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Aim Kicks off United Way Workplace Campaign

Posted on 10/27/2020
Pictured is Aim employee Emily Papamarkos, raffle winner of a free vacation day and a gift card.

For more than 20 years, Aim Transportation Solutions has been partnering with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley to enrich the communities of Youngstown, OH—home of Aim’s headquarters—and surrounding areas through donations, support, education, relief and positive change.

Each year, the non-profit runs its workplace campaign, calling upon local businesses and their employees to “rise united” and “rise up to the challenge” by making contributions through either one-time donations or ongoing payroll deductions, and Aim is always eager to rise to this challenge.

Last week, Eleanor Arnold, Aim Director of Talent Management and chairperson of Aim’s United Way efforts, invited employees to a virtual kick-off call with United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley President Bob Hannon. He went over how vital the organization’s involvement is in providing relief to area families and the overall betterment of the community. He also underscored how one individual’s small part plays a huge role in everything they do throughout the year.

“We’re so fortunate to work for a company like Aim, which has remained strong in the face of the pandemic, continuing to add jobs to the Mahoning Valley and across the nation when many businesses have sadly been forced to shutter their doors,” said Arnold. “That puts us in a position to be able to do some real good for people, to support a community in need, and change lives for the better.”

To sweeten the pot, Arnold raffled off an extra vacation day along with a gift card to a local steakhouse, which was provided by Aim Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Terry DiMascio. Employees could earn two entries: one by attending the call with Mr. Hannon and a second by becoming a first-time donor or by current donors increasing their contributions. Emily Papamarkos, from Aim’s corporate billing department, was the week's lucky winner.

With a goal to double the number of employees pledging (or to get those already donating to increase theirs) two more raffles are on the books. For this week, the week of Oct. 19, Aim Co-Presidents Geoff Fleming and Scott Fleming have donated another free vacation day. Next week a free day off along with a gift basket will be raffled and will be drawn Friday, Oct. 30. All Aim employees who have become donors or increased their gifts are eligible.

During the call, Hannon further emphasized the importance of these monetary contributions, speaking proudly of the United Way’s ability to quickly respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck already struggling families the hardest. Crediting those who contributed, the United Way was able to provide $80,000 in grocery store gift cards to 2,000 families in need; deliver food to the doors of 2,800 people; distribute $140,000 in emergency funds; continue crucial after-school programs virtually; and much, much more.

Aim employees who want to do their part can follow this link to quickly and easily set up an ongoing payroll deduction, or they can fill out this form to set up their payroll deduction or a one-time gift. Those who choose the latter option should submit their completed forms to Arnold.

Updated 10/27/2020:

Week two's winner of a vacation day, provided courtesy of Aim Co-Presidents Geoffrey Fleming and Scott Fleming, is Stephanie Hahn (pictured), Aim's Human Resource Generalist. Congratulations, Stephanie!

Shipping Wars: The Return of the Driver Shortage

Posted on 10/14/2020

Remember the 2018 truck driver shortage? While that may feel like an eternity ago, it’s been just two years. In that year, the industry was short a record high more than 60,000 drivers. Between then and COVID, it eased a little; though, that was more a symptom of slowing sectors of the economy and not any kind of solution to the circumstances plaguing the industry.

Now, as we climb out of a global pandemic that abruptly slammed the brakes on a strong economy, we could be dealing with those 2018 numbers all over again.

At the heart of the 2018 truck driver shortage were surging freight volumes. Now, as the economy recovers, industries will notice – and feel – an uptick in product they need to move. This means drivers will be in extra high demand (again). However, an already shrinking pool of talent was hit hard by a confluence of events this year, the pandemic being just one of them. Since the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse went live in January, an estimated 30,000 drivers have been placed in “do not hire” status; the majority of those men and women have yet to begin their return-to-duty process, effectively wiping them off the board as potential candidates.

