Meet the 2022 HDT Emerging Leaders - Fleet Management

Meet the 2022 HDT Rising Leaders – Fleet Administration

HDT is honoring 10 Rising Leaders who reveal the power to embrace change and lead by instance. 

Graphic: HDT

To make a reputation for your self within the massive vast world of trucking, leaders want the proper mixture of resilience, innovation, business-savvy and fervour.

Increasingly more professionals are hitting their stride within the fleet administration area, stepping up into management positions early, studying the ins and outs of the outdated, and welcoming within the new to make their firms profitable. And so they don’t wish to go away anybody behind. That’s obvious with the 2022 HDT Rising Leaders.

These up-and-coming leaders are the following era, bringing data and enthusiasm to their positions. Whether or not main from the upkeep bay or from the C-Suite, this cohort of leaders


has one factor in frequent: optimism. They see trucking has an enormous pool of alternative, they usually all have an power about them that screams, “We’re simply getting began.”

To qualify for this award, Rising Leaders have to be below 40 years of age as of October and work for a for-hire, non-public, authorities, or vocational fleet that operates heavy-duty vehicles. HDT editors search for younger professionals who’re influential, revolutionary, and profitable, who can level to excellent accomplishments and management qualities, and who’ve a ardour for the trucking business.

Trucking doesn’t begin and finish with the motive force and the fleet supervisor, so we intention to acknowledge folks making a distinction by way of their management in all corners of a fleet. In any case, it’s the folks behind the corporate that make trucking doable and worthwhile.

This yr, HDT obtained a document variety of candidates.

Meet this yr’s 10 Rising Leaders, offered in alphabetical order by surname.

  • Director of Operations
  • GreenPath Logistics

GreenPath Logistics is a younger firm (based in 2020 as a subsidiary of NGV International Group) with a fleet of about 200 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that function completely on different fuels.

Matt Brewer, the corporate’s director of operations, oversees the truck fleet and educates clients about the advantages of other gas applied sciences from pure fuel to hybrid and absolutely electrical heavy-duty vehicles.

Brewer began his profession in trucking at Werner Enterprises and served stints at Stevens Transport; a now defunct specialised bulk provider; and Vista Proppants and Logistics. He has been on the operation facet of issues for greater than 12 years, in every thing from dispatching to billing to common administration. All the time sustaining a excessive degree of management.

However for him, this position is a bit bit completely different as a result of he has the chance to do “some nice issues for the earth.” On this position, it’s his first foray into overseeing different gas autos. And he’s all in.

“Matt has optimized GPL’s operations by 20%, making certain that our vehicles are working at max effectivity with the appropriate masses and the appropriate routes,” GPL Chief Working Officer Dmitri Tisnoi says. “He has additionally made a big influence on GPL’s backside line, rising our pipeline of recent enterprise by [more than] $1 million per 30 days.”

Brewer says his first yr on this position is a “huge” accomplishment, and the proudest in his current profession.

“We’re doing one thing utterly completely different than different trucking firms right here, and to get folks to purchase into working different fuels or function electrically — out of your drivers to your staff to clients — it may be form of a scary factor at first,” Brewer says of getting people who find themselves used to working on diesel on board with different fuels. “Speaking with all these [people] in coaching … we’ve executed a really, superb job of retaining staff right here.”

Tisnoi says he believes the “arduous work of ‘inexperienced transportation’ deployment, optimization and gross sales [Brewer] is doing as we speak will turn out to be a brand new customary for the heavy-duty trucking of tomorrow.”


  • Engineering Staff Chief
  • Schneider

Many fleets, massive and small, are making efforts to scale back their carbon footprint and greenhouse fuel emissions. Battery-electric vehicles are a big a part of that dialog, and the business is ranging from floor zero. Behind these deployment initiatives are individuals who aren’t afraid to get began, and who thrive on innovation.

Jeremy Hock is that individual for Schneider’s battery-electric truck deployment venture, which is part of the provider’s bigger plans to scale back their emissions.

Since 2020, Hock has led the Schneider workforce by way of the deployment of 62 Class 8 battery-electric vehicles within the firm’s Southern California intermodal operations. The hassle would place Schneider as one of many largest battery-electric truck fleets in North America, and Hock says they’re simply getting began.

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates’ Senior Vice President of Packages and GNA Accomplice Joe Annotti referred to as Hock’s management “essential” in securing venture participation and commitments, in addition to funding.

With a background in biomedical electronics and 12 years of operational expertise with Schneider, Hock jumped on the alternative to turn out to be the purpose individual for the corporate’s “rapidly advancing” zero-emission asset know-how efforts.  All the pieces from the know-how, the vehicles, the charging {hardware} and software program choice, all comes below his possession.

