Trucking runs in our blood. If it runs in yours, you should join us in #BleedingBlue.

Apply Now

My Favorite Painting Is In The Warehouse

If you’ve never seen The Sound of Music, well, the reviews are in and they say it’s pretty good. The 1965 musical drama staring Julie Andrews features a song called “My Favorite Things” in which she, in fact, talks about a few of her favorite things. I’d like to take a moment to talk about some of my favorite things.

My favorite things might not be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but most of my favorite things are pretty typical for a 25-year-old from God’s Country, Minnesota. I love me some Garth Brooks, some basketball and a good ol’ cheeseburger. I don’t know if the young ones still use this phrase, but I’m basic.

Except when it comes to my favorite painting. As someone fairly basic, you’d probably expect me to pick a Picasso or Monet, but my all-time favorite painting is a one of a kind. To say it’s rare would probably be an understatement, because I don’t expect many people to know the painting.

So where can you see this one of a kind painting? It is locked securely away in our… umm… it is in our warehouse. Yeah, it’s in our warehouse.

As a math-challenged child, numbers were not exactly my friend. Remembering them was hard and you could add them and subtract them and it was all too much. What isn’t hard for children to grasp on to is pictures and visuals… a painting.

My grandpa was not a painter. I saw his attempt at some coloring pages with my little cousins and I can assure you he was not exactly an artist. He did, though, possess my favorite painting.

When I was a child, on the back of Grandpa’s truck there was a beautiful painting. It had a road leading into the sunset of a western sky and it had the words “Tough to kick… but this is it!” written on it. It was beautiful, but the painting’s beauty isn’t what made it my favorite painting. It’s my favorite painting because that meant Grandpa was home.

I remember whenever I’d be in our yard for whatever reason, I’d be searching for that painting. That beacon of beauty that meant that my grandpa was home. That painting meant it was time to find grandpa for coffee which always really meant a burger at the Straw Hat. That painting meant that one of my favorite people was back home.

That painting was on my grandpa’s final truck, hence the saying on it. Well, kind of. It was supposed to be his final truck until he drove that one so much he had to get a new one…. and then he drove that one so much that he had to get yet another one after that. He had three final trucks. If you knew Duane Kottke, that shouldn’t surprise you one lick.

That painting might be faded now, but the memories are still in vivid color to me. Memories of him are what I hold on to… When I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.

The painting on the back of Duane’s “final truck”.

Thank you for #BleedingBlue for a decade now, Sue!

You have seen this year that we have introduced the phrase, and the hashtag, #BleedingBlue in a lot of the things that we do. While we have been practicing what bleeding blue is for, well, over 80 years now, we have been trying to put it into words for only the past few months.

Bleeding blue is about being dedicated, being a team player, doing it the right way, doing it with integrity and doing it all with family values firmly in mind. Bleeding blue is our core values wrapped up into one phrase.

If you took bleeding blue and personified it, it would result in Sue Krumrey. She is so in-step with our core values that you can tell that she has been bleeding blue for a while now. In fact, she’s officially been a part of the Kottke Trucking family for 10 years now.

We’d like to take this moment to recognize Sue for everything that she does for Kottke Trucking. We could go on and on, but after all these years we know we’ve probably already written way too much if she had her way about it.

Thank you, Sue, for bleeding blue for a decade now, for being a great team player and, most importantly, being a great member of the Kottke Trucking family.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Kottke Family

Kurt Kottke presenting Sue Krumrey with her Ten Year Service Award.

Kottke Trucking wins back-to-back TCA Fleet Safety Awards

On January 7, 2019, the Truckload Carrier Association (TCA) announced their division winners for its 43rd Annual Fleet Safety Awards. We are excited and proud to pass along that, for the second year in a row, Kottke Trucking has been named the safest fleet in Division III (carriers with 15-24.99 million miles).

This recognition is a reflection of the remarkable drivers we have as part of our Kottke Trucking family. To earn the award and then earn it again is a testament to the fact that we truly have one of the best fleets in the trucking industry. We thank every member of the Kottke Trucking family for working to achieve this award, especially to the drivers for their millions and millions of safe miles.