Additionally, getting a commercial driver’s license issued or renewed has been rough going in many states. COVID-19 shut down BMVs across the country, and since reopening, most are still playing catchup. Worse yet, commercial driving schools are graduating fewer drivers due to limited seating while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This has the potential to result in tens of thousands of drivers not entering the workforce this year.

All of this is in the face of an aging workforce – the average truck driver being 55 – which will be retiring in the next 10 to 20 years without enough young talent coming in as they exit. The industry faces a crisis requiring an innovative solution. Until it gets sorted out, companies using private fleets will need to get creative with how they attract drivers to work for them in an increasingly competitive (and changing) market, which could eat up valuable resources and cash.

Another option for shippers is to utilize a dedicated fleet. One like Aim Integrated Logistics goes far beyond simply providing trucks and drivers. It delivers total transportation management complete with engineered routing, scheduling and utilization to increase efficiency. So not only does a company not have to pour an infinite amount of time, money and resources into recruiting, training and managing truck drivers, but it would also benefit from reduced liability, lower costs, increased speed to market, elimination of DOT compliance issues and much, much more, which you can find out about by reaching out to us: info@aimntls.com or 330-269-5329.

No matter how you choose to face the moving target that is the transportation industry, one thing is certain: It’s going to require more effort, time and money on the part of the shippers to remain competitive and profitable.

Aim Recognizes Drivers Virtually

Posted on 9/21/2020
Aim Co-President Geoff Fleming raffles off prizes to Aim drivers.

For one week every September, during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), Americans are asked to celebrate and thank our nation’s truck drivers and the instrumental role these dedicated men and women quietly carry out 24/7, 365. Well, this year, in the middle of a global pandemic, that role has been anything but quiet. That being said, we would be remiss not to state upfront: Thank you, drivers. We truly appreciate you. All of you.

Aim has always used this annual event to show some extra appreciation for its pool of talented, hardworking Aim Integrated Logistics drivers. Last year, spanning locations across the country, Aim invited any and all drivers (not just those employed by Aim) and their families to an aptly named Driver Appreciation Family Picnic, where everyone enjoyed barbecue, games and raffle prizes. Now, with cookouts on the backburner, Aim had to change things up: It went virtual.

“Last year we wanted to show how much we appreciate our drivers—and all drivers—in an extra special way, which is how last year’s picnic idea came about, and that was a huge success,” said Aim Director of Talent Management, Eleanor Arnold. “Now, this year, with things being so different and so restrictive, we didn’t want to lose sight of showing our appreciation, and this virtual celebration was the next best thing.”

From Sept. 14-18, a revolving lineup of hosts—two of which included Aim Co-Presidents Scott Fleming and Geoff Fleming—stepped up to a prize table overflowing with gifts to express their appreciation for Aim’s drivers and raffle off gifts to them. When all said and done, well over 150 prizes were given away to the company’s team of drivers. Each day’s drawing was recording and shared on Aim’s Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts.

The raffle included a buffet of gift cards, gift bags, lunchboxes, blankets, jackets, noise-canceling wireless headphones and more, with each day ending in a grand prize giveaway of a brand-new laptop and a rugged Aim-branded Carhartt backpack to haul it around in.

In spite of the worst economic downturn the U.S. has seen since The Great Depression, Aim is proud to continue to add good-paying driving jobs with great benefits to several parts of the country.

Drivers in need of a job can view opportunities at jobsataim.com or reach out to Arnold directly at 330-759-0438 or earnold@aimntls.com. Aim works with a large variety of customers all over the country, so there’s always something available for everyone.

Also, as a reminder, Aim employees have until Sept. 30 to enter to win a $1,000 Visa gift card and one paid vacation day. For each driver or mechanic they refer to Aim, they earn one entry for this awesome prize package. Employees with questions about the official rules or anything else contest-related can reach out to Arnold for details.

Aim Acquires Part of Estes' Leasing Assets

Posted on 9/16/2020

Aim Transportation Solutions—a family-owned and -operated national leader in commercial truck leasing, rental, maintenance and dedicated contract carriage—has acquired some of Richmond, VA, based Estes Leasing’s assets. This move is part of Aim’s ongoing expansion in the greater Virginia area, which began in 2016 with the purchase of Fleming Leasing and will go far in enhancing Aim’s capabilities and service to new and existing customers in Richmond and surrounding areas.

“Through this acquisition we continue on our path of strategic growth throughout Virginia and the Greater Metro-DC & Richmond areas,” said Dan Fleming, Aim Vice President of Sales Operations, who has overseen this purchase. “This is the kind of growth that better allows us to bring Aim’s unique brand of attention, care and flexibility to more companies than ever before.”

The purchase of these Estes Leasing assets adds to Aim’s mounting number of maintained commercial trucks, now totaling more than 11,000 among Aim’s diverse customer base across the U.S.

“By way of our unparalleled maintenance and customer service,” said Fleming, “we look forward to cultivating long-lasting relationships with our newly acquired customers and welcoming them to the Aim family as seamlessly as possible.”

Aim services its customers in the area at 2602 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond, VA, 23223, which is one of more than 1,000 nationwide service locations within the NationaLease network, the largest full-service truck rental and leasing organization in North America.

Aim co-president, Geoff Fleming says of this matter: “Aim is honored to partner with Estes, a fellow family-owned and -operated company, to care for their leasing customers and continue the high level of service they and other businesses in the region have come to expect and rely on.”

About Aim Transportation Solutions

Aim Transportation Solutions is the largest privately-owned truck leasing company in North America. No matter what you do, what you’re transporting, or where you’re taking it, Aim keeps businesses moving. We’ve been delivering reliable, cost-effective transportation solutions for more than 50 years. Whether you need a full-service lease, a commercial rental, a maintenance program, or a complete takeover of your fleet operation, our customized solutions help reduce cost and increase transportation efficiency.

About Estes Express Lines

Estes is the largest, privately-owned freight carrier in North America. As an asset-based transportation and custom-logistics solutions provider, Estes delivers responsive freight solutions across a vast regional, national, international, and global footprint. The Richmond, VA-based, fourth-generation company has nearly 90 years of freight shipping expertise and has worked through the decades to build a robust transportation network, a reputation for financial stability, and an award-winning safety record. Estes offers comprehensive freight shipping solutions, including Less Than Truckload (LTL), Volume LTL, Truckload, Time Critical, and Final Mile.

CVSA Brake Safety Week, August 23-29

Posted on 8/20/2020

Be ready! The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual Brake Safety Week will run August 23-29. Throughout this coming week, enforcement officials will be out in full force inspecting commercial motor vehicles, and those found to have critical out-of-service brake violations—or other critical vehicle out-of-service inspection item violations—will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected.

Professional drivers—and anyone occupying the road in general—put a ton of faith in a pedal just a few inches in diameter to bring 80,000 pounds of truck, trailer and product to a stop—and to a stop safely. We expect brakes to work each and every time we need them, which is why, perhaps, it’s easy to take a vehicle’s braking system for granted.

However, let’s put this in perspective: During last year’s International Roadcheck, brake system and brake adjustment violations accounted for nearly half (45.1%) of all out-of-service conditions, accounting for more than any other vehicle violation category. Moreover, during last year’s Brake Safety Week, 13.5% of the commercial motor vehicles inspected were placed in out of service for brake-related violations, totaling 4,626 vehicles.

While checking brake system components is always part of the roadside inspection process, inspectors will place heightened scrutiny on brake hoses/tubing, emphasizing the importance of those components to vehicle mechanical fitness and safety.

A commercial truck’s braking system is comprised of components that work together to slow and stop the vehicle; brake hoses/tubing are essential in this process, which is why they must:

  • Be properly attached
  • Be undamaged
  • Have no leaks
  • Maintain appropriate flexibility

It stands to reason that brakes are one of the most vital systems for any vehicle. The failure of just one brake component can be catastrophic, threatening the life of the driver and the motorists or pedestrians around him or her.

