Summer has officially started here at J&M Tank Lines and things are off to a great start! Summertime is often the busiest time of the year for tankers and J&M is following that trend after a year that has not let up!

J&M Launches New Pay Plan

June 1, 2021, J&M announced a new pay plan that would go into effect company-wide starting June 7, 2021. This new pay plan allowed for all terminals to be on the same pay plan, simplified the pay structure for employees to follow as well as a 5-10% increase in annual pay.

Specific updates include:

  • Increased Loading Pay
  • Increased Unloading Pay
  • Increased Holiday Pay
  • Increased Per Diem
  • Increased Driver Trainer Pay
  • Increased Mileage Percentage
  • And more!

“We believe our professional drivers are some of the best in the industry,” said Harold

Sumerford, Jr, CEO at J&M Tank Lines. “These pay updates will continue to provide our drivers

with a comfortable income to support their families and accurately reflect the work they do.”

By moving all drivers to the same pay plan, the programs for all involved have been simplified and provide a clearer understanding to drivers about how their pay is calculate and the different factors that play a role.

Darrien NTTC PTTDY Finalist

In January 2020, the National Tank Truck Carriers announced J&M’s Darrien Henderson, as one of eight finalists in the Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year award. Shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, putting much of the world on hold, including the Driver of the Year ceremony.

After 18 months of waiting the NTTC was able to hold its annual conference in Indianapolis, along with the Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year award ceremony. Henderson, along with seven other finalists stood on stage in front of tank truck leadership and professionals across the country to be recognized for their dedication, commitment and accomplishments within the industry.

The 2021-2022 NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year Grand Champion was awarded to Ron Baird of Hoffman Transport. While Henderson was not selected as this year’s Grand Champion, J&M is extremely proud to have Henderson represent the company on a national level among so many incredible professional drivers. We would like to congratulate Baird on his award and to congratulate all other finalists, as to be nominated and selected as a finalist is a great honor in itself.

We are off to a great start this summer and cannot wait to see what else is in-store here at J&M! To learn more about our new pay plan, give us a call at 833-445-3370. To learn more about the NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year, click here or let us know about your interest in being nominated by emailing social@jmtank.com.

This year J&M partnered with Women In Trucking to host local Girl Scout Troops at a unique and fun event centered around the trucking industry. The girls had the opportunity to learn more about the supply chain process their Girl Scout Cookies go through to get to them, starting with the raw materials.

We opened our event for up to 50 girls from troops in the Birmingham area. While in attendance, girls and their parents participated in four different stations that touched on different career opportunities within the industry.

  • Tractor-Trailer Tour: Girls were able to sit in the driver’s seat, learn the different operating systems and tour both the inside and outside of the truck and trailer, learning the different types of products that can be hauled in pneumatic trailers.
  • Dispatch: Girls tested their problem-solving and critical thinking skills by helping get their cookies to their required destination at specific times.
  • Build Your Own Truck: using a variety of craft materials, girls were able to design and decorate their own tractor-trailer, varying in size, colors and accessories.
  • Thank You Message: Girls created and decorated a custom thank you message for our nations professional drivers after learning some of the challenges they face and just how essential they are to everyday life.

Girls of all ages and their parents had the opportunity to ask questions about the industry and share some common misunderstood assumptions about what the Trucking Industry is and what is does for the world.

J&M’s group of volunteers represented all departments within J&M as well as the many different functions within those departments. Following the event, girls who attended received a custom Transportation Patch as well as a workbook to further their interest and deepen their knowledge.

Thank you to all organizations for your involvement to make this event happen and to the girls and parents who came out! We are looking forward to more events like this in the future.

It is rare to find potential employee and employer stories such as Robert P. and J&M these days. There is a high demand for professional drivers throughout the industry, if one company is not a fit or requirements do not match up, there are hundreds of other options for that driver to choose from. Usually, phone calls wrap up with “Please reach back out…” or “I’ll give you a call when…” and you never hear from them again. Not in this case. Robert knew he wanted to work for J&M and stayed in communication with his recruiter, Rachel, for several months to make that happen.

In October 2020, Robert first applied for J&M, but fell short to meet our experience requirement. He knew he wanted to be a part of the J&M family, so he took a position with a competitor to gain the necessary experience he was missing.

