Hoosier Tradewinds owner says company has paid its drivers

| 7/25/2008

The owner of an Indiana trucking firm says the company’s recent bankruptcy filing hasn’t stopped owner operators and company drivers from being paid.

Hoosier Tradewinds of Arcadia, IN, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 10. Since then, the company has arranged payments for drivers who are owed money, according to Ben Cook, owner of Hoosier Tradewinds.

“We went through and got court orders and had all the owner-operators receive their settlement,” Cook told Land Line in a telephone interview on Thursday, July 24.

However, he said, some drivers with the company’s truck lease-purchase program decided to terminate their contracts, and were assessed a penalty.

“Those are the only people that did not receive their final settlement,” Cook said. “There are no other drivers, to my knowledge, that haven’t been paid.”

Truckers who believe they are still owed money by Hoosier Tradewinds can visit the U.S. Bankruptcy Court office’s Web site at www.insb.uscourts.gov, and click on the bankruptcy forms link to download a “proof of claims” form. For those without Internet access, the phone number for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indiana is 317-229-3824.

Hoosier Tradewinds has a fleet of 80 trucks, including many owner-operators, Cook said. The company has reduced its work force this summer and taken other actions to turn its financial picture around, he said.

“We’ve done most of the restructuring, layoffs, and reduction of fleet size we’re going to do,” Cook said. “We just feel really optimistic about the future.”

Hoosier Tradewinds believes the trucking economy will improve as well, Cook said.

“In the last six weeks we were able to go to some customers and implement some rate increases and they didn’t even bat an eye, which is great,” Cook said. “We really think capacity is about to really tighten up.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer