What Makes A Show Truck

Truck Shows and Show Trucks

Part of working at Mercer is going to different Truck Shows all over the country throughout the year. We recruit new Owner Operators, learn about developments in the industry, and we get to look at some pretty sweet show trucks. We love taking a walk among the rows of trucks and seeing all the different styles.

Working Show Truck Vs “Limited Mileage Trucks”

It’s always interesting to compare these two types of trucks. On the one hand, you have a hard working Owner Operator who in between loads is maintaining his truck. While the “Limited Mileage Truck” doesn’t have to worry about getting damaged out on the road. We’re a little partial to Working Show Trucks ourselves. We have quite a few Owner Operators who’ve won awards with their amazing trucks.

What’s On The Outside?

There are so many options when it comes to Show Trucks. Not only do you have to choose your base color, but also other colors and styles. Do you choose a complimentary color and go two tone? Do you go with something simple like pinstripes or bars? Or do you go with something more complex like flames? What about Vinyl? Do you go with Vinyl striping, or vinyl art? There are so many different styles to choose from, and they can all have their place.

One also has to consider chrome. Chrome stacks, chrome bumpers, chrome grills, chrome accents. Is there such a thing as too much chrome? Some Owner Operators keep the chrome to a minimum. Others may have trucks that almost seem to have been dipped in chrome, like Achilles in the River Styx.

The Devil’s In The Details.

Show Truck 04

We can’t forget all the little things that can help tie the theme of the truck together. For some Owner Operators that may be custom lights, while others it may be redoing the interior. There are also the little touches right before the show. Cleaning your tires, making them shine, and some may even go as far as to detail them.

Show Us Your Truck

We know that not everyone has the time to take off for a truck show. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever enter one though. If you think you have a sweet looking truck even if it isn’t a “Show Truck” go to ShowUsYourTruck.com. ShowUsYourTruck.com is a monthly online truck show where you can submit a photo of your truck and be entered to win $200. We look forward to seeing your truck in the future.


Getting To Know: Heather Watson

Getting To Know: Heather Watson

Heath Watson
Heather Watson in front of Mercer garden

If you’ve ever had to call in to our Imaging Department you may have spoken with Heather Watson. She started with us back in September of 98 and other than one six month period she’s been in the Imaging Department the entire time. We asked Heather if she had any tips for our Owner Operators on how to make sure that their paperwork gets processed properly. “Light,” Heather says in her soft spoken way, “the more light the better, and not with a flash.” Following up with that we ask about how long it takes to get paperwork. “The mobile app sends paperwork in batches once an hour. If an owner operator sends it right before the batch gets sent it may only be a few minutes, but if the owner operator sends it right after a batch is sent, it can take about an hour.”

Greener Spaces

You may remember a few weeks ago when we spoke with Tom Pifer about the Mercer Campus. During that interview we talked with him about greener spaces. One of the spaces that Tom worked was a garden that he and Heather collaborated on. Tom brought over some old tool boxes filled with dirt, and set aside a giant reservoir for water. After that she was able to fill the re-purposed tool boxes with many different plants and vegetables.

Growing Results

 

So how are things going with the garden? Well Heather is currently growing banana peppers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, and even zucchinis, just to name a few. The banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers have already grown enough produce to be harvested once already. Heather also shared a little secret for getting the blueberries to grow. She adds a little mixture of water and vinegar to the soil around the blueberries.

So just remember if you call into our Imaging Department and get Heather on the phone. You may just want to ask her how the garden is doing.

Tips for Sending in Paperwork

  1. Make sure your document is well lit.
  2. Make sure you put your order and unit number on every document you send in.
  3. Documents come in in batches once an hour.

Learn About: National Night Out

What is National Night Out?

National Night Out Banner
National Night Out

For those who’ve never heard of National Night Out, it is an event designed to help promote police-community partnerships. The event was launched back in 1984 by Matt Peskin. Peskin was the  founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch. In addition to Pennsylvania, 22 other states were involved in the 1st annual National Night Out.  While it originally just started as porch vigils, it soon grew into neighborhood block parties.

