Partnership With Cardinal – It’s All In the Approach


Jeff Clark Cardinal Transport (3) copyDo you think of your insurance company as your partner or simply another vendor that you pay each month for a much-needed service?

If you ask Jack Riley, the Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Transport in Coal City, Illinois, he will quickly assure you that his company’s relationship with Canal is much more than just another vendor. He quips that Canal makes it hard to ever want to leave them.

What makes this relationship so special? Both Riley and his Director of Safety and Compliance, Jeffrey Clark, agree that it is Canal’s day-to-day approach that sets them above others. “When you sign on with Canal, you are taking on a partner who has a vested interest in your business and is more than willing to work with you and your staff to improve safety and reduce claims,” Riley explains.

David Kuehn, Canal Loss Control Specialist, is quick to credit Cardinal for their authentic approach as well. “What sets Cardinal apart is an openness and willingness to try anything,” he says. “So many companies want to hide areas of weakness, but Cardinal is an open book, asking for input and always interested in considering improvements.”

Kuehn cites two issues Canal and Cardinal recently worked on together. The first was a root-cause analysis that ultimately revealed a notable number of lane change incidents by Cardinal drivers. At Canal’s suggestion, side-fender mirrors were installed on all equipment. “It was a sizeable investment,” explains Kuehn, “but we both expect to see a return as early as this year.” He also notes the comprehensive driver training Cardinal completed at all of their locations last year. “They get it,” he says. “They have a great long-term approach to safety.” Adds Clark, “To have a partner who understands the trucking industry is very valuable.”

Founded in 1976, Cardinal remains a 100% owner-operator company, offering owner/operator leases, dispatching services, settlement and safety programs. Clark says he frequently checks the Canal website for the latest industry news and insight and advice from experts. The Canal client education presentations and this quarterly newsletter are also appreciated resources.

“On the Cardinal website, we focus on how we value our drivers as an asset to our company,” says Riley. “Canal seems to feel the same way about their clients, and they demonstrate that through their approach – forthright and professional. Think of it as roll up your sleeves and work together – a new definition to the term business casual.” He references a recent business downturn that Cardinal faced and recalls how Canal not only understood the challenges posed, but worked with Cardinal to help them address the situation. “Their approach to the immediate issue solidified the long-term partnership we enjoy today. I would tell anyone who asked about Canal that they can shop the rest, but it’s time to come to the best.”

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