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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Meeting a Walking Oshkosh Truck History Museum

1920's Oshkosh Truck Logo flickr.com
Article thanks to truckinginfo.com. Links provided:

Here's a guest post from Senior Editor Tom Berg about an interesting character he met on a recent assignment.

Thursday, August 14  We were in a small conference room at Oshkosh Corp.'s service center along U.S. 41 on the namesake Wisconsin city’s southwest side, talking about the company’s S-Series front-discharge mixer truck, which I was test-driving for the September issue of HDT.
I asked my hosts when Oshkosh first offered this type of vehicle. They were all relatively young, so the product has been in the lineup all the time they’ve been with the company.
“We’ll have to ask Clarence,” said Katie Hoxtell, a marketing and communications manager.
Who’s Clarence? I asked.
“Clarence Jungwirth,” she answered. “He started working at Oshkosh in 1945.”
What – 1945? That’s almost 70 years ago, I said.
“Yes. He’s in his 90s,” she said. “Would you want me to bring him in?”
By all means! And in a few minutes, in walked a slight but spry gentleman wearing a big smile. We shook hands and exchanged hellos, and he explained that he will be 95 this October. He signed on with Oshkosh after leaving the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, and still works a few hours a day helping customers with parts queries and other details, like answering my question about the S-Series’ origin.
“It was in 1986 or ’87, just about the time I retired, when we brought it out,” Jungwirth said, adding that his retirement didn’t last long.
Then he launched into the story of the front-discharge mixer’s invention by a concrete producer in Salt Lake City in the 1960s and its manufacture there, in Indiana, Texas, and back in Indiana, where many are still built today (though by competitors of Oshkosh). “When the patent ran out on it, we were able to get into it.”
That story comprises a chapter in “A History of the Oshkosh Truck Corp.,” a thick, photocopied, spiral-bound book Jungwirth wrote some time ago. It’s one of scores of books and articles he’s authored about Oshkosh -- the company and the city.
Another book is a lengthy account of his time in Wisconsin’s 32ndInfantry Division, an Army National Guard unit called up for service in the Pacific during the big war. He’s an amateur historian as well as an expert on the many types of civilian and military trucks and trailers that Oshkosh has built since its founding in 1917 and its extensive growth since.
Junwirth is a treasure, and it was a pleasure meeting him on the way to the cab of that S-Series mixer chassis.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hourly Pay for Drivers - Financial Suicide for Carriers?

thetruckersreport.com
Hourly pay for drivers is ‘financial suicide’ for TL carriers, exec says

Thanks to and written by: Kevin Jones  Links provided:

