At PAM, our drivers are our greatest assets, which is why we are looking at new ways to assist our drivers to grow professionally, while giving them the resources they need to provide stellar service to our PAM clients. One of the ways we found to do this has been through the PAM Driver Advisory Council. This newly-established council provides those of us not on the road the opportunity to hear, first hand, what is working, what isn’t, and how we can improve the lives of our drivers by facing any issues head on.
It was late 2020 when our new CEO, Joe Vitiritto, decided that a formal council of volunteer drivers and contractors needed to be established. His commitment to company and employee development guided the idea, and the value he placed on relationships and open communication helped to make the idea a reality. With a goal start date of 2021, the council was established. It was determined that the council would meet quarterly with Joe and other key stakeholders in the company to discuss any topics of concern that the members might bring to the table.
It was important in selecting Driver Advisory Council members that these appointees be individuals well respected by both drivers and PAM leadership. Based on their outstanding dedication to external, as well as internal, customer service, approximately 20 drivers were asked to be a part of the inaugural council. Solo drivers, expedited team drivers, mentors… PAM’s finest — representing the subgroups of driving professionals — all agreed to take a seat at the table as representatives of each PAM team member.
The First Meeting
Even in the era of COVID-19, Joe was determined to make sure that this venture was not put on the back burner so, in January 2021, the first Driver Advisory Council convened via teleconference. Joe opened the meeting by explaining the purpose of the Driver Advisory Council — for all members to offer ideas for the PAM leadership team and to collaborate on how to effectively implement those ideas.
“Our council is going to find effective solutions to identified issues,” Joe said. “We will work together to empower drivers and leadership to better serve our company and our valued customers.”
Topics discussed ranged from a highlight reel of PAM’s accomplishments and improvements in 2020, surrounding the areas of training, equipment, safety protocols, driver pay incentives, and casting a vision for 2021. One specific focus of 2021 was the new Ride Along initiative. This initiative gives executives, operations personnel, and others an opportunity to ride with select drivers, allowing both sides of the organization the opportunity to enhance their understanding of each other’s roles.
The response given by the Driver Advisory Council members, leadership, and others involved was unanimous: the meeting was a positive step in growing the opportunity for communication. Josh Watts, PAM Cartage Carrier LTO Operator, said it best: “It says a lot about this company as a whole that they want to correct issues drivers have and strive for a brighter tomorrow.”
Council member David Miles added, “They are taking the feedback seriously and strategizing on how to fix the issues and proactively identifying internal issues and working to improve operations as well.”
However, the success of the Driver Advisory Council can only be as strong as the participation of all of PAM’s drivers. Do you have concerns that you would like to see addressed? Communication is key. Everyone involved in the Driver Advisory Council is committed to your growth and satisfaction.
If you’d like to connect with your Driver Advisory Council representative, but don’t know who they are, email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. You can also engage with us on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.