Aim customers with questions or concerns about preparing for this weeklong event—or any other safety-related questions—can always reach out to their Aim representative who will be more than happy to assist.

Aim's mDVIR Tool Sees Heavy Use

Posted on 8/17/2020
mDVIR is easy to get started! No login required - drivers simply enter their unit number and basic information to begin their DVIRs!

You may not think of a family-owned and operated transportation company, like Aim Transportation Solutions, as an award-winning technological innovator making a big splash in the industry.

But think again.

In case you missed it: In June we launched our new smartphone app, Aim Navigator, designed by Aim’s staff of talented programmers, who packaged it with valuable tools to help Aim customers navigate the day-to-days of managing their fleets. One of those tools that’s seeing heavy use across Aim’s diverse customer base is mDVIR (mobile Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports).

mDVIR is a simple-to-use, convenient, contactless way for drivers to submit their daily pre- and post-trip inspection reports right from their smartphones. The benefits of eliminating traditional paper reports—especially in the age of COVID-19—are obvious: safer and faster being the two foremost advantages. However, it’s not until you get to the backend—that is the administrative side—that fleet operators truly start to reap the benefits of Aim Navigator’s mDVIR tool. And that all starts at our convenient web portal, better known to Aim customers as Customer Web Access (CWA).

“Given that every driver out there has a smartphone of some sort, we wanted to make our DVIR process as mobile as the drivers are and streamline that process to keep them in compliance with DOT regulations,” said Aim Regional Vice President of Sales Dan Fleming. “So, we turned to our in-house IT staff to take the ball and run with it and bring us into the mobile platform for our DVIR.”

When drivers submit their inspections, supervisors—or whoever wants or needs access—can go into CWA and see all of the submissions drivers have made for the day. You can take it a step further and view all the submissions done for your fleet as far back as one year. And of course, there are convenient filtering options; for example, you can look at those units that have defects and those that do not.

“This gives you a nice way to keep track of the health of your fleet and make sure that your drivers are submitting reports the way they should,” said Aim Quality Assurance Manager, Mary Zigarevich. “This also is a way for you to track what's going on throughout the day and see updates to these repairs.”

Drivers use the convenient defect list to specify any issues they may have noticed during their pre- or post-trip inspections.

On top of all the ways CWA can slice, dice and serve up information, our IT department can set customers up with custom reporting sent directly to their emails. So, let’s say you want a weekly report showing all open submissions—that is trucks and trailers needing repairs—we can do that. Our IT department can also send you a report of closed submissions, which would include information like how long a unit took from the point of submission to the repair being completed.

Moreover, as any industry professionals knows, pre- and post-trips are required by the Department of Transportation. If your driver is pulled over for an inspection, the officer is probably going to ask to see his or her inspection reports or, at the very least, the one for that day.

“Instead of shuffling through papers, or forgetting to get a copy of it from the shop when they did their last inspection, mDVIR gives drivers the opportunity to pull it up on their smartphones and very quickly and easily show the officer,” said Zigarevich, “which is a nice way to get your current, up-to-date history of your unit at a moment's notice.”

“Moreover, mDVIR puts everything in one place, truly streamlining the whole process,” said Fleming. “So as soon as our shop signs off on closing and repairing a defect, it's available on the driver's app in real-time for that driver to be able to show any inspector at any time.”

Aim customers who want to take advantage of Aim’s exclusive mDVIR tool can download Aim Navigator free from the App Store for iOS or on Google Play for Android. mDVIR requires no login. Drivers simply input their unit number to get started. Reach out to your sales rep for more information.

International Roadcheck Rescheduled, Sept. 9 - 11

Posted on 8/11/2020

Previously postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19 considerations, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has rescheduled this year’s International Roadcheck for September 9-11. This high-volume, high-visibility 72-hour annual enforcement event aims to highlight the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections.