Jump forward to February 2021, Robert reached out to Rachel, but again fell short to meet our experience requirements. Some additional discussion about the position and encouragement to keep in contact helped Robert to stay confident in his choice to work for J&M.

Finally, in March 2021, Robert reached J&M’s experience requirement and Rachel was able to start processing his application. After long period of waiting, approval from our Safety department, completing orientation and training; Robert is now representing J&M in our famous orange trucks.

We are proud to have so many dedicated and loyal professional drivers here at J&M. Stories like this prove that building strong relationships and communicating well from the very beginning allows all of us to be successful! Robert, we are so glad to finally have you as part of the J&M Family and we look forward to a long relationship!

This year is off to a busy start for J&M, as more business opportunities arise and other industry challenges come to light. The pandemic has created challenges; however, the Trucking Industry is as essential as ever. Check out all things J&M and Industry related from Quarter 1.

Referral Contest

The need for quality drivers is as high as ever, so J&M reached out to our top recruitment source to help fill our needs. On top of our existing Referral Bonus Program, which pays up to $2,000 per hired referral, J&M opened a contest over 90 days for one lucky driver to receive the normal referral bonus pay-out as well as a J&M Die Cast Truck and $1,500 toward a vacation of their choosing.

The contest opened in December 2020 and closed in February 2021 with the winner announced via Facebook on February 16.

During this 90-day period, any J&M driver who referred another driver, who is hired, had their name placed into a drawing for the J&M Die Cast Truck and $1,500 toward the vacation of their choice. There was no limit to the number of referrals, thus the more referrals a J&M driver provided, the more chances they had to win!

On February 16, two of our Driver Recruiters named the Referral Contest Winner, Taryl T. of our Americus terminal. Taryl received the sought-after J&M Die Cast Truck and $1,500 toward a family vacation he plans to take this summer.

Congratulations Taryl!

Wreaths Across America – Mobile Education Exhibit

J&M Tank Lines is honored to participate in Wreaths Across America since 2018 with a custom 53-foot trailer specific to the cause. Each year a J&M Driver is selected out of a group of volunteers to make the wreath deliver on behalf of J&M.

Following Wreaths Across America Day in December 2020, J&M had the pleasure to host the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit in February 2021 at our Corporate Office in Birmingham, AL.

Each year Wreaths Across America Representatives Stefan and Jennifer, travel the country spreading word of their organization and its message to REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH. They attend a variety of private, local, state and nationally held events year-round with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Their visit provided J&M employees with the opportunity to learn more about the Wreaths Across America organization and thank those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

To learn more about Wreaths Across America or have the Mobile Education Exhibit come to your event, click here.

Drive Safe Act – Truck Driver Shortage & The Next Generation

America’s Truck Driver shortage has made national media coverage over the last few years, and we are now seeing the economic impact of what this means to civilians. A group of bipartisan legislators have introduced the DRIVE Safe Act to the U.S. House and Senate, which would expand industry opportunities for younger industry professionals.

Previously, 49 states allowed for individuals under the age of 21 to operate a Commercial Vehicle with a Commercial Driver’s License, Federal law limited these drivers to operate within state lines of which their license was provided.

The DRIVE Safe Act would allow CDL holders who are permitted to drive intrastate, to participate in an apprenticeship program, created to help master interstate driving while promoting increased safety training for the upcoming workforce.

To learn more about the DRIVE Safe Act and other industry news, click here.

2020 brought unprecedented challenges for people, companies and organizations across the world. Fortunately, Wreaths Across America was able to uphold its annual tradition of National Wreaths Across America Day on December 19, 2020 despite such challenges.

Every December, Wreaths Across America spreads its mission to Remember, Honor and Teach by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and more that 2,100 other locations across the United States, at sea and abroad.

2020 was J&M’s third year to participate in Wreaths Across America by helping deliver wreaths to locations in Florida. A J&M Kenworth T680 and a custom wrapped trailer are used to pick up wreaths and deliver them to different locations the week of National Wreaths Across America Day.

This year, J&M Sylacauga Driver and Army Veteran, James Wimmer was selected to deliver the wreaths on J&M’s behalf.

Wimmer first traveled to Mississippi to pick up J&M’s portion of the wreaths and then back to Birmingham where he stopped by J&M’s corporate office.

