Milestone Trailer Leasing - Jeff Alpert

Meet Jeff Alpert

Milestone Trailer Leasing - Jeff Alpert

As President of Milestone Trailer Leasing, Jeff Alpert oversees the company’s highway trailer division which consists of 27 locations across the US and over 53,000 units. The company veteran (he joined Milestone in 2000) recently shared what accomplishments he is most proud of and the biggest challenges facing the transportation industry.

 

Tell us about your role as President of Milestone Trailer Leasing. What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I’m responsible for the oversight of Milestone’s highway trailer division which consists of 27 locations and over 53,000 units. My role is to help make everyone around me successful and get obstacles out of their way.

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the whole journey. I’m proud of the many years of organic growth to becoming the second largest lessor in the country.

 

Biggest challenge facing your industry today?

One of the biggest challenges is around customer choice and customer expectations. Today, consumers want to have a product in their hand, yesterday, with a click of a button. That sense of urgency impacts everything we do. The challenge is keeping up with the velocity and pace of change. Our challenge is, “What can Milestone do to help our customers keep up with that velocity?”

 

What does the future hold for Milestone Trailer Leasing? What things are you excited about?

Back to these ideas of flexibility and being creative problem solvers – for me personally and for the company DNA, it’s about the love of solving pain points and solving problems for our customer. We are continually expanding our knowledge around finding solutions in trailer leasing, especially with how quickly things are changing in transportation.

 

What keeps you up at night?

How to tackle employee shortages and trying to get young people excited about the industry.

Hard to get a smart college grad to get excited about this space. We’re losing a lot of experience, knowledge-based in the business.

 

What is a great story about Milestone Trailer Leasing that you love to share?

It’s related to how far we come. One story has to do with one of the first big acquisitions we worked on as a young company. They asked us about our net worth. It was $1 million. They asked, “$1 billion?” And we said, “No, $1 million.” It was kind of comical because it showed what a small potato we were at the time. And now here we are, close to a $1 billion company.

Dry Vans – Milestone Means Unparalleled Accessibility and Service

Dry freight over-the-road domestic hauling is the most common type of freight transportation in the US., with over 65 percent of freight being moved by truck. At Milestone Trailer Leasing, our expanded trailer fleet features over 53,000 dry vans, flatbeds, specialized flat beds (single drops, double drops), reefers, local cartage vans, storage trailers and specialty equipment. Our extensive inventory of 53’, 48’, 45’ and 28’ trailers, coupled with unmatched personal attention is what makes us one of the nation’s leading trailer lessors.

“Our large-scale capabilities and excellence in customer service speak volumes about who we are,” says Lori Crider, Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “As the country’s second largest trailer lessor, we have the resources and equipment availability to provide what our customers need – but we also have that personal touch without being a too-large, slow-moving corporate machine.”

We have a complete range of equipment to fit any application – factory direct new 2018s, mid-range model years for economical over-the-road use, and well-maintained older units for cartage and storage use. Our national network includes 27 locations across the US, stretching from Las Vegas and Southern California to America’s Heartland and the South to the East Coast. Our customers benefit from equal access to trailer inventory all around the country as well as open architecture agreements and flexible lease options.

This means answers to peak capacity problems and door-to-door solutions to empower our customers for the long haul, last mile and everything in between.

Whether shipping foods and beverages, textile and clothing items, industrial goods and automotive parts, or plastic and building products, knowing our customers and how to ask the right questions is at the heart of providing world-class service.

“Our customers have specific needs, particularly around the specs of a trailer,” says Crider. “They might need a smooth-sided interior, an aluminum roof versus a translucent roof; they could be loading at night; they might need a swing door versus a roll door. It’s all about customization and personalization of the equipment.”

Milestone is There for the Long Haul & Last Mile

While the growing strength of e-commerce has been putting pressure on the transportation industry, Milestone Trailer Leasing is committed to keeping pace with the changing market.

We are committed to partnering with customers to search for more efficient ways of leasing dry van trailers. We can look at a dedicated trailer pool, a minimum quantity capacity guarantee, or any customized trailer solution that allows flexibility in day-to-day business. While the industry continues to shift toward major growth in e-commerce, Milestone is committed to supporting the companies operating in that space and building a rental or lease package to match.

“Milestone can provide new trailers that are reliable on the road in the long-haul application,” says Sarah Johnson, Executive Vice President of Branch Operations at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “Our network of dedicated trailer vendors and after hours service providers gives assurance that we can provide maintenance support 24/7. We are dedicated to keep you moving and on time.”