Congratulations to our whole Kottke Trucking family. Also, congratulations to the other 18 winning companies.

We will now move on to compete for one of two grand prizes awarded by TCA.

The following is the press release that the TCA sent out on January 7, 2019:

TCA Announces Division Winners in 43rd Annual Fleet Safety Awards

Eighteen Companies with Outstanding Safety Records Now Eligible for Two Grand Prizes

Alexandria, Virginia:

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has selected 18 companies as division winners in its 43rd Annual Fleet Safety Awards. Sponsored by Great West Casualty Company, the awards recognize trucking companies who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to safety. The top three winning companies in each of six mileage-based divisions had the lowest accident frequency ratios per million miles, annually.

“Year after year, TCA’s members prove that safety is the top priority of the truckload industry through participation in the Fleet Safety Awards,” said TCA President John Lyboldt. “We are incredibly proud to recognize and showcase these fleets, which have maintained a superb safety record through their use of innovative programs to establish a culture of safety within their companies.”

All division winners are invited to compete for one of two grand prizes – one for carriers with a total annual mileage less than 25 million miles, and the other for carriers with mileage greater than 25 million miles. The two overall grand prize winners will be announced at TCA’s 81st Annual Convention at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort, March 10-13, 2019. All winners will receive recognition at TCA’s 2019 Safety & Security Division Meeting, June 2-4 at the Guest House at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

Here are the 2018 Fleet Safety Awards winners:

 

Division I Winners

(less than 5 million miles)

1st Place – Tri Alexander Transportation – Muskogee, OK

2nd Place – Specialty Transport, Inc. – Knoxville, TN

3rd Place – Searcy Specialized – Harrison, OH

 

Division II Winners

(5-14.99 million miles)

1st Place – M&W Transportation – Nashville, TN

2nd Place – Britton Transport Inc. – Grand Forks, ND

3rd Place – Convoy Systems, LLC – Kansas City, KS

 

Division III Winners

(15-24.99 million miles)

1st Place – Kottke Trucking, Inc. – Buffalo Lake, MN

2nd Place – Grand Island Express – Grand Island, NE

3rd Place – V&S Midwest Carriers Corp. – Kaukauna, WI

 

Division IV Winners

(25-49.99 million miles)

1st Place – Trans-West Logistics – Lachine, QC

2nd Place – Hill Brothers Transportation – Omaha, NE

3rd Place – Doug Andrus Distributing – Idaho Falls, ID

 

Division V Winners

(50-99.99 million miles)

1st Place – Groupe Robert, Inc. – Rougemont, QC

2nd Place- Freymiller – Oklahoma City, OK

3rd Place – Halvor Lines, Inc. – Superior, WI

 

Division VI Winners

(100 million or more miles)

1st Place – Bison Transport – Winnipeg, MB

2nd Place – May Trucking Co., Inc. – Salem, OR

3rd Place- Contract Freighters, Inc. – Joplin, MO

 

For more information about TCA’s Fleet Safety Awards, including eligibility requirements and rules, visit the Fleet Safety Awards pge. To view images from historic Fleet Safety Awards presentations, visit TCA’s Flickr.

Kottke Trucking’s Fifth Annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year is John Flathau

On January 5, 2019, Kottke Trucking held its Fifth Annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year Banquet at Jackpot Junction Casino and Hotel in Morton, Minnesota. At the event, the Fifth Annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year Award was presented to John Flathau.

Flathau has been with Kottke Trucking since 2007 and has been in the trucking industry for three decades. Flathau was named the 2018 Third Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence recipient which qualified him for the Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year Award.

Kottke Trucking’s statement on Flathau:

John Wooden once said, ‘The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.’ And that makes a great driver. A driver’s boss isn’t standing over his shoulder for 40 hours a week. A great driver is great when no one is watching and that describes John Flathau.

At Kottke Trucking, we have set our sights on being a company that stands for family values, teamwork, integrity, doing things the right way and dependability. John is all of these things, he does them all well and is a role model to other drivers and everyone in our Kottke Trucking family.

When we think of a family man, who does his work the right way with honesty, we think of John.

