Location, location, location.
Location may be the number one rule in real estate, but it may also be true to trucking, too, as evidenced by a new repair center opened by Transport America off of I-40 on Southland Drive (Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Exit 4) in West Memphis.
The new repair center for Transport America offers a convenient new location for Transport America drivers who need repair and maintenance service while driving through the country’s Mid-South region.
In addition, the repair center also will serve sister company CFI, which has a support center located across the street from the new Transport America repair center.
“We’re really excited about this new center,” says Greg Rowland, general manager of the Transport America West Memphis Repair Center. “We don’t have all of the amenities of the larger support centers, but we have a great team and excellent resources for Transport America and CFI drivers in need of a repair or maintenance on their vehicles.”
The new repair center is in an ideal location, easily accessible for over-the-road Transport America and CFI drivers traveling through the area.
“Memphis is a fantastic central hub,” says Rowland. “We’re centrally located to drivers using the I-40 (East-West) and I-55 (North-South) interstates.”
The center itself is well equipped to offer the best possible service to drivers. It has three repair and maintenance bays and a separate tire bay, with eight mechanics and one lead service technician who can handle an average of 16 vehicles per day.
“We don’t have all of the facilities that a support center would have, such as washers, dryers, and showers,” says Rowland. “However, in the future we’re looking to expand our services to offer even more to Transport America and CFI drivers.”
With more than 27 years experience as a diesel mechanic, Rowland takes great pride in his team at the new Transport America repair center in West Memphis.
After graduating high school, Rowland joined the U.S. Army where he served for 13 years as a 63S Heavy Wheel Vehicle Mechanic. He served in Korea, Saudi Arabia, and was in infantry for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. It was in the military where Rowland learned to become a diesel mechanic.
“In many ways, my career now parallels the career I had in the military,” Rowland says. “At Transport America we have a strong commitment to people. Staying safe and getting the job done is our number one priority.”
“I actually have more options now in my leadership as a civilian,” says Rowland. “I’ve been given a lot of free reign in my job, and my leadership supports the success of my team.”
After his service, Rowland put his skills to use at Central Texas College, where he taught truck mechanics. He then worked as a mechanic with Freightliner, Kenworth and International. After that, Rowland moved back to Georgia and was hired at Transport America as a mechanic in the Atlanta Support Center where he rose to become a lead mechanic.
To Rowland, successfully serving the needs of Transport America and CFI drivers boils down to attitude.
“It’s really important to hire people with the right attitude, because they are what determines the success of the team,” says Rowland. “I can teach the skills that come with mechanics, but I can’t teach a positive outlook. It’s the most important attribute that our team members can have, and it’s important in every aspect of the job.”
Rowland notes that a positive attitude is particularly important when it comes to customer service.
“When we give quality customer support to our drivers, they in turn are able to give good support to our company’s customers,” says Rowland. “It’s up to us to help everything run smoothly, and make sure everyone down the line is treated well.”
“Our drivers are our top priority,” Rowland says. “Our mechanics work directly with our drivers so it’s really important that we’re hiring the best people that we can.”
Rowland’s hiring process however, isn’t a typical assessment of skills and experience.
“When I interview candidates for this job, I don’t just ask general questions,” says Rowland. “I treat it as a conversation. The most important thing to me is getting a sense of who our mechanics are as individuals. I can see what their skills are on their resume.”
“Take Cassie for example,” says Rowland, referencing one of the repair center’s mechanics. “Cassie applied to work with us with no prior experience as a truck mechanic, but she had exactly the attitude we were looking for. She’s great with people. She is highly motivated, and most importantly, she’s willing to learn the new skills for this job and adapt to a new career.’
Looking forward, Rowland feels good about the future for the Transport America repair center.
“Lot’s of drivers didn’t know this center was here, but now they’re starting to discover us,” says Rowland. “And, they are coming back. It’s a real testament to the quality of work that we’re doing here.”