Mercer’s Role

Mercer got involved in National Night Out for the first time last year. We were actually present for two different events. The first one being held at the waterfront. Mercer had one of our drivers Dan Jordan bring his beautiful truck down to show off. We also had a dunk tank in which people were invited to try and dunk our very own Jason Schaftlein. Dale Corum and Brian Helton were also there visiting with police members of the community. The second event was held at the Baxter Community Center, and was led by LMPD 1st District. At that event Mercer provided meat to be grilled, and some tasty deserts. Mercer also had other staff on hand at that event to show their support and visit with the community.

This Year

This year Mercer will be teaming with the LMPD 1st District again. The event will again be at the Baxter Community Center on August 1st. Mercer will again be bringing meat to grill, with Jason Schaftlein manning the grill. Mercer will also be providing a face painter and balloon artist. Other Mercer employees will also be there to help out. The festivities start at 6pm and go on until about 8pm. We’d love to see some familiar faces so if you’re free that even stop on by to show your support.

For more information about National Night Out, follow this link: https://natw.org/


Getting To Know: Tom Pifer

Who is Tom Pifer?

Tom smiling.
Tom with Mercer Sign

You may have seen Tom around Mercer and not even realized it. He’s the guy wearing the boonie hat, walking around outside, checking things out, always on the move from one project to the next. Tom is one of those guys that is just easy to talk to and ask questions. Although much like some wise character from a movie, he might just answer your question with a question. He’s Mercer’s Facilities Manager and he’s kind of awesome. Tom joined us back in April of 2014 right after the Mid America Truck Show, with his first task being, how do we make Mercer’s booth more inviting to drivers. If you’ve been by our booth in the last few years you’ve seen some of the changes Tom came up with. An inviting diner like atmosphere that draws both current and prospective drivers to come by, have a seat, and visit with us. Since then he’s been working with management all over campus to update our workspaces.

Changing Workspaces

One of the bigger remodels to campus was the work area for the coordinators. Tom worked with Dale Corum and the Truck Ops managers on what they wanted the new space to accomplish. “With more opportunity to learn, better tools, and an environment that reinforces exposure to all those opportunities, if somebody wants to succeed they’re going to have the opportunity,” explained Tom. To do this Tom, his crew, and some fine people from Ron Metts Construction, created workspaces that were uniform and had defined space but were still open enough to encourage communication between coordinators. That way newer coordinators could learn for more tenured coordinators, and vice versa.

Form and Function

When talking with Tom you realize he never rushes into a decision, every choice is made after careful thought and planning. Lots of the design choices serving multiple purposes. Tom and Dale Corum talked about making the outside of Mercer match how great the inside was, and help make Mercer part of the Louisville landscape. With that goal in mind Tom looked into updating our lots and buildings. Somethings were as simple as a fresh coat of paint, but for our security Tom wanted to not only keep us compliant, but also make the place more welcoming. Tom talks about “soft edges” and “hard edges.” “Could we make fences, not just barriers, but beautiful spaces, soft edges,” he asks. If you’ve been by lately you know the answer is yes. Tom had them bring the fence around Building 8 in, creating an area to plant trees providing a more welcoming look. There’s also the new sign right there on the corner of 12th and Main letting new recruits know that they’ve not only arrived at Mercer, but hopefully feel welcome as well.

What’s going on with the Atkins lot?

Some of you may or may not know that Mercer recently acquired the Atkin’s Lot next door. Those of you who ran UPS last year may remember parking your trailer there. So Tom plans on using the space similarly in the future with parking for around 200 trailers when the need arises. There will also be offices in the main building although which departments will be in there has yet to be decided.

