Meet The Fleet: Swift Offers Best In Class Career Path
April 1, 2011
Over 40 years ago in Plain City, Utah, Jerry Moyes had one old, beat up Diamond T truck hauling steel out of California as a solo-truck outfit called Common Market Distributors. He also had a vision—a vision in which today’s Swift Transportation was built.
Moyes is now the chairman of the board, founder and CEO of Swift, the largest truckload carrier in the United States, based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Swift’s current executive vice president, Rod Sartor, started with the company in 1979 and has had held many different positions in his 31 years, ranging from driver management, planning, customer service & various other operational positions such as regional vice president & director of operations.
“I knew Swift was going to be a success in 1985 when Jerry [Moyes] decided to take the company in a new direction, which was strongly focused on growth,” Sartor said. ”This allowed us to be positioned where we are today with over 20,000 employees and a very strong and stable customer base.”
Swift’s company team includes their executive vice president team, executive leadership team, regional vice president of operations, regional vice president of sales, directors of recruiting and training, terminal management staff, and of course, their drivers.
Swift’s business philosophy is strongly based around their vision, values and purpose.
“Here at Swift we strongly encourage every team member to balance their work lives as well as their personal lives,” Sartor said. “We believe in employee development within our organization and maintain servant leadership to ensure Swift is the ‘Employer of Choice’.”
Sartor said Swift’s most unique driver benefit is that they offer opportunities to individuals in which they are able to come into a new profession that offers the “best in class” career path available.
“When you join the Swift family, you have joined the industry’s leader,” Sartor said. “Swift’s driver career path offers you the ability to come in as a student driver and within a year you can become your own business owner.”
The ‘best in class’ career path is when a driver goes through training and becomes a solo driver; from there, he or she can purchase his or her own truck and becomes his or her own business owner; he or she then owns their own truck and hauls Swift freight.
An example of this program’s success is a husband and wife team who came to Swift almost 10 years ago and followed the “best in class” career path. They came in as students, went through and graduated the academy, completed the training program with mentors out on the road, and then teamed up to purchase their own truck.
“Now they own two trucks, and they’re very successful with what they’re doing today,” Sartor said.
Sartor said that is just one of Swift’s many driver success stories. The company also has multiple drivers with over 20 years of experience and millions of safe miles with Swift.
Sartor said Swift would never deviate from the values that guide them in their actions and relationships. The values we live and work by are: ethics, respect, balance, winning, attitude, communication, development, teamwork, change, initiative, accountability, trust and safety.
“Everybody in the company lives and breathes our Swift values,” Sartor said.
With 32 terminals nationwide, each terminal is built to give every driver a “home feel” when he or she arrives.
“Our terminals are built so that when a driver pulls into the yard it’s very familiar to them,” Sartor said. “Our Columbus terminal is built the exact same way our Denver terminal is.”
Sartor believes that there are a few things that the industry will be challenged with in the near future. A few of those are the current economic situation, fuel prices continually rising, and he believes it’s the front end of a driver shortage.
While the future is unknown, Sartor knows one thing: the drivers are, and always have been, very important to their company.
“Swift knows, recognizes and respects the fact that the drivers are the reason we are where we are today and where we’ll be in the future,” Sartor said.