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

Apply Now

Six Photos: A Snapshot In Perspective

The saying goes that there are always two sides to every story. Every now and then, people will say that there are three sides: one person’s view, another person’s view and then the truth. All these views can make communication difficult and views can be skewed. So what happens when there are six different views on the same situation?

It gets complicated quickly.

Canon has shown us how a little different perspective can change everything. The camera making company invited six photographers to take photos of the same man, but every photographer got a different backstory to the man: a self-made millionaire, a lifesaver, an ex-con, a fisherman, a physic and a recovering alcoholic.

The photos that resulted were vastly different. The fisherman photo looks relaxed and blue collar, the physic looks like he’s always in thought and the ex-con picture has heavy shadows and simply looks mean. All pictures of the same guy, all vastly different perspectives.

Photography doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the trucking business, but the story that Canon is telling is bigger than photography. The story is all about perspective and perspective is key in communication.

My perspective of a situation while sitting in Buffalo Lake might be vastly different than yours while driving down the interstate in Florida. The key cogs at the origin of a load and the main people at the destination might have different views. The dispatch office might have a different view of things than the billing office. And it goes on and on.

Canon only had six photographers with different outlooks. In the trucking business, there are a lot of voices and all of those voices have to work in darn-near perfect harmony to get the job done which makes communication essential.

As Kottke Trucking grows, we need to keep communication between everyone clear and concise. To be the best trucking company, from top to bottom, we need to have the best communication with each other, on every level, in the entire industry.

We might not all see the man as a millionaire or an ex-con or a fisherman. We all have many things that affect the way we see life, but we can still try to see the world from other perspectives. The practice of doing so will make everyone’s job easier.

Everybody has different angles in life, but that’s okay as long as we are all focused in on the same goal.

Here’s the video of Cannon’s perspective experiment:

The Truck Driving Pitcher: Persevering After Failure

A mere 598 days ago, the Kottke Trucking blog touched on the signing of a pitcher made by the Minnesota Twins. Brandon Poulson was that pitcher and he caught our interest because he was once a truck driver.

Poulson went to work for his father’s excavating business after playing football in junior college, but soon turned again to baseball when he started attending Academy of Art University in San Francisco. That’s when he caught everyone’s attention because he could throw absolute bullets, consistently hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun.

The scout that signed Poulson said that he had the “best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen.”

As baseball observers know, arm strength isn’t the only thing involved in being a good pitcher. Control, throwing strikes, is a huge key and it’s something that Poulson hasn’t found. Poulson was released by the Twins this week after a couple seasons in the minors which resulted in 27 2/3 innings pitched with a total of 32 walks. More walks than innings pitched is never a good ratio to have.

When Poulson was initially signed by the Twins, we mentioned Steve Jobs and his mantra to ‘dream bigger’ and to never give up. Poulson’s release might be seen as a failure, but failure isn’t lethal. Just ask Steve Jobs.

Jobs failed multiple times throughout his life, but still ended up being one of the most successful and well known CEO’s in business history.

Jobs was a college dropout, but he attributes his dropping out to the typography computers feature today. When Jobs dropped out, he dropped in on a calligraphy class which resulted in the easily read typography on the first Mac and beyond. By the way, Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Zuckerberg, Brad Pitt, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Tom Hanks all also dropped out of college.

It’s well known that Jobs was once kicked out of his own company. The board kicked Jobs out of Apple, but Jobs didn’t run away from the technology world that he had thrived in. Jobs bought a computer animation company called Pixar which is now known for making films like ‘Toy Stoy’, ‘Monsters Inc.’ and ‘Finding Nemo’. The company was struggling before Jobs purchased a majority of the company and continued that struggle during the initial Jobs years which resuted in his multiple attempts at trying to sell the company just to break even with his investment of $50 million. No one ever bit on the offer and Jobs eventually sold Pixar to Disney in 2006 for a stock deal worth $7.4 billion. At the time of the sale, Jobs owned more than 50% of Pixar which would mean a nice, at least, $3.7 billion added value to Job’s portfolio.

