Aim Transportation Keeps Communication Lines Open

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — With 1,200 employees at 120 sites in 20 states, and 11,000 vehicles on the road, the vice president of human resources at Aim Transportation Solutions says the top priority is keeping the lines of communication open – with customers and employees.

“Everything is changing so quickly,” says Patty Durkin.

“We’re sending daily communications to our employees, any updates that come in, and fielding their calls,” she says. “And we’re talking to our customers every day.”

In terms of HR, new policies are in place to stem the spread of COVID-19. The company’s health care plan is self-insurance. “So we had to make the decision that we would cover the cost of any testing for the virus,” Durkin says.

Should an employee call in sick, doctor’s slips are waived. For ill employees who might not be able to see their personal physician, they are advised to use Anthem’s tele-health service. “You can speak directly with a doctor; and we’re paying for that,” she says.

Aim Transportation Solutions consists of two divisions: Aim Leasing Co. and Aim Integrated Logistics. “Both sides of the business are talking to our customers to see how quickly they are being impacted by all of this,” Durkin says.

The company operates corporate offices on Trumbull Avenue in Girard and Belmont Avenue in Liberty.

To avoid business disruption as coronavirus spreads, “We have at least a two-prong, if not a three-prong approach,” she says. “Can somebody work at home? Can somebody go to Girard, somebody to Belmont? If something happens, we don’t have to wipe out a whole building. We’re trying to avoid cross contamination.”

For at least a week, corporate executives have held many internal meetings to get a handle on the situation.

“Except for a few specific customers, our business is holding up,” CEO Tom Fleming said in an email March 12. “We have a big customer who provides all the food for the major airlines and another who handles all the incoming air cargo for the Limited stores but other than those two, we had not seen a dramatic change. I am expecting and planning for that to change.”

And it has. Quickly.

Two of Aim’s big customers, Cleveland-based Joshens Paper & Packaging, and Imperial Dade, provide food and food-service and maintenance supplies, and that business could drop off now that restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania can serve only take-out and delivery customers.

Imperial Dade is a relatively new customer that Aim Integrated Logistics secured last year when the California-based distributor of paper products opened a warehouse in Austintown.

A large chuck of Aim’s client base distributes food and paper products to bars, restaurants and schools, Durkin notes.

Another big customer is Giant Eagle. Given shortages on grocery shelves nationwide, “Giant Eagle could potentially increase its routes to get products to their stores faster,” Durkin suggests.

Aim also does flatbed steel hauling. So far, that business is steady, she adds. Local employment is about 150, the HR vice president estimates. Corporate operations preclude most employees outside the executive suites from working out of their homes. Computer security is a concern.

“It’s complicated. Unless we have to for isolation purposes, we won’t have people working from home,” she says.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.