“Success within the deployment of the zero-emission belongings is an amazing accomplishment,” Hock says. “It’s a big alternative all through the nation to attenuate our influence on the globe.”

For Hock, taking up this position, and establishing himself as a lead on this essential a part of the enterprise, all comes all the way down to being prepared to suppose exterior of the field to advance the business. It additionally helps that Schneider created an atmosphere the place there have been alternatives to develop, and a transparent imaginative and prescient for the long run.

“You need to have the eagerness to wish to study and be capable to establish the alternatives for which you are feeling you may proceed to develop your self,” Hock says. “From an organization perspective, it’s worthwhile to proceed to stick with the occasions, proceed to place a big focus in your know-how development, and have an emphasis on desirous to go inexperienced — as a result of it’s the appropriate factor to do.”


  • Upkeep and Security Supervisor
  • Sioux Trucking

“I grew up within the enterprise,” says Jared Jackson. “My father began Sioux Trucking over 30 years in the past and I’ve been round it and trucking my complete life. Since formally becoming a member of the fleet eight years in the past, I’ve gotten to study all features of it. It’s lots of shifting elements — even for me, coming from being a mechanic.”

Sioux Trucking is among the many first carriers contracted to be a transportation service supplier to FedEx Floor and operates below their authority.

“It’s a protracted and really symbiotic relationship,” Jackson notes. Sioux operates 5 firm tractors pushed by 10 workforce drivers. “Every of our vehicles runs lengthy haul; 275,000 miles a yr, all devoted runs.”

Previous to coming again to Sioux, Jackson earned his stripes as a technician and obtained a Bachelor of Science diploma from Utah’s Weber State College. Now an government with the provider for eight years, his present position is heading up upkeep and security.

“Security’s position in a fleet is altering exponentially,” he says.

Jackson is turning into identified past Sioux for his revolutionary and wide-ranging deal with bettering security for the fleet’s drivers, different truckers, and the motoring public. A key a part of his strategy is to “drive residence as many security messages as doable to our drivers,” together with holding security convention calls. He develops shows given to FedEx Floor’s month-to-month security conferences and is open to sharing concepts with different FedEx Floor transportation service suppliers. He’s additionally pursuing NATMI certification and contributes to the American Trucking Affiliation’s Security Committee, which his father serves on.

Jackson has instituted a company-wide coverage to carry conferences to “dissect any and all security infractions.” He says the purpose is to determine the way to right behaviors to stop future occurrences.

“We ask, ‘What might we now have executed higher or completely different to stop this incident?’ Then we take quick motion to right any deficiencies in our program.”

To say the least, Jackson leads from the entrance. One other instance: Because of the fleet’s weekly detailed inspections of vehicles and his interactions with a DOT security officer, he discovered that bunk-net security gear just isn’t an everyday a part of California DOT security inspection necessities.

To assist guarantee Sioux’s bunk-safety nets had been as much as their job, Jackson started having them inspected in-house and inspired Ryder, their tractor lessor, to additionally carry out such inspections routinely on the fleet’s present and all substitute autos. Together with recommending that different FedEx Floor TSPs do the identical, Jackson has gone a step additional. He’s begun lobbying to mandate security inspections of bunk nets by California in order that “all drivers may be assured this essential security gear is in working order.” He says he desires “to have safety-net restraints fall below the identical inspection guidelines as seat belts.”


  • Government Vice President
  • Inter-Metro Freight

Like a lot of those who discover themselves in trucking, it wasn’t at all times the profession path Mind Kohn had envisioned for himself. However when he was first launched to New Jersey-based Inter-Metro Freight in 2009 and given a possibility to attempt his hand at order entry and dispatching, he went all in on constructing a basis that may rapidly lead him to the chief degree.

Studying the enterprise from the bottom up finally lead him to managing operations, and now, he’s government vp. Inter-Metro focuses on ocean container drayage, serving the ports of New York and New Jersey. The corporate has seven operations across the nation.

However his quick success isn’t what units Kohn above the remainder. What makes Kohn a profitable chief is his dedication to fostering a tradition of respect and collaboration.

“You don’t simply transfer right into a place of authority and count on your workforce to do what you say since you’re a supervisor or a supervisor,” he says. “It’s worthwhile to earn that respect and lead by instance. Present them that you simply’re in it with them, and that you simply’re going to do no matter it takes for them to achieve success — for the workforce to achieve success.”

