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COVER STORY


effects of some of these drilling companies moving in here and we were starting to hear about $20 and $25 an hour jobs,” Beenken says. Stang gave credit to Blue Rock for its early


awareness of a looming driver shortage and the company’s help in securing for the state more people trained to teach driver education and performCDL certification when the Bakken boom began to thin the driver pool. “Their testimony helped us convince


the State of Montana that we needed more commercial driver trainers and license testers,” Stang said. “They were on the cutting edge. They knew long before anyone else did.” And that is the flip side of the boom for


Blue Rock.While providing plenty of new customers and spiking sales, the Bakken boom also created competition for employees, especially drivers, for the Olson family business. With some jobs offering drivers a chance


to make as much as $150,000 a year, Blue Rock found itself having to compete for drivers even as the supply of customers seemed limitless. To keep pace, Blue Rock has of course had


to raise wages but also has felt the need to buy more trucks and has done an expansion to its Sidney warehouse and is building a new sales center inWilliston while also adding to its service center in Sidney. “Our sales are up significantly but so are


our operating expenses,” Beenken says. The company, needing mostly people with


Class B CDLs to handle the beverage trucks, has also had to be creative about how its finds drivers, sometimes hiring those who don’t yet have their licenses and training them or giving them time to acquire one. “We’re very competitive now with them,”


Beenken says of the oil companies. Karen Beenken says the challenges caused


by the boom times force Blue Rock to “do some gut checks” from time to time. “Because these are some pretty crazy times.” But while Blue Rock has had to hustle to


keep up, Karen Beenken welcomes the Bakken boom for the most part. “It is a good thing,” she says. “We were


a declining population and not a whole lot infused in the community.” Boom or — heaven forbid — bust, Blue


Rock will continue to maintain its long- standing place in the community because its leadership and family ownership have the will, Karen Beenken says. It’s the family way. “I think it just comes from growing up in


it,” she says. RW ROADWISE |


Attorneys at Law


| integrity | | experience | | commitment |


Garlington, Lohn, Robinson, PLLP 350 Ryman Street


Missoula, Montana 59802 (406) 523-2500 www.garlington.com


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ISSUE 5, 2014 | www.mttrucking.org 13 Western Montana: 1-800-332-5750 • eastern Montana: 1-800-548-7565


Missoula • ColuMbia Falls • billings • sidney www.montanapeterbilt.com


Missoula • ColuMbia Falls • billings • sidney www.montanapeterbilt.com


Western Montana: 1-800-332-5750 • eastern Montana: 1-800-548-7565


Missoula • ColuMbia Falls • billings • sidney www.montanapeterbilt.com


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