Top Fleets Interviews, Shaffer President, Jack Peetz

At Shaffer Trucking, success comes from treating employees and customers with respect and compassion — every day.

What do nationally known Nebraskans, Daniel Lawrence Whitney and Shaffer Trucking have in common? First, both call Lincoln, Neb., home. And second, Shaffer has been executing a famous Whitney quote since long before he uttered the words “Get R Done.” In fact, Shaffer started getting it done 26 years before Larry the Cable Guy was born.

In 1937, Shaffer Trucking began a proud history of serving the nation’s largest food and temperature sensitive shippers. In 1974 the company joined the Crete Carrier organization and continued to build on an already solid reputation. Then in 2003 Sunflower Carriers, another Crete company, merged with Shaffer to create one of the largest refrigerated transportation fleets in the country. With 1,400 power units and 2,800 state-of-the-art trailers, the company is proud to be the premier transportation supplier to the candy, confection, and beverage industries, delivering more candy than any other carrier.

To delve a little deeper into the Shaffer story, Top Fleets interviewed the company’s President Jack Peetz.

TF: What sets Shaffer apart from other companies?

Peetz: We have an ethic of approaching each day and person with an attitude of respect, honesty and compassion. We have found that those we work with and for will in turn treat us the same. It’s kind of our Golden Rule. We believe there are no shortcuts to success and that’s a philosophy that drives our business.

TF: What is your ratio of company drivers to owner-operators?

Peetz: We have a ratio of approximately four percent owner operators and 96 percent company drivers with a goal of growing the owner-operator fleet and the company driver fleet by approximately 200 drivers in the next fiscal year.

TF: What kind of things will you offer drivers to help grow your fleet?

Peetz: Our pay program is one of the most outstanding in the trucking industry. Shaffer, along with our sister company Crete Carrier Corporation, were two of the first companies to pay our driver teammates on the basis of practical route miles versus traditional short route miles. Our late-model tractors are on a 36- to 42-month purchase/trade cycle and we annually purchase new trailers and trade in some of the older units. Additionally, all new trailers are outfitted with aerodynamic skirts for added fuel efficiency. We also employ a driver referral program where we pay our existing driver teammates $1,000 to recruit a fellow qualified driver to work for Shaffer Trucking or one of its affiliated companies. In the most recent year, driver teammates received more than $400,000 in recruiting bonuses.

TF: What sort of benefits do you offer?

Peetz: We offer exceptional benefits including medical, dental, optical and prescription as well as short-term disability protection and life insurance. Teammates also have the option to purchase additional life insurance for family members. The coverages also have an employee assistance component should it be needed. We recently added an optional supplemental insurance coverage package for those seeking additional sickness and accident protection.

We also offer a profit sharing plan to all full time employee/teammates consisting of a 401(k) component and profit sharing account. The company makes an annual profit sharing contribution to individual employee/teammates’ account. We also have a program for our owner-operators where we contribute to their individual IRA account.

TF: What type of training do you offer?

Peetz: We have driver trainers who help sharpen the skills of our less experienced drivers or those driver teammates who’ve come from approved driver training schools across the country. Our safety department staff also travels to all our terminal locations to hold defensive driving classes. In addition, we have driver meetings hosted by management teammates which contain an educational component. All new driver teammates undergo a 90-day evaluation and refresher discussion with their terminal manager within 90 days of joining the company. We have found these to be extremely valuable in permitting us to get to know our drivers and respond to issues or questions they have. We also have an open door policy where any of our teammates can discuss their ideas, issues and concerns with any management team member.

TF: Is there anything else that sets Shaffer apart?

Peetz: In 2012, we’ll celebrate our 75th anniversary. Not many trucking companies today can mirror 75 years existence. It’s the dedication by loyal associates and teammates that has allowed us to reach this milestone.