Drive to Serve Freight Needs Hits Top Gear

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CBN_13_March6_CentralOregonTruck_RickWilliams

Central Oregon Truck Company Aces Efficiency in Multi-Use New Facility

The leaders of Central Oregon Truck Company (COTC) have blazed an ambitious trail with a 26,000 square foot new base of operations seamlessly blending multiple moving parts to shift into high gear as an industry-leading engine of further growth.

Just about every conceivable facet of the business has been addressed by CEO Rick Williams and his team in the new headquarters at 394 NE Hemlock Avenue, off Highway 97 in Redmond – including a high-tech operations and training hub, complete with truck simulator, as well as everything from service, deli and lounge areas to overnight stay capability for drivers, all aimed at supporting a dynamic fleet.

Boosted by the new flagship facility, consolidating operations previously split between sites in Prineville and Terrebone, what started out as a simple brokerage operation of four people in 1992 now boasts over 200 trucks and some 260 employees providing dedicated long-haul flatbed transportation and logistical services to the lower 48 states and Canada.

Backed up by professional drivers and more than 50 support staff and executive personnel, COTC is building on a hard-earned reputation for attention to detail and exceeding client expectations, with the state-of-the-art new facility accelerating the grooming of talent and experience needed to overcome the myriad challenges that shippers and transportation professionals face daily.

It was in reality a close call when company chiefs were faced with the question at the turn of the last decade of whether to establish their new corporate headquarters in Central Oregon or relocate to another perhaps more strategically logical state, but a combination of deep local roots and an exemplary public-private collaborative effort (see sidebar story: Model Collaborative Effort to Retain Major Employer) swayed the decision, which saw valuable family-wage jobs retained in the region.

Williams said, “We had dealt with the separation of tasks between our Prineville and Terrebone sites for some time, but in 2010 our Board recommended that we needed to consolidate under one roof to succeed in being a world-class operation.

“After a focused collaborative effort saw us secure the current acreage – part of which was sold off to our important business partner Papé Kenworth for its new truck dealership, incorporating prominent highway frontage, we set about putting the pieces in place to continue to foster our aim to be the number one provider of flatbed transportation services in the US as measured by our safety ratings, employee satisfaction and retention, and our customers’ satisfaction.

“We strive to be the company that operates the safest fleet on the road; that recruits and retains people of the highest caliber for every position and provides them with opportunities for growth, learning and advancement; and that will grow and develop our customer base to be their provider-of-choice at all times.

“A lot of thought has gone into advancing that cause. We have continued to achieve record years, and the new facility really builds on that success and propels us into the future.”

Such attention to best practices is evident upon entering the single span steel and CMU block wainscot-fronted building, with an open, efficient feel starting with a glass-partitioned administrative area including touches like ergonomically-advanced workstations with desks able to be raised or lowered at the touch of a button, and rolling filing cabinets with cushion tops doubling as seats for teaching needs.

A conference room and executive offices open to both admin and operational areas and include a full bathroom and showers, while the central national sales bullpen features groupings from planning to driver coaching and management radiating around central couches enabling impromptu breakout creative huddles.

Other amenities abound including a staff restaurant/deli area and work-out facilities, while drivers from across the U.S. who may be undergoing training or having trucks worked on can connect with family via computer and Skype hook-ups, enjoy lounge areas with shower and laundry facilities, and even stay in one of several soothing overnight rooms.

Williams added, “We have tried to provide everything a driver may want during downtime including showering, relaxation, contacting family, resting, eating and sleeping.

“Putting the components together was a collaborative effort by the management team, and I don’t think many other trucking companies, particularly in our size range, offer this level of amenity to drivers. We have an inviting campus feel, which is also invaluable as a recruiting tool, as there is always a relatively high turnover of drivers in the industry.

“It is also very convenient to have the Kenworth facility right next door as the average age of our fleet is just over two years. They are an important part of our business and warranty work can be carried out in their service bays really conveniently.”

