Milestone Chassis Doug Hoehn Headshot

Meet Doug Hoehn

Meet Your Milestone

When Doug Hoehn joined Milestone in 2014, he was tasked with the duty of creating the company’s new Chassis division. In a short period of time and under his leadership, Milestone Chassis has grown to 7,000 chassis strong – all brand new, modern and premium – in 29 locations across the US.

The industry veteran (his career spans over 30 years in transportation) shares the most important ingredients in building a team, the biggest challenge facing the industry, and what accomplishments make him proud.

Professional Background

Tell us about your responsibilities as Executive Vice President of Chassis & Managed Assets at Milestone.

I’ve been involved in the startup for the Milestone Chassis business – the newest of the three product lines. In addition to staffing the organization, I’m responsible for sales, marketing and operations, as well as overseeing some of the operational responsibilities for our intermodal trailer and container business.

Beyond the Chassis group being responsible for managing and procuring our chassis and sites, they manage our peak program and ensure the delivery of trailers and containers. We run about 12,000 trailers for customers during peak season, as well as 3,000 domestic containers. Following peak season, we are responsible for storing the trailers during the year, making sure they are maintained, and then preparing them again to go out on the road for the next peak season.

Growth

You and your team built the Chassis division of Milestone. There’s been a lot of growth in this area of the company since its founding in 2015. What was involved in its creation?

It involved developing a strategy to implementing that strategy and putting inventory in 29 locations across the US. The fleet today is almost 7,000 chassis, all brand new, modern and premium, available for daily rentals, short term rentals and long-term lease.

There’s a lot of discussion around new vs. refurbished chassis. Why is this so important?

At the end of the day, a refurbished chassis is still an old chassis. I think of it this way – you can bring in a beat-up car to someone, get the dings hammered out, give it a nice paint job, and make it look shiny and new. But the reality is, it might still be falling apart on the inside. With an existing chassis, you can do the same thing, give it a paint job and put some new tires on, maybe replace some of the mechanical things like give it new brakes – which may or may not have ABS – maybe replace the lighting to bring that up to spec. And this is what a refurbished chassis is – it may look good on the outside but you really don’t know how reliable it will be when the rubber meets the road.

With a refurbished chassis, compared to new, your overall operating expenses will still be higher than a new piece of equipment, and it still lacks modern technology that we would insist be installed on our own personal vehicles. Over time, a new chassis will be cheaper to operate.

Leadership

Let’s talk about leadership. You’ve build a lot of teams over your career. What’s key in creating good synergy?

When you’re developing a team, of course you must recognize that everybody has different responsibilities, different skills and varying levels of training. Part of our job as leaders is to develop that team to be well-rounded and to grow together. One thing our team here in Burr Ridge (Illinois) will say, is that they all work hard and they play hard, and they do it together. I’m proud that we’ve nurtured that kind of culture.

Give us a recent example of your team working together and accomplishing a goal.

Getting all this equipment ready for peak season was top priority for a long time. The team worked tirelessly and around the clock. They found new vendors and managed and improved the process so we had the entire fleet ready. The deadline was Oct 1. But the team got everything ready by Sept 1. We were one month ahead of schedule. And that was possible because of the team working and delivering it together.

Goals

What achievements are you most proud of?

From a business standpoint, I’m proud of what we have built over the past two years. We took an established brand in the intermodal and over-the-road trailer business and added a third product line. On top of that, we also created an entirely new branding for Milestone.

On a personal level, I have two daughters and a son and I’m very proud of my family. I’m also proud of being a doting grandfather to 1 ½ year-old twin grandchildren.

Any goals for the coming year?

Yes, a personal goal: to get my golf score lower than my bowling score!

Separating Milestone From The Rest

One of the things that sets Milestone apart from the competition is its approach to customer service. How do you keep customer service personalized while also growing as a company?

One of the things we emphasize with our employees is that everyone who picks up the phone and talks to the customer is a sales person. There are all these adages about how it’s easier to lose one person as a customer than it is to gain that person as customer. Our team is always looking for new and innovative ways to help a customer. We genuinely want to provide flexibility. We pride ourselves in tailoring our solutions to provide a better product for our customers.

Challenges

What is the biggest challenge facing the industry today?

The biggest challenge for the chassis industry is the overall age and condition of the existing chassis fleet in the North American market today.

