What Do Truckers Want? Insights from Drive My Way’s Beth Potratz
Episode Transcript
DD Spotify DD Apple Podcast

This episode features Beth Potratz, founder and CEO of Drive My Way, discussing driver recruiting, retention, and helping drivers find fulfilling jobs. She explains what drivers want today, and how carriers can better communicate with and support drivers through feedback loops. Providing valuable perspectives on improving the driver experience, she also discusses personalized recruiting platforms and nurturing driver relationships.




Are you experienced in freight sales or already an independent freight agent? Listen to our Freight Agent Trenches interview series powered by SPI Logistics to hear directly from the company’s agents on how they took the leap and found a home with SPI freight agent program.

Maximize your website’s performance and security with Digital Dispatch’s web hosting and management.



Everything is Logistics is a podcast for the thinkers in freight. Follow the podcast to never miss an episode.

Follow EIL host Blythe Brumleve on social: LinkedIn | TikTok | YouTube

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I am your host, Blythe Brumleve, and we are probably presented by SPI Logistics, and we got another good episode for you today we have Beth Potratz. Did I say that right?

Beth Potratz: 0:20

I feel like I just messed it up already.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:21

Okay, good, she is the founder and CEO of Drive My Way, and we are going to be talking about what the hell is going on in driver recruiting, driver retention and finding jobs that drivers love, or creating a job that drivers love. So, Beth, I've been wanting to get you on the show for a while now. I feel like we've been talking about it for a long time, so I'm happy this is finally happening.

Beth Potratz: 0:45

Me too. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:48

Now I think that you have a really fascinating career backstory. You come from the world of HR before you started Drive My Way. I'm curious, though what was the catalyst for you to say I'm going to start my own company?

Beth Potratz: 1:05

So, honestly, I've been in HR my whole life and I was fortunate enough to start in consumer products for a family-run business called Helene Curtis. You'll probably recognize some of the big brands like Swab and Dove and Degree and those types of brands like Real Household Staples and I left that job to move back home to Cleveland, ohio, and worked for Rockwell Automation. Well, it was a big difference working for industrial automation versus consumer products, and I was actually trying to recruit engineers to move to Cleveland in the late 90s and I thought to myself wow, employers are going to start to need to look at employees as consumers of the employment relationship, because your needs will change throughout your career and what you're looking for in a job is most certainly going to change. It can't really be a one-size-fits-all. So that was way ahead of its time. We were in the midst of just introducing cafeteria benefit plans back then and I thought, well, I'll just table that idea, but I think it's a pretty positive approach, so fast forward. I actually went back to Unilever and then left again and launched my own HR consulting practice and I was redesigning a driver recruiting process for a large carrier and I thought this is the perfect application for my idea because this is an enormous industry, vital to the economy been built on generations of families. It's like a number one job. And this next generation, they're expecting more out of life, more out of their job and kind of this better connect between your lifestyle and your career. So I thought trucking is the place and that's how I launched the concept of Drive my Way, which is basically a personalized recruiting platform with a patented and proprietary technology that matches drivers with jobs based on their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:14

So the Drive My Way start off as maybe like a side hustle, or was this something that you chose to quit your full-time job and then just dive in headfirst?

Beth Potratz: 3:27

Yeah, actually I was consulting at the time. I was leading really large-scale transformational change for several organizations at the time. Most of them lasted between two to five years, depending on the size of the organization and what it is we were doing. So I still had a couple of large change management projects in the works where I still had people that were working for me completing those. But I sort of started okay, now I'm going to transition to this other thing. What does it look like? Started building it out, and so we really didn't go live. Live until July of 2016, when it was like okay, this is it, we're diving all in, we're going to get this done. And it's been a whirlwind ever since. It's kind of like getting your MBA on steroids, because being an entrepreneur and doing all of this, there's the planning pieces, but then there's the actual activation and kind of learning as you go and you're getting product market fit and all of those things, Things you never even thought of to begin with that pop up. So it's been really exciting.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:35

And so since 2016,. As you've been working with various amounts of drivers from all different walks of life, is there a commonalities of what I guess a modern driver wants in their employment?

