucks running all night. Typically any time you turn off your engines to eliminate idle times is good. It burns fuel at about a gallon an hour any time you are idling your truck, so it really dents your fuel economy. Plus with the newer trucks it affects the emissions on the vehicle because when you leave your truck running all night, the emissions get filled up with carbons. As a company we encourage all drivers to eliminate all idle time.

One reoccurring issue we have run into as we investigate this problem is that a lot of the heaters on these trucks are not working properly. This is one reason why many drivers end up idling their trucks to stay warm at night. We have been putting a great deal of effort into fixing these heaters as of late. We are currently fixing about 2-3 a day every week. If your heater is not working properly, it will be extremely beneficial for you to bring your truck into the shop to get it fixed.

So far we have been pretty successful in helping our drivers reduce their idle times and save money. In some instances we have reduced consumption of 40 gallons a week. That is a huge amount saved when you consider that fuel costs about $2.50 a gallon, times 60 trucks, which ends up being about $4,500 saved per year. And all that from eliminating idle time in our trucks.

If you are idling your truck because of an issue, contact the Marvin Keller Maintenance team to get it taken care of as soon as possible. We want to make sure you are warm especially in these colder months.

PeopleNet Training: Connection Failure with TMW

Generally PeopleNet is a great technology to boost communications with our drivers, but lately we have been encountering a few issues. The primary issue at hand is that sometimes PeopleNet will not properly transfer information into the TMW system.

What we found is that when a driver stays logged in after their usage, the system will lock up and not communicate with TMW. After seeking a solution to this problem for awhile we asked PeopleNet support for advice. This is what they said.

They suggested that all we need to do is log out at least once a week. The problem is that when drivers stay logged in after they finish their route, the system never gets a chance to clear. Typically the system allows for drivers to stay logged in for about a week, but there are some drivers who are staying logged in over the weekend or for two to three weeks at a time. That is when we start to see some communication failure.

So what we recommend is that everyone log out and get in the habit of logging out of the system while you are not using it. Your device will ask you if you want to log out of the truck completely and you should click yes. That way your log-in information will not be in the system while you are not using the truck, and the system will be allowed to reboot. It is just like how our home computers need to reboot every once in awhile. If you are not rebooting your computer, the system tends to lock up and not work as well. They recommend the same thing.

Captive Insurance and What it Means for Us

In our past Marvin Keller has attained insurance coverage through independent means. This means paying often high premiums and expenses out of pocket to insurance companies despite our sky-high safety ratings. We thought it was time to make the shift to an alternative risk solution through a solution called a captive group.

A captive group is a group of carriers that band together to provide coverage for itself. This means there is a higher value in safety ratings than in traditional insurance, which is why our company Marvin Keller feels right at home.

Even though our participation in captive group causes us to face more risk than pairing with traditional insurance companies, by joining with the group we have more opportunities to financially benefit if we perform well in our safety ratings. It is nothing new that Marvin Keller fleet has excelled greatly in this arena. We anticipate to benefit greatly.

It is in the best interest of the group to help one another be successful in safety ratings. Our Human Resources Manger Amanda McKee recently went to Dubuque, Iowa along with Greg Sullivan Senior Truck Technician where the group hosts a collaboration safety convention twice a year. They reported that representatives from each of the companies within the group were present and that energetic conversation about hot topics in safety was sparked as the representatives from each participating carrier shared ideas about what what worked well for them over the past months.

It gives us an opportunity to network and share ideas. We can share tips and ideas with the rest of the group that we have found successful and expect to see the same collaboration from the others in the group. There is a lot of collaboration to ensure that all companies collectively have the highest marks in safety. We now have access to a large network of carriers that are fighting the same battles as we are. If we have a particular safety issue that we are trying to figure out how to address, we can learn from our peers instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. We can take insight from their experiences and apply that to the problems we face.

There are currently more than 53 carriers in our particular captive group, which is managed by Cunningham and Butler.

Elite Driver Habits: Tire Wear

It is nothing new to say that Marvin Keller Trucking has always aimed to employ the top industry drivers to add to our fleet. Many of our company drivers can constitute the highest tier in company drivers, but what is it that makes these drivers truly Elite?

