By James L. Harrison
Harrison is CEO of the Lawrence Companies.
As the Lawrence Companies CEO, I want to extend my personal thanks, as well as the gratitude of all Lawrence employee-owners to Lawrence’s approximately 250 professional men and women who drive its trucks, and to the more than 1,000,000 professional drivers nationwide for the incredible job they do keeping America moving, especially during 2020 which has been even more challenging. During this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, take a moment to be thankful for the efforts of America’s truck drivers and recognize that without them, your home, your workplace, your dinner table, and your life, would look very different. A thumbs up, a wave or a smile are simple ways to say thanks.
The first National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was in 1998 and was started by the American Truckers Association. It was designed to be a time to honor all professional truck drivers for their hard work in one of the nation’s most demanding and vital jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are one million professional men and women classified as light delivery or heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. They not only deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time, they also keep our highways safe. From the food we eat, the clothes we wear, to the medical supplies and equipment used to keep us healthy – professional truck drivers get things where they need to be, on time, safely, and securely.
Truck drivers deliver more than 10 billion tons of freight every year, which is about 70 percent of all the freight moved in the U.S. At Lawrence Companies, our freight drivers as a group average 1.3 million miles every month. Our household moving drivers have already hauled and delivered more than 6.5 million pounds of home goods this year. In the United States, professional men and women drivers log more than 400 billion miles every year and roughly, 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on the trucking industry as the only method to receive their goods and commodities.
The trucking industry is the backbone of our economy, and our professional drivers are the industry’s heart. Their commitment to safety and dependability ensures that our quality of life remains intact, even when facing a global pandemic. This week, when you are in a grocery store, take a minute to notice how well-stocked the shelves are and have remained, even during the most trying moments of the pandemic. Then think about the professional drivers that delivered the food that you put into your cart and you brought home to your families. When you are at home, look around and appreciate that everything inside your home was at one point in the back of a truck before it got to you. The next time you enjoy takeout or sit down in a restaurant, think about the meal you are about to eat and how the ingredients were very recently delivered by truck.
Established in 1932, Lawrence Companies is in the business of moving stuff. It is 100 percent employee-owned with its 91-acre main campus at 872 Lee Highway in Roanoke. Lawrence has 330 employees and engages 110 owner-operators to support its business operations. Other locations include Suffolk, Richmond, Ashland, Fishersville, Waynesboro and Lynchburg, Virginia in addition to Greensboro, North Carolina. Its trucks deliver van, flatbed and specialized freight and households throughout the 48 contiguous states. Lawrence also sells Case Construction equipment, has a trailer and truck subsidiary specializing in custom service trucks and a container service doing business as ACS. The Lawrence mission statement says it best — We are a business where people want to work, and customers want to do business.