Oct. 23, 2013  Mileage-based pay cannot be abandoned, a panel of fleet executives agreed Tuesday, but the system must be adjusted to compensate truck drivers for the time they spend and the work they do when the wheels aren’t turning.
Ideas on driver pay, along with recruiting and retention issues, the impact of recent hours of service changes and driver health and wellness initiatives all were tossed around during a driver-focused session at the annual American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello laid the groundwork for the discussion by presenting the results of his recent survey on industry trends. Costello said fleets are adjusting to continued tightness in the driver market by increasing pay and hiring newer drivers.
“While the driver shortage is generally confined to only certain segments of the trucking industry, it is having real impacts on how fleets recruit and retain their drivers,” he said.
And the segment of the industry most affected by driver churn continues to be the long-haul truckload carriers, with turnover rates running at 99 percent in the first half of this year.
As a result, 91 percent of those fleets say they have increased or will increase driver pay this year. The survey also found that large TL carriers are mixed on whether they would employ across-the-board pay raises or incentive-based plans.
Citing government income figures, Costello calculates that driver pay, in terms of spending power, is down 10 percent since 1990. What makes trucking unique, even as a number of trades have seen wages erode over the same period, is that drivers are in high demand, he noted.
But it’s not that fleets have reduced pay rates. The modern supply chain features a greatly reduced average length-of-haul, along with reduced productivity. Prior to the recession, long-haul trucks averaged 10,000 miles per month. That’s down to about 8,100 miles today, Costello reported.
Moderator Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, posed the question: Is it time for trucking to move to hourly pay rates for drivers?
Simply, that would be “financial suicide,” explained Steve Gordon, COO of Gordon Trucking Inc.
“Disconnecting driver pay from how we get paid by our customers is a very frightening thought for this industry,” Gordon said.
But he was quick to admit that mileage-based compensation was overdue for adjustment.
“Just look at how much more time drivers are spending loading and unloading – and I’m not talking about ugly grocery unloads; I’m talking about simple drop-and-hooking a trailer. That’s an hour out of his day.”
And while truck drivers have always faced delays, the slide in a truck’s average miles means drivers can no longer expect to have an especially high-mileage run to offset the time – and money – lost sitting at a dock, he added
“Drivers are gambling their paycheck every week on our ability to build a good, sustainable, fluid network. If we could line-out a schedule so a guy could know what he was going to do over the next five days, that would have an impact on turnover. But we’re at the mercy of the shipping community,” Gordon said. “The drivers are the ones taking the risk, not the shippers and not the carriers. That psychology is really tough.”
Derek Leathers, president and COO of Werner Enterprises, said his company had given hourly pay only “short consideration, to be blunt.”
Werner does employ “all kinds of pay,” and some drivers in its dedicated fleet are not paid based on miles.
But Leathers agreed that as long as customers are paying fleets by the mile, it would be impractical to disconnect driver pay from that basic aspect of the trucking business.
And, as he explained, the problem wouldn’t simply be one of mismatched scales: Drivers need to have the same focus on, and self-interest in, equipment utilization that their companies do.
“If we were to pay drivers by the hour, my fear would be that you would lose the biggest point of light that you have in your fleet, relative to inefficiencies,” he said.
Private fleets don’t face many of the uncertainties that challenge for-hire fleets, and their driver turnover rate benefits from a private fleet’s regular routes and schedules. Costello reported that turnover rate at about 10 percent.
But, as Osiecki pointed out, for-hire fleets must compete with private fleets for drivers.
Jeff Flackler, vice president of transportation for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., put his turnover rate even lower, at 5 to 6 percent. Still, the company is “working harder” to recruit and retain drivers in certain areas of the country.
“One of the challenges for us is we’re both a shipper and a carrier,” Flackler said, adding that transportation efficiency is a critical component in keeping Wal-Mart’s retail prices low. “We face different challenges than [for-hire carriers], but we have some of the same: How do you make a driver’s life better?”
Flackler got the attention of the panel – and the audience – when he reported the average pay for a first-year Wal-Mart driver to be about $76,000. About two-thirds of the pay package is mileage-based and one-third is based on activities, plus a substantial benefit package. Flackler also noted that Wal-Mart hires only experienced drivers, signing only 350 from a pool of 13,000 applications last year.
While Wal-Mart is generally considered to be a driver-pay leader (the average TL first-year hire makes about half of what Wal-Mart pays) Leathers conservatively puts the pay gap between for-hire and average private fleets at 25 percent.
He suggested that for-hire carriers must challenge those shippers with private fleets during rate negotiations: “If the higher driver pay that we’re advocating and pushing for is inappropriate or too much, then how do they justify within their own four walls that they pay those kinds of dollars?”
Leathers doesn’t expect the for-hire industry to immediately jump to Wal-Mart-level pay scales for OTR drivers, “but somewhere between here and there is what it’s going to take to move the needle.”
A couple of percent in mileage pay, however, won’t be enough. That’s why activity-based pay, assessorials and targeted incentives already are higher than ever, Leathers added.
Osiecki pointed out that FMCSA has reviewed a study from Australia that concludes hourly pay leads to improved safety and is following up with U.S. fleets have use an hourly-pay model.
But – and to much applause from the audience – the panel rejected any suggestion that the federal government should have a regulatory  ”dog in the fight.”
“It’s demeaning for them to always think they’re going to do it better than what we do, when it is our primary mission every day,” Leathers said.
Still, he made the case that issues like driver pay and retention can’t be settled until the entire industry adopts electronic logs, which will provide a fundamental, standardized metric to guide policy.
“The experimentation that we continue to have in tinkering with hours of service or pay methodology or any other thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s way too dark out there. Turn the lights on,” Leather said “Let’s prove that we are serious about compliance and that we are committed to obeying the laws – before they continue to write new ones. We can argue about this as long as we want, the more likely it is that other things will comes at us that we like even less.”
Kevin Jones is Senior Editor, Trucking Media, and writes from his home in Little Rock, Ark. His Fleet Street blog features whatever strikes his fancy and has at least a little connection to trucks, or drivers, or highways. Or David Allan Coe. (Google "the perfect country and western song" if you're not nearly as old as Kevin is.) You can also keep up with Kevin by following his Twitter feed (@KevinJonesCCJ) or just drop him a line:kevin.jones@randallreilly.com.
http://www.ccjdigital.com/hourly-pay-for-drivers-financial-suicide-for-tl-carriers-exec-says/?utm_medium=single_article&utm_campaign=site_click&utm_source=in_story_related


