Obama Nixes Keystone Pipeline Proposal . . . for Now

on .

President Obama yesterday denied TransCanada Corporation’s permit for the much-publicized Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada to Texas. The President faced a February 21 deadline set by Congress to make a decision on the permit application to build the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline as a conduit to transport at 700,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sand crude to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The President said his denial was not based on the merits of the pipeline itself, but rather on the 60-day arbitrary nature of the deadline imposed by Congress. The State Department left the door open for TransCanada to resubmit another permit application for the project originally set to be completed in 2014. Putting politics aside, ATA remains optimistic that the pipeline can be built in an environmentally sound manner creating thousands of new jobs and improving our nation’s energy security.

FMCSA Clarifies Push-to-Talk Guidance

on .

This week, FMCSA released updated FAQs on its new hand-held mobile telephone ban to clarify that use of the push-to-talk function on mobile phones is permitted, under certain limited conditions. Specifically, the push-to-talk function on a mobile telephone may be used as long as the driver is not required to reach for, dial, or actually hold the mobile phone while driving. FMCSA states that as long as the “mobile phone is mounted in a cradle or similar device near the driver, or there is a remote push-to-talk button near the vehicle controls” the driver may use the push-to-talk function. Click here for a link to FMCSA’s updated FAQs on the new mobile phone rule.

$77 Million in Transportation Research and Education Grants

on .

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today $77 million in grants to 22 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing our nation. The UTCs, which are located throughout the United States, conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the participating universities are a critical part of our national transportation strategy.

“Transportation matters in everyone’s daily life. These research centers will help us solve the transportation challenges we face today and those that we know lay ahead of us,” said Secretary LaHood. 

DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), which administers the UTC program, used a competitive selection process to select ten University Transportation Centers (UTCs), two Transit-Focused UTCs, and ten Regional UTCs. The centers will advance U.S. transportation technology and expertise in research, education, and technology transfer. Each one of the selected UTCs will receive a $3.5 million grant which they must match with funds from non-federal sources. The 22 UTCs selected are all consortia, involving a total of 121 different universities. 

“We are excited about the proposals these consortia put forward. They have the potential to advance basic and applied transportation research today and ensure a robust pipeline of professionals for the transportation workforce of tomorrow,” said RITA Acting Administrator Greg Winfree. “It is absolutely crucial that we continue to invest in research, which has the added benefit of attracting and developing the high level of professionals needed for innovation and expertise in transportation.”

UTCs work with regional, state and local transportation agencies to help find solutions to challenges that directly impact their communities and affect the efficiency of the nation’s transportation system. UTC projects are peer-reviewed and the results of their work are shared with the national transportation community to encourage greater progress through collaboration. The selected universities will research a wide range of transportation-related issues including shared rail corridors, innovations in multimodal freight and infrastructure, bridge inspection methods, and reducing roadway fatalities and injuries.

A list of grant recipients is available here. Find out more about the UTC program.

Schneider National Supports Governor Walker's Wisconsin Working Plan

on .

Military-Focused Initiatives of Special Interest as Company Seeks to Fill Truck Driver Roles

GREEN BAY, Wis. - (January 11, 2012) - Schneider National, Inc., a premier provider of transportation, logistics and intermodal services, announced today the company's support and enthusiasm for Governor Walker's new Wisconsin Working plan, designed to better match job seekers with open positions and improve workforce training. The plan also includes initiatives by the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand its efforts to help veterans find jobs.

"As one of Northeast Wisconsin's largest employers, we applaud Governor Walker's efforts to foster job creation in our state and to better prepare and place skilled workers in new jobs," said Chris Lofgren, president and CEO of Schneider National. "These are exactly the kind of initiatives our company needs to fill many of our open roles, especially roles for professional truck drivers."

For Schneider, the veteran-focused programs included in the Governor's plan are of great interest. The company has a long legacy of hiring military-experienced talent for office, maintenance/shop, truck driving and warehouse roles. The company says the critical thinking skills, leadership and motivation military personnel bring to the workforce is attractive in the fast-paced, complex business environment of a modern-day transportation operation.

"While we anticipate growth and new hires in all areas of the business, our greatest area of opportunity is for professional truck drivers," noted Mike Hinz, vice president, Schneider National. "We plan to hire 500 military members across the U.S. in 2012, and the governor's initiatives with the Department of Veterans Affairs will help reach that goal."

Hinz said the governor's plans to increase the number of career and benefit fairs for veterans, to incorporate online job fairs and to proactively reach out to unemployed veterans in an effort to align them with job placement assistance and other earned benefits are all welcome news.

Through the years, Schneider has developed a number of programs specifically for past and present military personnel including a Military Apprenticeship Program that provides on-the-job training and opportunities to use GI Bill education/training benefits and opportunities for veterans, Guard members and Reservists. In addition to weekly Schneider pay, associates in the Apprenticeship Program are eligible for up to $1,069 per month in compensation through the VA program.

"Our programs are some of the best in the United States, but it can be challenging to get the word out," Hinz noted. "Working collaboratively with groups like the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is a huge opportunity to put more people in the state to work."

