Growth over the past three years has been unusually rapid as the company expanded from two locations to nine, and from 200 to 700 employees. Overseeing Atlantic’s growth is owner and chairman Jim Tyler. His son, Kirk Tyler, is CEO and company president. Rob Feeney runs day-to-day operations, along with Ned Brown, senior vice president of operations. Brian Harris is fleet maintenance manager.
Atlantic’s service area now covers most of Iowa and extends into a few neighboring states. The 120-truck fleet includes a growing roster of Kenworths, featuring T370 route trucks powered by PACCAR PX-9 engines and Allison 6-speed automatic transmissions. Atlantic route trucks often run 10-plus years before trade-in, so long term durability is critical.
“The durability factor was evident to us from the beginning,” said Brian Harris, fleet maintenance manager. “With our very first T370, as we were putting the box on it, right away we noticed the frame is built much sturdier than other brands of trucks we’ve owned. Right there, we determined to get more Kenworths. It’s a heavier built truck.” Since purchasing its first T370, Atlantic has ordered several new T370s every year over the past five or six years, including 12 new T370s in 2016.
“The Kenworth T370 is simply a better route truck,” said Brown. “We think it is important to have equipment that’s exceptional. Image matters. We produce a premium product and want premium trucks to deliver it. Kenworth trucks do a much better job of drawing attention to quality. It’s a moving billboard that speaks well for our company.”
The company works with MHC Kenworth – Des Moines for sales and service. With rapid growth, said Brown, “it’s nice to have our Kenworth dealer to rely on. MHC Kenworth has been instrumental in helping us spec the delivery truck we need. For example, we’ve done some things on the truck to improve efficiency. Some of our locations in the new territory require our route trucks to travel farther distances. We wanted a bigger fuel tank, and we wanted to move it to the driver side. The dealer helped us reconfigure all that.
Atlantic’s T370 straight trucks haul up to one thousand cases of Coca-Cola products, or 12 pallets. Some T370 tractors haul 35-foot trailers that carry 20 pallets. Drivers make 12-20 stops, jumping in and out of the cab all day long.
“The T370s help sell our product,” Brown concludes. “When you’re driving down the road and see a great-looking truck, you make a connection with the product, and you want to buy that product. Our fleet has to look good. We haven’t had any problems with our Kenworth trucks. There really is no comparison between Kenworth and other trucks.”
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s website is Kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.