Kenworth Trucks Offer Drivers Comfortable Work Environment
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Low-income Minnesotans miss 125 million meals each year, and one out of eight children in Minnesota is at risk of going hungry. For Second Harvest Heartland, those numbers are unacceptable. Each year, the fourth largest food distributor in the Feeding America national network of food banks serves more than 960 food shelves, soup kitchens, shelters and programs in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.
“As the economy has taken a downward trend, we’ve been getting busier and busier as the need arises,” said Gary Krivanek, transportation manager for Second Harvest Heartland, which distributed nearly 50 million pounds of food during its most recent fiscal year (ending September 30) from its main warehouse in Maplewood and a small satellite warehouse in Minneapolis. That’s an increase of 21 percent over the prior year, and a 71 percent increase since Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis and Second Harvest St. Paul merged in 2001 to create Second Harvest Heartland. Krivanek said Second Harvest anticipates collecting 55 million pounds of food through September 2010, another 10 percent increase.
To collect and distribute food, Second Harvest relies on two new Kenworth T370s and a Kenworth T800 in its fleet of 16 trucks, dedicated professional drivers, and hundreds of volunteers who sort and pack food at the organization’s warehouses. Krivanek said he began looking for new trucks last year to increase the fleet’s capacity to handle the annual double-digit increases in the amount of food collected and distributed. He found Kenworth provided just what Second Harvest needed with trucks that offer durability, reliability, and driver comfort.
“It’s important to provide our drivers with a comfortable work environment during their day, and I was impressed with the Kenworth T370’s ride and comfort,” said Krivanek. “Kenworth manufactures a truck that’s sturdy, reliable and a real pleasure to drive. I felt like I was getting the most bang for our buck with Kenworth.”
The agency’s two T370s are equipped with 260-hp PACCAR PX-8 engines with 800 ft-lbs of torque, tandem drive axles, six-speed Allison automatic transmissions, and 28-foot boxes with heavy duty lift gates to handle up to 12 large pallets of food when fully loaded. Its Kenworth T800 is equipped with a 370-hp Cummins ISM engine and a 10-speed Eaton Fuller manual transmission.
Second Harvest Heartland drivers usually leave the warehouses in the morning with full loads of food for delivery to various food banks, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. On the return trip, drivers pick up food donations from food manufacturers, retailers and local farmers. Refrigeration units help preserve the freshness of fruit and other perishable produce in transit to the agency’s two warehouses for sorting.
Brian Armstrong, a Second Harvest driver for the past five years said he’s pleased with the performance and comfort the Kenworth T370 offers. Before he worked for Second Harvest, Armstrong drove for a local manufacturer and also hauled commercial roll-off containers for a refuse company. “The Kenworth T370 has a smoother ride, a more solid feel to it than other trucks I’ve driven,” Armstrong said. “The cab is quieter and, even with the longer box on the back, the T370 is still very maneuverable.”
Krivanek said support from local dealer Rihm Kenworth in St. Paul, Minn., was significant in his decision to go with Kenworth trucks. “Before we got the Kenworth T370s and T800, Rihm Kenworth did some work on some of our other trucks and I was impressed with their service,” he said. “When the time came to buy new trucks, I decided to give Rihm Kenworth an opportunity to get more of our business.
“We’ve been blessed with an opportunity through increased donations and grants to expand our fleet a bit,” Krivanek added. “I want to be sure that we get the most for our money, that’s why we’ll take delivery soon of three more Kenworth trucks from Rihm — two Kenworth T370 straight trucks and a Kenworth T800 tractor with the Kenworth Extended Day Cab option (which offers a driver 6 inches more length and 5 inches more height over the dimensions of a standard day cab). I haven’t decided yet who’s going to get that Kenworth T800, but already my drivers are fighting over it.”
Krivanek said the heavy duty unit will likely be assigned to a route that needs the extra hauling capacity the Kenworth T800 offers. “Then again, maybe I’ll go back to driving,” he quipped.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, medium duty diesel-electric hybrids, and liquefied natural gas trucks. This year, Kenworth became the first truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. In addition, Kenworth is the recipient of the 2009 J.D. Power and Associates awards for Highest in Customer Satisfaction for both Over the Road Segment and Pickup and Delivery Segment Class 8 Trucks, and for Heavy Duty Dealer Service. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.