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why I am not hiring veterans… but I want to!



gettinghired.com
This is a guest post thanks to and written by  James O'BrienPresident & CEO at Artemis Global Logistics & Solutions. He makes some very interesting comments. You can follow James at the links provided:
Sept 22, 2014  I am not hiring veterans. Why is that?! After all, I am a veteran. I am a former enlisted Marine and I remember distinctly how difficult it was to get a job. So why am I not hiring veterans? The answer is simple: they are ill-prepared for the business world. I do not want that to be reality, but it is. Does that have to be a permanent condition? Absolutely not! But it can only change with political and social will.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me state that I have a team almost entirely comprised of military reservists. Thus, to say I am not hiring veterans is a bit of a stretch; eighty-five percent of my staff and/or independent contractors are veterans or reservists. Still, I receive thousands of resumes a month. Many of those resumes are from veterans. Most of the resumes I receive do not qualify for the positions that they wish to fill. This is especially true of veterans. Unfortunately, no one is assisting these veterans to re-tool their resumes and their expectations upon leaving the military. That needs to change. Let me give you a few examples of what I have received to better understand the issue:
  • One resume I received was nine pages long… NINE!
  • One resume was for a position that typically requires decades of experience in my industry (supply chain management); the individual was a Specialist coming off of a four year enlistment in a military occupational specialty (MOS) that was unrelated to the position.
  • One resume explained that the technical expertise qualifying him for a position as an IT technician was that he “Plays Play Station 3.” (Sometimes I have to remind myself that I was once twenty-one years old and thought this was an important skillset as well.)
  • One resume was a single line: “I am a 25C” [NOTE: this applicant is in a communications.]
  • One applicant’s response to the question of salary requirements for a warehouse foreman position was “$70,000 a year.” This is a job that pays about $35,000 a year (give or take).
To be sure, the vast majority of military resumes are not that bad, but they are not good either. They are typically chock-a-block with catch phrases that are appropriate to all veterans: “organized,” “self-motivated,” “driven,” “attention to detail,” etc. Whereas every employer wants organized, self-driven and motivated employees, they also want employees with skills. Taglines cannot replace skills.
So, if you are a veteran, what are the skills you have learned? For officers, your college education and rank is not enough. Despite your clear leadership qualifications, you may have to go back to the “second lieutenant” equivalent in the civilian world. In time, you will prove your value. If you are an enlisted technician your skills will be translatable to the professional world within which you likely want to get a position. You will have an easier job finding employment, though you might have to get through the hundreds of other applicants. If you are in an enlisted position that is harder to convert into the civilian world, such as infantryman (which I was), than you may have to tone down your expectations. I bartended at night and worked in a butcher shop during the day while going to college. When I finally got my first “real” job post college it was a GS-4 position getting paid a whopping $22,000 a year – in 2002! But I knew I had to take a step back in order to learn the skill sets that ultimately made me marketable and allowed me to climb the ranks. Not all veterans can do that for a variety of reasons.
Like any Marine, I am not complaining for the sake of my own bloviating. I want to fix the problem. That cannot happen alone. Here are the solutions.