Wimmer then departed on his travels to Florida where he made deliveries in Alachua, Bronson, Keystone Heights and Ocala.

“Participating in the Wreaths Across America program is one of the most gratifying aspects of what I do.” Said Andrew Petrofsky of J&M Tank Lines. “It allows us an opportunity to honor our veterans who are not only part of the J&M family, but all the veterans across the country.  Having a J&M Veteran driver be part of the Honor Fleet each year is a great recognition for the sacrifices he made and is a testament to our country.”

This year is the second year a J&M veteran has delivered wreaths for Wreaths Across America on behalf of J&M. Each year J&M participates, it is hoped the deliveries will be made by a J&M veteran who has volunteered for the cause. 

“I come from a military family,” said Wimmer. “This is simply another way I can serve my country and honor those in my family and those I served with. Thank you J&M for this opportunity.”

If you are interested in volunteering for Wreaths Across America, or interested in making a donation, click here for more information.

Mike Russell Trucking Image Award

The American Trucking Association presented J&M Tank Lines, Inc. with the Mike Russell Trucking Image Award, for a motor carrier, during this year’s virtual Management Conference & Exhibition on Oct. 26, 2020.

This award is given to one motor carrier, one state association and one professional driver who has gone above and beyond to improve the image of the trucking industry.

“Involvement in our industry’s associations is crucial whether it is at the local or national levels,” said Harold Sumerford, Jr. CEO of J&M Tank Lines. “This award is for all of the hard-working people at J&M Tank Lines and the efforts that go into treating each other how we would like to be treated.”

First awarded in 2007, the Mike Russell Trucking Image Award is given to an individual, motor carrier, trucking organization and industry supplier who each demonstrate excellence in illustrating the industry’s essentiality, professionalism, and commitment to safety on and off the highways. Since 2014, the award has been sponsored by HireRight. 

“It is not enough to just simply exist in this industry, you have to be active in this industry,” said Peter Sumerford, President of J&M Tank Lines. “My father taught Harold and me at a young to give of our time and our resources, to give back to an industry that has been so good to us and to our people that have worked so hard for us.” 

J&M Tank Lines is recognized for promoting the industry on social media and in the community, working to improve drivers’ morale while providing important health and safety information during the Pandemic. 

“Technology and the rise of social media is an extremely powerful tool,” said Sabrina Williams, J&M Tank Lines’ Social Media Coordinator. “In an industry like ours where a company’s workforce is so wide-spread, social media provides a platform to connect employees to one another and the organization they work with. We take concrete steps to involve our entire workforce in our online culture and promote engagement through our various platforms.”

NTTC Competitive Safety Contest

We are proud to have won our mileage class for the for the National Tank Truck Carriers, NTTC, Competitive Safety Contest. This award is based on our safety record from 2019 for 31.5 – 40 Million Miles driven.

The attention to detail and safety-focused mindset that our professional drivers have, allows for J & M to receive recognition for programs such as this. Each safe mile that our drivers put in each day, accumulates toward our goal of getting every driver home safely.

Costume Contest

In the spirit of Halloween, J & M hosted a Costume Contest on Friday, Oct. 30 for all employees. Employees were allowed to dress in a work appropriate costume of their choosing for a chance to win one of three prizes. First place received a $50 VISA gift card, second place a $25 VISA gift card and third place a $10 Walmart gift card.

1st Place: Maleficent; 2nd Place: Wilson (Home Improvement); 3rd Place: Chicken

We had a great turn out of costumes. Those at J & M’s corporate office who chose not to participate were eligible to vote on the best costume. Votes were tallied and placings awarded based on the total amount of votes. A fun way to celebrate Halloween and bring some excitement to the office! Congratulations to our three winners!

As far back as Harold and Peter Sumerford can remember, J&M has held its Employee Appreciation Picnic each year without fail. The picnic was started by Harold Sumerford, Sr. and carried on by Harold, Jr. and Peter after taking leadership of J&M Tank Lines.

This year’s COVID-19 outbreak posed a serious threat to a tradition looked forward to by so many employees and their family members. As September drew closer and COVID-19 was still hanging around, the decision was made to rethink the 2020 Employee Appreciation Picnic.

To better protect the health and safety of all J&M family members and their loved ones, a virtual picnic option was created. While the comradery would be greatly missed as well as the delicious food… a virtual event was deemed the best option without cancelling all together.