The Future

Of course Tom is always working, and here soon all of the lots will have new uniform signage not only on our gates but our buildings as well. So that drivers and employees can better navigate our campus. We asked Tom about what the end goal was, Tom didn’t really see it in that way, “I don’t really believe in ends, mostly transitions.” In Tom’s view, there will always be change on the horizon, either in up keeping facilities, or redesigning them to meet future needs. We look forward to seeing what Tom has in store for us.


Learn About: The Iowa 80 Truckstop

The Biggest Truckstop In The World

We thought that since we were going to be spending a few days at the Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, we might share some brief history about the place. As most drivers know, the Iowa 80 Truckstop is huge. It is actually so large that it has earned the title of World’s Largest Truck Stop. Sitting on 220 acres and is four times larger than the average truck stop, with parking for 900 trucks, and 150 fuel pumps.

A Brief History

The Iowa 80 Truckstop started operations in 1964, before Interstate 80 was even completed. Standard Oil owned it, while Bill Moon, the founder, managed it. In 1984 Standard Oil sold it, and Bill Moon put everything he had, and even some from friends, into buying the truck stop. Once the Moon family took it over they began to expand it, slowly creating the massive complex that exist today.

The massive facility now has its own restaurant which can seat up to 300 people, as well as many different fast food chain restaurants as well. It also has a gym and laundry services on site. Want to catch a movie on your down time, there’s a 60 person theater as well. You can also stop by the Super Truck Showroom, just don’t forget to stop by the gift shop before you leave.

Truckers Jamboree

This year is the 38th Annual Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 Truckstop. It started back in 1979 and was created to say thank you to all the drivers that pass through the stop. It’s a 3 day event with a Super Trucks Beauty Contest as well as an Antique Truck Show. So if you’re in the area feel free to stop by and visit. We will have Mercer Representatives there so stop by and say high to them while you’re exploring The World’s Largest Truck Stop.

 


Getting to Know: Len Dunman

Len Dunman Mercer’s Safety Director

Safety Directors can be scary, but here at Mercer we’re lucky. Our Safety Director Len Dunman is a pretty cool guy. He’s been working with us since 1982 in various departments, he’s figuratively and literally shaped the face of Mercer.

Len wasn’t new to the transportation industry when he started with us back in ’82. He’d already worked at the Taylor Motor Company, and he has over the road experience. He tells us about how he used to haul cotton seed, “I ran cotton seed from Paris and McKenzie, TN to West Memphis… The driving was cool, but you had to climb up in the bin and load the stuff yourself. It was dirty and dusty. It has to be tarped because it gets very heavy if the load gets wet,” with a wry smile he adds, “ask me how I know that.”

He talks with us about how there is always common ground no matter which side of the desk you’re sitting on. He gets where drivers are coming from because he’s been there. “[I] know what it feels like to start over with nearly nothing. I know what it is like to work 2 jobs for 24 years.”

Len Dunman Car Enthusiast

If you’ve never been by Len’s Office, don’t be afraid to at least stop by and see it next time you’re in town. He’s a man fascinated by anything on wheels. The windows all have shelves, and each shelf is filled with die-cast cars, trucks, semi-trucks, and trains. It’s an impressive collection.

We ask Len to take his Ford Fairlane 500 out to the new Atkin’s lot so we can take some photos. He poses proudly with the car. We ask him about it and he tells the car’s history. His grandfather E.M. Moody was the first owner and he special ordered it back in ’65. It was passed to Len back in 2000 by his late Grandmother. It’s a real beauty to look at as we search for the best angle to snap some photos. He continues, “My father and I were the only people to ever work on it. The only thing Len and his father didn’t work on were the pipes and the paint, with the paint work being done by Mike Fagan (3324).”

“I do a few cruise ins in Louisville and LaGrange when I have time… [I] take off time each year to hang out with my old high school buddies and my sons at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville the first weekend of August. And yes, I keep a picture of E.M. Moody in the car. I think he approves.”

Before we finish the interview we ask him what his favorite part of the job is. ‘The best part of my job today is getting to go out and do field inspections. I love talking about trucks with our drivers, it gets me back to my roots. I wish I had more time to do that.”


