How Brenny Transportation Changed the Logistics Game
Joyce Brenny has loved logistics and the trucking industry since she was a young adult, beginning her career in 1981 as a semi-truck driver. She loved it so much, in fact, that she desired to see a positive change for women in the field she dedicated her career to. To honor her vision, she created Brenny Transportation, Inc. alongside her husband Todd, and Brenny’s current V.P., Bonnie Supan in 1996 in Waite Park, MN.
Today, the company’s growth has reached nationwide and its 130+ employees call St. Joseph home. The company’s iconic purple branded-rigs have been instrumental in delivering some very well-known loads across its existence including Highway 15’s Bridge of Hope in Sauk Rapids, MN, the granite (From Cold Spring) to rebuild the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial in New York City, the pillars at the College of St. Benedict, and Joyce’s most memorable project, the female dormitory (barracks) reconstruction at West Point Academy in New York. “We hauled the granite and, just being a woman in a kind of a non-traditional role being part of women in the military— which is still non-traditional, especially at West Point—it was pretty cool,” she said.
The Brenny Transportation Longhaul
Brenny is a woman-founded and owned company, with a WBE certification—the gold standard for women-owned businesses in the U.S. In fact, Joyce Brenny, CEO, was recently appointed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin. Women of Trucking Advisory Board. This board reviews and reports on policies that provide education, training, mentorship, and outreach to women in the trucking industry and identify barriers and industry trends that directly or indirectly discourage women from pursuing and retaining careers in trucking.
Joyce and Sarah Wischnefski, Brenny’s Public Relations Director, shared the company’s Roadmap to Success, emphasizing the why behind the brand’s inception. The company adheres to five distinct values that influence the culture, service, and experience Brenny showcases with its community, vendors, customers, and employee families. They include:
Each month, the company’s employees band together by selecting a charity or non-profit to support through efforts that impact a local need or organization or the trucking industry as a whole. The goal is goodwill; the focus is mostly on causes that support trucking, children, and animals. Brenny has supported the Tri-County Humane Society, Terebinth Refuge, Truckers Against Trafficking, and Brenny’s own non-profit called Trucking Families. The foundation is designed to assist families of truck drivers who experience financial setbacks or concerns. Should any member of the Brenny team’s own family experience any type of crisis or need support, the company steers them to the Trucking Family Foundation for help.
Brenny’s employees are all the proof the company needs that it is, in fact, doing trucking differently. The loyalty and longevity prove it. “The Brenny Mission, Promise, and Purpose are driven to serve. We really feel that what you do for the community, for each other, you truly get back tenfold. And we are an example of that—our retention is 90% in the trucking industry,” Joyce said.
When asked about what the Brenny team, both drivers and the behind-the-scenes logistics crew defines, Joyce said, “What we really pride ourselves on is that our people have a servant heart. This single attribute defines our roadmap to success.”
The Trick to Trucking Differently
You get what you give. That’s Joyce’s driving force and a mantra the entire organization embodies.
The logistics industry can be a tricky one; in recent years many changes have occurred across the landscape changing the game for many businesses, drivers, and clients alike. Competition is stiff; the pandemic affected the industry in many profound ways as America scrambled to define essential and frontline employees.
Joyce discussed the past two years of business against the backdrop of a global pandemic. “Many people know that transportation and trucking are essential. We didn’t really need to be deemed essential. We know we’re essential. Yes, it was extremely stressful. It was probably the most stress we’ve ever been through. We were so concerned about our team members, our drivers going all over this country, and what they were facing. Our drivers, they didn’t get a choice to work from home. So the behind-the-scenes team, which is what we like to call ourselves the support team, got together and said, ‘since our drivers can’t work from home, we’re going to choose to come into the office every day. We’re going to do our best to abide by every law and rule and do it safely, of course.’
We had one person assigned to disinfecting every day and we supplied sanitizer in mass. We maintained a thorough post-route sanitation of our trucks. We even supplied food for our drivers on Monday mornings when they would leave on their routes because many truck stops were closed. In some areas, bathroom facilities were unavailable. We helped as much as we could with that as well. Our support team even went as far as calling our customers and asking if they would consider putting porta-potties at some of the shipping and receiving locations so our drivers had a place to use facilities. And, in true Brenny Transportation fashion, we did whatever we could to help the team members and keep our drivers safe and keep the wheels down because our country needed us. When you become part of the Brenny family, you roll your sleeves and you work through the hard stuff.”
She continued, “I want people to know that Brenny was started for one reason and one reason only, I wanted a company that truly put people first, where diversity, inclusion, and opportunities would exist for those individuals committing to the vital industry of trucking. Without the people working in the trucking industry, our country stops! Brenny hauls, on average, 2,000 loads a month. Just think of the impact those 2,000 loads a month make on our country and the revenue contributed to our region.”
“What we really pride ourselves on is that our people have a servant heart. This single attribute defines our roadmap to success.” —Joyce Brenny
On the Horizon
“We are looking forward to increasing our footprint in the greater St. Cloud area by growing our young driver apprentice program. Our program was honored a few years ago by the GSDC Innovation award. There are amazing, great paying jobs in trucking, and we want to teach people how to do it the right way. Slow and steady, and most importantly—safe! The only thing a trucking company has is its safety record, and this can never be compromised,” Joyce said.
“I feel the growth we are experiencing in our area is sustainable. We have to focus on open communication and help new community members learn about the greatness of being in such a fine community. By building trust, we accomplish this by getting to know one another. As long as we all have a focus of being the best, our area will flourish! Helping each other will make us all shine,” Joyce added.
All Roads Lead to Home
“Central Minnesota is our heart.” Joyce said emphatically when asked why Brenny Transportation is located in the state’s center. “Todd is from Foley and I’m born and raised in St. Joseph. Many of our team members live and raise their families in the greater St. Cloud area and because of that, we want to see positive things happen in and for our community. From our point of view, the only way to do that is to get involved,” Joyce said.
She continued, “Considering many of our customers are Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. (GSDC) partners, the economic impact is enormous. Most of our drivers live in the Central Minnesota area and all our team members live here. Millions are earned and circulated in our region; we are also very proud to be a leader in the trucking industry regarding safety, our company winning the GW Platinum Safety Award on five separate occasions. It’s rare to win once in a trucking company’s history, and Brenny has earned it five times. Thus, our customers know they are hiring the safest drivers in the country when they trust Brenny with their freight. Brenny was honored to recently win the Best Fleets to Drive For Award, this speaks volumes as it is a national award in which they were nominated and voted on based on what our drivers said about them. Brenny also has a logistics division, which works with other small and mid-sized carriers in the area. Working together helps us compete in the larger market of freight.”
From Brenny’s perspective, one of the best things about having a Central Minnesota-based business is “We know people! The connections are fun and talking with customers or vendors, someone always knows someone. I love the hometown feel of this area and pray we never lose that feeling,” Joyce added.