Fleet operators for Horizon Transport congregated Wednesday (Aug. 28) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., for the company’s annual Driver Appreciation Day, a tradition founded in 2002 designed to bring attention and recognition to the Wakarusa, Ind.-based company’s workforce.
Unlike past editions, however, this year’s festivities took on a new level of significance as Horizon paid tribute to its longevity, and legacy, as the RV industry’s oldest transporter by marking a milestone 35 years of operation.
“While the day was still a time to honor our drivers, it was also the biggest event we are holding this year that focuses on our 35 years in business and the success of Horizon,” stated Marion Schrock, whose parents, Melvin and Ruth Ann, founded the company in 1984. “It really was a special day for Horizon Transport.”
Schrock reported that 800-900 drivers were on hand to participate in the day’s scheduled agenda which opened with socializing from 9-11 a.m, followed by a catered lunch. Horizon’s program kicked off at 11:45, featuring eight members of management speaking for around three minutes each, followed by a presentation by Steve Gilliland, a motivational speaker from Pennsylvania who hosts the YouTube video “Enjoy The Ride.”
Joe Braun, who was promoted to president in January of this year, emphasized, “The day was not only a recognition of those in attendance, but to all our employees who are out on the road or are taking care of customers at the office.”
Braun continued, “I felt like we focused on two themes — to commemorate the success of the 35 prior years in business and to move ahead with positive expectations and a hope to immortalize the legacy of excellence that was started by Mel and Ruth and built upon by the second generation of family ownership through Marion. That legacy has been added to and built up by every safe driver who has ever made a delivery for Horizon Transport.”
According to Braun, Driver Appreciation Day is also an extension of the company’s focus on driver retention. “Our drivers are our primary concern. I think our defining cultural attribute is to be the kind of company that is attractive to work for,” he said. “We have always made an effort to nurture and grow people from within and our primary objective is to be a blessing to our drivers and contribute to their efforts. It’s a tall order, but our goal is to make our drivers feel that working for Horizon was a good choice. I think that’s really the key behind our strong retention record.”
Horizon Transport has grown to include around 1,350 independent drivers, including 800 pickup truck, 150 flatbed and 400 driveaway operators. The company’s business offerings are currently broken down into three separate divisions, including:
- Horizon Transport’s tow-away division is one of the largest in the country. Drivers use their pickup trucks to pull RVs and other trailers across the country, one at a time. It’s the most popular division as more than 80% of RVs built are fifth-wheels or bumper-pull units.
- Horizon Transport’s flatbed division is its elite division. Flatbed drivers invest in larger trucks and flatbed trailers to haul multiple RVs and other vehicles or trailers across North America.
- The drive-away unit does not require a truck as drivers get in the RV, UPS truck or other large vehicle and drive it to the destination.