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Driver Lifestyles

Sunshine and Friendship In Seville

By Jeff Jensen
Posted Jul 27th 2002 5:00AM

everything1045a.jpgIt was hamburgers and sausages cooking on the grill with plenty of side dishes (including pirogies), cold drinks (the soft drink variety), frisbee tossing, throwing softballs at the dunk tank and saying hello to old friends.

It was a cookout, a mini-tradeshow and a "family" get together.

It was three days of sunshine and great weather.

It was the Panther II Driver Appreciation Days held July 10, 11 and 12 at the Panther II Safety and Training Center in Seville, OH. Coordinating the event was Panther II Contractor Support and Development Representative Jeff Brown, who says the event was an opportunity for the company to, "show our contractors and drivers how much we value their hard work and professionalism by giving them a day of free food and relaxation in the sun."


The Panther II Safety and Training Center is a two-year old facility situated on Panther Parkway just outside the small town of Seville. There was plenty of parking for the vans, straight trucks and bobtails of the attendees in the quiet rural setting.

While Panther II's main administration offices are located a few miles away in Medina, OH, the Seville location handles a variety of contractor-related functions including Qualcomm installation, Contractor/Driver Orientation w/Qualcomm Instruction, Log Book Processing and other duties.

The building is open to Panther II contractors from 6 am to 6 pm, with a driver's lounge area that includes satellite TV, showers and free laundry facilities. The building also houses a Medical Examination room for on-site DOT physicals.


By all accounts, the event was very well attended on all three days, surprising when considering that this was the first time for the get together.

Jeff Brown estimates that close to half of the contractor fleet was able to attend over the three dates of the Driver Appreciation Days. The function also gave drivers a chance to drop off and pick up paperwork or forms and to have questions answered by office personnel.

One of the major attractions of the function had to be the dunk tank! For the privilege of knocking the various dunk tank "targets" in the icy water, donations were accepted for the benefit of Panther II co-worker Roger Elliston, a cancer victim. An amazing total of $2,056 was donated by the generous attendees.

There was a great deal of anticipation on Friday because the "victim" chosen for a spell of "tank duty" was veteran Panther II recruiter Jason Shadd. It would appear that many had a score to settle with Jason because he was kept floating in the tank during his segment, but it was all in good fun and for a worthy cause.

An equally favorite target in the tank turned out to be none other than Panther II's Operations Manager, Rick Buffington, who kept the "pitchers" in a particularly antagonistic mood with his pithy barbs and comments.

Bob Worthington, a Panther II contractor from Knoxville, TN, says, "I think the Driver Appreciation Days are a great idea! It's nice to see a company who values the owner/operators in expediting and shows it."

There were drawings for prizes awarded by Panther II and the vendors in attendance.

The list of winners includes:

Kelly Front Tires - Jim Johnson, Stockbridge, MI, Cargo Van

XM Satellite Radio - Ben Easters, Pattison, TX, E Unit

TV/VCR - Larry Rater, Sherman, NY, Straight Truck

12 Volt Cooler - Mary Staffeld, Romulus, MI, Cargo Van and Freightliner of Knoxville are happy to announce the winner of a new 2001 Freightliner Sprinter - James and Margaret Allio of Zephyr Hill, FL!

This brand new extended body, tall roof van will soon be shipped to the lucky couple and tax-free at that!

Painted in Sprinter White, the Allios will be proud to add this vehicle to their fleet and best of all, it will not require it's own garage or even a parking space. This 1/43rd scale model by Eligor should fit on the mantle or any other prominent display space right there in the living room. Once again, congratulations!


Jeff Brown had thoughtfully provided space in the large shop/Qualcomm installation area for a small gathering of vendors to display their products. The vendors weren't really sure what to expect from this first year event, but reported very positive response from the attendees. The companies included:

Belle Tire

Espar of Michigan



Arch Wireless


Garment Specialties

Truckstops of America

Transport Insurance Agency

Freightliner of Knoxville

Ray Lawrence of Espar Products (fuel-fired cab heaters) said of the show, "There's been a lot of interest in our products and we're very happy to have been invited here to Panther II's Driver Appreciation Days! It looks like everyone is having a good time and I think it's great that a company would do something like this for their drivers."

Dan Tilley of Freightliner of Knoxville had a long wheelbase, tall roof Sprinter on display and he reports: "Jeff Brown and Panther II have a winning idea here and we're looking forward to next year!"

"We had 3 days of fun and interaction between all levels of the company and we hope this event demonstrates to the contractors and drivers just how much we appreciate all they do for the company," says Dan Sokolowski, President of Panther II.

"We're looking forward to a prosperous third and fourth quarter for Panther II and all of our contractors."

Jeff Brown sums up the event: "We had maybe 400-500 of our contractors and drivers attend the function, so we consider the three days to be a success! The vendors were pleased, our company was pleased, so it looks like it will be even better next year. Hmmmm, maybe some live music........."


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