After the firing from Apple, Jobs stayed in the computer business, too. Jobs started a company called NeXT which was seemingly a flop on its own. NeXT eventually was purchased by Apple which brought back Steve Jobs to Apple which allowed him to eventually once again rise to CEO of the company. In his second reign, Jobs introduced to the world the iPod, iPad, iPhone and all the Apple products that a large majority of us use on a daily basis. The operating system NeXT had was the foundation of the iOS system that is run across Apple products today.

Jobs failed sometimes but came out on the other side in a better position.

Poulson has already signed with the Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. The Blue Crabs are a step down from the minor leagues of the Twins, but maybe it’s the step Poulson needs to further his baseball career. Sometimes a step back in reality is a step forward.

The moral of the story is to never give up after a failure. Your failure might not be as ugly as being kicked out of your own company or being cut by a professional baseball team, but we all endure failures. Nobody is perfect. Failures are learning opportunities and if we make the best out of them and learn from them, those failures aren’t really failures anymore.

Kottke Trucking’s second annual winner of the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year is Rick Pautzke

MORTON, MN – On January 9, 2016, Kottke Trucking held its second annual Driver of the Year Program at Jackpot Junction in Morton, MN. The Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award was given to Rick Pautzke of Grove City, MN.

Pautzke has been with Kottke Trucking since 2011 and behind the wheel of a semi for over 35 years now. During his career, Pautzke hasn’t had a preventable accident. His great contributions to Kottke Trucking led to his winning of the Jim Doering Award of Excellence for the third quarter of 2015 which qualified him for the Duane Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award.award

President and co-owner of Kottke Trucking Kurt Kottke said this about Pautzke:

“Ricky is a very worthy winner. He is a true professional. He plans his trips to keep him on time, keeps his equipment looking great, always looking out for customers and his fellow drivers and he is always willing to take on the challenging loads to help operations out of a tight spot. Any company would be proud to have Ricky as part of their team and we sure are happy he is on ours.”

Kottke Trucking’s Driver Board created the idea of the Driver of the Year and it was carried out by our staff.  The Driver of the Year is named after our second generation visionaries:  Duane and Connie.  Their ability to build the base that our company stands on today, doesn’t go without notice.rickyp2

The nominees come from the winners of the quarterly Jim Doering Award of Excellence. Jim Doering was Kottke Trucking’s first long time driver and stayed with our company for over 35 years.  The quarterly awards are named in his memory. The fellow Jim Doering Award of Excellence winners in 2015 were Paul Hanson of Watkins, MN, Tim Harbarth of Hector, MN and Glenn Lachermeier of Lester Prairie, MN.

The inaugural winner of the Duane and Connie Driver of the Year was Tom Erickson of Ramsey, MN.

Kottke Trucking has been in business since 1938 and for the past three decades the primary business is to transport dry, refrigerated and frozen food items.  We operate in the Midwest, South and Southeastern part of the United States.  Our fleet consists of 90 drivers and 20 support staff. Kottke Trucking is based out of Buffalo Lake, MN.

You can see photos of the event on our Facebook page. Make sure you like us while you are there! We are on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+, too!

Glenn Lachermeier – Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year

Glenn Lachermeier

  • Fourth Quarter 2015, Jim Doering Award of Excellence
  • Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year to be awarded on Saturday 9, 2016

Glenn Lachermeier has been with Kottke Trucking since 1992 and has had an excellent safety record for his 22-plus years with the company. Glenn is the fourth quarter recipient of the Jim Doering Award of Excellence.glenn3

One of Glenn’s fellow drivers nominated him for the award and had this to say:

“Glenn is professional and reliable. I think Glenn is what this award was created for. His longevity is also a positive. He is a hard worker week in and week out.”

That hard work has proven it’s self over and over again for over 22 years. That’s roughly 1,144 weeks or so. Congrats, Glenn! Thank you for a being a longtime hard working member of the Kottke Trucking family.

Lachermeier is the final of our four nominees for the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for the announcement of the winner on Saturday evening.