First, military recruiters are partially to blame. They will tell you to go into the military and you will come out with a great job waiting for you because you are better prepared to succeed. I call BULLPOOP! While it is true, you are better equipped to succeed, jobs will not be waiting for you. Get ready to compete with a lot of technically proficient unemployed. This needs to change. One way to do so is to better prepare the recruited in his or her initial phases of basic training: explain the education benefits better; encourage new recruits and candidates to expand their skill sets throughout their enlistment or commission; make it clear – being a soldier is not a qualifier for a job in its own right, you will have to do things on your own to prepare for your future.
Secondly, it is time to change the way the G.I. Bill and uniform specific education funds reimburse veteran’s education. Currently, colleges dominate those funds. But not every veteran is built for college. In fact, many joined because they could not sit still in a classroom. Therefore, education initiatives led by trade unions, trade associations, and technical schools should be given the same opportunities to train veterans as universities. The National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association (NCBFFA) has a GREAT idea, led by Pam Brown (of Future Forwarding of Atlanta, GA). They want to train veterans to become Certified Customs Specialists (CCS), a job that is growing in importance. Right now they are building support for funding and getting little traction. They are not alone. It is time to engage the carpenters, plumbers, and iron workers – among others – to build similar reimbursable institutes. After all, I can outsource a financial analyst’s position to India, but I cannot outsource a broken faucet.
Thirdly, businesses can become more engaged, but we need help. Tax breaks for training unskilled veterans would be a welcome benefit. More than money, rules restrict companies from hiring veterans. Regulations currently restrict how much we can assist. We are limited with regard to the amount of feedback we can give an applicant regarding his or her resume. We also need a greater amount of freedom to fire our new hires. Why? If that candidate for whom I wish to train turns out to be a turkey, I need to be able to release him or her in order to open new opportunities for a potentially better recruit. At present, the risk is entirely on the company and we can get hit with unemployment insurance for taking a chance. Thus, businesses seek those with records of success and skillsets. If you want to change that culture, the government should extend the probation period to give time to adequately train and assess veteran candidates. Unchain our potential!
Finally, elected officials need to care. At present, most do not. Veterans are treated like photo-opportunities by savvy political operators. When the cameras are gone, so is the support. The problem is only going to get worse. The World War II generation had a lot of comrades in Congress. The Vietnam Era, the last generation of drafted service members, still has a good number of elected officials as well – but they are dwindling. In the era of an all-volunteer military, only 2% of the nation will have served. Congress is beginning to reflect that demographic. Veterans need to organize for meaningful change in order to increase employment opportunities. Until that happens, they will continue to have higher than national average unemployment rates.
The wars are ending overseas. For many veterans they are beginning at home. They need your help. It will take some self-reflection and collective will to make that possible. They fought for us, let’s fight for them.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140922184440-12804420-why-i-am-not-hiring-veterans-but-i-want-to


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Mafia's Ties to Wisconsin Cheese

thecheesemafiafamily
In March of 1980, after a two year investigation, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission released a Report of the Study of Organized Crime’s Infiltration of the Pizza and Cheese Industry. Wisconsin’s Grande Cheese Co of Fond du Lac was referenced several times.


Grande Cheese Co., mentioned in the body of the report in reference to Joseph Bonanno, Roma Foods and the Falcone Brothers, was born out of a Chicago gang war in 1939. During the first few years of its operation, at least five men, including the owner, were killed. Chicago crime boss Ross Prio eventually gained control of the company. Over the years Grande has been owned by or associated with numerous organized crime figures.