Beth Potratz: 4:51

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the most startling things is that drivers are, if you think about it, when it's, generations of families. The first job across the US was farmer, and then the most prevalent job across was truck driver. So a lot of the people entering the workforce now or in the midst of their career are folks that had parents, grandparents, et cetera, aunts and uncles that maybe were drivers, that missed the soccer game or the concert or the whatever, and now I think they live to that and people are looking for more. They want to feel like they're connected to something that has purpose. They want to feel like they're adding value. They want to feel like they have a good balance for their career and the life that they want to have. So things like you know, home time, the type of work that I'm doing, the people that I'm working with, the amount of interaction, whatever it is that's important to me, whether or not I can travel with my pet or a companion, because that's part of what I want to do. What's important People are really dialing in on being more selective, I think, in their career opportunities and across all types of jobs, not just truck drivers, because we spend so much time in our lives, at work, doing work, that people are trying to find a way to make it fit so that they're getting the fulfillment that they seek, and I think COVID really helped accelerate some of that, especially when you saw a lot of people looking for jobs that work from home, even once people return to work, et cetera. People found a bit of balance in our seeking more of it.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:45

That's interesting. You say that because we talked for a good bit before we hit record on this conversation and for full disclosure to the audience, we're recording this in the middle of the holidays. It's the middle of December. This is going to air in early January. But we're kind of struggling to really find the work-life balance of working, getting after it this time of the year but also spending that quality time with family, and it sounds like for the drivers themselves they maybe have got to that realization a lot sooner than the rest of us. Is that maybe a safe assumption?

Beth Potratz: 7:21

Yeah, Well, all of us really. I think this time of year just accentuates it even more because it feels like we're all in a rush. But yeah, I think the other startling thing if you think about a driver, you know so they're looking for. You know hometown routes and schedules, predictability, maybe certain type of benefits that they're looking to have covered, whether or not they want to travel with a pet or companion, what type of work they're being required to do. Do they want to load and unload or do they just want to bump docks? You know, whatever it is, there's work out there for everyone. There's all kinds of variety. In fact, most people don't even know all the different types of segments there are and jobs that you can do with a CDL and even without a CDL and still drive a truck. So I think it's accentuating all those different attributes and variables that are out there so that people can become educated about them and use them to make decisions. But usually pay is pretty high up on the list. But when you start comparing law factors, you start to see that other things like type of equipment is important. You know, Because if you have a high pay package for cents per mile, but the equipment the company is providing is always broken down, then you're not making any money, right? So there's a lot of things, you know, the creature comforts, all the other things that factor in, and sometimes people are willing to make a little less, to be home a little more often, or whatever it is in terms of flexibility.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:52

And it sounds like you're really dialed in to what a variety of drivers want. So I guess this is a good time to talk about the platform itself. You know drive my way Are a lot of these attributes and maybe wishes for employment? Is that available within the platform itself to where drivers can really hone in on exactly what they want?

Beth Potratz: 9:15

Absolutely so. The process is really pretty simple. A driver comes in for free, creates a profile. The profile consists of two parts. They'll declare you know all of their professional qualifications, licensing, experience, etc. And then they're also going to fill out a personal preference profile that really teases out you know what are the things you know when you consider this versus that what's more important. So it gets them to thinking and having to prioritize, and then we will then produce for them basically a personalized you know serving of. Here are the jobs and they're scored on a 10 point basis that are the best match to you know what you're qualified for and what you're inclined to want to do because it fits your lifestyle preferences.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:07

Do you find that companies are starting to become more accommodating to the driver's wishes?

Beth Potratz: 10:14

Absolutely and in fact, one of the most exciting parts of what we're doing, because the driver really controls their profile and who they engage with. So it's really a personalized experience on both sides the driver as well as the recruiter because now you get to recruit the way. Maybe you would want to be recruited if you were looking for a job and it's not so much I mean, it's a sell. But it's not so much a sell, it's hey, I'm talking to you because Drive my Ways have already helped curate this meaningful connection between us, because I already know that you meet my minimum job qualifications. I already know that this is something you're genuinely interested in because it fits up with your lifestyle preferences. And you took that positive action to express interest in this job. Like nobody shared your data, I mean, you took the step as a driver. So now it changes the conversation. Now it's a deeper dive in, you know, on both sides, interviewing each other, really kind of a little bit more about the job a day in the life. You know what's the company like, those types of things to determine whether or not it's going to be a fit. And that's where there's, you know, time well spent versus just trying to chase. You know blindly chase leads and you know lists and people. You know that you maybe got. So it's really making hiring personal again by treating that driver as a consumer now.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:39

Has there been any kind of like shifts in how drivers want to? I mean, we mentioned like the home time and things like that, but has that shifted since? I feel like COVID is such a you know, a catalyst for so many ways that we think about life and you know what we want out of it, what we want out of work. Were these trends already happening before COVID, or and have they stayed around since COVID?