Rick Pautzke – Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year

Rick Pautzke

  • Third quarter 2015, Jim Doering Award of Excellence
  • Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year to be awarded on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Rick Pautzke has been behind the wheel of a big rig since 1980. In his 35-plus years of truck driving, hasn’t had one preventable accident. Pautzke has been with Kottke Trucking since 2011 and during his time with Kottke was a single point away from winning the Truck Driving Championship. Pautzke was our third quarter recipient of the Jim Doering Award of Excellence.rickyp2

Rick was nominated by his coworkers and one has this to say about him:

“Rick is always willing to help his fellow drivers. You can always count on him to be there if you need his help. He is proud to be truck driver and it shows.”

We are proud to have him as part of the Kottke Trucking family. Congratulations, Rick! Thank you for being a part of our company.

Pautzke is the third of our four candidates for the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for the announcement of the winner on Saturday evening.

Tim Harbarth – Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year

Tim Harbarth

  • Second Quarter 2015, Jim Doering Award of Excellence
  • Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year to be awarded on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tim Harbarth has been with Kottke Trucking since 2006 and has not only been a great worker with a fabulous work ethic, but has done so with an excellent driving and safety record. Harbarth was given the second quarter Jim Doering Award of Excellence for his wonderful contributions to the company.

Harbarth was nominated by his peers and here’s what they had to say about him:tim

“Tim has shown much dedication to this company. He is willing to go wherever he is needed to go. Tim takes great pride in the equipment he operates. Tim is also very perceptive of the maintenance and troubleshooting problems that may arise on the road. Even when Tim is having a bad day, he still has a smile on his face!”

Tim’s smile is definitely a contagious one. Congratulations, Tim! Thank you for being a hard working member of the Kottke Trucking family.

Harbarth is the second of four nominees Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for the announcement of the winner on Saturday evening.

Paul Hanson – Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year

Paul Hanson

  • First Quarter 2015, Jim Doering Award of Excellence
  • Candidate for Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year to be awarded on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Paul Hanson has been behind the wheel of a truck for over 37 years and has been with Kottke Trucking since 2011. He was our first quarter winner of the Jim Doering Award of Excellence and for good reason.

Here’s what some from around the company are saying about Hanson’s great work ethic and helpfulness:PaulHanson1

“Paul is a very dedicated man both to family and his job. A very humble man. Someone any one can rely on. Always willing to help and do what is needed to get the job done. Very kind and considerate to all whom he comes in contact with.”

“Paul is a true gentleman. He helps other drivers by opening trailer doors, chocking tires and if necessary, spotting while the driver backs in a tight spot. He is so humble! He is so deserving of this award and is an excellent example of a model driver. Doesn’t complain, gets the job done and does it safely!”

We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations, Paul. Thank you for being a hard working member of the Kottke Trucking family.

Hanson is the first of our four nominees for the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year award. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for the announcement of the winner on Saturday evening.

Kottke Trucking to announce the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year Award this Saturday

Happy New Year, everyone! As we usher in 2016, we also need to look back on the year that was in 2015. Kottke Trucking will be looking back and awarding our Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year Award this coming Saturday, January 4, 2016 at Jackpot Junction in Morton, MN.

Through the next four days, we will be highlighting the four candidates for the award. The four drivers up for the Driver of the Year Award come from the winners of our Jim Doering Award of Excellence winners which is given out quarterly. All four of the candidates are great members of the Kottke Trucking family and are simply the best of the best.

Stay tuned to our website and social media throughout the week for the updates on the candidates and the eventual crowning of the Duane and Connie Kottke Driver of the Year Award on Saturday evening. We will post on these platforms right after the announcement to let everyone know who the winner is.

Thanks for the hard work this past year and we look forward to a great 2016. Enjoy the week ahead, safe travels and keep on truckin’!

Ashley Petersen and Scott Buboltz Named ALL Mustang Winners

BUFFALO LAKE, MINN – Every spring, Kottke Trucking teams up with Buffalo Lake – Hector – Stewart High School to recognize one female and one male from the graduating class with the ALL Mustang award. This past Wednesday, May 27, graduating seniors Ashley Petersen and Scott Buboltz were presented with the ALL Mustang awards at the 4th annual ceremony held at the Buffalo Lake Community Center. In addition to the award, Kottke Trucking presented both winners with a $500 scholarship.IMG_1362

The ceremony honors the monthly winners from the past academic year who have had great achievements and shown excellence in athletics, leadership and learning.