Kottke Trucking’s Driver Board created the idea of the Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year and it was carried out by our staff. The Driver of the Year award is named after our second-generation visionaries: Duane and Connie Kottke. Their ability to build the foundation that our company stands on today, does not go without notice and is felt every day.

Flathau’s fellow nominees for the award come from the three other Jim Doering Award of Excellence winners: First Quarter winner Mike Doty, Second Quarter winner Les Richling and Fourth Quarter winner Glenn Anderson. The award is named after Kottke Trucking’s first long-time driver and nearly 40-year employee Jim Doering.

Previous winners of the Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year are Tom Erickson, Ricky Pautzke, Jeff Bass and Carlo Garcia.

The Fifth Annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year John Flathau.

From left to right: Kurt Kottke, Kory Kottke, John Flathau and Kyle Kottke.

Kottke Trucking’s friends and family raise $9,621 worth of toys for Trucks and Toys

DECEMBER 21 UPDATE: Last week, we announced how successful the Trucks and Toys drive was this year! Well, it is even more successful than previously reported! With a couple last minutes donations, the total raised for 2018 officially is $9,921!

Again, thank you for your dedication and generous donations to this awesome program!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

It is once again one of our favorite times of the year and not just because of the Christmas cookies, but because of Trucks and Toys. Our toy drive again this year has been amazingly successful as Kottke Trucking employees, friends and family raised $9,621 worth of toys and goods this year.

It was another incredible year with another incredible showing of dedication from various members of our Kottke Trucking family. With their hard work and effort, the past two years alone we have raised just under $20,000 worth of toys and goods for wonderful organizations.

The organizations that these donations are going to surround our terminal locations, in both Minnesota and Florida, and help ensure happier holidays for those in need. We are proud to support the following organizations with these year’s donations:

  • Renville County Santa’s Closet
  • McLeod County Christmas Project
  • St. Paul Lutheran’s Closet, Hector, MN
  • Common Cup Ministries, Hutchinson, MN
  • Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, Live Oak, FL
  • Wildwood Elementary School, Wildwood, FL

 

If you donated $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $5 to this amazing cause we thank you so much. Every cent goes towards making a child’s holiday a little bit brighter this year. There are many individuals who put so much time and effort into making the Trucks and Toys program a success each and every year and we thank them for their time, dedication and love.

As the Kottke family, we are blessed to have such amazing people in our lives. We thank you and appreciate you for everything you do to make this program a success. We could not do it without you. Trucks and Toys was near and dear to Duane and Connie’s hearts and as we build upon their legacy, we want to let everyone involved know that they would be beaming with pride and joy on what has been accomplished. We could say it until we are blue in the face (and we really do like the color blue), thank you, thank you, thank you!

May your light shine bright this holiday season! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Pictured below: Members of the Kottke Trucking staff hit up Target in Hutchinson, Minnesota to purchase toys with the monetary donations received this year. Thank you to Target for helping us out!

Marlene drops off a portion of the toys with the folks at Renville County Santa’s Closet.

 

Glenn Anderson named Fourth Quarter Award of Excellence Recipient

Kottke Trucking is proud to announce that Glenn Anderson has been named the 2018 Fourth Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence winner. Anderson has been with Kottke Trucking since August 2017 and has been driving professionally for nearly 16 years. We are beyond grateful to have had Glenn with us for the past year and change.

Anderson’s nominator said the following about him: “Glenn is an excellent driver, plans his loads well, a good communicator – A FORCE.”

The nominator went on to say that Glenn is excellent with checking in, communication, on-time with appointments, plans trips well, excellent customer comments and has a great disposition.

The Jim Doering Award of Excellence was established in 2014 in honor of Kottke Trucking’s first employee and nearly 40-year employee Jim Doering. The award is designed to honor a driver each quarter that has the same great qualities that made Jim such a special man. The four winners of the quarterly Jim Doering Award of Excellence each year are also the finalists for the annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year award. The fifth annual award banquet will be held in January 2019. Mike Doty was the 2018 First Quarter recipient, Les Richling was the 2018 Second Quarter recipient and John Flathau was the 2018 Third Quarter recipient.

