Freightliner Trucks is taking its recent resurgence as a premier vocational truck builder quite seriously. But it is celebrating that renovated status with all the pomp and circumstance it can muster.
Earlier this year, the company began a tradition of honoring municipalities in North America that it deems worthy of recognition for creating innovation and community growth within their borders. These metropolitan areas have been awarded the title of Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working Cities, and the latest recipient — Dallas, Texas — was so honored last week.
“The purpose behind this award is to honor the hardworking men and women in these cities who are moving the economic indicators in a positive direction and growing our economy,” said Allan Haggai, Freightliner’s manager of marketing communications for vocational trucks.
Haggai said the Freightliner Truck brand has long been recognized as a leader in on-highway trucking, and one purpose of the Hardest Working Cities campaign, “is to raise awareness that we are a leading player in vocational trucks.”
To date, the truck manufacturing company has awarded the title to Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Los Angeles and Toronto. Dallas becomes the sixth and final city to be honored this year, with four more to follow in 2016, according to Haggai.
Last week Dallas joined the other top cities in receiving an award as a hardest-working city during ceremonies attended by business and community leaders. A special celebration was hosted by Premier Truck Group’s South Dallas location, and surprise visits were made to several Dallas jobsites during the week to thank workers for their contributions.
Finding these top cities was the result of an exhaustive review of about 400 metropolitan census areas in the United States and Canada, which was then narrowed down to a little more than two dozen municipalities.
Haggai said the winning cities aren’t ranked by number, and are being announced in no particular order. He said there isn’t a first-, second- or third-place winner, in that all of the recognized cities are winners. “We were impressed by the headway in many cities, but this program aims to honor the best of the best,” Haggai said.
Categories included improvements in the jobless rate, contribution to the total U.S. gross domestic product, construction employment, number of transportation establishments, manufacturing employment, growth in total employment, infrastructure investment, severe-duty and medium-duty truck sales, and tractor-trailer truck drivers and light truck delivery drivers, among others.
Haggai said Freightliner Trucks created the Hardest Working Cities program after discovering a correlation between cities with high productivity and markets with the strongest vocational truck sales. The company believes that — whether it’s a major construction project, the opening of a new business, the widening of an interstate highway or development of a new community project — cities can’t accomplish as much without the help of these vehicles and their operators.
Freightliner began a relaunch of its vocational truck market following the discontinuation of the Sterling Truck brand in 2010. Beginning with the unveiling of its Severe Duty (SD) truck models in 2011, Freightliner presented a new lineup of Class 7 and 8 vocational trucks, thus filling a gap in the company’s truck offerings.
The idea, according to press releases at the time, “is to make Freightliner as well known for vocational trucks as it is for on-highway vehicles.” As a result, the vocational truck market is no longer considered a side business for Freightliner, and has, in fact, grown by leaps and bounds since that surprise work truck display at the 2011 ConExpo.
Which goes a long way in explaining Freightliner’s visit to workers at the 35Express project near Dallas last week. The 30-mile highway project extends through eight cities and two counties — from US 380 in Denton County to Interstate 635 in Dallas County. When completed, the project is expected to relieve traffic congestion in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the North Texas region.
And Freightliner was on hand, delivering donuts, coffee, gifts and a word of thanks to about 200 workers at the jobsite as a part of its celebration of America’s workforce — getting the job done and making their local economies stronger.