Jason Aldean takes the stage at Amazon’s pop-up truck stop to surprise workers for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Photo by Ashley Benkarski

By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN — Amazon kicked off National Truck Driver Appreciation Week Sep. 9 by hosting a custom-built pop-up truck stop and surprise performance by Nashville-based country artist Jason Aldean.

A former truck driver himself, Aldean played for about 200 line-haul and freight workers, performing his new single, “We Back,” for the first time live.

In addition to the concert, Vice President of Amazon’s Middle Mile Transportation Peter Larsen announced Amazon would be donating $25,000 to Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit entity that trains truckers to spot and report human trafficking. TAT reported certifying over 700,000 individuals in its training program and its members have identified 1,186 victims since its founding. Tennessee has recently been ranked at the top of nonprofit and advocacy organization Shared Hope International’s list of states that have made the most impact on cracking down on sex trafficking. 

Since opening its first customer fulfillment center in the state in 2011, the company said it has given over $1 million to local organizations and invested more than $5 billion in the construction of fulfillment facilities and compensation to its teams. 

Amazon’s line-haul program has a carrier base of 20,000 branded trailers and thousands of carrier partners, 80 percent of which are small businesses. These partners are an important part of fulfilling Amazon’s mission to deliver products quickly and efficiently. To do that, each truck is loaded with as many packages as it can hold, which also reduces the number of trucks on the road, Larsen said. That’s welcome news for the ever-growing city plagued by traffic congestion. “We hold a really high standard across the country, no matter where you are, in terms of getting stuff to our customers on time,” Larsen said. He also noted the company provides free commercial navigation to its carrier partners that helps drivers avoid residential areas, low-hanging bridges, and other transportation obstacles. This marriage of science and technology with the trucking industry has allowed Amazon to cut loading and yard time by 30 percent, he added. 

The tech giant has given 30,000 small and medium sized businesses, including authors and developers, the opportunity to grow with its various products and services.

Amazon said it has created more than 6,000 full-time jobs across seven cities in Tennessee. The company also said its line-haul and freight program will create more than 1,000 new jobs in anticipation of its peak season and it hopes to create 5,000 jobs in Nashville in the coming years, already hiring dozens of workers in its Music City location.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently visited Madison Middle School to announce the start of a new initiative for Metro schools titled Amazon Future Engineer. Launched in November 2018, the program increases and improves access to computer science education in communities most in need of this investment. For more information on the program or to apply, visit AmazonFutureEngineer.com