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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.

Some Thoughts Before The New Year Comes And The Old One Goes

We are just hours away from bringing in a new year and being forced to say goodbye to the year that was. This time of the year brings around the opportunity to do many of things, many of which I find important.

Before you usher in 2015, reflect upon your 2014. Did you meet your goals? Did you get where you wanted to go? Are you satisfied with your 2014? I sure hope that you were.

After reflection comes resolution. New Year resolutions are now quite cliché, but I still find that they are important to have. I find that it is important to have goals to strive for, but it is also imperative that those goals are attainable. It’s really a fine line to walk.

Make goals, but make sure they are a true possibility. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep dreaming big, but it is important to have goals you can reach and feel fulfilled about. Your goal in 2015 shouldn’t be becoming the President of the United States, that might be too big, plus it’s impossible since the election isn’t until 2016, but you get my point.

Finally, most importantly, be thankful for the time we have here on this little marble that we call Earth. Just being able to live is a beautiful thing and sometimes we forget the awesome gift that we have every day. Be thankful just to be in 2015.

Bad days will occur in 2015, bad days are inevitable, but don’t let them define you or your year. Make 2015 a great year and define it yourself.

Kottke Supporting Wreaths Across America

Kottke Trucking through the Truckload Carriers Association was able to help Wreaths Across America. It’s a great program and this year saw over 130 truckloads of wreaths delivered for Arlington National Cemetery. Our Senior Vice President of Sales/Marketing Mike Udermann attended the gala this fall in Washington, D.C.

Udermann passed along the following note:

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The Kottke Trucking box of wreaths.

WAA was able to place a wreath on every gravestone at Arlington National – it’s 150th Anniversary this year – 270,000+ grave sites of our veterans, as well as helping WAA place wreaths in over 1000 cemeteries of our military veterans across the globe – over 700,000 wreaths were placed.

As you know – this is near and dear to my heart with my son and daughter-in-law currently both serving – Matt is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot – and I personally wanted to thank you for providing me with your support for this program to help make it as successful as it was this year.

Pictures from the event can be found here.

Warming Our Hearts: Trucks and Toys

Throughout the year there is a couple events that are close to our heart. Every June, we hold our annual golf outing that benefits the American Cancer Society, but we also have an event every Holiday season that is equally important.IMG_2029

This time of the year, we get to supply carts and carts worth of toys to area children that are in need of those toys. This is all possible through an organization named Trucks and Toys which we’ve been associated with for years because of our association with the Minnesota Trucking Association.

This year was another successful campaign and we can’t thank all of our employees enough for helping us get all of these toys.

The following is an email from safety director Brenda Kraft that was sent to our internal staff that I think is important for everyone to see:

I just want to take a moment to share the success of the Truck and Toys campaign. With all money contributions and applied discounts, Kottke’s raised over $4,000.00, which doesn’t even include the toys which were brought in! I cant begin to explain how grateful the volunteers at McLeod County, Renville County, and the combined 26 ministries of different denominations- the Common Cup were; I wish I could put into words the feeling that comes with tears of happiness shed and warm hugs of thanks, then I could pass it on to you–for you are the ones who made it happen! Thank you for your gifts of caring and sharing and God Bless!

Thank you all again for all of your support in all of our charitable events throughout the year. We hope you have a wonderful Christmastime and a marvelous New Year.

Tom Erickson Named Kottke Trucking’s Inaugural Driver of the Year

MORTON, MINN – Kottke Trucking held its first Driver of the Year program today and announced that Thomas Erickson of Ramsey, MN was crowned with the high honors.

Tom has been a life long driver of more than 40 years and has been with Kottke Trucking since 1992.  Tom’s dedication, safety and professionalism were cornerstone of his consideration and the cornerstone of his commitment to Kottke Trucking.IMG_0148

Tom’s dispatchers mention that he upbeat, easy to work with and likes to have some fun while working.  Some of our long time customers mentioned that Tom’s presence makes it easier to do business with Kottke Trucking.

Kottke Trucking’s Driver Board created the idea of the Driver of the Year and it was carried out by our staff.  There are four quarterly winners, named the Jim Doering Award of Excellence.  They were Robert Kistner of Gaylord, MN; Thomas Erickson of Ramsey, MN; Laurie Leonard of St Cloud, MN; and John Ashley of New London, MN.  All four recipients are the best of the best of the driving industry.  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 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.

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.

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

Kottke Trucking, Inc.