One characteristic that separates the most Elite industry drivers from the rest is the precautions that drivers will take to prolong the life of their tires. We asked Greg Sullivan Marvin Keller’s Senior Truck Technician about some of the tire prolonging, driver habits he has noticed from the best of the best. Greg noted a particularly cautionary company driver named Steve VonBehren who managed to around 188,000 miles out of his tires. Greg is one of the people responsible for training drivers so we asked Greg how it was possible that Steve managed to extend the life of his tires this much. Greg had a few tips.

The first tip is easy but often over looked, to maintain a close eye on your tire pressure. The proper PSI for our Freightliner Cascadias is 105 and should be checked at every inspection point to avoid unnecessary stress on the tire.

The second tip is obvious to most, but rarely acknowledged. It is to be attentive to non-aggressive driving behaviors. This means smooth starts and stops instead of quick accelerations which can wear out your tires over time.

The third tip is to make sure you perform wide sweeping turns instead of short turns. The reasoning behind this is that short turns naturally make your tires scuff the pavement while long turns keep your tires pushing the truck evenly all throughout the turn.

Fourth, we want the teach drivers to keep the fifth wheel lubed. This is the wheel where the trailer hooks to the truck. If it is not greased properly the truck will not be as smooth as it could be during turns.

Lastly it is important to couple your trailers with the right technique. What a lot of drivers will do is hook up their trailer than run their tires with the trailer brakes applied to make sure the trailer is attached. This technique is incorrect because it unnecessarily burns your tires. Instead it is better to hook up your trailer, drive forward a couple of feet then quickly apply the trailer brakes while releasing the gas to see if the trailer brakes will stop your truck. If it is not coupled correctly the truck will come loose. This avoids unnecessary wear and tear of tires.

Although there are many techniques for maintaining healthy tires, these five tips cover the basic behaviors we have observed from the most Elite Industry Drivers. If you find yourself employing these tactics you are probably one of them.

The Purpose of the Marvin Keller Weekly

The “Marvin Keller Weekly” can be compared to a company blog or intranet, except we want to see our own employees and drivers generate the content. We have always viewed our drivers as major parts of our team, but we realize that our lack of effort to keep them in the loop did not reflect that sentiment.

We have come up with a platform to communicate news and information about the company to drivers. Because it is viewable on mobile devices it allows drivers to stay updated on company efforts no matter where they are and almost in real time. Of course we would never advocate any driver to be on their phone while they are on the road, but we encourage them to engage with the “Weekly” regularly during breaks or any time they are stopped. It is a great resource to check out what is going on in the company and with their fellow drivers on the road.

The “Weekly” is not only a place of communication from our operations team to our drivers, it is also a space where drivers themselves can contribute to the conversation. We want to allow everyone involved in the company the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, tips, pictures, and any content about their lifestyle on the road and even in their personal lives.

We think that our drivers have a lot to say, and we want to publish it for everyone within the company to see. We are inviting all our drivers to become contributors to the “Weekly” and get paid for their content. For every piece on content that we use, they are guaranteed to receive a $25 bonus in their next paycheck. Content can consist of pictures, journal entries, written articles, even poems. There really is no limit.

You can find more information about how to submit content at There are no guidelines other than it must be about your experience as a driver. Keeping content under 400 words is ideal but any length is accepted. If you are someone who likes to write this is a great side-gig to make some extra cash while on the road.

Happy writing, and stay safe.

Wisdom from Lewis White, Company Driver to Owner Operator

My name is Lewis White, and today is my first day as an owner operator.

I was a company driver for Marvin Keller for a year and a half, and that made it possible for me to pursue this career as an owner operator under their authority of course. I recently purchased a truck, and I’m really excited.

I know Marvin Keller has a lease purchase program that they’re trying to start. For the people who can’t go out and buy their own truck in full, it’s a good thing to look into. Especially if you find a company like this company, Marvin Keller, they go above and beyond for their drivers. It’s awesome.

