Bennett Family of Companies’ freight agents, field offices and company employees gathered for Bennett’s 43rd annual Symposium held on February 3-5th at the beautiful Hilton Peachtree City Atlanta Hotel and Conference Center in Peachtree City, Georgia, for the second consecutive year.
On Friday afternoon for those that wanted to participate, there was a networking event at the Peachtree City Tennis Center where Bennett hosted a Pickleball Tournament.
The weekend officially kicked off on Friday evening with a fun-filled “Roaring Twenties Speakeasy” themed welcome reception for attendees. Upon entry into the reception, guests were given a card with a specific password to give the “security guard” before being able to enter the Speakeasy area. Guests were transported back into the Roaring Twenties decade at the welcome reception. Attendees wore their favorite Twenties attire and enjoyed a night of music, drinks, food, dancing, and networking.
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 2022. She highlighted the new office for the Bennett Motor Express BAZ terminal in Casa Grande, AZ, and the new facility for Bennett Heavy & Specialized in Joplin, MO. In addition, DriveAway acquired Don Ray Drive-A-Way, Company, Inc. which was the first acquisition in the company’s history.
This year’s theme “Building the Future Together!” concentrated on how we will build success as a company in 2023.
2023 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, 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 season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
After the video was shown, Austin Hill made a surprise appearance. Lynette did a Q&A with the driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Afterwards, he took photos and signed autographs with his fans attending Symposium. Bennett employees, agents, drivers, and staff are all excited to cheer on him and the No. 21 team for another season!
David and Danny then spoke about other new and exciting endeavors for Bennett this year. Some of these include working on a new facility in Laredo, TX, to expand in the Houston market for our Bennett Motor Express division. Also, looking at opportunities to deliver and expand services in Canada for our DriveAway division along with looking at opportunities for growth in our Bennett Distribution Services division in Augusta, GA.
President and Chief Financial Officer, David Pittman, spoke about some of our great financial achievements in 2022, where we rank among competitors in the industry, and how we can continue to make significant marks as a company financially.
The afternoon included breakout sessions for employees and agents to attend. Some of these breakout sessions were focused on a few company initiatives for 2023 that included Bennett University, Project Fuel Tank, One to One and Women in the Driver’s Seat program.
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.
However, guests that attended the awards banquet were unaware that Don Pryor, “The World’s Worst Waiter,” was among the banquet servers for the evening. After showing guests what bad customer service looks like, he later revealed who he was. His appearance made for a fun night of laughter with all his different shenanigans he pulled on attendees.
The awards banquet highlighted certain individuals of the Bennett Family of Companies by recognizing their amazing accomplishments in 2022. Among the awards presented Saturday night at the Awards Banquet, Mrs. Taylor announced the 2023 winner of the prestigious J.D. Garrison Commemorative Award. This year it went to Ted Gaze, VP of Sales at Bennett’s Houston Terminal.
Ted shared after accepting the award, “I get to go across the country and introduce Bennett to major corporations. It’s a joy to share what’s going on with Bennett. I get asked all the time, “What’s the difference between Bennett compared to other companies?” I look them square in the eye and say the difference between Bennett and those other major corporations is we are a company…we have a soul to save and a butt to kick. She (Marcia Taylor, CEO of Bennett) shows up every day to work to keep us in line and that’s the beauty of Bennett.”
The Ft. Worth Symposium will be held on March 9-11 in Ft. Worth, Texas. More details will be shared after this event.