On July 22, 2014, 20 Boy Scouts, ages 11 to 18, from several troops in the Flint River Council visited Bennett International Group’s corporate office in McDonough, Georgia, as part of the council’s Summer Merit Badge Day Camp Program.
The scouts arrived dressed in uniform around 9 a.m. and spent the day learning about Bennett International Group and the trucking industry. Some key points they learned during the visit included the role and importance of truck transportation in commerce, how transportation fits in the supply chain, and how goods are imported from foreign countries. The scouts also learned about truck maintenance, the importance of driver safety, and took part in activities such as completing a driver log book, and booking a freight shipment. At the end of the day participants earned a Truck Transportation Merit Badge.
Kris Rzepkowski, director of marketing at Bennett International Group and assistant scoutmaster of Troop 118 in Brooks, Georgia, is an approved Merit Badge Counselor for the Truck Transportation Merit Badge in the Flint River Council and was the coordinator of the day-long event.
Rzepkowski, who earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1990 while a member of Troop 312 in Penfield, New York, said he is honored to work for a company that values scouting.
“My credentials as an Eagle Scout were a factor in my being hired at Bennett in 2012, and putting on a merit badge program with my colleagues to teach boys about the industry was a goal of mine when I first heard that there was a merit badge for trucking,” he said. “The program is a very thorough introduction to trucking that will get the boys interested in everything from diesel engines, to driving the truck, to working as a dispatcher booking loads. It certainly took some time to put it together alongside the staff here at Bennett, but I’m sure the boys will take away a lot from the experience.”
David Pittman, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, addressed the group and explained the company’s organization chart and introduced the owners of the company. Marcia Taylor, president and chief executive officer at Bennett said she was glad the boy scouts came to visit.
“We’re honored that you guys came to be with us today,” Taylor said to the group. “I hope you saw and learned a lot while you were here.”
And when Pittman asked the scouts if they had a good time, they all responded with a resounding “yes.”
Several in attendance said going to the truck yard and seeing a truck was the favorite part of their visit.
“We got to see the inside of it (the truck), what most people don’t get to see,” said Will Collett, 15 of McDonough from Troop 265. “And we learned about things that most people wouldn’t know about trucks.”
Others said they learned there is more to the transportation industry than just driving a truck.
James Campbell, 14 of Newnan in Troop 897, was one who came to Bennett thinking that trucking was just how to get goods from point A to point B.
“I learned a lot about trucking and all the jobs involved with it,” Campbell said. “I learned there’s a lot more behind it. There’s tons of marketing and all the money involved…”
Mason Rzepkowski, 12, of Fayetteville in Troop 118 and son of Kris Rzepkowski, said he learned about supply chains and how trucks move things across the country with heavy things on flatbeds.
“I thought it was really interesting, all the different jobs you can do in trucking besides just driving trucks,” Mason said.
Rzepkowski said the leadership at Bennett and those involved in the event saw this opportunity as a great way to give back to the local community while helping the next generation of boys gain a better understanding of the transportation and logistics industry.
“I would encourage any trucking or logistics company to get involved in the truck transportation merit badge, and I hope that as many boy scouts as possible will take the opportunity to experience our industry,” he said.