Safety is priority at Gypsum Express.
The company's dedication to this principle is demonstrated by the numerous awards handed out at its annual safety breakfast, which was held this past Saturday.
"You see bad accidents (with trucks) on TV and it makes your stomach turn. We don't want image of killer trucks," said Bob Lingyak of Gypsum Express about the company's devotion to safety.
In fact, since the program began in 2001, the company has given out more than $2.6 million in awards.
"It's a breakfast with no alcohol involved," Lingyak said. "It's a fresher, nicer atmosphere."
With 582 employees, the total dollar amount given out for safety bonuses at the breakfast last Saturday was more than $500,000 to 436 drivers and 41 mechanics. One special award went to a driver who stopped to help a motorist.
Lingyak said the awards breakfast is held not only to promote safety, but also to retain great employees and give them something to look forward to.
"The purpose of the breakfast is two-fold -- employees all get together in one room and are able to interact with coworkers and office people," he said.
Not only is it important for Gypsum Express to promote safety among drivers, but the company is also looking to fill an industry need by looking for recruits. With a shortage of drivers in central New York, it is important for the area workforce to know truck driving is a reputable position.
"As a driver, this is one of the best driving companies in the state," Lingyak said, adding that the pros of becoming a Gypsum Express driver include great pay, excellent working conditions and nice clean work.
Gypsum Express employs three types of drivers. The regional drivers are on the road five days a week (leave Monday and come back Friday) traveling to destinations such as Florida, Chicago and other places along the northeastern seaboard. There are also regional drivers who haul doubles and tandems. These drivers must stay on the New York State Thruway and Massachusetts Turnpike as they deliver freight.