The Sumerfords distributed a letter to all employees thanking them for their dedicated service and explaining the current health risk our traditional picnic would impose. The letter also explained the outline for the virtual option, to help keep some sense of normalcy and tradition.

Traditional Picnic

Traditionally, the picnic takes place in mid-September, in tandem with National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. There are multiple picnics that take place across the different locations of J&M terminals and operations. All picnics take place on the same day, at the same times.

Employees and their families are invited to attend their location’s picnic, held on a Saturday, to enjoy home-cooked BBQ with all the fixings, comradery, multiple raffle drawings and several rounds of bingo.

A commemorative T-shirt is given out to all in attendance, in addition to the many prizes distributed to employees and their families. A health fair wellness check is also offered for all employees on J&M health insurance, with an additional raffle prize opportunity for those who participate.

Virtual Picnic

The virtual picnic was designed to keep as many traditional picnic events as possible. This included providing each employee with a $50 VISA gift card to use with their families, a raffle drawing of traditional prizes and an additional raffle to replace the health fair raffle.

Each picnic location was given a time slot on the original Saturday date, for their raffle drawing, employees were able to watch via Facebook, but were not required to watch in order to win. All employees’ names were placed into a bucket and guest drawers helped to select the winners of each prize.

Winners were contacted the following Monday, regarding details on how to receive their prizes. Employees also received their gift cards that week to put towards a family experience, since the company was not able to gather.

The additional raffle created an opportunity for employees to have some fun while also entering to win a 65” SONY TV. Employees had the opportunity to take a photo of them and their family out using the gift card given to them and send it in to J&M by Sept. 30. These photos were used as a raffle ticket entry to win a 65” SONY TV. Winners were announced on Oct. 1 via Facebook video.

Overall, the virtual employee appreciation was a success! Providing each employee with an opportunity to win a prize through the raffle as well as spend time with their family at their leisure on J&M. While we greatly missed spending time with our employees and their families, we are happy to keep some tradition alive.

Congratulations to all of the winners from this year’s raffle! We are keeping our fingers crossed for next year!

July and August have sent encouraging vibes throughout J&M Tank Lines as the summer season begins to wind down. While COVID-19 is still present across the country, proper PPE has shown its effectiveness in protecting against the virus and helping to keep our J&M family healthy. As companies continue to open back up, freight opportunities are also increasing – giving companies like J&M potential for additional growth. Catch a summer re-cap of everything J&M below.

July

The American Trucking Association (ATA) selected 10 drivers to attend the Salute to America at the White House in Washington D.C. on the 4th of July. J&M’s Darrien Henderson from Mobile, AL was one of those invited. Henderson and his wife traveled to D.C. for the festivities and were featured in Bulk Transport’s Article.

Vice President of Safety and Compliance, Dave Edmondson, was invited to be part of this year’s FMCSA Virtual Trucking Safety Summit. Edmondson, along with several other industry professionals, spoke on challenges facing the industry and some ways to overcome such challenges.

August

We are happy to welcome Chris Bryan as our new Business Development Manager. Bryan has over 14 years of experience in the tank truck industry and experience in both the shipper and carrier side of the industry. We look forward to the strengthening of current customer relations and the building of new ones as we keep J&M moving forward.

Nominations for the Truckload Carrier Associations Best Fleets to Drive for are in and J&M has made the list! This is our first year to be nominated and we are excited to take on this journey. This nomination could not have taken place without the dedication and hard work of our employees. Thank you!

This year’s pandemic has forced several companies and organizations to change, cancel or post-pone events that are usually held in-person. J&M’s Managers Meeting was no different. What typically is a two-day in-person event filled with travel for terminal and shop managers, terminal overviews, evaluations, team bonding and state of the company discussions – turned into a virtual version.

With the use of Microsoft Teams, video conference calls were possible to provide some face-to-face interactions, while complying with social distancing. The comradery portions were greatly missed, however other opportunities for more in-depth reporting and reviews were made possible.

Adjusting to a new normal is never simple and certainly has its challenges. The J&M family has shown is flexibility and willingness to adapt to changes as they come. No one knows what the future holds, but we are confident in the abilities of our employees and the services we provide to keep J&M and our industry moving forward.

