Associated Asphalt is overjoyed to celebrate yet another award from the Virginia Trucking Association for best safety record in the tank division for a fleet less than 2,000,000 miles for 2019 and 2020. This will be the fourth year in a row that our transportation department has received an honor from the organization.
Safety has always been a top priority at Associated Asphalt. Visitors at our Roanoke, Va. terminal can expect to see a wall of safety awards we have received over the years. We can attribute much of our recent success in navigating our growth safely to Ernie Hamilton, Sr. Transportation Manager, and his entire team for the hard work that they have done to streamline our systems and keep our drivers safe.
“I cannot even express how proud I am of all the people who made this award possible…” says Ernie, praising everyone from the drivers and mechanics, to the dispatchers and human resource personnel, who all worked together to make it happen.
Modernizing Transportation Systems
Ernie Hamilton joined Associated Asphalt in February of 2016 and has played an important role in transforming our transportation systems. In his current role, Ernie oversees all of our terminals that host trucking operations: Martinsburg, Roanoke, Bristol, Hopewell, Columbia, and Tampa. Day-to-day, Ernie oversees a variety of tasks and projects including equipment management and maintenance, systems automation, and emphasizing safety for the drivers.
“When I came on board, we had experienced a lot of growth and our team and processes needed to grow accordingly. Doing everything manually wasn’t working anymore,” Ernie recalls. “Since then, we’ve gone fully automated. We’ve added onboard computers to the trucks and programming set up to streamline communication between the dispatch office and the trucks. It makes our quarterly taxes easier and also helps us make sure our drivers are safer.”
In addition, Ernie worked directly with Associated Asphalt’s IT department to create and program a system that manages fleet maintenance and inventory. This helps the company comply with required maintenance regulations with ease.
“We’ve come a long way,” he says. “Since I’ve joined, we have all worked together to change things around and have started hitting our safety goals and winning awards again.”
Building a Safety-First Culture
In addition to putting systems in place, the team also continued to emphasize a culture of safety-first. The company put a focus on encouraging drivers to slow down and drive cautiously.
“If we’re going to pay them by the hour for safety purposes, we should also encourage them to slow down,” says Ernie. “With the onboard computers, we can now monitor for speed, hard braking, and anything they do that could be a risk.”
To support Ernie’s efforts in a safety-first approach to managing his fleet, he recently acquired his Director of Safety Certificate from the North American Transportation Management Institute, in partnership with the University of Central Florida Division of Continuing Education. While not required by regulations, this Certification serves as another layer of risk mitigation for the company and Ernie’s team.
“Marie, John, and Danny were a great help in helping me get this certification,” he says. “If you need something to be successful and can prove that it will help the company, they’ll provide you with whatever you need.”
Ernie was proud to share a few stats about his team from 2020:
- Average of 1.8 million miles traveled annually
- No DOT recordable accidents since 2017
- Improved CSA Scores and are in the 2-3% of the fleets in the country for our fleet size
Outside of the Office
Outside of work, Ernie is spending time with his family outside. They enjoy the great outdoors and just about any activity you can do outside, such as bike riding, skiing, 4-wheeling, and camping when the weather allows it.