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Polman Transfer expands fleet, is hiring

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Wally Anderson of Polman Transfer shows nine of the ten new Mack trucks purchased by the company.

You couldn't miss the line of shiny white trucks on U.S. Highway 10 just west of Wadena.

Polman Transfer purchased 10 new Mack tractors and 25 reefer trailers, putting the company's total at 70 trucks and 250 trailers, according to safety director Lonna Watland.

It is a long way from 1946 when Duane Polman Sr. started with just one 1946 Chevrolet, which the company still has.

According to Wally Anderson, the new trucks arrived July 29. The company had Signs and Designs of Wadena apply the graphics as the finishing touches.

The trucks are up to new environmental standards and get better mileage.

Watland said that the company's employees were excited about the new purchase.

"Out of all the drivers that we've got out there, just about every one of them walked in and asked if they would get a new truck," she said.

Watland said there are about 65 company drivers and about 20 owner/operators, and with the new vehicles, there are job openings.

"Obviously, with adding on some new trucks, we are looking for drivers all the time," she said.

Watland said they have been looking for experienced drivers, with years of experience or 100,000 miles over the road.

She also said that the trucking firm has given people breaks, and some hires with imperfect driving records and otherwise impressive qualities have become top-notch drivers.

Watland said the company's on-time delivery ratio is 99 percent, and some listed local primary customers are Mason Brothers of Wadena, Russ Davis of Wadena, Lamb Weston of Park Rapids, Tuffy's Dog Food of Perham and Barrel O' Fun of Perham.

Polman Transfer will be hauling in steel for the construction of the new WDC High School, and according to a written summary, the company's trailers provided the main support for storage for Wadena after the June 17, 2010 tornado.

Polman Transfer was one of 35 companies to receive the 2010 MN Trucking Association's Certificate of Excellence for Above Average Safety Record.

"Of course, every trucking company's motto is 'If you've got it, a truck brought it,'" Watland said.

In some of the company's newsletters, Duane Polman Sr. had described the old days of the business. Trucks did not have sleepers, and drivers had to sleep in the same seat they drove in. And before deregulation in the 1970s, they had to hire attorneys to draft authority documents.

In the first weekend of August, a Star Tribune opinion piece by Dan Hanson called "The truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story" went viral, and Watland had a printed copy in her office.

"They're usually out on the road anywhere from a week to two weeks, and one of the things that you don't get out of this story too is that, you know, that guy maybe has kids at home, a wife at home, and is just trying to support for them," Watland said. "It's not really a job or a career, it's a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle that they choose."