Congrats, Glenn! Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

John Flathau named Third Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence recipient

Kottke Trucking is proud to announce that John Flathau has been named the 2018 Third Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence. Flathau has been with Kottke Trucking since 2007 and has been driving for nearly three decades. We are beyond grateful that over a decade of that has been with us.

Members of the Kottke Trucking Executive Team shared their thoughts on Flathau and his receiving of the award.

“John is always a team player, he looks at the big picture and realizes that we are all working for the same end result.” – Kurt Kottke, President

“The quiet professional.  Does his work and goes his way.  Does things so well that it is easy to forget about how good of a job he does.” – Kyle Kottke, General Manager

“John is a great Owner Operator to have on board. He gets his paperwork in on time and rarely has any issues with his settlements.  Because he performs his job so efficiently, we don’t talk to him often but when we do, he is very pleasant and polite.” – Pam Kottke, Vice President of Finance

In the 11 years that Flathau has been driving for Kottke Trucking, he has received a safety award every single year.

The Jim Doering Award of Excellence was established in 2014 in honor of Kottke Trucking’s first employee and nearly 40-year employee Jim Doering. The award is designed to honor a driver each quarter that has the same great qualities that made Jim such a special man. The four winners of the quarterly Jim Doering Award of Excellence each year are also the finalists for the annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year award. The fifth annual award banquet will be held in January 2019. Mike Doty was the 2018 First Quarter recipient and Les Richling was the 2018 Second Quarter recipient.

Congrats, John! Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Click here to apply to be a Kottke driver!

Dear Dad – A letter to Duane Kottke a year after his passing

Saturday, September 29, 2018, marked the one-year anniversary of Duane Kottke’s passing. For those of you that might not know, Duane was Kurt, Kory and Kyle’s father and the second generation owner of Kottke Trucking. He along with his wife Connie were the visionaries of the business and integral to how we operate to this day.

Kyle wrote the below letter on Saturday to his dad.

Dear Dad –

You would be embarrassed of the recognition you have gotten one year past your passing. You would say that you were nothing special, yet my Facebook timeline is full of your stories (you barely understood what Facebook was, but the concept you would love!).

Your granddaughters are posting things that make me cry. Your friends are posting notes of pure joy. Those you have passed a few times are sharing fun joys and yet at the center of all of these stories are true passion and love.

You have Laurie and Ted donating their time to the Truck Convoy again… in your memory.

I did the fuel run today and found myself on Hwy 13 in Savage. I don’t know where Dan Patch’s bar would have been but if that place could validate some of those stories, we would all probably laugh!

I remember things of you as well…

  • your true passion, love and dedication to life, your family and your business.
  • how you believed in tough love.
  • how you held us to a higher standard because you could.
  • staying in Hudson, WI for weeks at a time with you.
  • going on one long trip a year with you in the truck.
  • Eric and I making you mad and all you had to do is turn the hall light on and hold a belt (we both know you would never hit us).
  • you helping me buy my first stock (Canterbury Downs) at about 12 years old and asking me every week what the price was.
  • you leaving early in the mornings but yet taking the time on every sporting event to congratulate a success or wish me well.
  • you attending a few sporting events but not many. When you did, you never told me I did well but rather that you were proud of me.
  • you spending extra time with me when I joined the family business.
  • you being able to make a MTA chairman’s address and you told me that you were proud of me.
  • I remember your ability to do a lot of math in your head and fast.
  • you teaching me that a full bushel isn’t one of money but of love.
  • reflecting on life and being happy of what you had done. I remember you telling me that you hoped that I would be able to live life to the fullest and have fun with it.

You had a knack of how to do things. You knew when to shake peoples hands, when to tell stories, when to listen to every word and when to give someone a hug. And your laugh! You could change the mood of the room with one laugh.

Your ability to communicate was wonderful. Your choice of words sometimes was less than perfect but because of your constant passion, your message was always clear and heartfelt. People loved you because you loved them. People loved working in our company because Mom and you truly made it a big family.

Every morning I put my shoes on hoping that my feet are too big for my shoes. I am hoping that one day my feet will fit in your shoes. I understand that this goal could very possibly become a burden and the chances are as good that I will not succeed as I do. I also know that you sure as heck would not accept me to do anything other than live my own life my own way and if that was to live up to a standard I set, you would expect that I would try to succeed.