He adheres to an open-door coverage, and says he tries to instill the mindset that nobody is above or beneath anybody else. His philosophy is that the workforce must be prepared to assist one another and tackle tasks as they comes.

“I’m most happy with constructing a tight-knit, robust firm tradition the place folks really feel acknowledged and rewarded once they come to work,” Kohn says. “I’ve at all times mentioned that’s what motivates me most: coming to work and determining what we are able to do, not solely to make clients comfortable, however to make our workforce comfortable, as nicely. When we now have a motivated, energetic workforce that collaborates and works collectively nicely, it offers the corporate the most effective alternative to achieve success.”

Kohn views trucking as an enormous puzzle, and he values enter from his workforce to get that puzzle discovered.

“As a supervisor, it’s essential that you simply’re responding to your folks, even when it’s not an concept that we’re going to maneuver ahead with,” Kohn emphasised. “It’s essential to acknowledge the thought, give consideration to it, after which make your determination from there.”

Kohn says heavy-duty trucking fleets trying to entice new expertise and rising leaders to the business ought to make investments the time to clarify how integral trucking is to the provision chain, the economic system and on a regular basis lives.

“On the finish of the day everybody desires to really feel like they’re a worth in what they’re doing and making a distinction… making an influence,” he says.


  • Director of Driver Hiring
  • EverGreen Industries

Stephen Lusk joined flatbed provider EverGreen Industries shortly after graduating from Mississippi State College with a advertising and marketing diploma, with a focus in provide chain administration.

“I got here in by way of an apprenticeship program and, in early 2019, was assigned to a then one-man security and recruiting division that was largely paper-based,” Lusk says. “After six weeks of on-the-job coaching, it was clear to me we had been behind the occasions.

“Now, I deal with almost all steps of the onboarding course of, from the primary cellphone name with a prospect to shaking the brand new driver’s hand earlier than he hits the street whereas additionally recurrently contributing to EverGreen’s security program,” he continues.

Based in 1991, EverGreen credit a lot of its success to the way it “empowers the guts” of the enterprise, its drivers. Lusk notes that EverGreen ran some 70 energy items when he got here onboard and is trying to area greater than 100 tractors by the top of this yr.

With that price of development, the carriers’ driver recruitment and onboarding course of needed to be as much as the duty. To deal with the upsurge, Lusk transitioned the recruiting division “away from a fundamental webform utility to undertake the Tenstreet ATS system. That’s essentially modified how we establish, interact, and rent skilled drivers.”

Whereas he focuses on driver recruiting and one other workforce member oversees security, Lusk sees the 2 disciplines as dovetailed.

“Proper from the primary cellphone name with a brand new applicant, we’re evaluating them on their security document and strategy to security,” he says. “Our three-day orientation program consists of security coaching in addition to the chance to work together with all our departments to assist them get to know the corporate.”

He provides: “I information every driver candidate all through. It’s a private strategy. They’ve my cell quantity in addition to the corporate president’s quantity.”

As for what appeals to him about EverGreen, Lusk says what helped draw him in had been the “direct entry to firm leaders—that’s invaluable for a younger skilled—and that you simply’re given lots of license to innovate and pursue recent administration concepts. I see the corporate as being like a startup — however one with a protracted profitable historical past.”

Lusk means that any provider that wishes to draw and retain youthful professionals ought to emphasize how their company tradition matches these career-seekers and present there may be “a transparent path to maneuver up within the firm.” One other tip is to acknowledge the place you’re and what you’ll have to do to make your location a vacation spot interesting to prospects below 40.

“There are tons of trucking firms, however most of them are based mostly in small cities and rural areas,” he says. “So, do what you may to assist youthful staff get established in your space.”


  • Supervisor of Components and Buying
  • A. Duie Pyle

Greg Mellon has been with Pennsylvania-based less-than-truckload provider A. Duie Pyle for 15 years. He oversees the fleet upkeep’s centralized elements, buying and distribution operation which providers the fleet of over 5,000 items of kit all through the Northeast. The warehouse feeds 25 A. Duie Pyle upkeep retailers its elements, tooling and lubricants.

 All through his time at A. Duie Pyle, he’s assumed a range tasks for sustaining and bettering completely different capabilities inside the Fleet Upkeep division. A part of his job is to additionally oversee the guarantee division, fleet upkeep software program, oil sampling program, core administration, tire program, fluid program and the administration workforce (licensing, registrations, permits, and so on.).

About eight years in the past, Mellon additionally led the implementation of the fleet’s upkeep software program, AssetWorks FleetFocus, and headed coaching efforts. Now, he’s the lead energy consumer for the software program.

