Star Truck Rentals
Star Truck Rentals was founded in 1865 and began as horses and carriages hauling freight from the Grand Rapids railroad depot. The company transitioned from feed bills to fuel bills over 100 years ago, purchasing its first trucks in 1919 to evolve with then modern technology. Today Star Truck Rentals has 18 locations across Michigan and Indiana, with West Michigan locations in Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon and Comstock Park.
Star Truck Rentals provides long-term leases, short-term rentals and full-service maintenance for their customers, including many food-industry companies. In 2016, the Michigan Grocer Association honored Star Truck Rental with the Outstanding Business Partner Award for their significant contributions to Michigan’s food industry. They have also been named one of West Michigan's Best and Brightest companies for the past three years.
We spoke with Krystal Brady, Recruitment Manager, about what makes this company stand out. “Being owned by the same family for over a century is integral to our culture. You feel like family when you work here,” she told us. Long tenures are common- many people have worked there for over 20 years, with some employees having been with the company for over 50 years.
Star Truck Rentals values continuing education and career advancement for all employees as well. Employees have growth opportunities throughout the company, from entry-level roles to leadership. This was the case with the current Director of Human Resources, who started as a receptionist.
“We have an accredited diesel mechanic apprenticeship program and also have a CDL training program,” Krystal shared. Both roles have been on the West Michigan Works! Hot Jobs List of the 100 highest-growing and most in-demand jobs for the past several years. One key to success for the apprenticeship program is limiting the company’s number of apprentices at one time. “The apprentice trainer dedicates time to mentoring each person. It is about a quality training experience, and we’ve found the program is more successful when we have small groups taking part,” Krystal said.
Star Truck Rentals is also helping educate the next generation of workers, specifically high schoolers. Their team is involved with career technical education (CTE) centers where they have branch locations. Engaging with CTE centers provides a talent pipeline for the company while mentoring students on the employability skills and technical knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce.
The transportation industry has changed in the 158 years Star Truck Rentals has been doing business. They continue to ask themselves where the industry is going and how they can train their employees for change. “We changed from horse and carriage to trucks in 1919. Self-driving trucks, all electric vehicles, and other emerging technology are things we watch.” Krystal shared. “We believe there will always be a need for mechanics, whatever the technology is” Star Truck Rentals will continue evolving with the technology of the times to be a partner in transportation to agribusiness companies and other industries.