How is Milestone addressing those challenges?

It’s because of this challenge that we have invested in new equipment. The reality is, there is a very large portion of the fleet that operates that is old and outdated and needs to be replaced.

Why Milestone?

What do you like best about your job?

There is no single day that’s the same. Every day presents new challenges. I’m constantly working with people to develop new solutions. I travel tirelessly. I’m always on the road. I’m very rarely in the office. Some people might think this would be a negative, but I enjoy the people I meet along the way. People in the transportation industry are a pleasure to work with. Intermodal is truly multiple modes of transportation and providers, all working together to provide a service. It requires a lot of coordination across divisions and with people all around the world. It’s a very satisfying line of work.

 

 

 

Milestone at IANA EXPO 2017

A Look Back on IANA EXPO 2017!

Review

IANA EXPO is always a great time to connect & learn! This year presented new opportunities to share with customers

Milestone at IANA EXPO 2017

around how we continue to push intermodal forward through:

  • The growth of America’s newest chassis fleet, launched in the past year, now expanding nationwide!
  • The benefits of reduced M&R (as well as the bottom line) through the use of new equipment.
  • Flexible leasing options, expert service & more!

Thank you to our customers, vendors & friends that joined us at our reception on Sunday. It was wonderful to get together with you to kick off such an incredible few days at IANA EXPO 2017!

 

Milestone Equipment Holdings Promotes Don Clayton to Chief Executive Officer

ST. CHARLES, MO (July 11, 2017) – Milestone is proud to announce that Don Clayton has been promoted to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, and appointed to the Board of Directors. Clayton joined Milestone in August 2016 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Don served on the executive team of nationwide industrial distributor HD Supply Waterworks for 11 years, including eight years as Chief Financial Officer. He also served in the financial services practice of global professional services firm PwC for seven years.

“We are very pleased that Don will lead the Milestone organization into the future,” says Tom Juterbock, who represents Barings Alternative Investments on the Milestone Board of Directors. “Since joining Milestone, Don has worked closely with management and the Board to develop and execute the company’s strategic plan, while driving numerous initiatives that will allow the company to capitalize on future growth opportunities.”

“I am honored to continue serving Milestone in this new role,” says Clayton. “The transportation industry is constantly changing and Milestone is positioned to serve the market very effectively with our wide range of products, expert solutions and world-class customer service. We are driven to grow our business by making our customers more successful, while serving as an employer of choice in our industry. It is an exciting time to be part of the Milestone organization.”

 

About Milestone Equipment Holdings, LLC

Milestone is a full-service transportation equipment leasing and asset management company specializing in motor carrier equipment and rail industry intermodal assets including: Chassis, Domestic Containers, Flatbed Trailers, Highway Trailers, Intermodal Trailers (Piggybacks), and Refrigerated Containers and Trailers.

Headquartered in St. Charles, MO with regional offices in Chicago, IL and Kansas City, MO plus our nationwide branch network, Milestone has acquired intermodal and highway fleets for our operations since 1995, while managing and leasing equipment on behalf of institutional and private investors. Customers include Class I Railroads, Truckload Carriers, Less-Than-Truckload Carriers, Drayage Companies, Intermodal Marketing Companies, 3PL’s, Private Shippers, Barge Operators, and Shipping Lines. The Milestone fleet allows all of these industry segments to maximize equipment utilization and transportation efficiency without the burden of owning their own equipment.

Our management services include the origination and administration of leases, arranging debt and equity financing, operating and maintaining equipment in daily rental service, and administrating the returns of equipment portfolios.

Port of New York & New Jersey

The Port of NY/NJ to See Chassis Shortages, Milestone Chassis Customers Not Affected

Concerned about chassis shortages on the East Coast? You’re not alone. Many of our customers are setting plans in place to be sure that they’re ready to handle larger shipments following the first to pass under the Bayonne Bridge on June 26th.

When we speak with our customers, we’re glad to be able to tell them things will be business as usual. Milestone Chassis is very much so present on the East Coast and poised to seamlessly assist customers with our modern fleet.

Journal of CommerceAs highlighted in a recent JOC article by Hugh Morley, Doug Hoehn, EVP of Milestone Chassis Co., offered assurance. In addition to our own chassis offering, he confirms that we are indeed interested in joining either the Flexi-Van/DCLI or Metro Pool. Milestone’s goal remains to offer a new, modern alternative to the aging equipment that competitors are offering.

