Thus far in its 26-year history, one Eastern Oklahoma transportation company has taken itself from a single truck to a fleet of 160 power units – and continues to grow.
Based in Colcord, Okla., Hurricane Express is expanding both its fleet and the company’s footprint near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border on Highway 412.
“Hurricane Express is a unique brand, said Sheldon Steinert, Vice President of Operations for the company. “Our vision for growth over the next 18 months is to expand the brand as internal and external conditions allow. There are many factors that will come in to play such as the freight market, new and used truck and trailer pricing and availability, the labor market, the United States and global economy. Our growth will be at a sustainable rate in accordance with all applicable market conditions. I expect that 18 months from now Hurricane Express will be running between 200 and 300 power units.”
And it is the uniqueness of the company’s power units that makes it stand out from its transportation competitors.
Company President Kaedon Steinert strives to make every truck look different, and it makes a difference when looking to recruit veteran operators to drive them.
“All I can tell you is it’s worked,” Steinert said about the custom spec’d Peterbilt 579s in the Hurricane Express fleet. “We haven’t changed our operations model in nearly 30 years and, in the last two years more than ever, we’ve really gone after that premium, experienced driver. And that’s why we do what we do to spec a truck that makes a driver happy.”
But the rainbow of colors that grace the fleet aren’t left to only Steinert’s eye. Drivers are encouraged to choose the colors of a new truck no later than 90 days after joining the company and completing orientation.
“The ability of the lease owner-operators to choose the colors they want has a very positive impact on recruiting,” said Stephanie Freeman, a senior recruiter for Hurricane Express. “It’s fun hearing the drivers describe how they want their dream truck to look, and we work to help them achieve that goal.”
Plans to upgrade the current terminal facility will also make the company more appealing to lease owner-operators looking for a company that cares about its drivers.
“Hurricane Express strives for continuous improvement in all aspects of our operation,” Sheldon Steinert said. “It is our goal to constantly maximize the reinvestment of capital in our people, facilities and equipment. If any aspect of our operation becomes stale than everything suffers. In the past 24 months, we have increased our office building by 50 percent, built an additional maintenance facility that is 200 percent larger than the existing shop, increased driver pay multiple times to the point where we can offer annual take home pay of $81,000 to a solo driver, revolutionized driver comforts and amenities in our trucks to include such features as custom wood cabinets and 43-inch televisions, transformed the external appearance of our trucks to make them truly unique in a sea of increasingly bland and generic company trucks – so much so that no two trucks have the same paint scheme. We have also doubled the size of our support staff at the home terminal, and increased pay and benefits to the support staff.”
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