Semper Gumby


Images of a certain flexible, green humanoid saturate CIT Signature Transportation (CIT)’s physical and electronic space. From the plush Gumby toy and Gumby patch above the desk of Mike (Quality Assurance Coordinator), to electronic Gumby images attached to the emails of Craig (Bookkeeper) and Amy (Employee Development and Compliance Coordinator), to the profile picture of CIT’s Facebook page. Why does this clay animation character from the 50s have such a star role at CIT?


March Madness is prevalent at CIT, but not the type of March Madness you may be familiar with. Rather than basketball games, March is full of spring break trips for the company. With Iowa State University in the same town as CIT’s main base (the others being in Des Moines and Iowa City), it’s understandable why March is a hectic month for the company. There are thousands of students hoping to get home or embark on a fun get-away with their friends, escaping the cooler climate of Iowa in favor of one on the warmer side. Semper Gumby is CIT’s way of navigating through this busy season and getting students like these and other March travelers where they need to go.


According to NPR, Semper Gumby as a phrase originated in the United States Military as a play on the United States Marine Corps motto: Semper fidelis, which is Latin for “always faithful” (“‘Embrace the Suck’ and More Military Speak”). Semper Gumby, meaning “always flexible,” references the green stop-motion clay animation character created by Art Clokey who appeared prominently on TV screens during the 50s and 60s accompanied by his equally flexible horse side-kick. The official Gumby web page proudly addresses the fact that “Branches of the U.S. military are including Gumby in their training programs…That’s the power of Gumby” (“History“).


Gumby’s reach extends even further than the U.S. Military. CIT translated Semper Gumby’s meaning to apply to the quality needed to succeed during the madness of March: flexibility. During this time, Amy often sends out reminders to the CIT family that read something akin to “as we enter into the March busy season, it’s time to remind everyone of the spring break mantra: Semper Gumby (always flexible)…Please understand that as new trips come in, trips drop off or change start times and dates, we will make changes…As has been mentioned before, some flexibility is needed in order to accept and adapt to the changes as they occur. Sometimes a three day trip to Kansas City becomes a three day trip to Chicago or three days of local shuttling” (“Friday Safety Brief for February 22, 2019”). With so many trips, it’s impossible to set plans in stone for the month. Trips change, last minute accommodations are requested, and so on. CIT needs to remain always flexible to account for this. Drivers are encouraged to keep their schedule as open as possible to accommodate the high volume of trips and likeliness of alterations to the schedule, dispatch is encouraged to be flexible in order to address driver needs, and maintenance is encouraged to prepare for potential mechanical issues if any arise. Remaining flexible is a team effort.

Whether you are a student hoping to catch some sun, or just someone in need of safe transportation during the month of March, with the CIT March motto of Semper Gumby, rest assured that we have the flexibility necessary to make your spring break the break you deserve. Click here to plan your next spring break trip today.

The CIT drivers take Gumby to locations all over North America, reminding us to always be flexible, even on the go.

Written by: Emily Grzywacz

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