SEATTLE — When you own and operate a service used to transport people around Puget Sound and a global pandemic turns the world into shut-ins, what do you do? The old cliché about making lemonade when life gives you lemons is a nice saying, but the fact is nobody had any clue what to do with these COVID-shaped lemons.
For Andrew Janison, the founder and CEO of TransWest, a growing mobility operator – think shuttle buses, valet parking services, that sort of thing – keeping his small business afloat required some innovative thinking.
“Earlier this year when demand was low, we worked with our clients – who were absolutely remarkable in taking care of our people, making sure they were paid all through the pandemic – and we converted our passenger vehicles to delivery vehicles, and we did on-demand food transportation,” he said. “We delivered about 1.2 million meals to families in need in Puget Sound.”
Founded in 2008 and now with more than 400 employees operating out of Seattle, Bellevue and Everett, TransWest also assisted in vaccine distribution and transportation of front-line workers.
With the vaccine rollouts allowing for a return to some semblance of the Before Times, TransWest is growing and hiring. But, as is the case in a lot of industries, filling those new openings has proven to be challenge.
Janison’s solution? A $5,000 signing bonus for new hires.
“Right now, driver jobs are some of the most in-demand jobs throughout the country,” he said. “We’re offering a $5,000 signing bonus to try and get new CDL drivers through the door and working.”
If you’re intrigued but have little experience, pump the brakes for a moment. You need to have a commercial drivers license with a passenger endorsement to work for TransWest.
Or at least be willing to get one on the company’s dime.
“If you don’t have a passenger endorsement, we also have an employer-sponsored program where we’ll put people through the entire training,” Janison said. “We’ll get them all the skills they need to pass the CDL test, and then we’ll have a job for them when they’re done.”
Other perks include a livable wage, paid health care, a 401k, and quarterly safe driving bonuses.
For more information, visit TransWest’s website.