Diesel Tax

You’ll be paying a bit more at the pump in a few states after July 1st due to tax increases. Most of these increase are due to states needing more for projects to fix roads and highways. Note that these prices are in relation to diesel tax. The link below will have more information about gas tax increases.

Indiana raised by 10 cents.

Tennessee raised by 4 cents.

Montana raised by 1.5 cents.

West Virginia raised by 3.5 cents.

South Carolina raised by 2 cents.

Maryland’s is only going up 0.3 cents.

New Jersey is the highest with 10.8 cents.

Source: https://itep.org/gas-taxes-will-rise-in-7-states-to-fund-transportation-improvements/


The New Face in Contractor Relations

Sitting down with the newest member of Contractor Relations Chris Starck. While he may be new to the Contractor Relations Department, he isn’t a stranger to Mercer. Sitting behind the flatbed service bar in the Contractor Relations office he about how he started back in September of 97. Back then he worked for us in our Claims Department.

In between phone calls Chris discusses his other positions here at Mercer during his 20 years here. With him moving from Claims to Agent Training, to being our Agent in Wilmington NC. Chris took care of that agency for 3 years before going to work with Lynn at LNV for a year.

After getting all of that work stuff out of the way Chris talks about his family. While talking about his wife the question of how long he’d been married came up, “Today is actually my 15th anniversary, I’ve got my card out in the car.”

After finishing another call the conversation turns to his kids, Wyatt and Quinn. “We stay busy with soccer,” he says, “lots of soccer.”
“We like to go camping too,” he says leaning back, “we’ve got a canoe and a kayak we take out on the river every now and then.”

The phones start ringing again and the whole department is busy; Alan, Glenn, Chris all go about taking care of drivers, answering questions, sharing stories. Waiting for Chris to finish  to ask one final question, what does he bring to contractor relations and why does he want to be in there. “Well I think that I bring a different perspective to the department, seeing as I was on the claims and agent side of the company. Also I don’t want to see just Mercer succeed, I want our Contractors to as well.”


HazMat Endorsement Bonus Program

In an effort to support our various shippers that ship hazardous materials, Mercer has instituted a program to encourage our contractors to add the Hazmat Endorsement to their CDLs. Any contractor who renews their CDL in 2017 and includes the Hazmat Endorsement will receive a $50.00 bonus for each of their next six hazmat loads hauled. This bonus will also be available to contractors whose CDLs are not expiring in 2017 but add the endorsement by years end. Drivers, if you have added or renewed prior to this date but still in 2017 please call Yardley Flaherty, she will update your driver file. Drivers who add the endorsement even though their CDL is not expiring in 2017 should also call Yardley. Drivers who renew their CDLs with the Hazmat Endorsement from this point forward in 2017 need not do anything. Yardley will update your file automatically.

How to get the $300
Renew your CDL and Include the Hazmat during 2017/Add Hazmat to your CDL in 2017
Get with Yardley Flaherty to make sure you are updated.
The next 6 HazMat loads will pay $50 dollars straight to the truck.

Any Questions call Contractor Relations at 502-625-3296

There are a number of areas of the country where the Hazmat Endorsement will benefit you in terms of loading options, IN, PA, MS and UT to name a few. Not only will you benefit from the $300 bonus over 6 trips but most of these loads pay an additional Hazmat charge. This program will run until the end of the year. We will be monitoring the benefit of the program for our drivers, shippers and Mercer, if the program is successful do not be surprised to see it extended into 2018.


Cheap Physicals

US Health Works is a nationwide medical facility that you may or may not be familiar with. They have three locations in the Louisville area and one of those is a 24 hour site. They offer physicals for $33. Cheaper than any others I have heard about.  Only the Louisville locations offer physicals for that price. Every penny saved as an owner operator is important so feel free to take advantage of it. As always, thanks for your hard work everyday and stay safe out there.