October 01, 2012

Our employees have several travel options for getting to the next live event.  As the Fleet Administrator for JHE, yours truly opted to travel in style via one of our 18-wheel tractor trailer units.  What better way to get a sneak peek of what it’s like to work an opening ceremony at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup AdvoCare 500 race.

Riding in a big semi gives you a new perspective on traveling down the highway.  Seeing and experiencing firsthand some of the challenges a professional driver faces on today’s busy interstates has provided me with new insights to help strengthen our safety program.  In addition to viewing road safety and compliance challenges from the driver’s perspective, there was also the fun side of traveling in a big rig. My driver for the day tells me, “Did you know you can see perfectly into the car traveling beside you?” This makes for very good people watching.  Another perk? “Ladies – with all that room inside the cab you can also take as many suitcases as you want.”   This was only a three day trip so I didn’t need that option. Besides with all my years of air travel I’ve learned how to pack but it is nice to know the option exists.

Once the equipment is parked the drivers work is not done.  They now have to face the challenge of building the stage at the race track regardless of weather conditions. We lucked out in Atlanta and had no rain but the heat was definitely a factor.  However, the JHE staff didn’t miss a beat and watching the events unfold over the course of the weekend was a thrill.  Military-like precision dominated from the execution of the build to the run of show to the tear down making the ceremonies seem effortless.  The comradery and professionalism were palpable and made you proud to be part of the team (even if only for the weekend). 

Montgomery Gentry was the lead act of the weekend (Frank and William, if by sheer coincidence you are reading this, after meeting you and watching your performance you have made me an even bigger fan.  Thanks for injecting some fun, humor, and excitement into a long day!).   But after watching the JHE team members in action, the headliners were not the only rock stars in Atlanta. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to experience up close what JHE does so well. 

In a blink of an eye, the show was packed up and ready to head back to Harrisburg, N.C.  My trip back commenced and I didn’t worry as I knew I was in good hands. My chauffer for the evening, along with his entertaining steering wheel drum solos, had 14 years of “over the road” experience and had logged over 1.5 million miles.  As hard as I tried to be a good ride buddy and stay awake somewhere along that long stretch of I-85 my ride turned dreamlike… Do I see a Vegas trip in my near future?

– Julie Alascio 

Fleet, Julie Alascio, Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR, Sprint Cup, Montgomery Gentry