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For Immediate Release
May 9, 2013

For Information Contact:
Gary Petty, NPTC

NPTC Presents Private Fleet Leadership Awards

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Private Truck Council (NPTC) recognized seven executives for their impressive contributions to the private fleet community during the group’s Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition held April 28-30, 2013 in Cincinnati.

Since 1990, the Private Fleet Professional Leadership Awards, co-sponsored by HDT/Bobit Communications, have recognized those individuals who have made significant contributions to the National Private Truck Council, their profession, and the private trucking community.

The Private Fleet Executive of the Year, went to Gary Palmer, Senior Director, Transportation of the True Value Company. Palmer has more than 26 years of Supply Chain management experience with various companies including Morton International, United Refrigerated Services, H.J. Heinz Company, and ConAgra Foods.  His assignments included designing, implementation, and management of logistics service units with these companies. Currently, in addition to the True Value private fleet, he is responsible for all vendor inbound shipments and store deliveries.

For the last two years, Palmer has chaired the NPTC Annual Conference Planning Committee and has served on the NPTC Board of Directors. He also works on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Advisory Group on CSA, speaks at various NPTC events and regularly sends his team members to NPTC events.


The Fleet Safety Professional of the Year was awarded to Carol Heinowski, Private Fleet Manager for Meijer Logistics LLC, a subsidiary of the grocery store chain Meijer, Inc. The fleet consists of 225 drivers and 150 tractors. She leads a group of individuals responsible for ensuring on-time deliveries in the safest and most cost effective means. Prior to assuming these responsibilities in 2008, Heinowski was a Safety Investigator for 20 years with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency responsible for enforcement of the federal truck safety and hazardous material regulations. Duties also included training State Police, Federal Investigators and industry on Federal Hours of Service regulations.

Heinowski serves as Vice Chair of the NPTC Safety Committee, is a frequent speaker at the NPTC Annual Conference and the National Safety Conference and serves as a judge of the NPTC Driver Hall of Fame Selection Committee. She has also appeared as a guest speaker at an NPTC/J.J. Keller & Associates webcast.

Mari Roberts, CTP, Director of Transportation Network Optimization for Frito-Lay, Inc., was named Private Fleet Member of the Year. In her current role, she and her team are responsible for the transportation planning and network efficiency for the 28 traffic centers. She has been with Frito-Lay for 12 years after graduating from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Supply Chain Management. She began her career at the Casa Grande Plant in Arizona where she served as Network Resource and then Traffic Manager. After seven years in the field, Roberts joined the HQ Transportation Team as West Division Network Efficiency Manager supporting 11 traffic centers and then was promoted to Logistics Capability Manager developing the National Capability Strategy for Transportation.

Since earning her Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) designation in 2009. She has served on the NPTC Institute Board of Governors, where she was recently elected Vice Chair. In addition to being a frequent speaker at the NPTC Annual Conference and a member of the faculty for the Private Fleet Management Institute, she has institutionalized the CTP designation within her company.

This year’s Allied Member of the Year award went to PACCAR Leasing Company (PacLease).  PacLease provides customized full-service lease, rental and contract maintenance programs designed to meet the specific needs of its customers. PacLease has independent and company-owned full-service leasing locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Germany. PacLease is a part of the financial services group of PACCAR Inc., a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates.

PacLease is one of the largest exhibitors at this year’s exhibit and will be sponsoring the Summer On-Site Safety Committee Meeting this June. In addition, the company has been active on the NPTC Annual Conference Planning Committee and sponsors 10 new fleet members every year. Accepting the award on behalf of PACLEASE was Neal Vonnahme, President of Paccar Leasing Corp.

Erle Bergstrom, CTP, Transportation/Fleet Manager for Orscheln Farm & Home, received the Membership Development Award. After beginning his transportation career with an owner-operator based family trucking company in the North Central Kansas. There he formed his foundation in safety; operations; maintenance; and human resources. While with Farmland Industries he held management roles, with both the Foods and Grain divisions, in production, warehousing, transportation, and transportation brokerage services. Prior to joining Orscheln, he served as the transportation manager for Tracker Marine/Bass Pro Group.

After earning his Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) designation in 2010, Bergstrom was named to the NPTC Annual Conference Planning Committee. He has been a frequent speaker at NPTC events, including a guest appearance at the NPTC/J.J. Keller & Associates webcast on customer service.

The newest NPTC award, the C.H. Robinson Worldwide Excellence in Backhauling Award, went to Sealy, Inc. Sealy is a manufacturer of mattresses and box springs with a private fleet consisting of 250 power units domiciled in 16 facilities across the country. Due to the cyclical nature of the bedding business, a high percentage of that fleet is idle on Mondays and Tuesdays of most weeks. With raw materials being delivered throughout the week from suppliers located outside of most plant’s delivery service area, the challenge Sealy faced was how to utilize its excess capacity to backhaul raw materials and reduce its inbound freight spend.

In 2006, Sealy signed on with CH Robinson to provide carrier management services for the plants. Soon after, Robinson began brokering 3rd party freight to Sealy’s private fleet. What started as a means to generate additional revenue by filling empty lanes on return trips back to the plants, grew to a larger scale operation with Sealy hiring Regional Backhaul Coordinators whose role is to coordinate raw material and 3rd party backhauls using a centralized fleet management concept where plants now provide delivery service to other plants.

Today, Sealy utilizes brokerage services from C.H. Robinson (and other third party brokers) to position its trucks near raw material suppliers across the country.  This strategy has produced annual inbound freight spend reduction in the millions of dollars, given us improved visibility to our raw materials throughout the supply chain, and improved driver retention by providing consistent year-round work for our drivers.  As a private fleet with no freight salesmen on the payroll, none of this would have been possible without CH Robinson’s brokerage network.

Accepting the award on behalf of Sealy was Terry Smith, Corporate Director of Logistics.

About NPTC
Founded in 1939, the National Private Truck Council is the only national trade association exclusively representing the interests of the private truck industry and corporate/business private truck fleet management. With an actively engaged leadership team of Board representatives, member volunteers and staff, NPTC in the past decade has grown significantly to serve a rising professional class of private fleet practitioners meeting the challenges of modern corporate transportation. NPTC is the leading learning resource center, government affairs advocate, and business networking culture for America’s top private fleet and supplier member companies.  The Council produces benchmarking, best practices, and economic data reports on the private fleet market; administers the highly regarded Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) training program, and conducts some of the most successful events in the trucking industry including the Annual Conference and Trade Show, the Private Fleet Management Institute, and the National Safety Conference. For more information about the Council’s activities and programs, visit our website at

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