The Ōtorohanga Transport Ltd Group began in 1963 when the Barker and Dow families formed Ōtorohanga Transport Ltd (OTL). Jim and Bev Barker, and Dennis and Cynthia Dow, developed the business and collaborated with other local carriers servicing the livestock cartage market.
Since its inception, OTL has diversified operations and developed into a nationwide transport group. With their head office being based in Ōtorohanga, the company also has branches located in Kaikohe, Dargaville, Wellsford and Te Kūiti, making it one of the largest transport groups in the North Island.
OTL provide both external and internal driving training programmes for their employees, and has recently put more of a focus on attracting younger workers.
"We have always trained our drivers over the years, but we are now putting more of a focus on it, so we thought we would start with attracting the younger workforce," says Rodney Dow, OTL Group's Managing Director.
Initially, the company advertised job vacancies in the local newspapers, but it didn't yield the desired results. It wasn't until Rodney's children insisted that, "nobody reads the paper anymore dad, everyone is on social media now", that OTL's journey online began.
"We started off just making Facebook videos, and then it sort of morphed into a bit more of Tik Tok," says Rodney.
OTL Group now have over 4,000 followers on Tik Tok, with some of their videos reaching a whopping 200,000 views on the platform.
Due to their large social media following, OTL's online presence has become a key tool for their recruitment of the younger workforce, dropping their average truck driver age from 57 down to 31.
OTL's social media strategy has had a strong focus on people and humor throughout their videos, making the company relatable and engaging for potential employees. A key example of this is their most recent hit April Fools-themed video, where they created their own 'truck coin' poking fun at truck drivers love for beer.
"We find that we're just trying to adapt, you know, it's all about people. It has always been about that for us because we have got these awesome people in our industry."
Today, OTL Group continue to utilise their social media channels to connect with potential employees and showcase their exceptional mahi in the mighty Waikato.
"Like I mean where else can you get paid and get to see the whole of New Zealand. Our people have been everywhere."