Beth Potratz: 12:05

Yeah, that's a good point. So the exciting piece on the data that we have, I think it, the desire and the attempt, was always there. But what we're now seeing and even just pre and now, definitely post, covid is the drivers really high in demand and as it becomes more difficult to attract and retain drivers, because people are sort of inserting themselves, are kind of demanding more lifestyle, carriers are having to respond by changing the employment value proposition and, in some cases, even going so far as to change somewhat of their operational model in an effort to get people home more often, in an effort to try to, you know, accommodate when there are, you know, longer load times or whatever it is. So I think you know carriers have really listened and continue to want to get the feedback on. You know, what can we do to help a better attract and retain you? And I think our driver happiness survey that we just did we did one in 2019 and we just released another one in 2023. And it's pretty startling, this has dropped off overall between 2019 and 2023. Those that are the least happy in their jobs are people that have been in with one to two years of experience. All of a sudden, we're seeing that drivers who are even reporting that they're happy that they've also looked for a job in the last three months. So you know they're sort of out there taking stock and I'm happy. I think, with the current state of afraid, everybody's just kind of looking around to see what really what's going on. And here's what's happening at my carrier but what's happening elsewhere. But the other big one is we usually see like in the top, you know five things that are most important, things like pay, equipment, those you know, home time, obviously, but this year pay was number one again. And number two is you know, when they're asked, what could your employer do to help increase your happiness? It's actually communication and listening from management Number two. And nearly 61% of those that ranked that had been in their role less than two years and twice as many were women versus men. So I think you're now starting to see the profile change and the like, a new, higher level set of expectations from drivers, and I think that's great because that's setting a challenge for management. You know we really not only do you have to tune in and dial in and constantly be sort of re recruiting the people who already work for you, and that sentiments will change. But how do we, you know, make this part of the fabric of the organization and continue to have these conversations so that you know when there's needs change or your needs change? I mean, people are all on the same page and you're developing that deeper level of commitment and rapport, you know, not just communicating at people but really building that relationship, and it's not necessarily something I think people think about as often. You think about, well, we ought to get the memo out to people or make sure you know this is I'm talking about literally changing the way that they do business and communicating with their drivers to create more of that sense of internal community and the sort of employee voice piece and the connectivity leadership.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:57

Are there any kind of well, are there any kind of, I guess, maybe like specific things that some of these companies are doing? Is it you know you mentioned communicating? Is it you know as simple as like picking up the phone once a week to just call and check in, or is it you know like, maybe, employee meetups or something like that? Are there any things that you know these companies are doing that they're finding success in?

Beth Potratz: 16:20

Yeah, I mean, I think the first question is those that first recognize that it's important to create, to spark the conversation. You know are embarking on using survey tools, sentiment analysis tools, right. So that's first. But that comes with great responsibility, right, because once you ask, the worst thing you can do is not respond or not like the answer and then not know what to do with it. So it's sort of first deciding is this the right thing? Then it's well, how do I go about it? What do I want to know? What do we ask? What conversation are we trying to create? And then sort of teaching leaders how to walk through that. And because sometimes, you know, people get feedback and they think, well, we're just not going to answer that, well, it's better to. I mean, just because they said they want something and you're not going to be able to deliver on that, that's for valid business reasons, that's fine, but don't ignore it. At least address and acknowledge that. You know this seems to be important to you. You know, here's, we've considered it here's. You know, some of the business challenges that are prohibiting us from, you know, making that step or whatever it is, so that at least everything is open and transparent. So I think, yeah, people are doing, you know, initiating surveys, and I think people are trying to create more vehicles of communication, whether it's a call. You know a closed Facebook group with their fleet, you know, so that people can reach out to ask questions. You know all of the above, I think the one on one connection with your driver manager. You know dispatchers doing some more work on. You know teaming up on how we can all communicate with each other better, between dispatchers and drivers and driver managers, and then senior leaders being more open and transparent, not just about the numbers, but get down to. You know you tell me what are your struggles when you're trying to. You know execute a delivery. You know and really listening to some of the challenges that drivers are coming or being faced with. And then, you know, look across and be willing to say, okay, we've heard you and here's some things that you know we can do about them.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:45

