Towne Air Freight Wins Wellness Award

Wellness Council of Indiana
January 4, 2005 -- South Bend, Indiana - Towne Air Freight, a full-service trucking company with 1,000 employees, is one of the first businesses in Indiana to receive Indiana Business Three Star Certification from the Wellness Council of Indiana. This new certification program was launched in January 2004.

This award requires that companies meet eleven worksite wellness criteria, ranging from top management support to compliance with safety initiatives. "The Three Star Certification identifies Towne Air Freight as a company committed to worksite wellness for its employees and for the community," said Rob Jensen, president of the Wellness Council of Indiana. "This is a hallmark of distinction."

"We are pleased and proud to have won this award on our first nomination," said Tom Downey, president and CEO of Towne Holdings, LLC, parent company of Towne Air Freight. "This is a symbol of our focus on employee wellness and involvement, which we believe, of course, means healthier employees, but also a healthier bottom line."

Through their affiliation with Resource Systems and CLS Benefits, both of Indianapolis, Towne Air Freight was introduced to the Wellness Council in the fall of 2003.

"With the Workplace Wellness Certification Program as our guide, we learned that many of our existing programs became a foundation for our wellness initiatives and helped us develop a path for the future," said Sharon Calahan, director of benefits and compensation at Towne.

The wellness initiative was launched publicly on Sept. 18, 2004, when Towne was the Presenting Sponsor for the American Heart Association's Heart Walk at St. Patrick's County Park in South Bend. This year, more than 339 Towne employees and family members raised $43,000 for the Heart Association, ranking the company in the top 100 in the nation in money raised.

However, Towne's health and wellness initiatives really began earlier. In March 2004, for example, benefit plan design changes were launched to encourage early intervention in health issues.

In April 2004, Towne Air Freight drivers received their annual Safe Driver Awards. Each year, drivers throughout the company are recognized for their efforts to keep roads safe and maintain an accident-free driving record. Also in April, a Leadership Training Class was initiated to develop Towne Air's "next generation of company leadership."

Members of Towne's Wellness Team consist of Traci Wiegand, Human Resources; Roger Ecker, Safety Department; Laurie Breneman, Systems Operation Department; and Calahan.

The criteria for the Three Star Certification are: Top Management Support, Planning by Wellness Team, Needs Assessment and Analysis, Program Goals Linked to Business Goals, Formal Operating Plan for Program, a Promotion/Communication Plan, Incentive Program, Safety Initiatives, Evaluation of Planning and Activities, a Supportive Environment, and Operating Plan for Year 2.

"Through our employee and community efforts we plan to enhance our standing as an employer of choice to support the future growth of our company," Calahan said.

Others recognized include the City of Hammond (Three Star Certification), Purdue University Calumet (Four Star Certification), and Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers, Hammond (Five Star Certification).

The Wellness Council of Indiana is a statewide not-for-profit organization that brings together Indiana employers interested in improving the quality of life of the state's workers, improving the state's competitiveness in a global economy, and combating the ever-increasing cost of health care benefits by helping employees, families and communities achieve and maintain a state of good health. For more information, contact Rob Jensen, Wellness Council of Indiana, at (219) 989-2540.

Towne Holdings is a privately held company headquartered in South Bend, Ind., that provides a wide range of freight services. Towne Air Freight offers air freight trucking service to 35 airports in the eastern United States, as well as less-than-truckload transportation services in five Midwestern states. Towne Network Solutions manages air freight trucking for airlines and air freight forwarders. Rocket Expedited Services provides on-demand shipping services to all points in the continental United States.