Caledonia Haulers applies a small-town solution to the national trucker shortage problem

Business leaders find work-life balance important in retaining and recruiting drivers

CALEDONIA, Minn. (WKBT) — For local businesses to work, someone has to transport all of the products they serve. A nationwide shortage of truckers continues to strain businesses. Caledonia Haulers is using its small town identity to solve a national problem.

The open road is where a truck driver finds freedom.

“And I still do. I was out the other day; I was in Illinois and back I was in Mississippi and Alabama the other week,” said Caledonia Haulers lead recruiter and trainer Jim Gallup.

Gallup would know – he’s clocked up more miles than you could count since 1979, racking up as much pride in his industry as the miles he’s clocked up.

“You just delivered 6,000 gallons of hot sauce to a location and think, ‘You know, that’s a lot of hot sauce. I probably fed the United States for a week with all that,” Gallup said.

His pride and joy suffer. Gallup needs to attract new talent with today’s competitive job market and the work-life balance people are looking for.

“I’m going to order it on my phone tonight. Tomorrow morning my doorbell rings and that’s it. Guess who brought it? A truck and a truck driver,” Gallup said.

Places where truckers deliver products are also stalled.

“Every place you go is, ‘Be with you in a moment. We are understaffed or we are understaffed,” Gallup said.

Everyone’s wallet feels more than 80,000 unfilled seats behind the wheel.

“We all pay for it at the grocery store,” Gallup said.

Caledonia Haulers understands that work-life balance is important for these drivers.

“Now you miss your kid’s baseball game or all of a sudden your wife’s car won’t start and you’re in Denver, Colorado, thousands of miles from where you live,” Gallup said.

Gallup and his team offer drivers the ability to avoid such scenarios.

“We’re bringing home more drivers,” Gallup said.

Allowing drivers to be home more often reflects what this company stands for, Gallup said.

“…small local business and how we like to keep it – very personal,” he said.

It’s a personal touch from a company that’s been in business since 1958 but isn’t shy about changing with the times. The company also has hourly jobs so drivers can have greater financial security.

Nationally, Congress has authorized a pilot program to allow truck drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to cross state lines. This would allow more people to get into truck driving.

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