Is there? Is it as simple as just getting that constant feedback loop for these drivers? Or are there maybe some other issues that are almost like red flags or warnings that would cause a driver to even think about what that next step could look like, even think about what you know? Maybe a move to a different company would look like. Would communication solve that? Or are there other maybe some red flags that drivers see and they're like maybe I should, you know, think about getting another job somewhere else.

Beth Potratz: 19:14

That's a good point To me. I really feel like creating the culture and the environment where it's a given, where people feel comfortable with that communication that that line of communications opens so important. Because I feel perhaps even more volatile than any other industry. Drivers are more likely to just have something happen and be like that's it, I'm not here, and then they'll just leave. There's no, let me talk to you about why I'm upset. Or you know, see if we can work this out. Or you know, hey, I've had a change in my life or my schedule. You know what can be done. Oftentimes they'll immediately revert to well, I've got to go, and that's not necessarily the case always. I mean, doesn't hurt to have a conversation with your current organization, especially if you're happy to see what can be done in terms of accommodating you. I just they just historically haven't led with that. And then there's a whole bunch of other things that you should be monitoring, things like your candidate experience. You know we're hearing that people that have only had one to two years experience, or been in their job one to two years, are the least happy. Well gosh, they most recently joined the organization. So how did they go from being super excited about joining and then going through onboarding, and then what drastically drops off after that. What happens? Same thing with your employee experience throughout their whole life cycle of their career and everything from onboarding all the way through off boarding or their retirement or them leaving the organization and even following up with them after the fact on. You know how did it go as an interviews, all those kinds of things. There's so many different opportunities that you could be taking advantage of and also even looking at your data in anticipation of you know things that are happening. It could be something as simple as you're facing a 30% increase this year and your benefit you know rates and leadership. Sitting back and thinking, gosh, how is this going to impact our people? What's the best way we can do to prepare for these things? What's most important to people, you know, being able to tap into that audience and measure some of that to guide your decision making is helpful, and it's done in more of a. I call it a commitment based change. We're now people are feeling like, yes, it's a, you know it's a very black and white problem, but we're feeling like we're participating in the company, helping figure out what's the best solution for us. So that goes a long way versus the compliance based change where people are used to well, because the leader said so, et cetera. I mean it really feels very one sided.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:04

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home, or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the freight agent trenches, sponsored by SPI logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit SPI3PLcom. And it's interesting you say that because I've heard of this you know establishing like a driver feedback loop where you're constantly getting this feedback from your drivers on a regular basis, so you can maybe identify some of these problems before they turn to. You know a mass exodus, or you know you got top talent that that's leaving the company. Is there any difference? I guess, in are there any companies that are doing a really good job of listening to their drivers and or maybe some programs that exist that they are practicing. I guess you know practicing what they preach and retaining those drivers for good, versus just trying to, you know, fill another. You know recruiting quota.