In the 1950's the ownership of Grande Cheese passed from Ross Prio to the DiBella family, John and his sister, Rose. John DiBella became corporate President in 1959. John had ties
to Milwaukee crime boss John Alioto who was Frank Balistrieri's father-in-law. John Alioto was the Milwaukee mob boss from 1952 until 1961 when he handed over control to his son-in-law, Frank Balistrieri. DiBella’s sister Rose took over her brother's stock after his death in 1964, and later sold her interest to the Candela and Gaglio families. The Gaglio family owned Ontario Importing, founded by the family patriarch, Vito Gaglio, in the mid-1960's.


The actual control of the cheese and pizza business began with no less a figure than Joseph Bonanno, Sr. Bonanno, living at that time in Tucson, Arizona, was regarded as one of the most powerful leaders of Organized Crime in America. Bonanno initiated a conspiracy to control the specialty cheese business in the United States in the early 1940's and even in 1980, he and his associates controlled the activities of some of the largest and most prosperous specialty cheese companies. Bonanno had direct ties to Grande Cheese of Wisconsin; through it to Grande's exclusive distributor in the Pennsylvania area, Roma Foods of South Plainfield, New Jersey; and through the distributor to hundreds of retail pizza shops which were financed and controlled by the organization in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


The Falcone brothers of Brooklyn, New York--formerly associated with Bonanno-tied Grande Cheese and partners with a Grande officer in other Wisconsin cheese companies--built and operated for a decade a network of fraudulent "paper companies" designed to produce millions of dollars for the Falcones only to collapse financially when challenged by claims of their legitimate business victims.


The Pennsylvania Crime Commission investigation had determined that the Falcones and Thomas Gambino drove another company into bankruptcy in 1976. In December of 1975, the
Falcones and Gambino bought 70% of the stock of the previously family-owned Badger State' Cheese Company in Luxemburg, Wisconsin. Eight months later, Badger State Cheese collapsed in disarray with $1.3-million in debts. The Falcones and Gambino had taken over Badger and arranged that Capitol Cheese of Brooklyn, New York be the major customer and distributor for Badger. Capitol Cheese of Brooklyn was operated by Joseph and Thomas Gambino. Joseph Gambino was a leader in the Carlo Gambino crime organization.
Capitol Cheese directed delivery of Badger State cheese to Capitol's customers, collected payment from the customers, and then the cash disappeared. When Capitol Cheese owed Badger State Cheese $560,000, Badger State closed down and the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture placed the company in trusteeship. Capitol Cheese, the Gambino business in Brooklyn, afterward, went out of business.


Also involved in the Crime Commission Investigation:
F & A CHEESE of Grand Rapids, Michigan, owned by Francesco and Angelo Terranova. The Company was started with a loan from the uncle of the Terranovas, John DiBella of Grande Cheese. F & A Cheese had another office in Upland, California. Raffael Quasarano, a member of the Joseph Zerilli criminal organization of Detroit, and Peter Vitale were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit in November, 1979 for allegedly extorting $270,000 from the Terranovas. They were also charged with mail fraud, tax fraud and racketeering. According to the indictment Quasarano and Vitale used "fear of economic loss" and threats of "force and violence" to gain control of an F & A subsidiary, Rogersville Cheese Factory, Inc. in Wisconsin.

According to a report printed in the Milwaukee Sentinel on Aug. 7, 1980, the owner of a Wisconsin cheese factory (Rodgersville Cheese Factory) allegedly taken over by organized crime bosses from Detroit was told by either Quasarano or Vitale in 1974, “The big fish is swallowing the little fish, and you're lucky your legs aren't broken, according to Federal Court testimony that day. Both eventually pled guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of four years each in 1981.



http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1368&dat=19800807&id=lYBQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ChIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2574,1039249

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Indian's Scout motorcycle is back and ready to challenge Harley's Sportster

milwaukee journal sentinel
Thanks to and written by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Links provided:

Sept. 25, 2014 The Indian Scout motorcycle, favored by stunt riders, has made a daring comeback, with some reviewers saying it's a serious competitor to Harley-Davidson's Sportster lineup.
The first all-new Scout in 70 years is expected to arrive at dealerships in December, with dozens of the bikes sold in advance to Wisconsin motorcyclists.
The original Scout, first made in 1920, was one of Indian Motorcycle Co.'s most popular models. It was the preferred bike for a carnival attraction, the Wall of Death, in which daring motorcyclists rode around a barrel-shaped wooden track, gradually climbing the inside walls until they were circling the barrel's lip.
Polaris Industries, a $3.8 billion Minnesota manufacturer of motorcycles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, redesigned Indians from a clean sheet of paper after numerous failed attempts by others to revive the company.
First came the Chief models, in 2013 for model-year 2014, followed by the less expensive Scout for model-year 2015.
Polaris wanted the Scout to come "right on the heels" of the Chief, offering consumers a lighter, more nimble bike, said Steve Menneto, vice president-motorcycles for Polaris Industries.
A 47-year-old highly-modified Scout earned the title of the "World's Fastest Indian," as proven in 1967 by motorcycle racer Burt Munro, and retold in 2005 in a popular movie by that name. The older Scouts were known as cutting-edge bikes, and the U.S. Army used 30,000 of them during World War II.
Now, the Scout is a modern bike that sports a liquid-cooled 100-horsepower engine, a lightweight aluminum frame and a low 25.3-inch seat height comfortable for riders with a shorter inseam.

Female-friendly features

"The Scout appears to be a motorcycle that was designed with female riders in mind, as it has many of the features women say they want in a motorcycle: low, light, easy to handle, yet it has lots and lots of power," said Sash Walker, who reviewed the bike for Women Riders Now.
With a price starting at $10,999, comparable with a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom, the Scout is aimed squarely at some of Harley's most sought-after customers, including first-time motorcycle buyers. Likewise, the Indian Chief was meant to compete with Harley's Project Rushmore motorcycles.
"Clearly, Indian has targeted Harley-Davidson, but so has Honda and so has Suzuki and Yamaha and other companies over the years as well," Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said in a quarterly conference call with analysts.
Tytlers Cycle in De Pere says it has already sold Scouts for delivery in December. Some buyers came from Michigan to check out the bike when it was available for demo rides at the dealership.
"I have never had so much interest in anything on two wheels in my career," said John Mantz, a Tytlers sales representative.

Luring riders away

The Scout puts Indian into a category of middleweight powerful motorcycles.
"Price-wise it competes very directly with the (1200 Custom) Sportster. But performance-wise, it's completely different, with more horsepower, less weight, more modern features and a liquid-cooled motor. I think in some ways it's going to lure, or at least attract, some riders that otherwise would be looking at a Sportster" or a Japanese-made bike, said Aaron Frank, editor-at-large of Motorcyclist magazine.
This summer, Indian offered test rides at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. Afterward, some of those riders purchased Scouts for delivery this winter, said Shawn Kelly, sales manager at Engelhart Motorsports, an Indian dealership in Madison.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of crossover from Harley-Davidson owners for our Indian Chief lineup, and I don't think the Scout is going to be any different. This could be a second bike for someone who wants a lighter-weight, sportier cruiser," Kelly said.
Indian has about 150 U.S. dealerships, compared with nearly 700 for Harley-Davidson, but Indian intends to double its number of dealers in the near future.
Polaris says it's added nearly 300 people at its Spirit Lake, Iowa, plant that already employs more than 700. It has added 111,000 square feet to the factory that also produces Victory motorcycles.
When the original Indian Motorcycle Co. went out of business in 1953, its Indian-head logos quickly became collector's items. Under Polaris, the goal has been to capture the spirit of the Chief and Scout bikes from more than a half-century ago, but using a modern engine and new technologies.
Still, Indian sales remain well behind industry leader Harley-Davidson.
Harley is the No. 1-selling street motorcycle in the U.S., according to industry data, and it has 36 models in its 2015 model-year lineup, compared with five for Indian.
"While we take our competitors seriously, we are highly confident about our continued strong industry leadership. Competition is always good for the marketplace. It's healthy, frankly, for Harley-Davidson," said Tony Macrito, Harley's manager of corporate media relations.