As with past years, this CVSA initiative chooses to emphasize a specific category of violations. This year’s will focus on driver requirements. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, last year, 3.36 million inspections were conducted, and of those, 944,794 driver violations were discovered, of which 195,545 met out-of-service criteria.

The top 10 driver-related violations found during driver roadside inspections, according to the CVSA, are:

  1. Failure to use a seat belt while operating a commercial motor vehicle
  2. Record of duty status violation (general/from and manner)
  3. Operating a property-carrying vehicle without a valid medical certificate
  4. Operating a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL
  5. False report of record of duty status
  6. ELD – No record of duty status (ELD is required)
  7. No medical certificate in driver’s possession
  8. Driver’s record of duty status not current
  9. Driver failed to maintain supply of blank records of duty status graph grids
  10. Driver failed to maintain ELD instruction sheet

On December 16, 2019, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into full effect, requiring drivers to record, track and submit their hours-of-service and records of duty status using ELDs, so the 2020 International Roadcheck’s focus on drivers should come as no surprise. This will be a big test for carriers, especially those who just a few months ago may have made the switch from an AOBRD system to an ELD.

During the International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors will primarily conduct North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough of inspections, examining the driver’s operating requirements as well the overall mechanical fitness of his or her vehicle. Aim’s International Roadcheck webinar will review what inspectors will be looking for, particularly on the driver’s end.

Aim customers can always contact their local Aim representative with any safety- or compliance-related questions or concerns.

Aim Mechanics on the Rise

Posted on 7/31/2020

An investment in an Aim employee means an investment in the betterment of Aim itself. This is certainly the case with Aim mechanics Paul Garza Jr., who works out of Aim’s used truck center in Toledo, OH, and Payton Freeman, who works out of Aim’s ProShop in Yuma, AZ.

Training with his supervisor, Darren Osmun, Garza earned his Commercial Driver’s License A from Northwest CDL Test Center in Perrysburg, OH. He will now be able to test-drive the vehicles he’s working on as well as shuttle vehicles to and from locations as needed.

“This is a great step forward with helping me to advance my career at Aim,” said Garza.

Freeman passed an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exam from the National Institute for ASE, which has been committed to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service since 1972.

Freeman passed his Medium/Heavy Duty Truck: Brakes test, adding to his previously passed Medium/Heavy Duty Truck: Gasoline Engines and Medium/Heavy Duty Truck: Diesel Engines exams, which he completed last year.

Working with lead technician Edgar Serrano at the two-man Yuma shop, Payton is a jack-of-all-trades, working on cars, trucks, pallet jacks, forklifts, tractors and trailers for a beverage distributor, one of Aim’s valued customers.

“With Edgar’s help, Payton has completed all assigned training and then some, including the 3 ASEs he’s already obtained in just a year of working at Aim,” said Mike Buchanan, Aim service manager in Arizona. “Payton applies what he has learned to his assigned work, and he continues to grow his knowledge with everything he does.”

“I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and continuing education,” said Freeman. “That’s why I decided to get my ASEs because they help me improve my technical knowledge. I plan to complete all my ASEs to become a master certified diesel technician.”

Aim Boosts Safety-First Culture

Posted on 7/30/2020

Safety is vital to any business, but for those in the transportation industry, like Aim Transportation Solutions, it is paramount. Afterall, a single action has the potential to affect a great number of people. Aim first and foremost has always been committed to operating in the safest manner possible. However, the company wanted to take this commitment a step further by building a vocabulary around safety to further solidify it into the company culture and its daily language.

To do this, Aim held its first ever Safety Week, a week-long safety initiative that approached the topic from the top down. Aim’s safety team tasked management to engage with employees through daily discussions focused on Aim’s four core values, the very foundation of its safety-first culture: integrity, trust, accountability and commitment.

