Sixteen drivers received a $10,000 bonus for five-years of service. Others received awards along with $250 for accident-free years, including logbook violations, warnings, tickets, avoidable wrecks and for participating in continuing education courses.
The trucking industry has suffered just as others have, driver rates have been reduced and regulatory costs continue to increase, but the company still honors the work performed by their staff.
"What we have done here with loyalty and safety helped us become successful, we can go to the marketplace with confidence. The only thing we have to offer in this industry is service, with loyalty and good equipment and good safe drivers, we can deliver," said Ray Hanna, director of recruiting.
Kennesaw Transportation logged more than 25 million miles in the past year with each truck averaging more than 14,000 miles each month. Despite a challenging economy and a difficult year, the company feels optimistically that a change is coming and that 2011 will bring with it some improvement.
"The numbers, the way they are, they do show an improvement and I do believe next year is going to be an improvement," Hanna said. "The economy needs to make a move but it's all in the rates. I believe that our customers realize because of our good service and the quality of our equipment, they're willing to pay for that type stuff."
At 15 years of service, Mary Mullis addressed the crowd at Kennesaw Transportation's Christmas open house telling about her journey with the company. Driving to her first day of work 15 years ago, Mullis' car blew a tire and the company replaced all four tires when she arrived trusting that she would pay it back. She shared this story -- and that of meeting her husband at Kennesaw Transportation -- as a way to show her appreciation.
"I just enjoy working here. I've been here 15 years, and I'll be here 15 more if I can hold out," Mullis said. "This company, I think they put the driver first. Anytime I need off, if I need to go home, they never say no. They let you off when you need to.
"The company has grown so; when I started 15 years ago, it was a lot smaller. It's like a family here, it's always been family-oriented. They know your name."
Receiving his check for five year seniority, Steve Dean complimented Kennesaw Transportation on the quality of their equipment and the strategic foresight of owner Pat Patrick to utilize refrigerated trailers to increase use on return trips. This year again saw a decrease in the company's empty miles. Dean also commented on the loyalty incentive and its effectiveness.
"In all honesty, the loyalty thing is a reason to stay. ... It's unique," Dean said, adding that the bonus has remained in challenging times. "The company stayed behind us and the loyalty thing helps you hang on."
For more than a decade, Kennesaw Transportation has handed out five-year bonuses cumulating in more than $1 million in bonuses.
"We follow through on what we say we're going to do -- we honor loyalty," Hanna said.