The long-haul freight model has changed dramatically over the past several years. For example, the size of driver pools has not kept up with the rise in freight volume. Isolation and long periods away from home associated with long distance trucking is often a deterrent for a new generation of drivers. Experts watching these trends predict truck fleets will adopt short-haul, regional and “last mile” routes – taking advantage of port expansions on the Gulf Coast to get drivers home sooner while also effectively managing freight deliveries.

Milestone recognizes this is where Last Mile deliveries, when a package makes the final leg of its journey to the customer’s requested location, make that critical difference. We understand and do everything we can to find ways to get our customer’s goods where they need to go in the shortest amount of time possible.

“Milestone is supporting the wider transportation network; from manufacturer, to warehouse, to fulfillment center, making sure the last mile delivery works more quickly,” says Johnson. “We are open to understanding the last mile and the technological enhancements that may be on the horizon, such as drones or ground-based delivery bots and we remain committed to supporting the process and making it more efficient.”

Why CARB Compliance is Important

At Milestone Trailer Leasing, we believe saving money and protecting the environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Ensuring our trailers meet stringent emission standards not only reduces our carbon footprint, it is beneficial to our customers’ bottom line.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the “clean air” agency in the state of California that regulates emissions standards. The term “CARB compliant” means that a product meets these requirements, which are the most rigorous in the country.

“Meeting CARB compliance is very important – it’s fuel efficient, it’s green and ultimately it’s good for business,” says Jason Pahules, Regional Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “Not getting on board is only going to limit you.”

In order to meet emissions standards, our dry vans are fitted with aerodynamic equipment compliant with all current regulations. Depending on our customers’ needs, we will fit our trailers with equipment including side skirts, spoilers fitted behind the back doors, and two panels on either side of a trailer; fitted across the top. Depending on the configuration, these systems can deliver 5 to 10 percent more fuel efficiency.

Reefers are fitted with state-of-the-art technology, known as forever filters.

“This is new technology that won’t have to be continually updated,” says Pahules. “It will make the refrigerated unit be Carb compliant forever.”

California is the leader in green and is paving the way for the rest of the country. Transportation companies are following suit and accepting that this is the direction the majority of the country is moving, and it’s important to drivers, too. As the regulatory environment regarding emissions standards become increasingly stringent, going green will become more important to our customers – even to those who don’t currently travel into or throughout California.

Milestone is proud to deliver these value-added services for our customers in today’s market.

Milestone Gives Back: Our Recent Day of Service at Youth in Need Head Start Center

One of the greatest gifts we can give is our time.

We recently had an opportunity to volunteer as a corporate team at the Youth in Need Head Start Center in Wentzville, Missouri. More than a dozen team members from across our divisions joined forces on July 21 to work in classrooms with children and on various service projects around the facility.

“Volunteering is very important to us, it provides us an opportunity to work together on a personal level,” says Jennifer Schaefer, Executive Administration Assistant for Milestone Equipment Holdings. “It also gives us a chance to share our talents and skills in the community we live in. Giving back always feels good.”

Team members were all smiles working with the children. Carolyn Mueller and John Reitano enjoyed entertaining 2-year-olds on the outdoor playground. Chris Bachmann volunteered in the 3 to 5-year-old classroom. Patti McAlister and Sarah Mesnier loved getting to know the infants and toddlers.

“I love being able to work for a company that gives back to the community,” says Mesnier, Senior Financial Reporting Accountant for Milestone Equipment Holdings. “Helping kids in need is something that means a lot to me. My mom is a child abuse therapist, so growing up I had a lot of exposure to families and kids who had nothing. It was always very important for my family to give back in any way we could. Youth in Need is an amazing organization, and it was awesome to see everything the Head Start Center does. I had so much fun playing with the toddlers and I hope we can do it again soon!”

Founded in 1974 by community volunteers, Youth in Need offers service and support programs to over 12,000 children, teens and families across eastern Missouri. The organization provides services including education, counseling and support groups, and infant, child and family development at more than 40 sites in six counties.

“The staff at Milestone was a great help to the teachers in our facility – they volunteered in all three of our classrooms doing everything from reading to our preschoolers to helping with the infants, and at one point they were even dancing with the kids,” says Cody Finan, Community Engagement Coordinator at Youth in Need Head Start Center. “Their efforts go a long way in making a great connection in the community.”