The inspiration for Aim Safety Week came from Aim Co-President Scott Fleming’s time in the Marines. During a stand-down, Fleming was involved in a week-long safety training of his own in which he communicated daily safety messages with platoon members. “I saw an opportunity to adapt what I’d learned to Aim’s corporate setting,” said Fleming. “Aim’s culture is deeply rooted in safety but this was a chance for us to bring it to the surface of our daily conversations and our daily practices.”

Fleming charged Aim Vice President of Safety Ron Bourque to launch a program based on his past experience and future vision. Bourque designed a program with the flexibility to match the diversity of each department within Aim – he gave each manager a framework from which they could tailor conversations that would relate the core values to what each department experiences day to day.

“In the safety department, the four core values have always been near and dear,” said Bourque. “We thought that rolling them out to the rest of the company in the way that we did would be helpful to further the development of our culture.”

As the program rolled out, one surprise that came to the forefront was how much interplay there is among all the values. For example, “Trust really bolsters accountability and commitment, because if you don’t trust your supervisor, the accountability, or maybe discipline, that might come from that supervisor won’t be effective,” said Bourque. “So, in the spirit of maintaining accountability, we really need trust as one of those foundations.”

One of the biggest successes to come out of Aim Safety Week was the feedback received. There were around 30 to 40 suggestions on how to both grow safety week in future years as well as suggestions on how to cultivate a safe and positive work environment in our daily practices.

“As we work through those suggestions and comments, we’re not only building a safer environment for our employees, but we’re building trust and letting them know that we’re addressing their concerns,” said Bourque.

Plans for Aim Safety Week 2021 and beyond are to push for bigger, better and brighter. As Bourque put it: “Safety is a journey, and commitment is about being in the business of keeping people safe over the long term.”

Two Aim Professionals Reach Educational Milestones

Posted on 7/29/2020
Aim Director of Maintenance, Aaron Chamberlin, holds his Certified Transportation Professional certification.

Congratulations to Aim Director of Maintenance, Aaron Chamberlin, and Aim Director of Marketing, Jessica Bochy, who both achieved milestones in the advancement of their careers.

Chamberlin earned his Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) certification from the National Private Truck Council, and Bochy graduated with her Master of Business Administration degree from Youngstown State University.

Through obtaining the CTP designation, Chamberlin has demonstrated he has gained extensive knowledge when it comes to understanding complex operational and regulatory issues as well as the ability to examine and develop efficient systems for meeting transportation needs. The CTP curriculum focuses on five core disciplines: operations, vehicle equipment and maintenance, HR/legal, safety and finance.

“I’ve been in the transportation industry for just over 20 years prior to going through this certification, and I already feel like my knowledge has increased significantly by taking this next step,” said Chamberlin. “I’ve already found ways to leverage these new skills and I know that this will bring value not only to me but to Aim’s partnerships with customers and my colleagues.”

“We’re proud of Aaron’s accomplishment and the efforts he undertook to earn this recognition and title,” said Aim Co-President Geoff Fleming. “This experience provides Aaron with an enhanced skill set that can be applied to making Aim a better company.”

Aim Director of Marketing, Jessica Bochy, displays her master's degree in business administration.

Bochy, a 12-year employee of Aim, set her sights on earning her MBA as a way of building an even stronger foundation to grow in her field as well as advancing Aim’s marketing efforts.

“The field of marketing is constantly evolving and as such I feel that ongoing education and continuous development as a marketer is essential for success,” said Bochy. “I’m grateful to be employed by a company like Aim that supports this. I’m also very fortunate to have the encouragement and direction of Matt, who has been a strong guiding force in my educational and career goals.”

“Not only is this a great personal accomplishment for Jess, but it also adds much value to Aim,” said Aim Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Matt Svancara. “As she takes these steps toward furthering her knowledge of marketing and business in general, she’s strengthening her ability to understand our customers’ businesses, too. This enables her to help us grow those relationships.”

“These serve as great examples of how Aim tries to encourage and support continuous improvement opportunities for our employees in different ways,” said Geoff.


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