Growth at glass plant drives need for truckers

Increased shipments by an area glass manufacturer are driving the need for Schneider National Inc. to expand again in eastern Iowa..

Schneider, the largest truckload carrier in North America, said Monday that it will hire 100 new truck drivers over the next 30 days, primarily to serve Guardian Industries’ manufacturing plant in DeWitt, Iowa.The company is seeking applicants who live within a 75-mile radius of DeWitt, including in the Quad-Cities, Clinton, Maquoketa and Dubuque.

Most of the new employees will work for Schneider’s Specialized division and will haul flat glass from Guardian. Others will be hired to serve other accounts in the region.

“The current shortage of drivers across the transportation industry, combined with the increase in Guardian and other customers’ overall outbound shipments has prompted the need for a substantial increase in owner-operators and specialized drivers in the region,” said Rob Reich, Schneider’s vice president of enterprise recruiting.

In addition to experienced over-the-road drivers and owner-operators, the company also is attempting to tap a new source: new, inexperienced drivers. “We do expect it will be difficult to find all the drivers we want in eastern Iowa,” company spokesman Mike Norder said.

He predicts Schneider’s company-paid training program will widen the net for applicants. “We’re finding a lot of Americans have been laid off from good-paying jobs in the last one to two years and many of them may be interested.

“It’s a very tight market right now,” he said. “What separates us is we do not need to rely on experienced drivers only. We are able to open doors for people who have thought about being drivers but lack the training.”

Norder said drivers are trained out of the company’s Green Bay, Wis., headquarters. The company not only pays for the training but also provides transportation, meals and lodging while they are in Green Bay.
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Although Schneider is expanding across its fleet, he said “We will be extremely aggressive in the eastern Iowa area in the next 60 days.”

As part of its recruiting campaign, the company will host a career fair from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Davenport Holiday Inn Convention Center.

Salaries will range from $30,500 to $39,500 for inexperienced drivers to a range of $43,500 to $54,000 for experienced drivers. Owner-operators leasing with Schneider will average $135,000 to $145,000.

Schneider, which employs 885 truck drivers out of its Des Moines operation — which includes eastern Iowa — is considered a premier carrier in the industrial glass industry. Drivers haul flat glass on flatbed and specialized trailers for use in the automotive industry and in the construction of commercial buildings.

“Guardian Industries selected Schneider Specialized to service our DeWitt facility before Day One,” said Pat Tuttle, Guardian’s plant manager. “Over the past nine years, our relationship has garnered significant achievements, namely a very high driver retention rate. As Guardian continues to expand, it is reassuring to see our transportation provider grow with us.”

In addition to Guardian, Schneider is the dedicated truckload provider for the Family Dollar distribution center in Maquoketa. New drivers would become dedicated drivers for either of these clients, delivering to customers primarily in the Midwest.

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