Previously I leased a truck with Trans Am for nine months. It’s a large company, very large company, and It was rough. You know I could just barely get enough miles to make the payments on the truck. Low miles, that’s a reason why everybody talks bad about lease purchase programs. But you get in with the wrong company there is nothing good that comes of that. You have got to be more than just a number to the company. I mean that’s what you are to most big companies, you’re just a number. They don’t care about you as a driver. Freight comes first, then driver. This company is not like that.

A lot of guys that are driving, they’re reading the signs on the back of my trailers. You treat them like a piece of meat. And they come across the radio and ask me, “Is it true, do they do that good?” And I say, “Yeah, they’re awesome.”

Interview with Ron Lowry Recently Retired Driver

Ron Lowry has been a company Driver Associate for 13 years, and we recently had the chance to sit down to reminisce about his time at the company and speak about his future plans. Right off the bat, he immediately wanted to take the chance to express gratitude to the company, which is funny because all of us here wanted to express our gratitude to him for his years of service and loyalty to the company. He certainly is a class act that we will miss having out on the road. Here is our interview with him:

Interviewer: Hey Ron how you doing?

Ron: Good!

Interviewer: Great! I heard that you wanted to say a few things for our blog.

Ron: Well I just thought it would be nice if I put something in thanking the company for the retirement party and everything.

Interviewer: Do you mind if I ask you a few questions over the phone? Ron: Okay!

Interviewer: Cool! First off, could you briefly talk about your time here at Marvin Keller?

Ron: Well I’ve been with them for 13 years, and I’ve been a local driver for all that time. I got to know the receivers and shippers in the area really well. I worked with people in the office and the dispatchers and got to know them very well.

Interviewer: If you don’t mind me asking, what was the most challenging part of working here?

Ron: There’s a lot of challenging aspects of the job, one thing is being a safe driver. You know, you have to be attentive, and be a safe driver I guess. That would be one of the most challenging things. Doing everything safely and correctly above all, mostly. And working with attention to detail. I always tried hard in that aspect.

Interviewer: What do you think was the best thing about working here?

Ron: Well, working with the people I suppose would be one of the best things.

Interviewer: Now that you are moving into this next phase of retirement, what do you look forward to the most?

Ron: To do a little bit of traveling on my own, aside from being in the truck, and being with my wife, spending more time with her and being able to do a few things around the home, do some gardening and stuff. Not being on the rigid schedule as I was, working every day. I can pretty much do what I want when I want to do it. And if I don’t want to do something one day, I don’t have to I can put it off to the next day. Just kind of having a relaxed attitude, I guess.

Interviewer: Is there any advice or wisdom that you would want to impart to our current and new drivers?

Ron: Just to try to work as safely as they can and to pay attention to the details in everything they do. With regard to paperwork and safety and everything else. And to find something everyday to make your day enjoyable, which I know is hard to do that everyday, but I always tried to have a pretty good time everyday when I come to work. Finding some way to make my day more enjoyable.

Interviewer: Is there anything you would want to add?

Ron: Well, I just really wanted to thank the Marvin Keller family and everyone for the dinner they gave me, and the gifts they gave to me, and all the kind words. I enjoyed working with the people there, the 13 years I was there. And if there’s one thing i’m going to miss, I’ll miss the people more than anything else. Seeing them every day. That’s one thing I wanted to say to express my gratitude to the company.

Interviewer: We certainly appreciate all that you did for the company, Ron. Thank you so much for your time, and for being willing to speak to me.

Ron: Okay, thank you!

Ron is no longer in our trucks, but he will be forever in our hearts. We believe retirement is not the end, but a new beginning. Ron as you know, the Marvin Keller family is close, and we want you to know we will always consider you and Sharon a part of it. We hope to see you two around soon!

The Importance of Safety in Our Organization

Safety is one of our values and a cornerstone of our company’s culture.

The safety of our employees shall guide all our work, every decision, and every action. There are no exceptions.

​Safety is a team effort. Consider this a personal request to help one another to prevent crashes and accidents.

​Those who choose to cut corners and not follow this policy will be held accountable and are not worthy to be a member of our team.

​These are our values. This is our Culture of Safety.

– Joe Keller