Many of our nation’s professional drivers have seen an extreme slowdown in freight, a shut down in some cases, as a result from the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. Other drivers have been fortunate to maintain consistent loads and steady pay while making adjustments to their day to day operations.

For company drivers, such as J & M’s, these adjustments consist of daily self-certification forms, masks, daily sanitation, virtual safety meetings, social distancing and more. A silver lining for drivers during this pandemic has been the extreme decrease in traffic and other motorists during both interstate and intrastate travel.

Professional drivers and other essential personnel have had the roadways to themselves over the last few months, but as each state begins to lift Stay Home orders, more challenges are coming.

Everyone is adjusting to what the new normal will be including public outings, travel, shopping and recreational activities. Many states still require citizens to wear masks and maintain social distancing while in public, but what does this mean for the professional driver?

Drivers have an advantage on those who have been under the Stay Home order. That advantage being they have already adapted to new safety and health protocols put in place by local, state and national government agencies.

However, a disadvantage comes into place as drivers will need to adjust again to the increase of motorists throughout the nation. This adjustment also applies to non-professional drivers as well.

All motorists should be aware that they are not the only ones traveling, recognizing that some may not have driven or traveled for weeks. The time has come to remind yourself of some standard driving safety tips and laws, whether you are operating a commercial or personal vehicle.

Safety Reminders:

  • Wear your seatbelt – It’s the law!
  • Put down the mobile device – Many states and cities have made it against the law to use a mobile device while operating a vehicle of any kind.
  • Use extra caution on the roadway
    • Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
    • Use proper turn signals
    • Check you mirrors
    • Be prepared for rush hour and construction related traffic
    • Keep a level-head – Road rage only escalates a dangerous situation
  • Inspect your vehicle
    • Commercial drivers should maintain proper pre and post-trip inspections
    • All motorists should inspect their vehicle for potential problems that can arise from inconsistent or minimal use. Such as flat or expired tires, low tire pressure, low fluid levels, etc.
  • Be alert! Brush up on defensive driving techniques – it could be the difference between an accident or arriving safely.

Help do your part to lessen the amount of accidents as our nation begins to open up.

From our J & M family to yours, stay safe out there.

J & M Tank Lines continues to prosper and grow each year through forward-thinking leadership and the hard work of each employee, at every level. 2019 was a year of next-level planning and business opportunities, which included plans of a new corporate office.

Summer and fall 2019 brought ownership of the previous Valley National Bank corporate office along Highway 280 in Birmingham. While just a short move across the street from the existing office, this new building brings long-term goals and future growth opportunities into place.

Now headquartered at 1100 Corporate Parkway, J & M Tank Lines maximizes on new technology opportunities to streamline day-to-day operations and advance within the industry ranks. A new layout among departments allows for quicker operations and more open communications.

While adjustments are made and new workflow processes are implemented, J & M Tank Lines has its sights on maintaining its status as an industry leader and continuing to help move trucking forward.

“Harold and I are proud to provide this wonderful, new corporate office for our valued employees,” said J & M Tank Lines President, Peter Sumerford. “As they continue in their daily dedication to helping J & M meet our goals of serving the needs of our customers and continuously progressing as we look to the future.”

Valley National Bank will continue to host a branch on the 1st floor entrance and drive thru, however the other three floors will be home to J & M Tank Lines.

Upon entering the building through the lakeside entrance, you will find the Driver Orientation/Training Room, Safety, Human Resources and Recruiting Departments.

A trip to the 2nd floor, hosts the Operations and Accounting Departments.

Finally, a trip to the 3rd floor, hosts the Leadership Team and Boardroom.

New department layouts allow for more team collaboration and accessibility. Each department is provided with equipment and technology to simplify daily tasks and maximize the time and resources of each employee.

The implementation of these technology features will assist with J & M Tank Lines’ existing paperless efforts as well as provide timely responses to the needs of employees’ company-wide and next-level service to our customers.

“We are proud to stand by the success and growth of J & M,” said J & M Tank Lines CEO, Harold Sumerford, Jr. “Providing a better environment for continued growth is a testament to the hard-work and success of our employees.”

J & M Tank Lines is excited to provide improved resources to our staff as we continue to grow. To simply exist is not enough, J & M Tank Lines strives to continue to push trucking forward as a leader in the tank truck industry.