Dec. 09–TULSA — When Bradley Bournes moved from Tennessee to take a job with Melton Truck Lines, he knew no Melton workers or anyone who lived in or remotely near Tulsa.
But ask Bournes, 28, why he hired on with Melton, and he’s quick to answer “the people.”
While he was waiting for his interview, three employees — whom he later learned were vice presidents — walked by him, and all three stopped to ask if he needed anything, he said. Melton CEO Bob Peterson also stopped to introduce himself and say “hey,” he said.
Bournes was more than impressed. He’d never met the president of the trucking company where he worked two and half years back home in Cookeville. And the three other companies with which he’d interviewed, in Fayetteville and Tulsa, weren’t nearly as welcoming as Melton, he said.
Fast forward five years and Bournes is quick to tout his company’s benefits — from quarterly bonuses, and raises and promotions (His salary has increased $15,000 since he started.) to Melton’s no-fee, on-site health clinic and dental office and free on-site gym. But it’s still the people who keep him there, he said.
“It feels like a big family,” said Bournes, now a warranty and outside repair supervisor, “especially, mostly, for me (as a native Tennessean). The majority of my friends are here,” he said.
Bournes met his fiance at Melton when he, four years ago, inadvertently sent an email, meant for the Kenworth truck manufacturer, to another “kw” address: inside sales rep Katy Walden. The couple met face-to-face not long afterward, when they joined co-workers for happy hour after work.
There are some eight other couples at Melton who met on the job, Bournes said.
“I think it’s part of what makes us, and speaks to our culture,” he said.
Bournes and Walden now have lunch dates about twice a week in Melton’s on-site cafeteria, where entrees average $6. (His favorite is the turkey burger.) Bournes said his sweetie also is happy he gets regular haircuts; clips are offered on-site every Monday.
Melton this year reclaimed the No. 1 spot among midsize employers on The Oklahoman’s Top Workplaces lists. The company was runner-up last year, but champion the first two years it entered — 2015 and 2016.
Employee services manager Marilyn Surber said a key initiative the company adopted this past summer was a year-found casual dress code, including jeans and shorts, unless employees are hosting outside customers or holding special meetings.
“We’re hiring more millennials,” Surber said, “but everyone is really excited about the casual dress code; it’s a big deal.”
Surber said Melton takes seriously feedback from the Top Workplaces surveys it receives. As a response, Melton soon will sweeten the paid time off benefit for employees with five or more years service and introduce a new recognition program for employees with 10 years’ service, she said.
Surber said Melton also is considering adding an on-site day care, and provided an ad hoc day care for employees’ children during the state’s two-week teacher walkout last spring.
Former human resources intern and new hire Lizzy Olstroem, 23, is expecting great things.
In her new position as safety specialist, she will oversee technology on Melton trucks including analyzing data to assess drivers who may need to be coached.
“In my past jobs, including as catering director for a fast food company, I had to follow a lot of rules and regulations,” Olstroem said. “But at Melton, they say, ‘Here’s what needs to be done, do it in the way you feel is best, and if it turns out wrong, we’ll talk about it.
“I love the independence.”
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