Bennett Family of Companies’ freight agents, field offices and company employees gathered for Bennett’s 42nd annual Symposium held on March 4-6th at the beautiful Hilton Peachtree City Atlanta Hotel and Conference Center in Peachtree City, Georgia.
The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a fun-filled Mardi Gras themed welcome reception for attendees. Guests wore their favorite carnival attire and enjoyed a night of music, drinks, cajun food, dancing, and networking. It was a wonderful night of fellowship and being back together in person for this year’s event.
Saturday morning, Bennett Family of Companies CEO, Marcia G. Taylor, kicked off the general session with an opening message that embraced our Core Values through Patriotism, Spiritual Commitment and Family Culture. During the message, Mrs. Taylor highlighted some of the outstanding accomplishments that Bennett recorded during 2021. She also highlighted the American Eagle team in Broussard, Louisiana joining the Bennett family, the opening of the new headquarters for Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Co. in Evendale, and several other key projects among our various divisions.
This year’s theme “People Purpose & Passion – The Pathway to Success!” concentrated on how we plan on pursing the pathway to success as a company in 2022. In addition, Bennett’s new corporate video was shared. Watch the video here.
2022 has already started with a lot of exciting initiatives that Bennett is a part of. Lee Gentry, Vice President of the Bennett Family of Companies, moderated a lively discussion with Lynette Mathis, David Lowry and Danny Lowry, senior leaders, and owners of Bennett. During the discussion, Lynette shared information about Bennett making its NASCAR debut with Austin Hill and the No. 21 team in the Bennett Transportation and Logistics car in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing. An exciting video of Austin Hill was shown during general session with highlights shown from his first race win of the season in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 19. Everyone attending Symposium, received a notebook including the 2022 race schedule along with an Austin Hill hero card. Bennett employees, agents, drivers, and staff are all excited to cheer on Austin Hill and the No. 21 team this season!
David and Danny then spoke about other new and exciting endeavors for Bennett this year. Some of these include BOSS Crane & Rigging in Longview, Texas, expanding with the recent acquisition of Supor Heavy Haul Trucking based in Kearny, New Jersey. With the new addition, it will allow them to offer BOSS Heavy Haul trucking services. In addition, Bennett will be expanding its technology services through the acquisition of BridgeHaul. BridgeHaul enables shippers to access instant spot market rates when it makes economic sense.
President and Chief Financial Officer, David Pittman, spoke about some of our great financial achievements in 2021, where we rank among competitors in the industry, and how we can continue to make significant marks as a company financially.
Col. Greg Gadson, thought leader and veteran, was the keynote speaker for Saturday. He shared an inspiring message by telling his unique and remarkable story. In May 2007, as commander of the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, Gadson’s greatest challenge came in Iraq, where an improvised explosive device (IED) attack cost him both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand. He related how he used the core principle of “Pride, Poise, and Team” to rise above his injuries and how he still lives by this motto today to succeed in his family, career, and life.
The afternoon included breakout sessions for employees, drivers, and agents to attend. Katlyn Foulks, Culture Ambassador, officially launched Bennett University. For the first time in Bennett’s history, a Learning Management System (LMS) called Bennett University, has been created. Bennett University is a software application that provides the framework to handle all aspects of learning. It will provide training content to help the Bennett Family grow in their current roles, re-skill for new positions, or re-train for entirely new roles. The launch video to Bennett University can be watched here.
Gregory Knapp, speaker and author, joined us to discuss “Bennett’s Purpose” in and out of the workplace so we all can be more engaged, happy, productive, and successful in 2022.
The success of the Bennett Family of Companies is because of the wonderful owner/operators, agents, field offices and employees who work so hard each year. Symposium weekend ended with the Saturday evening awards banquet. The awards banquet highlighted certain individuals of the Bennett Family of Companies by recognizing their amazing accomplishments in 2021.
Among the awards presented Saturday night at the Awards Banquet, Mrs. Taylor announced the 2022 winner of the prestigious J.D. Garrison Commemorative Award. This year it went to Trisha Reynolds, VP of Bennett International Transport (BIT).
“I will use this (J.D. Garrison Award) to grow, to learn and to do better,” said Trisha Reynolds, VP of BIT. She then went on to acknowledge Charles Phillips, President of BIT, as being a great mentor and Marcia Taylor, CEO of Bennett, for her trust in her to lead BIT.
Other awards included the 2021 Driver of the Year awards. Winners were Ardella Schaeffer, owner operator for Bennett’s DriveAwayDivision, Eric Archuleta, owner operator for Bennett Truck Transport, John Hendrickson, owner operator for Bennett’s Power Only DriveAway Division, Youself Al-Khalifah, owner operator for Bennett’s RV Pick Up DriveAway Division, Javier Flores, owner operator for Bennett Motor Express Heavy Haul, Jerry Boyd, owner operator for Bennett Motor Express General Freight, Steve Rushing, company driver for Bennett Motor Express, Danny Terry, owner operator for Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging and Jason and Amber Hazleton, company drivers for Bennett Heavy and Specialized, Joe and Shery Myers, owner operators for Bennett Heavy & Specialized and Gary Nixon, BOSS Crane operator.
Following the event held in Peachtree City, GA, Bennett held their Western Regional Symposium the following weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada with representatives from Bennett Motor Express and Bennett DriveAway divisions in attendance. Some of the special DriveAway award winners recognized in Las Vegas included Agent of the Year, Christopher Meo; Terminal Manager of the Year, Sandi Griffee; Dispatcher of the Year, Shannon Bruhns; Fitz Award, Christine Johnson and the TED award, Donielle O’Haver.
More details will be shared after the Southern and Northern Regional Symposium events that will be held on April 28-30 in Fort Worth, Texas and May 6-8 in Cincinnati, Ohio.