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As has become the norm, the glitz of lights and Christmas trees are well established in stores even though the shelves aren’t clear of Halloween items yet. Don’t worry, we’ll still have fun next week for Halloween (and, if you’ve seen any of our past costumes, you know we will), but getting the goods across the country for those all too important November and December sales is a top priority.

This is the time of year the freight trains pass by a little more often and trucks are filling the roads. Retailers need their stores and warehouses stocked for the $602.1 billion in sales expected across the country over the next two months, according to the National Retail Federation.

How important are these sales? As you can see from the NRF’s infographic, retailers earn 20-40% of their annual sales during November and December. It is important we help our clients get their products in time to take the maximum advantage of those sales. It’s always better to be prepared (even if it is a month or two ahead of the official season) than behind.

Traffic in Washington, D.C., is usually on the slow side. But, starting Friday, some truckers plan to make it even slower.

The group of truckers, calling themselves “Truckers Ride for the Constitution,” plan to circle the Beltway’s Inner Loop in a convoy with signage asking for “restoration of our Constitution and freedoms under the law.” The group is inviting non-truckers to join them in the three-day protest.

The American Trucking Associations announced on Tuesday that it is not a sponsor or supporter in any way of the protest.

Some reports exaggerated plans of the group. On Facebook, the group said they “do not intend to arrest anyone or blockade DC until Obama is impeached.”

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Every Friday night, Chuck Kizer exchanges his BAT shirt for a thankless one– he officiates high school football. On Saturday, he sits back and enjoys watching the Ohio State Buckeyes. Then, on Sundays, he stays busy keeping up with the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals.

Not everyone at BAT devotes as much of their free time to the sport as Chuck does, but we do have some intense fans.



Katy Wilson shows her team spirit

For example, Liz Wayne blackened her hand and burst a blood vessel while clapping for her favorite player in his first game this year. Tyler, her son, plays quarterback for the Junior Pee Wee Trailblazers.

Nearby college teams have won some of our hearts. Nebraska’s Huskers have two BAT fans, Katy Wilson and Maureen Shea, while the Iowa State Cyclones have Katie Forney cheering for them.

And, of course, there’s a Florida Gators fan. Steve Barnes grew up watching the Gators with his brother, and now continues to do so in his memory.

On the professional level, Peyton Manning (who, by the way, was never able to beat the Gators) has Ashley Jankowski as a fan. She, by default, is a Denver Broncos fan, as is Katy Wilson. Maureen Shea also has thing for quarterbacks, as long as they are playing for the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, Anthony Harder has faith every Sunday that his Minnesota Vikings will pull out a win.

Which is your favorite team?


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Chuck and Charlie

We had a problem about a month ago when Charles Elmore joined the BAT Logistics team. He usually is called “Chuck,” but we already had Chuck Kizer on our government team. (As you know from the past couple of posts, this is a familiar problem…)

So, to verbally tell the two apart, we continue to call Kizer “Chuck” and call Elmore “Charlie.” Or “Charles.” Okay, “Chuckles” is another nickname for the new guy. (Something will stick soon, he hopes!)

Charlie was born and raised in Omaha and has a love for art. He also has an uncanny, um, “knowledge” of Celine Dion songs.

Chuck, on the other hand, has been with BAT for about six months and is a huge Ohio State fan. Don’t let his time at BAT fool you- he enjoys sharing his skills to help others succeed.

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Katy (in black) and Katie (in white)

That’s right. We also have a Katie and a Katy at BAT. Katie Forney handles our accounting and Katy Wilson is on our National Account team. So, how do you make sure you get the right one?

We call Katie Forney the “Katie in accounting” and call Katy Wilson “new Katy.” New Katy has that title because she’s only been here for two months, while Katie has been with BAT for five years. (It’s likely Katy still will be called new Katy five years from now, unless, of course, we hire an even newer Katie/y.)

Both have fun personalities. Katie is known for her hairstyle and loves underwater basket weaving. Katy has a great sense of humor and loves kittens, babies, puppies and rainbows.

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Account Executive Phillip Kimsey gets
a driver’s view of life on the road.

BAT employees learned more about the life of a truck driver today when one stopped by the office.

Driver Barry Frantz is a long-time friend of Owner Shawn Rorie, and was passing through with a load Thursday morning. Team members were given the opportunity to go inside the truck and see what drivers have to work with.

They learned about a variety of things, from the size of the bed to how to adjust a fifth wheel. Many felt this experience would help them interact with drivers better.

“It’s so great to see up close what our drivers are doing first hand every day,” said Account Executive Joe Kier. “It gives me a better perspective of what they are out there doing and a better appreciation for their job on the road,”

Some scary news was released by the American Automobile Association yesterday. According to a study based on years of surveys, drivers are growing less concerned about dangerous driving decisions.

They are less concerned about decisions such as drowsy driving, drunk driving and texting while driving. More people also think it is acceptable to run a red light. For details, read the AAA release.

What does that mean for everyone on the road? The first increase in traffic fatalities in seven years, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

Please, no matter what vehicle you are driving, don’t make these dangerous decisions and help keep our roads safer.

We were saddened to hear the news this morning that a UPS cargo plane crashed in Birmingham, Ala., killing both the pilot and co-pilot. We at BAT Logistics offer our condolences to the families of the pilot and co-pilot and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

The NTSB is working to recover the black box to determine what caused the crash. A witness claimed he saw flames coming from the plane before it crashed.

For more information on the crash, visit the Alabama Media Group’s website blog.

According to the American Association of Railroads, the past week saw an increase over the same week last year in all U.S. rail traffic.

Carloads were up 2.5 percent, while intermodal was up 2.4 percent. Total U.S. rail traffic was up 2.5 percent.

For more information on the increases, read the AAR’s press release.

In case you missed it, the other big news from yesterday was the fuel prices. The prices for both diesel and regular gasoline are higher than last week and last year.

The national average diesel price is now $3.903 a gallon, up .036 from last week and .120 from last year. The highest prices are at $4.113 in California. The Gulf Coast area sees the lowest prices at $3.841.

While the prices aren’t quite as high as when they reached a peak of $4.159 in February, they are getting dangerously close. And, since we are in hurricane season, it could take just one hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast to make the prices hit that peak.

For comparison, last year’s prices did jump from $3.695 on July 16 to $3.796 on July 30. Prices continued to rise over the summer, ending the streak at a high of $4.135 on Sept. 17.

Source: Energy Information Association