Trailiner Corporation is a leading family-owned truckload carrier whose operations expand through 48 states. They haul various commodities, ranging from produce and grocery to pharmaceutical and retail goods – all at competitive prices that meet individual shipping needs. They have more than 30 years of service and throughout that time their service record has remained second to none.
H. E. “Spook” Whitener founded Trailiner in 1982 after having owned and driven trucks for over 20 years. According to his granddaughter, Trailiner President Amber Edmondson, Whitener was literally dubbed with the nickname “Spook” from his father who had awaited his birth while watching a western movie at a nearby theatre. “Spook was a character in the film he watched and that was the nickname he picked for him. It stuck for his whole life,” she says.
Whitener, from early on, saw an opportunity for growth in the transportation industry in the Springfield area due to its easy access to Route I-44. After beginning a career in trucking in 1955 as owner-operator of his solely-owned truck line, Whitener started Midwest Farm Lines in 1976. Spook was joined soon after by his daughter, Brenda (who now serves as the Co-Chairman of the Board) and Larry Sanner who worked his way from the tire shop to become the current Executive Vice President. The company expanded rapidly as its reputation for dependability, efficiency and excellent customer service grew.
By 1982, business had grown to a level that prompted Whitener to increase the scope of the company to offer better service to a greater number of customers, and Trailiner Corporation was then established. Management was then expanded to include his wife, Elizabeth, who has served as the Director of Safety ever since.
Amber Edmondson’s emergence as President of Trailiner followed some years after her grandfather urged her to join the business in 1999. Originally, Edmondson worked in Accounts Receivable while completing her degree in Business. Upon completion of that degree, her role expanded to all aspects of the trucking business. As President, she deals with virtually every part of the business. Her operational expertise has been well-honed, as Edmondson acknowledges that trucking has been an intricate part of her life, for all her life. Kelly Isom joined Trailiner as CFO in 2006. His accounting and financial knowledge has been another excellent addition to the executive team. Through the efforts and dedication of the entire team, Trailiner has grown into a national corporation providing excellent service throughout America
Trailiner has been successful because of the premiere service they continually provide customers. That commitment to service starts with their management team, who offer more than a century of collective experience in transportation and traffic management. It extends all the way to the company’s roster of devoted shippers – all of whom dedicate themselves to meeting or exceeding the needs of their customers, alongside Trailiner.
“A lot of what makes us different is the fact we put service to our customers first and foremost,” Edmondson says. “It’s kind of a cliché, but we don’t try to be all things to all people. We have an area we excel in and that’s what we do best.”
The team at Trailiner specializes in providing quality service at competitive rates, and the company’s sales and customer service professionals work closely with customers to maintain good working relationships. They do this by tailoring a custom plan to fit their shipping needs, and being flexible and accommodating when the need for that arises.
“They know they can count on us when they are in a bind, and the same can be said of them for us. They reciprocate that because they know that about us,” says Edmondson. “I think that’s really what sets us apart is that we, being a smaller, mid-sized carrier, cultivate relationships as opposed to having just a customer or somebody we don’t know.”
Since customer communication is a top priority, Trailiner staff is always available to provide comprehensive, up-to-the-minute information to prevent surprises for their customers. “To maintain our high level of service, our operation is maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Edmondson says.
Customer feedback is also critical to Trailiner and their relationships. They receive reports from them on their service constantly. “We have a lot of customers who send weekly or bi-monthly reports here saying, ‘Here’s how you’re doing,’” she says. “That’s a common tool we use and we try to manage it often. We try to learn from any issues that come up and see how we handled it and how we can improve.”
To complement their premiere service, Trailiner Corporation offers top-of-the-line trucks and trailers. Their trailers are 53′ x 102′-wide, high-cube reefers that can handle almost every kind of product. To keep in-line with their commitment to quality, Trailiner uses only the best technical equipment for temperature control.
“As the industry changes we have to change with it, and we have to do what we have to do to remain competitive,” Edmondson says.
With their top-of-the-line trucks and trailers comes a strict safety program where each driver is required to attend one safety meeting each quarter. That diligence has paid off – Trailiner’s safety record is one of the best in the country, ensuring them the lowest insurance rates in the trucking industry.
In addition to being safe, all Trailiner trucks are linked to the satellite communications network. This allows the company to monitor the location and status of each of the trucks, and provide a two-way communications link between drivers and the terminal personnel. The system has allowed Trailiner to enhance their service offering to the benefit of customers, drivers and the entire Trailiner system.
“We adopted the satellite trucking technology in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s before there was even GPS in the truck, and since then have been able to maintain some level of text communications with the drivers. That has expanded over the years,” Edmondson says.
Trailiner’s latest communication systems are a far cry from Edmondson’s early days as a child when she came into the office, she recalls. “I remember going into the dispatch office and seeing a big dry erase board that covered an entire wall. It had all the trucks, the numbers on them and where they were going to for their final destination and where they were at their last call in,” she says.
The company is currently in the process of upgrading their in-cab communication system, partnering with Rand McNally to equip all of their trucks with the TND 760 Fleet Edition Truck GPS. “Rand McNally has been testing with a handful of trucks for a couple of months and everything has worked out well,” Edmondson explains. “So that’s where we’re going.”
Looking ahead to the longer term, Edmondson says that Trailiner Corporation will continue to grow by maintaining their long history of excellence in service and product. By keeping to that tradition of quality, Trailiner will continue to thrive far into the future.
“We’re certainly optimistic looking forward because a large part of our business is produce and food products,” Edmondson says. “And people are always going to have to eat.”