FMCSA Issues Carrier With Cease and Desist Order

on .

A perfect example for the ‘Don’t Do This! Files’; FMCSA was forced to take legal action against a passenger carrier that ignored a shut down order.

Over the last year, we’ve brought you numerous stories about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cracking down on passenger carriers. After facing criticism from Congress that the agency was not doing enough to stop dangerous passenger carriers from operating, the past year has seen FMCSA take scores of troublesome bus companies off the road.

The company in this week’s issue, however, should be of interest to both passenger and property carrying motor carriers. This is the perfect example of what not to do when you face enforcement action from the DOT. In short, if you get in trouble over regulations: Don’t Do This!

Don’t Do This:

Double Happyness Travel Inc., a Pennsylvania Bus Company was ordered by FMCSA to cease all operations due to being declared an ‘imminent hazard’ to public safety.

That was bad enough, however, Double Happyness then compounded the issue by continuing to advertise and sell tickets online. By violating the cease all operations order, the company was operating without an Authority.

This has resulted in FMCSA issuing a Cease and Desist order against the company. Violating such an order would result in an action in United States District Court for equitable and/or declaratory relief. In other words, truly enormous fines.

A Path to Court:

Double Happyness first raised the ire of FMCSA in December when they were initially issued the shut down order. After a review of the company’s operations, they were found to be running with serious, hours-of-service, driver qualification, vehicle maintenance and drug and alcohol testing violations.

A quick look at the company’s SMS scores reveals a shockingly poor safety record:

  • Unsafe Driving: 92.8%
  • Fatigued Driving: 92.6%
  • Driver Fitness: 95.0%

Among other violations, the company was operating with drivers who had not passed pre-employment drug tests, was faking logbooks and was not keeping driver records. Any of these violations by themselves was, probably, enough to shut the company.

What They Should Have Done:

Obviously, violating a shutdown order is not the way to do things but what should the company have done instead?

FMCSA will never leave you high and dry. If you receive a punitive action (up to and including a shutdown order), you will receive a detailed overview of why ,including an explanation of what you need to do in order to get your operating authority back.

It is extremely important that you follow this plan to the letter. (To see a sample of such a plan, you can view the one issued to Double Happyness is December at: documents/about/news/2011/ Double-Happyness-IHOOS.pdf). FMCSA will not tolerate you deviating from the remedial action plan in even the slightest fashion — never mind completely ignoring it.

Compliance Help

If you need extra guidance following a remedial action plan, we highly recommend that you talk to a compliance expert. We do not recommend using the internet, especially internet forums as a source of information. In researching this article, we looked at a number of forums and found some shocking examples of people being given the wrong advice.

Much of the information on these forums is put up with the best of intentions. However, well-meant or not, it is very often wrong. Remember, you are betting on the future of your business by using this information; make sure it is from a trusted source.

With the CSA system in place, tracking bad carriers is easier than ever and staying in compliance is more important than at any time previously. If you find yourself in trouble with FMCSA — even if you don’t — remember, the best way to stay on the road is to follow the regulations to the absolute letter. Nothing else will suffice.


Donald J. Schneider of Schneider National Passed Away.

on .

Donald J. Schneider, Chairman Emeritus, President and CEO of Schneider National, Dies Following Lengthy Illness

Green Bay Native Credited with Transforming Company, Industry Through Innovative Use of Technology and Commitment to Continuous Improvement of Associates

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jan. 13, 2012 – Donald (Don) J. Schneider, chairman emeritus and former president and CEO of Schneider National, Inc., one of the Green Bay area’s largest employers and one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, died Jan. 13, 2012 in De Pere, Wis., with his family by his side following a lengthy and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 76.

Mr. Schneider was born on October 19, 1935, the same year his father, Al (AJ), sold the family car to buy his first truck … a seemingly simple purchase that laid the groundwork for what would become, under Don’s leadership, one of the most successful, recognizable and respected transportation and logistics companies in North America.

"The transportation and logistics industry has lost one of its most passionate and influential voices," said Governor Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. "Don Schneider was a visionary, bringing business acumen and technology to blaze a trail and set the standard in the modern day development of our industry."

Don started working for the family business while in high school in the early 1950s, first as a mechanic’s helper and then as a truck driver. He continued in this capacity while attending St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., in the late 1950s, using the job to fund his college education. To mechanics and drivers he was known as “Donnie,” a term of endearment he earned and one still used affectionately by retired drivers today. To the majority of Schneider National’s shop, driver and office associates, one of the industry’s most accomplished icons was simply known as “Don,” a man just as likely as they were to wear blue jeans, a denim shirt and cowboy boots to work.

Julius Borley has been working for Schneider National for more than 60 years and remembers Don’s down-to-earth style. “Don thought of himself as a regular guy and always wanted to stay in touch with the drivers. When I stopped driving and became a company tour guide, he always asked us to bring the drivers to his office during the tour. Don’s door was always open. He wanted to meet the guys behind the wheel to let them know how much he respected how hard they worked and to thank them for working for Schneider.  That’s the kind of man he was.”

