TrueNorth employees go behind the wheel

posted by Outside Source on Monday, August 19, 2013

Taken from the Gazette 08/17/2013, Kelsey Kremer

CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids insurance company TrueNorth partnered with the Kirkwood driving school to hold its first Day in the Life of a Driver simulation for 24 transportation division employees Thursday, giving the staff a look into the lives of the drivers they work with on a daily basis. 'We work in a professional environment every day and it's easy to get disconnected from who our customer is and who we are serving,' said Jason Smith, the executive vice president of TrueNorth's transportation division. 'We thought, what a great opportunity here locally with Kirkwood and the driving school to partner up and spend a day in the life of a transportation company driver.' TrueNorth works with transportation companies and drivers from all over the United States and the simulation was a way for the company to improve its understan ding and service to its clients, Smith said. For Chris Gulker, TrueNorth benefit adviser in the transportation division, it was a chance to connect in a real way and relate to the drivers.

'Driving a little car you just don't have any understanding of what they're really going through, how they have to make turns and stop and start,' Gulker said.

Smith had the idea for several years and Kirkwood's Training and Outreach Services (KTOS) was able to help bring the program to fruition.

'I was delighted when I got this call because it's exactly what we do,' said KTOS program director Paulette Milewski. 'We customize and tailor the training objectives to be whatever the client needs at the time and location of their choice.' The day included participating in a driv¬ing simulation that can expose drivers to fog, snow, different types of traffic and a flat tire, Milewski said. Participants also rode in a semi-trailer truck with a Kirkwood driving trainer giving the staff the opportunity to ask questions of the drivers, as well as driving and backing up a semi-trailer truck themselves.