Beth Potratz: 23:37

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think there are folks that are doing, you know, some of the very basics, whether it's regular, you know the monthly call doing one up conversations. So you know, skip a level in terms of who you report to, and you know you're taking a selection of people that's different every month and they get to sit down with the head of transportation or the CEO or whoever it is. You know that's just creating those. You know tentacles where people feel like they can, you know, have an opportunity to connect. You've got folks doing like I said, facebook groups, that with like a closed group. You've got people doing surveys, like more formal surveys, and then sort of sentiment kind of pulse type surveys, if you will. And then you know, I've also seen, you know, the old fireside chats, you know, I think it. Those are all great and to the extent things get recorded, I think the biggest thing is, one, make sure that they're happening, whatever the method is. And two, because it's a distributed workforce, it's really difficult. It's not like you can call everybody together in the same place at the same time and so you don't want the telephone game to take into effect. So you're either recording it and even if you're recording it. You're spending a lot of time between the senior leaders and the drivers or you know the sort of different ways, different layers in the organization, so that you're spending a ton of time with middle management, so that when you're cascading messages, that group actually is equipped with the talking points. You know the meeting in a box, the okay, we've had these, these are the key messages of this. You know company meeting, this division meeting, whatever it is, and when we distill it down and get it out there, here are the follow-up talking points so that everybody's hearing. You know consistency in the messaging, same time, same points, and then it's not just cascading down but you've created then a mechanism to feedback up. Hey, I had this, this cascade meeting, you know, to make sure everybody heard it, and we talked about, you know, the communication meeting that happened and here was some feedback that came from the group. So there's gotta be a full cycle that it gets back up to leadership and that they that it's fed back down. We heard you, we understand, after we had our meeting last month, that there were some questions about let us further clarify or communicate further, or that there's perhaps an issue that we were not aware of, we're gonna create a focus group or a task group and assign them the responsibility for coming up with some recommendations that we can consider and, you know, together we'll come up with the right answer. It's all the old employee engagement, you know, people being a part of it. Nobody can help solve the problem better than the people who are hands-on experiencing it. And you know, I think, also two leaders to get and walk in the shoes of the people that they're trying to serve. I mean, you're serving people as a leader, so get in their shoes and, you know, do the work. And now, as I try to ask myself, you know, I like to think that I don't ask people to do anything that I wouldn't do myself, and I try, I feel like I'm having high standards to, you know, say, have I done it myself? You know, what did it take when I did it and am I really asking something? That's, you know, way out there.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:23

I love that because I got my start in freight when I worked for an asset-based 3PL and the CEO who I was his direct assistant. He was a former driver and so he always had an open door policy and the drivers that worked for our company knew that they could walk in right through the front door and walk right in his office and have a conversation with him. I mean, the drivers absolutely loved that he was a former driver Even so. Much so one of the drivers got the company name tattooed on his back from shoulder to shoulder. Now, unfortunately, that company closed down so that guy is stuck with that tattoo, but it was. I always really respected that from my old boss is that he had that open door policy and that the drivers really loved talking to him and that they knew that something would happen after talking to him. Is it kind of a safe assumption that that's where the most companies are succeeding if it comes to driver recruiting? Is that they're listening to their drivers and they're keeping their best talent?

Beth Potratz: 28:25

Yeah, absolutely Listening and responding. And I think in those instances you have the people who sort of have the guts to go in there and have that conversation. But what a really good leader will do is, if they're having those conversations, they're gonna outwardly talk about hey, it's my understanding that I'm hearing from the ranks and whatever, that we're having these challenges. So they're not calling out the people that brought it to them specifically, but they're making sure that the conversation's out there so that the other people who worked in that office at that time are also now having the benefit of that transaction, that information exchange and the leader's point of view on it or whatever action was taken. Because if people are just feeding up individual complaints, if you will and sometimes you would like to think that, so they're not all complaints sometimes they're just saying, hey, I really appreciate you fixed X, y and Z or it's a positive thing, but you have to make sure that the people aren't left behind because they weren't there at the time when that was said. So you wanna make sure that everybody's aware that these things are happening and you keep it front and center. We asked, you answered. Here's what we're doing about it. What else, what are we missing? How else can we get you involved?

Blythe Brumleve: 29:48

Yeah, I think all great lessons and I wanna switch gears a little bit because I want to talk about some of your marketing initiatives, because we originally met at TMSA Transportation and Marketing and Sales Association and marketing plays a huge role in your business. I'm curious as to how your marketing has evolved over the years. When you're targeting drivers versus targeting companies, Is it kind of the same strategy or do you have a different approaches to both?

