Quest, however, is a subtle operation. As a national transportation and logistics company, the majority of Quest’s employees live out of state. With employment totaling about 500, Quest became the county’s fifth largest employer earlier this month comparable in size to that of Anheuser-Busch and Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen.
“Quest is a quiet leader. ... It’s really a fascinating company and a major employer,” said Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development Executive Director Melinda Lemmon. “Their client list and service capabilities are very impressive.”
Of the nearly 500 on staff, about 70 of those are located in the Cartersville offices on Riverside Drive. The other 430 or so employees are on the road, constantly moving about 250 tractor-trailer rigs across the country.
“What’s interesting is the growth this company has had. They started with about 10 trucks and since then it has just taken off and now they’re planning to add more trucks next year,” said Quest Director of Employee Development Tina Brush. “And what fascinates me is that this company is just 12 years old.”
While most of Quest’s business is over-the-road driving, local and regional service is slated to expand next year.
Last week, administration and office staff took on the task of recognizing the company’s drivers for their work. About half of the Quest driving team came through the Cartersville headquarters last week to take part in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Staff members served drivers breakfast and lunch several times throughout the week and administration highlighted the event with a new policy announcement. As a part of their driver services, Quest initiated last week an unlimited time off policy.
“There’s nothing we eat or use that doesn’t get here on a truck,” Brush said. “So basically, this week is set aside across the nation to recognize the drivers.
“We want to recognize them for all they do and how important trucking is to our economy and our individual lives, but also the fact that this is an entire career opportunity that people don’t typically think about.”
Quest also is working with other industry leaders to help educate the public on the role of truck drivers in America. The industry faces a growing skills gap leaving a number of positions open even during a time of high unemployment. To help curb this problem, Quest looks to change the perception and stereotype most people have concerning truck driving.
Quest Executive Assistant Chris Champion compared truck drivers to commercial pilots. Their mission and the safety regulations they must abide by are similar, but public perception varies greatly between the two professions. He recalled the example brought up at an industry conference where a presenter shared his experience of asking a group of parents which they would rather their children grow up to be — a truck driver or a pilot — and he found the answers decidedly against truck drivers.
“One of our goals as a company is to change that image of a traditional truck driver,” Champion said. “Pilots make the same money and they’re under the same type of regulations and yet when it comes to a pilot they look at them a certain way and a truck driver they look at a different way — yet they’re really similar.”
One way Quest is addressing the problem is by changing the way they educate drivers. Continuing education has in turn become a fundamental aspect of the company. Every new driver goes through a mandatory two-week orientation process incorporating industry-specific skills in addition to life skills, such as personal finance, dealing with conflict, coping with change and long-distance relationships.
For more information about Quest Global, visit www.questglobal.net or call 678-455-9323.