Private Fleet Editor,
Fleet Owner Magazine
President & CEO, NPTC
The Northwest’s leading producer of both organic and cage-free eggs.
Northwest Egg Sales opened its doors in 1956 as a small, family-owned egg grading plant in Seattle, and soon thereafter, laying hens were added at their Cherry Lane Family Farms. Over the decades, the company has expanded into a fully integrated producer and processor of eggs and egg products.
Today, headquartered in Everett, WA, National Food operates its own feed mills, pullet and layer farms (with over 4 million chickens), and processing plants. Distribution centers in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota serve markets throughout Alaska, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest.
As the Northwest’s leading producer of both organic and cage-free eggs, National Food upholds eco-friendly standards. Chickens eat certified organic feed while nesting in newly remodeled cage-free environments. All of the company’s naturally organic eggs come from fully certified organic farms. Product lines include salted and sugar yolks, whole eggs, cage-free whole eggs, fresh egg whites, and specialized egg blends and mixtures.
National Food also exports eggs and egg products to world markets, including Asia. The company executes every aspect of the export transportation process to ensure that customers throughout the world receive the type and quality of products they expect in a timely fashion.
Transportation manager Kevin Bookey’s father and uncle cofounded National Food, and his brother is now president. Kevin started working in the family business as a young man doing odd jobs like cleaning equipment and changing tires. After graduating, he attended a two-year course in heavy-equipment diesel maintenance.
After finishing tech school, Kevin starting running a small diesel maintenance shop in Spokane, then moved on to a larger shop for National Food managing a team of technicians, rebuilding truck engines and transmissions along with frame and body work and painting.
“My dad had a love for transportation, which I obviously inherited,” says Kevin. He believed that managing our own transportation needed to be a core part of our business. So, we have always had a private fleet and still move most of our birds, eggs, and egg products on our own trucks.”
Sustainability practices are company policy, including transportation management. Deliveries to customers are regularly followed by backhauls to optimize equipment and fuel utilization. Trucks are fully equipped with onboard tracking equipment to monitor efficient operations such as speed management and mpg, along with safety and compliance. Reefer trailers are equipped with automated controls and GPS systems to reduce trips and wide base tires to save fuel.
National Food’s private fleet consists of 50 drivers, 32 trucks, and 100 trailers. It runs over 4 million miles a year. “All of our outbound shipments are handled by our fleet; inbound is less but still a majority of shipments,” Bookey said. “We employ our own drivers, but maintenance is now outsourced and our trucks are under full service lease.”
Kevin’s first experience with NPTC was as an attendee of the Private Fleet Management Institute in 2012. “Participating in the Institute helped shape our decision to outsource maintenance except for a small shop used for specialized equipment. Our trucks were aging and our shops were not close to our operations. Bringing in new trucks through full service leasing helped with driver recruitment and retention.”
After completing the Institute, Kevin earned his Certified Transportation Professional credential. “I feel the CTP gives me added credibility as a transportation manager.” He networks with other leading private fleet managers and supplier/vendors by participating in the council’s annual conference and annual Benchmarking Survey Report.
“Staying in touch with other private fleet professionals helps us find ways to improve our operational costs, introduce new practices and technology, and optimize backhaul revenue with our for-hire authority. With the ever-higher costs of outside carriers and the growing demands and complexity of transportation, we feel that our in-house transportation is now all the more important to our future success.
“We’ve learned what great value collaboration with other private fleets can bring in producing efficient transportation solutions between two companies,” he continued. “There are a great number of private fleets running under capacity up and down our nation’s highways every day. To me, it’s an excellent opportunity for open-minded fleets to share information and identify areas where they can work together to share resources and combine freight for mutual benefit.”