Schneider graduated from St. Norbert College with an undergraduate degree in business and married his wife, Patricia (Pat) O’Brien, in 1957. After serving a 13-month military tour of duty in Korea, Schneider returned to the United States and enrolled in graduate school at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon earning his master’s degree from Wharton, he returned to the Green Bay area in 1961 to join his father’s trucking company as a manager. He also taught finance at his alma mater, St. Norbert College, during this time. In 1976 Don officially became president of the then $82 million company. His father, Al, passed away in March of 1983.

Schneider led the organization bearing his family’s name for more than 25 years. During that time, the company grew, survived and thrived during some of the modern trucking industry’s greatest challenges, including deregulation in the early 1980s. Schneider brought both business savvy and a keen ability to anticipate customer needs to the business, as well as a steadfast belief that with innovation, hard work and the commitment to excellence of associates, anything was possible. Through the years, Don was responsible for creating thousands of jobs and providing a livelihood for many.

Don’s commitment to technological innovation was instrumental to the company’s success. Schneider National was the first in the industry to adopt satellite-based communications and positioning in its trucks. Don’s vision extended beyond trucking as Schneider was a pioneer in providing intermodal and logistics services. In 1993 Schneider founded Schneider Logistics as a wholly owned subsidiary of Schneider National. Today Schneider Logistics is a leading solutions provider, enabling customers to effectively manage the flow of materials, funds and information throughout their supply chains. His vision and talent extended beyond the transportation industry as he formed Schneider Communications, a regional telecommunications company, in 1982.

Schneider retired from the day-to-day responsibilities in 2002, selecting then chief operating officer Chris Lofgren to succeed him as president and CEO. Don continued on as chairman of the board for the privately held firm until 2007 when he reached the board’s mandatory retirement age.

“Don Schneider was one of the finest individuals I have ever known,” said Lofgren. “He was true to his convictions and committed to his values. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work for and be mentored by Don. He entrusted our management team to continue his vision of providing exceptional transportation and logistics services at a fair price, while enhancing the standard of living worldwide. Our Schneider National family of associates shares our deepest sympathies with his wife, Pat, and the entire Schneider family during this sad time.”

Schneider shared his time and talents with a wide range of academic, industry, business and community organizations. Most notably, he served as chairman of the Business Advisory Committee for Northwestern University’s Transportation Center, was a member of the Advisory Board for the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, was a director on the Federal Reserve Board in Chicago and served on the Board of Directors at Fort Howard Paper Company and Franklin Electric. He was also a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Green Bay Packers and sat on the Board of Trustees for St. Norbert College.

“Don was a very valuable member of the Packers executive committee for over 20 years.  His business skills were extraordinary.  He was a great sounding board for me, and I relied on his advice on numerous occasions,” noted Bob Harlan, chairman emeritus of the Packers. “Don also had a tremendous passion for the Packers and was as enthusiastic as any fan we have on game day,” Harlan added.

Schneider was also an active philanthropist in the Green Bay area, having chaired the capital campaign for Notre Dame Academy, the annual campaign for United Way of Brown County and provided the lead gift for the St. Norbert College athletic complex – Donald J. Schneider Outdoor Athletic Complex – in 2008. In 1982 Schneider founded the company’s charitable arm, the Schneider National Foundation, to bring about positive change in the communities where his associates live and work. The foundation has donated millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to charities in need since its founding.

According to long-time fellow associate and personal friend, Wayne Lubner, Don spoke often of the importance of building a company that was “built to last.” At the very heart of this philosophy was Don’s steadfast commitment to the core values of safety, integrity, respect and excellence. These core values guided many of the decisions Don made for Schneider National and are still the decision-making bedrocks used by thousands of associates today. “Don’s strength of character and instinctive leadership have been felt well beyond the transportation and logistics field,” Lubner reflected. “His competitive spirit, persistence and drive in everything he did made him such a remarkable leader and incredible man.”

Schneider is survived by his wife of 53 years, Pat, five children, 13 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and 18,222 members of his Schneider National family around the world.

About Schneider National, Inc.

Schneider National, Inc. is a premier provider of truckload, logistics and intermodal services. Serving more than two-thirds of the FORTUNE 500 companies, Schneider National offers the broadest portfolio of services in the industry. The company’s transportation and logistics solutions include Van Truckload, Dedicated, Regional, Bulk, Intermodal, Transportation Management, Supply Chain Management, Warehousing and International Logistics services.

Headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., Schneider National has provided expert transportation and logistics solutions for 75 years. A $3.1 billion company, Schneider National conducts business worldwide. For more information about Schneider National, visit


More Compliance Training Offered for Carb Reporting Deadline

on .

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is offering additional free training classes for fleets who plan to submit compliance reports by January 31, 2012 under the state’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The regulation phases in diesel particulate filter requirements on most Class 7 and 8 trucks operating in California (outside of the state’s ports and rail yards). Fleets have the option of annually meeting specific requirements by either engine model years or percentage of California operating fleet beginning January 1, 2012. For fleets electing to meet the percentage requirements or use certain flexibility provisions, compliance reporting using CARB’s online reporting system is required. Webcast training is now offered on January 13, 20 and 27. In addition, in-person training classes are offered at several California locations over the next several weeks.