So, this morning, after finding my shoes still fit, I saw an image. One that had to be you telling me to continue to push forward, one year after you left my side.

Tomorrow… I plan to do just the same.

My dad, my mentor, and my friend left me a year ago. But he left me with a great impression of what a good man looks like. I sure hope those shoes fit…

Love you, Dad.

PS – You’re welcome to put a little tissue in my shoe tomorrow morning to make my feet feel a little bit bigger, it would be a good laugh for us both… Let’s go!

Kottke Trucking announces second driver pay increase in six months

For the second time in six months, Kottke Trucking is happy to announce that we are increasing our driver pay package. The pay increase will go into effect on August 14, 2018. This increase results in a pay increase for all of our drivers, including new drivers to the Kottke Trucking family.

Here are some details on the new driver pay package for individual drivers:

Base Pay Single Driver: (paid weekly, two weeks behind)            

  • First year – $.46 cents per mile
  • Second year – $.47 cents per mile
  • Third year – $.48 cents per mile
  • Fourth year – $.49 cents per mile
  • Fifth year – $.50 cents per mile

 

Drivers that waive out of insurance (with proof of coverage) or want 50% premium coverage on single status is:

  • First year – $.50 cents per mile
  • Second year – $.51 cents per mile
  • Third year – $.52 cents per mile
  • Fourth year – $.53 cents per mile
  • Fifth year – $.54 cents per mile

 

Here are details on the new driver pay package for team drivers:

Base Pay Team Drivers: (each)

  • First year: $.29 cents per mile
  • Second year: $.295 cents per mile
  • Third year: $.30 cents per mile
  • Fourth year: $.305 cents per mile
  • Fifth year: $.31 cents per mile

 

Drivers that waive out of insurance (with proof of coverage) or want 50% premium coverage on single status is:

  • First year: $.31 cents per mile
  • Second year: $.315 cents per mile
  • Third year: $.32 cents per mile
  • Fourth year: $.325 cents per mile
  • Fifth year: $.33 cents per mile

 

In addition to the pay tiers increases, Kottke Trucking has reaffirmed our bonus plan with one exception. We are moving $.01 per mile for the in-network fuel program and paying it out weekly (included in the increase above). In the second quarter only one driver missed the bonus, so it makes sense to give it to our drivers weekly and have a deduction to the bonus for those that don’t follow the in network fueling protocol.

In total, our drivers can earn an additional $.07 cents per mile with achievable quarterly bonuses.

Regarding Health Care, Kottke Trucking will continue to pay a single’s coverage at 100%. For those that would rather pay 50% premium on a payroll deduction or those that waive out and have coverage in other means (proof required) will get an additional $.04 per mile.

Kottke Trucking is proud to continue to place the importance of our drivers highly and making sure that the gains in the marketplace equal gains in driver payroll. We have one of the best and safest fleets in the trucking industry and we are honored to work with them every single day.

Click here to apply to be a Kottke driver!

Les Richling named Second Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence recipient

Kottke Trucking is proud to announce that Les Richling has been named the 2018 Second Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence recipient. Richling has been with Kottke Trucking over four years with 17 years of overall driving experience.

This is what was said of Les when he was nominated for the award: “Les is always in a good mood and pleasant to talk to. When he is about to go on home time, he always asks if we need any help with local work before heading home.

“He is always very professional, well mannered, and a face we are proud to have represent Kottke Trucking.”

The Jim Doering Award of Excellence was established in 2014 in honor of our first employee and nearly 40-year employee Jim Doering. The award is designed to honor a driver each quarter that has the same great qualities that made Jim such a special man. The four winners of the quarterly Jim Doering Award of excellence this year are the finalists for the fifth annual Duane and Connie Kottke Distinguished Driver of the Year award which will be awarded in January 2019. Mike Doty was the 2018 First Quarter recipient.

Congrats, Les! Thank you for your had work and dedication!

Pictured below: Kurt Kottke (right) presenting the Second Quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence to Les Richling (left).

Click here to apply to be a Kottke driver!

(800) 248-2623 (320) 833-5385

Kottke Trucking, Inc.