Milestone anniversaries should always be cause for celebration. Here at PAM, we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate our 40th! In those 40 years, we’ve seen a lot. We’ve weathered the attacks on the world trade center, the great recession, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. With all that in our rearview mirror, let’s take a quick look back at how it all started.
PAM’s early days began in 1980 with only five used Freightliner tractors and 15 trailers, and a goal to deliver customer products safely and on time. Just four years later, our fleet grew to 100 tractors and 160 trailers. In 1986, we became a publicly traded company and now boast over 2,000 tractors, 6,000 trailers, and over 2,400 drivers.
But what does it take to maintain this kind of longevity and growth? We talked to three of our long-term employees to hear their thoughts.
Meet Cherie, Patty, and Judy
Cherie Boyd, our fearless VP of Accounting, joined the team in 1998, and, after over 22 years, she still values the work family that she has found at PAM. Says Cherie, “I just work with and for such amazing people, that I don’t think I could ever find that somewhere else.”
Currently working in Driver Payroll, Patty Been has been here almost since the beginning, having recently celebrated 30 years at PAM. She worked her way through several positions to finally land in the payroll department, which is exactly where she wanted to be. Her favorite part about payroll? Working with the drivers. However, a close second is the coworkers she works with everyday.
We also spoke with Judy Hathorn in our operations department who serves as our Mentor/Student/Team Coordinator. Even though she will be retiring this year after 19 years of service, she loves to talk about how fast-paced the operations department is. When mentoring those around her, she is quick to warn them that they could “be a lifer” like her.
Things around the PAM offices were quite different 40 years ago. The first, most obvious change, is the number of employees.
Judy remembers, “When I first came here, our Operations Department, during the day, may have had 30 people in the office. Now I sit in a room with about 200 people. We’ve grown by leaps and bounds.”
A second area of growth is through technological advances. Cherie remembers a time with no email, and when most behind-the-scenes work was done manually. Moving in the direction of new technology has given us the opportunity to grow our driving workforce as well.
This growth has developed in several ways. Patty highlighted our increased workforce diversity as one milestone. We now have more women drivers, as well as more age diversity among our drivers. By implementing new training and mentoring programs, our more experienced drivers are helping new drivers begin to build a career with us. Additionally, our lease to own program — which didn’t exist during PAM’s modest beginnings — is a way we not only have grown, but have also offered a new career path for our drivers.
From technology, to behind the scenes staffers, to drivers, the common denominator is that we have continued to move forward with the times — something we will continue to do over the next 40 years.
…But Some Things Stay The Same
When talking about what is different at PAM now compared to 40 years ago, we would be remiss not to acknowledge one thing that has remained the same: our commitment to a positive and family-like atmosphere for both our in-office staff and drivers. Whether working with 19 people or 200 people, our coworkers are our family.
What does that look like? Judy is quick to answer, “Supporting each other, as well as our drivers. Acknowledging that we all have families, we all have needs. We take our drivers’ health and safety to heart and don’t ask them to do anything that we wouldn’t feel comfortable doing ourselves. All concerns are family concerns.”
From the beginning, our drivers have been the secret to our longevity. In recent months, there’s been a lot of love for truck drivers as essential employees, but we do our best to love our drivers everyday. Says Cherie, “Pandemic or not, whatever you need is available at that store because of a driver.”
As you can see, our commitment to our PAM family reaches beyond our four walls (and the four walls of our drivers’ cabs). However, our commitment to exceptional customer service is where it all begins. We pride ourselves on having excellent people behind the wheel and behind the scenes. We do that by offering real career paths with multiple career opportunities. Want to join us for a ride? Visit pamdrivingjobs.com/advantages to view these opportunities at a company that is still rolling strong after 40 years.