DBR Transport Maintains High Driver Satisfaction with Kenworth W990s
DBR Transport provides drivers with premium equipment, good wages, and a close-knit workplace environment that continuously works to enhance life for its drivers. As a result, the company boasts a low turnover rate, with the average driver tenure at more than eight years.
“The driver shortage isn’t a secret and with increasing freight demands – plus a younger generation entering the workforce that prioritizes more of a life/work balance – the need for drivers is only growing,” said Dave Rothwell, founder and president of DBR Transport. “At DBR, we’ve focused on building a driver-friendly company that not only helps us retain our drivers, but also promotes our industry as an attractive career choice and better matches the values the new generation of drivers tend to have.”
To appeal to its current drivers and potential new hires DBR Transport began purchasing Kenworth W990s with 76-inch sleepers, 500 hp engines and 13-speed transmissions. In addition to its Kenworth W990s, the Port Colborne, Ontario-based company operates a 25-truck fleet that is comprised primarily of Kenworth long hoods and Kenworth T880s. DBR Transport specializes in hauling steel and manufacturing products in Conestoga trailers throughout the continental U.S. and eastern Canada.
The company currently operates five W990s used as part of a driver reward program and assigned to experienced drivers with clean driving records. One of those drivers, Mike Veldhoen, is in his 13th year driving for DBR Transport and has accumulated more than 3.5 million miles over the course of his 34-year career.
“In this industry, drivers tend to jump around from company to company to seek out better opportunities,” said Veldhoen. “I get recruited on almost a daily basis, but in my time working for Dave, I’ve learned the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Dave treats us drivers right and provides us with new equipment that we want to drive.”
Veldhoen, who previously drove a Kenworth W900 and other Kenworth legacy models prior to transitioning to the Kenworth W990, has found the new truck to be more comfortable and easier to drive compared to its predecessor.
“It’s a night-and-day difference, everything about it is different,” said Veldhoen. “The W990 is much easier to drive and backing trailers isn’t as difficult. It also handles the road a lot smoother and tends to hold its lane better, which provides a more comfortable driving experience. The wider cab is also more accommodating, especially when riding with a passenger.”
According to Rothwell, the company’s decision to add Kenworth’s latest long hood model was a natural transition following years of success operating Kenworth W900s.
“Many of our drivers, and myself included, view trucks built by Kenworth as the top-of-the-line choice the industry has to offer,” said Rothwell. “Driver input plays a significant role in the trucks we purchase, which is why we’ve continued to add Kenworths to the fleet. Our drivers love the classic look of a long hood.”
The company’s success in retaining and recruiting drivers goes well beyond offering an attractive pay package. Rothwell noted that providing drivers with premium driving equipment plays a key role.
“To ask drivers to be out on the road 4 to 5 days at a time is becoming more difficult, since job opportunities in other industries pay similar wages with more home time,” said Rothwell. “We understand that. It’s why we run premium trucks. We spec them with the best interior packages, latest technology and other features to make drivers as comfortable as possible on the road. It makes all the difference and helps drivers feel appreciated.”
DBR Transport’s Kenworth W990s feature the W990 Limited Edition interior in midnight black with glossy Ravenwood door and dash trim accents. The special interior offers rich black leather, embroidered W990 logo, Royal Blue double-stitched diamond door pads, black leather-wrapped steering wheel with Royal Blue stitching. The driver and passenger seats have suede charcoal inserts and perforated leather with Royal Blue backing.
“The W990s leather interior is a nice modern touch. It looks sharp,” said Veldhoen. “We drivers appreciate the upgraded interior, and it adds to the experience away from home.”
With operations in Canada and across the lower 48 states, truck mileage adds up fast. Rothwell said company trucks rack up as many as 150,000 miles per year. To maximize resale value and keep drivers in new equipment, DBR Transport sells its trucks after 4 to 5 years of operation. The company purchased its W990s from Kenworth Truck Centres – Hamilton and currently has two more W990s on order with that dealership.
“By keeping our trucks in operation relatively young, we experience little downtime. That enables us to consistently deliver reliable service to our customers,” said Rothwell. “While there are plenty of other trucking companies with similar services, we’ve worked hard at building relationships with our customers over the years. On the backend, drivers appreciate being put in new trucks every few years and Kenworths tend to hold their value more than other makes.”
Out on the road, DBR Transport’s black paint with orange accent trucks are hard to miss. “We take pride in our trucks. A good-looking truck reinforces our image as a reliable service provider. Our customers, and even non-commercial drivers, take notice. Everyone loves a clean long hood,” said Rothwell.