JOC subscribers can read the full article here. Be sure to sign up to reserve your chassis in advance of this development here.

Milestone Chassis – Prepared to Serve In Light of Shipping Alliance Reformation

Here at Milestone Chassis, we strive to keep customers informed. It is particularly important now, in our changing business climate.

In a recent article, the Hellenic Shipping News detailed what they and others have described as “The Big Bang of 2017,” referencing the merger of several of the largest ocean carriers.

In the article, David J. Arsenault, president of Logistics Transformation Solutions and former president of Hyundai Merchant Marine America, appears. He spoke about the issue at a “Learning from Hanjin” panel on Feb. 28 at the Journal of Commerce’s TPM 2017 Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center. He predicts that we will begin seeing larger vessels at U.S. ports:

“…That’s going to certainly start to contribute to challenges with terminals, with trucks, with chassis and all the stakeholders that are there until things get resettled.”

*The full article is available here.

In short there are many ways to combat congestion and delay – not least of which is Milestone’s commitment to adding more new chassis and intermodal equipment into the pools in markets like Los Angeles and Long Beach. Sign up to receive daily West Coast Inventory Alerts from Milestone Chassis to keep your business moving!

Daily Milestone/HTA Inventory Email Sign Up

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Milestone Chassis – Staying Ahead of “Warning Signals” in Los Angeles & Long Beach

In an article last week, JOC flagged “warning signals” mounting at LA-LB terminals during the current, post-Chinese New Year decrease in imports.

Weston LaBar, Executive Director of the Harbor Trucking Association, offered thoughts on ways to address the issue including:Harbor Trucking Association

  • Discontinuing storage at marine terminals.
  • Offering storage of chassis at designated yards throughout the harbor area.
  • On-site pre-inspections and repairs, where necessary.
*The full article is available to JOC subscribers here.

In short there are many ways to combat congestion and delay – not least of which is Milestone’s commitment to adding more new chassis and intermodal equipment into the pools in these markets. Sign up to receive daily West Coast Inventory Alerts from Milestone Chassis to keep your business moving!

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Our New Corporate Headquarters

In an ongoing effort to support its growing customer base and in response to a remarkable growth year, Milestone Equipment Holdings, one of the nation’s most comprehensive lessors of transportation equipment, announces its new corporate headquarters in St. Charles, MO, near Interstate 70 and Zumbehl Road.

  • Address: 3050 West Clay Street, Suite 300 St. Charles, MO 63301
  • Telephone Number: 636-238-8896

The new facility will serve as a support hub for the company’s divisional offices in Chicago, IL (Intermodal and Chassis) and St. Charles, MO (Trailer Leasing), and its nationwide branch and depot network. This location will house the majority of the company’s administrative functions such as Finance, Accounting, Risk Management and Human Resources.

“Milestone is focused on providing outstanding service to our customers, while capitalizing on growth opportunities in the transportation sector,” says Don Clayton, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Milestone Equipment Holdings. “The construction of our modern new headquarters and the availability of adjacent space for future expansion provide a scalable platform to support that mission, while helping us become an employer of choice for our current and future associates.”

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Since its founding in 1995, Milestone continues to build on superior customer service and flexible solutions. Today, with a combined fleet of over 80,000 domestic chassis, containers and trailers, the company continues to offer customers full service transportation equipment leasing and asset management.

President and Chief Operating Officer, Jordan Ayers, added, “We are fortunate to have some of the most experienced leaders in the industry and this expansion will help us continue to grow and build, while also providing upgraded training facilities for our sales and operations personnel.”

 

Electronic Logging Devices

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – Electronic Logging Device

 

About the ELD Rule

The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. For carriers using AOBRDs (automatic onboard recording devices) before the rule compliance date December 18, 2017, the rule will replace AOBRDs with ELDs over a four-year implementation period. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. The rule applies to most carriers and drivers who are required to maintain RODS.

The ELD Rule:

  • Specifies who is covered by the rule and exceptions to it.
  • Provides for ELDS to be certified, registered, and listed on a FMCSA website.
  • Includes technical specifications to ensure ELDs are standardized and compliant.
  • Includes a phased implementation timeline to give drivers and carriers time to comply.
  • Includes provisions to help prevent data tampering and harassment of drivers.
  • Creates standard data displays and data transfer processes, making it easier to demonstrate compliance and faster to share RODS with safety officials.

