Strimbu Expands Fleet, Seeks Qualified Drivers

BROOKFIELD, Ohio – With its number of customers increasing and operating in more states, Nick Strimbu Inc. is looking for qualified drivers.

In the last few weeks, to meet increasing demand for its services, the trucking company added 10 trucks to its fleet, said the company’s president, Bill Strimbu, and on Friday the company held a recruiting event at its headquarters here.

“It’s been difficult for our customers to get truck capacity,” Strimbu related. “Our customers pushed us to expand capacity. In trucking, there’s a lot of ways to do that. You can hire owner-operators. You can broker shipments out. But we want our own assets pulling loads for our customers.”

At first reluctant to expand, Strimbu said that the growth of the companies who ship their goods on Strimbu Inc. trucks became too much to ignore. So, last year the company added 20 trucks.

Within the next couple years, said the vice president of operations, Mark Lorenz, Strimbu is looking to enlarge its fleet to about 120 trucks from the 75 at present.

“Normally, what you do in trucking is bring 10 trucks on and sell 10 old ones,” he explained. “We’re growing so much that we can’t get rid of old trucks. Our customers are growing and we want to grow with them.”

Trucking companies here and across the nation say finding drivers is challenging because otherwise qualified applicants can’t pass drug tests. Moreover, insurance companies charge high premiums for young drivers. Adding to the challenge for Strimbu, the president says, are his company’s “own high standards.

“It’s hard to find drivers. You’ll find one, maybe two guys, for every 10 you interview,” Strimbu said, noting he would prefer to see applicants having held at least five earlier trucking jobs.

But the rigorous standards didn’t discourage any drivers from seeking what Strimbu had to offer. Within the first 15 minutes of Friday’s recruiting event, five drivers filled out applications and Strimbu said he expected another 200 or so to show up.

Strimbu attributes his company’s success to its family atmosphere – he notes that some of drivers have been with the company for 25 years – and pay above the industry’s national and regional averages. With an average salary of $58,000 per year, Strimbu’s pay is nearly $15,000 higher than the rest of the country and $7,000 more than other companies in northeastern Ohio, he says.

Some drivers at the recruiting event said the compensation rate is what brought them out in the first place.

“Better pay is what almost any guy will be here for. [I’m here] just to see if I can better my career,” said applicant Wilson Montalvo. “Strimbu is very well respected. I’ve met a lot of their drivers and they all say they’re treated like family regardless of how long they’ve been here.”

As part of the process, Strimbu drivers met with applicants to talk about the company and what successful could expect in terms of workload and the new trucks.

“I can sit here and sell my company to these guys as best I can,” Strimbu said. “But these drivers have been promised so much and sometimes lied to. But drivers don’t lie to other drivers. There’s a trust there. It seems to be working so far. We’ve used it for the last few years and that’s how we’ve kept our fleet full.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.