Beth Potratz: 30:18

Well, it's kind of funny that you said that, like when we first started, I was just showing my sales team this because you're a startup, you're young and we had the chicken and the egg. No drivers are gonna come and sign up and become part of our community unless we have jobs and nobody's gonna work with us to get their jobs posted unless we have drivers. So it's a little bit of both. You have to build up this community. Well, we've always done it through content initially, and we still do. We write all of our own original content that celebrates the American truck driver and the intersect between their lifestyle and their career, and we're all about it being a personal experience, making hiring personal again. So, literally when we first had drivers start signing up with us, we had these little cards I was just showing my sales team. Did you guys know? We used to write as they were saying? We wrote our handwritten cards for all of our Christmas cards and my hand hurts and I'm like. We used to write a handwritten card to every single driver that signed up with us, just as another. Hey, thank you, we see you. There would be a lot of cards now. I don't even know if anybody would be able to keep up with it. But it's always looking at everything we're doing and are we really living up to the brand in being personal? And I think the biggest shift in our marketing is that Drive my Way is an experience. It truly is. I mean, is it a service, is it a product, is it a solution? It's all the things. But the truth is it's an experience on both sides. So we use storytelling of the people who have had the opportunity to have the Drive my Way experience lead our marketing. So when a driver is hired by a carrier that they got from Drive my Way, we immediately reach out to them. We have a role on the team called Matchmaker. All the matchmakers do. They work part-time, dayfights and weekends. It's the greatest job ever. They're amazing and they absolutely love working with the drivers. And they reach out and congratulate the driver, let them know that we're setting their profile to unavailable so that now they won't continue to get matched now that they've found the carrier that they're gonna stay working with, and we give them the opportunity to tell us what it was like to work with Drive my Way. So they get like a little survey they can put in a written testimonial. They can record it with just their voice or they can make a video, and they actually make videos and send them into us and they're fantastic and you get them in their real environment. They're in the back of the cab or they're home on their reclining chair or whatever, and they talk about how drive my way helped, what it is where they were looking for, how it was different, and so they're able to express what that experience was like firsthand, so that then other people who are thinking about it will see that and can maybe identify with any one or more of those stories. And then, likewise, we use our employer case studies and actual recruiters recruiting managers, recruiting leaders stories on how they go about their role and what's important to them and how they're utilizing or partnering with drive my way to tell that side of the story as well. We call it trucking truth, or will you do a case study?

Blythe Brumleve: 33:52

Do you have a you know, a favorite or two of from the stories you've gotten so far?

Beth Potratz: 33:58

You know I Fash there's so many and I love every day I get some kind of an Acknowledgement or call-up from the matchmakers, but I do. I actually remember one Was a holiday, I can't remember which holiday, but we had a lot of people that were off and I it was a Saturday, it was over a holiday weekend and I was working and one of the calls came through to me and it was one of the drivers and it was frustrating because he was trying to, you know, update something to his profile and so I was helping him out and we just kind of got to talking and you know he's like, you know I just so frustrated. I love my job. I'm an over-the-road driver, been doing it for more than 15 years. He's like, you know I love my company and I'm like well, why are you looking for another job Like what you know? Why are you even on drive my way? And he said well, my wife just came down with cancer and I'm gonna need to be home here, you know, helping get her to and from her treatments and I just need to be around more and unfortunately my company is all over the road. We don't have anything local. And he's like and so I never even thought I'd ever be in this position. I have to look for another job and I have no idea what I'm doing, so we just kind of walked through it. So those are the kind of stories that you know and then they come back to and say, gosh, you know, you were there for me helping me sort through all but what was to me chaos. You know, I couldn't figure it out what I needed, and Zero right in on exactly what I needed at exactly the time I needed it. And so it's those kinds of things where it just touches you and you realize that, yes, you know you always want to be doing right by people and adding value, but when you realize that you're genuinely impacting people's lives every day and their families, that makes it pretty exciting. And then, on the carrier side, I love the stories of how somebody got into their role as a recruiter and how it's kind of changed how they, how they, go about recruiting. I only say that because I am one of these firm believers that most people don't take a linear path to their career, that your, your professional self, is really this compilation of experiences that you've had and this Transferrable set of skills that you've built over time that you know, make you who you are and and you know you are and how you've developed into into being. You know good at the things that you're, that you're contributing. So I love to hear Stories from people how it shaped Ultimately the professional that they are today. And we recently did an interview with David Pike, who is the head of recruiting for NFI, and it was. It was very emotional for me. It was. It was especially like this time of year to me. Here we are on Saturday we're gonna be doing reads across America and David comes from a military background and it tells a whole story. It's on our it's on our blog if you'd like to check it out, drive my way calm and he tells the story of being a young man who went off into the military and Marines and he was in his role and then they actually approached him about being a recruiter for the military and he went through extensive training to do this and went when he realized as a military recruiter that he was literally Completely impacting these young men and women's lives, like for the rest of their life, and he told the story about this one gentleman that literally changed the trajectory of this young man's life and how he came back to him and said you know, I don't know if you'll ever you realize what you did for me and thank you. And he's brought that forward in the recruiting role today, because I think so often sometimes we get into a mode where we're so busy we're processing things it's, you know, check it off the list, check it off the list and we don't ever stop to think for a minute that like, wait a minute, these are real people, like they need this job, like I'm. You know I'm in a position I can either move them forward or not, not even acknowledge that they came in to begin with. And I hear today so many people you know kind of claiming I think they took the human out of human resources. I submit all of these resumes, right, you know, and plot all these jobs. I never hear back from anybody and you know to hear David tell this story on how he imparts on each and every one of his recruiter's and how he operates himself, that Never forget the importance of the job that you're doing and that you know every interaction, whether it's the right fit for the driver, right now or Later or never, that you're impacting somebody's life. So it really puts it in a very different perspective and I love to hear those kinds of stories because I think professionally we all grow From being able to, if we're able to, leave ourselves vulnerable and share with each other. I think that's positive. We just did a really fun thing at TMSA in Chicago where we brought all the sales and marketing folks in Kathleen Kaganite and to facilitate a little session on just how like incredible change in the function of marketing over the years. I mean people in marketing are being asked to be the be all and all of everything. I mean all the assignments that you're given, everything from board decks to you have to do. You know sales leads to your outbound. You're doing internal employee communications, and, and, and, and, and, and and. It's gone crazy and it's. It was interesting to have you know sort of, you know very confidential everybody kind of going around the room and you realize how much they all have in common at all different you know sort of stages of their career and the incredible sort of camaraderie or bonding that occurred because every person that was telling their story or their challenge In some way the others in the room could relate or had faced something similar. So they were literally sort of like helping each other live in the room and just to feel like that kind of that support, like I'm I lived through that or I'm in the midst of that now, and I was like you know, this is really something we should all be doing, this, no matter what the career is right, because that's how we're better together.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:46