Extensive training areas at COTC feature multiple potential scenarios, including truck simulation and tuition regarding on-board recorders and e-logs which helps keep COTC at the head of the curve in terms of use of technology for communications and efficiency in meeting regulatory requirements.

A large additional training bay includes “overhead fall protection” with drivers suspended from ceiling mounted harnesses while learning product protection and load securing methods, including proper use of bars and tarps, and also doubles as a potential community base – which has already been used to help local Girl Scouts in acting as a cookie storage and distribution center.

Williams added, “We have additional tables and chairs, and asked our construction contractors SunWest Builders to adapt this area so it could be used by worthy causes, which helps cement our philosophy of being active with the local community.”

A highly efficient radiant heated shop and preventative maintenance area includes pits, where waste products can also be contained, offering the opportunity for technicians to manage the underside and topside of trucks independently, while the expansive exterior includes ample truck turnaround area, storage and mirror check stations.

SunWest Builders Project Manager Kevin Link said, “This project had many different components including a call center, restaurant, overnight facility, Class A offices and technical/service areas, so it really was eye-opening in illustrating how diversified a trucking company can be.

“We also worked on the adjacent Papé Kenworth facility and these were two fast-paced jobs run side-by-side with some shared utility, which was challenging but really enjoyable with a great collaborative team on all sides Chris Walker, associate architect with Portland-based Commercial Industrial Design Architects (CIDA) who worked on both the COTC and Papé Kenworth projects, added, “This was something of a unique project in the way that every single component came together and melded different facets. Rick and his team were very focused and knew what they wanted in creating a special, top-class environment for drivers and support staff.

“COTC and Papé Kenworth share similar goals and it was also interesting to see how they aligned and the synergy between the projects. There was some coordination involved to make sure crossovers and entry wide turning radius could work, and accommodating shared wash bay facilities and so forth but the site design achieved the goals for both functions.

“The COTC building really has multiple uses and it was also interesting to see the central operational hub accommodating the new style approach of businesses in wanting more casual breakout discussion or brainstorming areas. There were also sustainable features included such as much use of natural light and highly efficient design build mechanical systems, “There was a great deal of thought put into optimizing function and amenities for staff and the company was built from key players that have sat behind the wheel and know all the components needed to be successful.

“They have produced a first-class operation, employing a lot of technology and room for future expansion and this was really a great professional all-round team and community to work with.”

Central Oregon Truck Company Inc.

 

394 NE Hemlock Avenue, off Highway 97 in Redmond

 

www.centraloregontruck.com • 800-394-0222

 

Property Owner/Developer: Central Oregon Truck Company Inc.

 

Contractor: SunWest Builders

 

Project Cost: $3.5 Million

 

Square Footage: 26,000

 

Financing: Columbia State Bank

 

Project Manager: Kevin Link of SunWest Builders

 

Architect: Commercial Industrial Design Architects (CIDA)

 

Principal Architect: Chris Walker

 

Structural Engineer: CIDA

 

Civil Engineer: Angle Consulting Engineering

 

Mechanical Engineer: CEA Engineers & Silver Sage Engineering

 

Subcontractors and Suppliers:

Povey & Associates, McKernan Enterprises, High Desert Aggregate, Millsite Management, Mikes Fence Center, Roger Langeliers Construction, JUCC, Inc., Central Oregon Redi-Mix, Northwest Quality Concrete, Hooker Creek Company, Solid Rock Masonry, Cutrite Concrete Co., All Position Welding, Advanced Precast, Miller Lumber, Frame to Finish, Hardwood Industries, Clowers Carpentry, Select Construction, Havern Cabinetry & Design, Insulation by Davis, Insulation by Davis, Bell Hardware, The Dannick Corporation, Oregon Overhead Door Co. of Central, Bend Commercial Glass, Pine Mountain Acoustical, Porche Paper Hanging, Fabulous Floors Inc., Cascade Painting & Design, Interior Technology, Pole-Tech Co., Inc., North Country Building Sup., Redmond Sign Company, AM-1 Roofing Inc., American Building, American Sprinklers, Severson Plumbing, Bend Heating & Sheet Metal, Tomco.

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