March 9, 2014

Thermo King’s TriPac® APU is Driver Recruitment Tool for SAV Express Inc.


Dry haul company SAV Express  Inc., a division of Minneapolis-based SAV Transportation Group, began transitioning its business model from owner-operator to company-owned fleet in 2013. Management knew that choosing new, reliable equipment and technology was an essential factor in attracting quality drivers. Thermo King’s TriPac™ APU is one of the components of SAV Express’ new fleet that not only allows drivers some extra comforts while on the road, but also gives back to the company’s bottom line.

“Our company is in a major transition right now,” said John “JP” Peterson, director of recruiting, safety and maintenance for SAV Express. “We have long been an owner-operator company but over the past several years it’s become more and more difficult to find dependable contract drivers AND maintain the service our customers expect. Choosing the right equipment for our new, company-owned fleet has been essential … for running efficiently and enticing drivers. The TriPac has been a positive recruitment tool for us. ”

Historically, SAV Express has had about 85 owner-operators on its payroll. That number had dwindled to 50 by the time Peterson was hired in March of last year. One year later, SAV Express is made up of 25 owner-operators and will soon have more than 80 new company-owned trucks in the fleet. The company’s first 50 were specified with Thermo King’s TriPac APU, and this year, 30 new trucks with the TriPac EVOLUTION are being added.

“Driver retention is an industry challenge, no doubt,” said Peterson. “An APU is a big draw as it allows drivers to make the most of their time on the road. It keeps them warm, powers refrigerators, microwaves, TVs and even CPAP machines for the growing number of drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea.

“Or course, these conveniences help drivers sleep better, eat better and maintain some normalcy when they are away from home, but it translates to happier, safer drivers for us as well. And of course it helps our bottom line when it comes to fuel savings as idle times decrease dramatically when the TriPac is used correctly. It also satisfies growing environmental regulations when it comes to emissions. The TriPac has been a real win for our company.”

Why TriPac?

Because SAV Express was building its fleet from the ground up, it had not purchased APUs in the past. Peterson called on Thermo King Sales & Service in St. Paul, Minnesota, based on a working relationship he had developed more than 10 years prior. “I turned to Dan Vesper and Jeff Pengra at the dealership and asked what they recommended for our company in terms of APUs. The reputation of the TriPac, its performance record, ease of use and low operating costs, as well as a trusting partnership with the dealership, were enough for us to choose the product. We’ve been very happy with the performance of the units and the drivers love them,” said Peterson.

“The 30 trucks coming this year are equipped with the new TriPac EVOLUTION model. We’re even more excited about this batch of APUs because they come with a simpler control panel and are easier to trouble-shoot. In addition, the maintenance interval is at 2,000 hours. That doubles the interval of the previous version and keeps our trucks on the road longer between service requirements. Going with the TriPac also offers us a nationwide dealer network. If we do have an issue on the road, there is always a Thermo King dealer nearby,” continued Peterson. “That is added peace of mind for SAV Express and our drivers.”

The TriPac EVOLUTION was introduced just last year and is built on the industry-leading TriPac APU. It was not only developed to meet Tier IV EPA final regulation requirements, but offers unrivaled performance, easy operation, low operating costs and greater fuel savings.

Naturally, besides providing brand-new tractors (2015 Cascadia Evolution by Freightliner this year) and equipment (like the TriPac), SAV Express is cognizant of the other factors that attract good drivers as well including balanced home time, profitable mileage counts and simply treating employees well. The company’s long-term goal is to maintain a fleet of 100 trucks and a 1 million mile/month fleet goal.

SAV Express Inc. is an asset-based dry haul truckload carrier that has been delivering high quality transportation services to customers throughout the United States for more than 18 years. Servicing the lower 48 states, the majority of the company’s runs are in the South, Southeast and Midwest. The company is owned by Mike Abbott and Joe Speltz. Abbott is the president and founding partner of SAV Transportation Group and a past winner of Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine’s ‘Innovator of the Year’ award. More information about SAV Express and the SAV Transportation Group can be found at

Learn more about Thermo King’s TriPac EVOLUTION APU at