Nearly a decade after 2017 HDT Safety & Compliance Award winner Ken Marvenko took a position with Paper Transport, he still remembers what brought him to his current role as the Wisconsin-based carrier’s director of safety. After spending 14 years in a number of positions with Schneider and a couple more with a logistics company, Marvenko got “an itch to get back into managing an asset-based business,” focusing on taking his skills and experience to a new level. “It was a relatively short search once I was introduced to Paper Transport.”
Starting as the lead of the operations team with a group of 250 drivers, Marvenko put four years and a few accomplishments under his belt and was soon asked to take over the safety department. He didn’t hesitate to accept the position and the challenges he knew he would face.
“It has been roughly four and a half years and we have grown to 750 drivers strong,” Marvenko says. “Our ability to consistently and successfully grow as an organization is directly predicated on our ability to function as a safe, first-in-class trucking organization.”
The success of his fleet safety program starts at the top – 100% buy-in from all of the decision-makers within the company. A culture of safety must be acted out, each day, hour, minute, and second, says Marvenko, stressing a strong conviction to “personal commitments,” which are usually directly influenced by or connected to family.
“At Paper Transport, we are committed to ensuring every employee gets home safe and without injury to their loved ones,” he explains.
Paper Transport’s fleet safety program is multifaceted and includes a comprehensive orientation and onboarding process for all employees that revolves around safety as a value in both their professional and personal lives. And when it comes to walking the line between ensuring safety and keeping driver morale up, Marvenko believes the key is being visible, listening, and acting on feedback from drivers.
“I make no bones about it, the 750 drivers at Paper Transport are the only ones generating revenue for our organization – when they speak, we listen,” Marvenko says. “They are my customers, and I take great pride in servicing my customers.”
According to Ben Schill, vice president of Paper Transport, Marvenko has been instrumental in pushing a safety culture across the entire organization.
“His positivity and ability to connect with our employees in one-on-one settings, group settings, such as our quarterly safety meetings, and corporate communication has helped us transform our approach to safety,” Schill says. “Ken’s passion and ability to connect with our employees has been an instrumental piece of our success.”
Chris Tanke, principal/relationship manager at HNI Risk Services, agrees, which is why he nominated Marvenko for the HDT Safety & Compliance award.
“Safety is a company value of Paper Transport,” Tanke says. “Paper Transport and Ken have taken great efforts to build a company culture based on that value. Ken and his team hold true to this culture and are not willing to compromise.”
While the spotlight has been thrown on Marvenko since he accepted the award at the Fleet Safety Conference in July, he is the first one to share the credit with others who are an important part of the safety equation.
“I’m very appreciative and humble to have been named for this honor, but it’s the 850-plus employees at Paper Transport who are truly the ones being recognized for their focus and efforts. Safety is fun and rewarding at Paper Transport.”