Yeah, I love that you brought that up, because TMSA that it's one of those events where it's not going to be the most people in the industry that's going to attend. What's the beauty of the TMSA is like the smaller community that you can build and through those like minded experiences and be able to feel like you're not alone, and I think that that's, you know, what the TMSA creates. It sounds like that's what you're. You know, creating a drive my way to and I'm curious with all of the drivers and the carriers that you've spoken to, and especially with you know, being in this industry since 2016. Are there any differences between? I imagine there's some differences between. You know that I heard that the average age of a truck driver in the United States is somewhere around like 56 years old. Are there any differences between what the 56 year old truck driver wants and the 24 year old truck driver, or are they kind of the same pay in at home time?

Beth Potratz: 41:49

They're somewhat similar, but there are differences there. They have differences in how they prefer to communicate. I can tell you that drivers overall that are sort of older when I say older I'm going to say over 4045 or older you know, in 2023 50% of them are happy and 2023 those under 45 only about 54% are happy, but there's been a decline in the drivers under 45 level happiness between 2019 and 2023. So I think that as you move up, both in age and in experience, your, I guess, level of expectations and the things that are most important to you change. I think we just had this conversation prior to recording on. When you kind of hit certain stages in your life, sometimes you have a greater appreciation for things that you might not even have thought of earlier in your career and you, and then that at, even sign a higher value to that. Like you know, we were talking earlier about coming up on the holidays and as, as you age, you know how much more precious the gift of time becomes. Right, that's not something you're. You're not thinking of the gift of time when you're 22.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:19

I love. Yeah, I, I talk about it again. I'm going to cry for like the third time on this episode Exactly. I think it really is a no. It really brings, I think, the conversation full circle, because you're talking about the value of a driver's time and so much of it is wasted by other companies, by warehouse operations, loading and unloading times and things like that. That it's not just the work, I think, that is impacting drivers, it's also just the lack of respect around how their time is treated versus everybody else's. And so that's why I think what you're doing is so valuable, because you're you're putting the power back in the driver's hands and able to give them the decision making promise to be able to find that other gig. I think sometimes it's really hard to think about what that next gig could look like, especially when you're in your, your current. You know just sort of schedule and normal day, every, everyday activities, and so it you're creating that catalyst, you know, for them to be able to find that that little bit better of a job might not be perfect, not all the getting job is, but you're at least giving them that opportunity to find something better, to give them back their time, and so that you know, as we sort of round out, you know this conversation is is there anything else that you feel like is important to mention about what you do? You know, drive my way, things like that, or just the industry as a whole, that that we haven't already talked about?