All through his time in administration, Mellon has employed and developed a workforce of individuals to assist accomplish the fleet’s expectations. The fleet’s good status and robust relationships within the business additionally helped A. Duie Pyle navigate the COVID-19 pandemic-induced provide chain constraints on elements and elements.

“There was quick time period ache (and nonetheless is), however we’ve executed fairly nicely supporting the operation,” he says. “We intention to maintain the fleet working and technicians geared up, however [the maintenance leadership team] is navigating quite a few challenges behind the scenes each single day.” 

For him, essentially the most rewarding half about his place is to supply the identical mentorship that’s/was essential to his improvement, to others. There is no such thing as a formal schooling that can put together you for a profession in fleet upkeep, he says.

“Success is a mix of fine mentorship, arduous work and alternative,” he says. “Whether or not in fleet upkeep or operations, those who do the most effective in our business are those who reap the rewards of compounding years of mentorship, arduous work and alternative.  On daily basis is a chance to study in our ever-evolving business.”

Mellon works with and has been mentored by A. Duie Pyle’s Vice President of Upkeep Dan Carrano, certainly one of HDT’s 2021 Truck Fleet Innovators.


  • Regional Supervisor for Mexico & Temperature-Managed Items
  • Werner Enterprises

Rita Runge leads Werner Enterprises’ customer support efforts for the temperature-control and Mexico divisions from Werner’s residence base in Omaha, Nebraska.

Her workforce of 4 U.S.-based customer support representatives handle freight actions, together with some dry van. She additionally helps help a bigger workforce in Mexico. Any challenges between pickup and supply are troubleshooted by these groups. Runge oversees the options for roadside breakdowns, accidents, and any of the various issues that may interrupt trucking operations.

“This business is at all times giving me muscle mass,” she says. “I study one thing new each week.” However when she’s challenged and studying, that’s when she actually shines. Maybe that’s why the customer support workforce is the proper outlet for her management.

Her philosophy is to at all times go above and past in taking good care of clients.

“On the finish of the day, the truck itself may be changed, however the customer support and the connection you construct together with your buyer can’t,” she says. Whereas the trucking business, and it’s know-how and gear, is at all times altering, there’s one factor that’s fixed: customer support, she provides.

Previously couple years, Runge says her workforce’s customer support efforts at Werner have been acknowledged by a few of its largest clients.

“I feel that typically we get form of caught up within the day-to-day,” she says. ”So, I’m simply ensuring that [we’re] going that further mile as a result of it will get observed. Clients acknowledge that. I really feel as a supervisor, it’s one thing that I attempted to work on — this recognition. The detrimental facet of issues form of stands out and lingers. So, ensuring the arduous work that you simply put in, the effort and time, it should get observed.”

Runge has been with Werner for 10 years. She started her profession in billing and later transitioned to customer support earlier than taking up her supervisory position.


  • Director of Human Sources and Security
  • Nussbaum Transportation

Rick Schmidt joined the nationwide truckload provider Nussbaum Transportation about six years in the past as a driver recruiter. He frequently moved up the ranks till being named to his current place as director of human assets and security about two years again.

“In dealing with security, I wish to ensure that we acknowledge the place everyone seems to be coming from,” he says. “If we are able to try this, we are able to decide how we may also help our drivers be as secure as doable.”

As he sees it, “security could also be black and white, however not so people, who’ve their very own considerations and stresses” that may have an effect on their driving efficiency.

Schmidt manages Nussbaum’s signature computerized scoreboard system that assesses information factors so the fleet can higher coach and inspire drivers to be each safer and extra fuel-efficient.

Not too long ago, the provider rolled out a voluntary driver-development program referred to as Licensed Crimson, named after the daring paintjob on its gear.

“Licensed Crimson not solely takes within the drivers’ security efficiency, but additionally their skilled improvement and persevering with schooling by means of ‘job-shadowing’ in our operations and upkeep departments,” explains Schmidt. “Drivers enrolled additionally obtain hands-on schooling by way of video and cellphone calls.” Like with the scorecard, Licensed Crimson drivers obtain pay incentives and different recognition.

This system fosters delight within the drivers who full all the weather of it who’re truly “Licensed Crimson,” which ought to assist them run safer and see their pay proceed to rise, in line with Schmidt.

At the moment, 250 of the fleet’s 465 firm drivers are enrolled in Licensed Crimson and 114 up to now have accomplished the certification course of, Schmidt stories. Whereas company-wide driver turnover stands at 43%, the drivers who’ve gone all through Licensed Crimson have a turnover price of simply 23%.

What led Schmidt to trucking and why does he like fleet administration?