This year’s monthly winners were: Ashley Tintes, Cody Johnson, Mara Olinger, Cody Schmalz, Ashley Petersen, Jack Broderius, Genesis Gaona, Scott Buboltz, Brock Luthens, Breanna Buboltz, Alex Nelson, Michaela Maiers, Belle Ryberg, Seth Holtz, Anna Buboltz, Hunter Ondracek, Mackenzie Marconcini and Jakob Pettit.

Kottke Trucking would like to thank the following for making the ceremony possible: 18 Wheelers Relay for Life team for the meal preparation, Jodi Mellies for the photographs and presentation, Mr. David Hansen for the invocation, Mr. Dan Krause for being the master of ceremonies, Mr. Lawton Burgstahler for being our guest speaker and the various coaches and advisors at BLHS who voted for the ALL Mustang awards throughout the year. Another hearty thanks to the 80-plus people in attendance for making the event a success.

The past ALL Mustang winners include: 2012 – Jessica Kalenberg and Taylor Broderious, 2013 – Carly Schmalz and Baron Juhl, 2014 – Rebecca Ebbers and Christopher Schmidt.

The 5th annual ALL Mustang ceremony is tentatively scheduled for May 25, 2016.

Kottke Trucking has been in business since 1938 and for the past three decades has found our primary business in transporting dry, refrigerated and frozen food items. We operate in the midwest, south and southeastern parts of the United States. Our fleet consists of 90 drivers and 20 support staff. For more information on Kottke Trucking, go to our website at kottketrucking.wpengine.com.FullSizeRender

Drivers: The Trucking Industry’s Greatest Asset

Traveling from our headquarters in Western Minnesota to Minneapolis this week, I passed a competitors truck on the road and the entire trailer was lettered with the following phrase:  “Our Most Valuable Asset sits 63’ Ahead” in bold letters on the trailer, with an arrow pointing to the cab of the truck.     It was bold and took up the entire side of the trailer – you couldn’t miss it.

This competing trucking firm is well known, has an excellent reputation in the industry and in my opinion, gets it!  What are they saying to both their own drivers, as well as the other drivers on the roadway is that we appreciate our drivers enough to basically “tell the world” and then they go one step further and invite other drivers to talk to the driver and ask them why.

We are in a competitive business, both for shippers and manufacturers business to load our trucks, but also in the people business, how do we insure that we have the men and women in the future to drive our trucks and what are we doing both here at Kottke Trucking, but also as an industry, to attract, train, retain and insure the survival of our industry for years to come?   We recently implemented a new driver pay package which puts us ahead of the pack of many of our competitors.  We did this for a number of reason’s – to instill a sense of pride among our current drivers that we do care and that they are as important to us as any new driver that comes on board.

Another reason, to say that as a trucking firm that has been in business for 77 years and in our 3rd generation of ownership, that we know that in order to make it to the 4th & 5th generations and beyond, this is an investment that we needed to do.  We are seeing those shippers that understand the value of the driver coming on board and allowing us the opportunity to sit down and discuss our operational expenses and why, when we ask for a rate increase, that a huge part of an increase covers the additional pay that we have implemented.

It’s not an easy decision and sometimes not an easy conversation, to sit across the desk from a Transportation Director or VP of Supply Chain and explain how decisions that they make today, will impact their business for many years to come – to insure the continuation of their own supply chain.

Necessity dictates that as an industry, our drivers pay has not kept pace with inflation for over 20 years and in order for our industry to survive, those of us who believe we are leaders in the industry, will make those hard choices and decisions and rise to the occasion.  My last name might be Kottke, but in the nearly 15+ years that I’ve now worked within the business my brothers and I purchased from our parents in 1996, I’ve come to realize more and more the importance of that “valuable asset” that sits in the cab of our trucks every day.

I recently read a book entitled “Driving to Perfection” by Brian Fielkow on how to create and achieve business excellence by creating a vibrant culture. We believe we are doing that here at Kottke Trucking, not only for our drivers, but for all of our associates.

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

Kottke Trucking, Inc.