Beth Potratz: 45:00

And just you know, to me, we're all in this together. This is what one of the most incredible industries to work in. You know it, I know it, the people are what really makes the difference. There's nothing like the supply chain. Without it, nothing would run. And the amount of dedication and just pure commitment and, you know, get it done at all costs, effort that goes into the supply chain is just really something that I hope everybody has an appreciation for, and any opportunity that we get where we can share with each other and all of the different aspects of the supply chain, can listen to what, what they appreciate and what they need from each other, the better it'll be. So you know, I think we're here, you know, obviously talking to the drivers, but it goes to the dispatchers, to the maintenance text, to everyone, because nobody can. Actually, the one thing about the supply chain is nothing can get done, nobody can do their job without the other people doing their job. So it really is a group effort and I think we go through the good times together and we go through the tough times together, and it's how we show up and how we own it and how the leaders step up and lead and, you know, bring people along with them. You know we're doing this together. That makes us stronger, and so that just was what I think about when I reflect on this really tough year everybody's had. I mean, we've been through some stuff, you know. I mean go from COVID to this like we are what the heck else. But you know, but we come out stronger every time and and we get challenged to not even know what we're capable of, and we've become capable of so much more when we realize that we're part of something bigger and it's we're not in a alone and we're able to do it together. So I guess I just no matter where you sit or where you work or what you do, whether you're within the supply chain or one of the lucky people that is the recipient of all the supply chains efforts that that you just take a second, you know, in this season especially, to just reflect and be appreciative of what we all have and and be, you know, cognizant of the great level of responsibility that it brings with it and that we keep it going and I think that's very well said, and.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:47

but it took us a long time to have this conversation, but I'm glad that we had it at this time of the year. I think it's a really great reflection and really great sort of signal for for the coming years, as far as you know the resiliency of this industry and breaking down these silos and, you know, continuing to. You know have those communication doors open. Is there any, I guess, piece of advice would you give to carriers out there that are struggling to recruit drivers, struggling to retain drivers or not just keep good drivers? It? Was there any kind of advice that you would give them to best prepare for for 2024.?

Beth Potratz: 48:24

Yeah, I think the biggest. It's not a matter of when things are going to change or if they're going to change, it's when I think anybody has a crystal ball. I think we just are all everybody's used to being cautious. You know, we're not going to run right in, we're going to kind of, you know, make sure things are headed in the right direction and they are. I really do believe that. But I think people need to realize and be more planful that you can't just flip a switch, because what's going to happen is, you know, we're all sort of trying to read the two leaves and adjust accordingly with all of our operations so that we can win and as things start to pick up and they will, they really will and they will, it'll start to happen quickly. It's going to happen to each and every one of us and realize that when that's happening we're going to start over again and that everybody's going to be trying to recruit. Everybody's going to be trying, you know. So start now. I mean, you know you should be constantly having those conversations and nurturing so that when the time comes you've made that connection and you're ready to make that hire, that person's ready to make the move. Maybe they're not ready right now, and don't ignore the people that are working for you now. You should be re recruiting them all the time, because you know we hear that when change happens, you know it leads people wondering. So keep the lines of communication open, have the conversations with your current people to making sure that you're hearing sentiment and keeping on track with, however, one's feeling and and what's happening and how you're going through it together, and then never stop creating the connections externally and nurturing those relationships so that you can surround yourself with the best talent.

Blythe Brumleve: 50:21

Another gem that that that you dropped, beth, it was a great conversation. Where can folks, I guess you know, if they, if they want to step up their game in 2024, if they want to, you know, keep those lines of communication open? Where can you know carriers reach out and have drivers if they're looking to make it? You know lifestyle change or you know a time management change to a better offer opportunity. Where can folks, you know, follow more of you and your work?

Beth Potratz: 50:46

Yep, you can contact me at the POTRATZ at drive my way dot com.

Blythe Brumleve: 50:53

Love it, absolutely love it. This was a gem of a conversation, so thank you again, beth. Thanks so much. I hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for a newsletter and follow our socials over at everything is logistics dot com. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let you know about another company I operate, and that's digital dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co workers, child, a neighbor down the street or stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at digital dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digital dispatch dot IO. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.