“I’ve uncles and such who’re farmers with CDLs, however as knowledgeable, I’m the primary one in trucking,” he says. “I’ve an HR background and an excellent good friend prompt that I apply right here. What we do at Nussbaum matches with my purpose to positively influence folks’s lives. And it’s a spot the place one can develop and develop in any sort of place, not simply in administration.”

In on the lookout for new leaders to come back onboard, Nussbaum embraces the internship strategy.

“After we get interns in, we present them the tech, for IT and information administration, and monetary,” Schmidt says. “And we spend money on coaching, which is why Nussbaum is collaborating within the FMCSA younger-driver pilot program for 18- to 21-year-old CDL holders.”


  • CEO and Founder
  • Angie’s Transportation

Angie Twardawa is the mastermind behind Angie’s Transportation, which has grown from a small operation with just some vehicles and devoted drivers, to a multi-million greenback operation in St. Louis specializing in refrigerated transport.

Twardawa based Angie’s in 2012 along with her brother Rafael as director of operations. And below her possession, the provider has grown by tens of millions in annual gross income annually, and there’s no pattern that development will decelerate. Final yr, the corporate grossed almost $16 million, and this yr earnings are projected to match or exceed that quantity.

At the moment, she’s within the technique of constructing an roughly 16,000-square-foot headquarters in St. Louis. The plan consists of each workplace and warehousing area with cross-dock capabilities. The ability will home dispatching, coaching, 24-hour entry to driver facilities and a upkeep bay.

Twardawa grew up on the planet of trucking. Her father was an over-the-road truck driver within the ‘90s, and later began his personal trucking firm, TWA Specific, within the early 2000s. Earlier than founding her personal firm, Twardawa was well-versed in all areas of the operation, having spent her summers serving to out on the firm in varied departments from dispatching to security to accounting.

Her expertise additionally gave her an appreciation for the drivers that make her enterprise profitable. At the moment, the 60-truck fleet staff between 50 and 60 drivers.

She believes in protecting her enterprise working on well-maintained gear spec’ed for driver consolation, together with with automated tire inflation programs and auxiliary energy items. All of her vehicles aren’t any older than just a few years, and are solely saved for 5 years earlier than she absolutely specs them out of her fleet.

 In 2017, Angie’s Transportation’s leased workplace and warehouse area burnt to the bottom in one of many worst fires within the historical past of town. Twardawa was in a position to hold enterprise on observe and in operation whereas she labored day and night time out of her residence to rebuild her firm information. Her confirmed resiliency and business-savvy present there’s nothing that may cease this rising chief.


  • Director of Upkeep and Buying
  • Walpole Inc.

Some folks fall into trucking, and others develop up in it.

As a fourth-generation “trucker” Ryan Walpole has spent his complete life caring deeply about trucking and desirous to see the business succeed. However greater than that, he desires folks exterior of the world of trucking to know and care about it too.

When he’s at work he’s the director of upkeep and buying for family-owned and -operated Walpole Inc., and when he’s not at work he’s proudly representing the business.

He’s a graduate of the American Trucking Associations’ LEAD class — a program designed to develop the following era of trucking management, sits on the Martin County Metropolitan Planning Group, and is actively concerned within the Florida Trucking Affiliation. He’s a board member, the founding member of the affiliation’s 2.0 Management class — which helps rising leaders within the business, and serves as FTA’s vp to the ATA.

Whereas he grew up in a 70-year-old, legacy (primarily dry bulk pneumatic tanker) trucking operation, Walpole says trucking has at all times been his alternative.

“One of many issues that my grandfather did for me was he sat me down and advised me, ‘you already know, simply because we now have a household transportation firm doesn’t imply it’s worthwhile to be concerned. I’ve bought lots of mates in lots of completely different locations. I could make some cellphone calls if you wish to go be something you need,’” Walpole recollects.

Walpole labored his means all through the operation, doing every thing from cleansing vehicles to serving to out within the security division to working with accounts payable.

On the subject of his mission, and his recommendation for different firms trying to foster younger leaders, he says to search out people who find themselves passionate and spend money on them.

“For the longest time transportation hasn’t been given acknowledgement that transportation wants,” he says. “I feel it’s the important thing for the business, which I really feel does a really poor job at selling ourselves. These previous couple of years, it’s gotten higher.” However, he thinks there’s extra to be executed, and that’s why he’s so concerned.

Walpole has additionally led the implementation of inward and outward dealing with cameras throughout the fleet’s 300 energy items.

These profiles had been featured within the October 2022 concern of Heavy Obligation Trucking.

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