 

ELD Rule Impacts

Carriers and Drivers who are subject to the rule must install and use ELDs by the appropriate deadline:

  • Carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017.
  • Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.
    Enforcement Partners must understand enforcement and compliance procedures during each implementation phase, and which regulatory guidance applies to each.

ELD Manufacturers must conform to ELD technical specifications, certify their ELDs, and register them with FMCSA.

 

What Do I Need to Know?

The ELD Rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers are included, unless they qualify for one of the exceptions to the ELD rule.

ELD Rule Exceptions

The following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required):

  • Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (transporting an empty vehicle for sale, lease, or repair).
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

 

What Do I Need to Do?

Carriers must evaluate and select ELDs, and ensure they are installed and drivers and administrative staff are trained to use them by the deadline that applies (December 16, 2019 for carriers using AOBRDs or December 18, 2017) for those using paper logs or logging software.

The Compliance Checklist for Carriers includes additional information.

Drivers must understand and be able to use ELDs by the required deadline, including how to annotate and edit RODS, certify RODS, and collect required supporting documents. You will also need to know how to display and transfer data to safety officials when requested.

The Compliance Checklist for Drivers and the Using ELDs section provide more details.

 

ELD Benefits

  • ELDs make it easier, simpler, and quicker to keep driver logs.
  • ELDs limit mistakes and reduce form and manner errors.
  • ELDs provide information to drivers and motor carriers so that drivers can better manage fatigue and schedule issues.
  • ELDs correctly record location and accurate information to easily track duty status.
  • ELDs are a good management tool and back office asset to improve productivity and enhance compliance.
  • With ELDs, there is less paperwork, and driver logs are orderly, clear, and accurate.

 

Tips for Choosing a Compliant ELD

Below are tips to consider when choosing an ELD, and a checklist of key features and functions that every ELD must provide.
Tips

  • Most Important: Make sure that the specific ELD model you are considering is on FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs. Review the list of registered ELDs here. The vendors on this list have self-certified that their device is compliant with all of the ELD technical specifications, and registered each ELD model with FMCSA.
  • Take a few minutes to research the ELD provider by checking with the Better Business Bureau and looking at online reviews for their products and customer service.
  • While many ELDs may be part of a Fleet Management System (FMS) or include FMS functions, there is no requirement for Fleet Management functionality. An ELD that complies with FMCSA requirements is what is required by the ELD rule.

 

Checklist

Before choosing an ELD, have the vendor verify that its device meets all of the ELD specifications contained in the rule.

While this list is not a complete list of all required ELD functions, at a minimum have the vendor demonstrate or show you all the features and functions in the list below.

 

ELD Feature or Function

  • Provides separate accounts for drivers and administrative (non-driver) ELD users
    Has “integral synchronization” with the engine control module to automatically record engine power status, vehicle motion status, and other data
  • Automatically records all driving time and at intervals of 60 minutes. Records date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, and driver identification
  • Records location with an accuracy of one-mile radius during on-duty driving periods
  • Reduces location accuracy to a 10-mile radius when vehicle is used for authorized personal use
  • ELD time is synchronized with UTC (coordinated universal time)
  • Retains data for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days
  • Prevents tampering; does not allow anyone to alter or erase information originally collected for driver ELD records
  • Requires driver to review unidentified driver records – and either acknowledge assignment of this driving time, or indicate that the records do not belong to the driver
  • Allows a driver to obtain a copy of his/her ELD records on demand – either through a printout or electronic file
  • Supports one of two options for electronic data transfer:
    • Telematic type: using wireless web services or email
    • Local transfer type: using USB2.0 or Bluetooth
  • Displays all required standardized data to authorized safety officials on demand – through a screen display or printout that includes three elements: a daily header, graph grid showing driving duty status changes, and detailed daily log data. The graph grid, if printed, must be at least 6 inches by 1.5 inches
  • Requires driver certification and annotation (written explanation) for any edits to records that are made by the driver or any other ELD user
  • Requires certification of driver records at the end of each 24-hour period
  • ELD provider furnishes user’s manual, instructions for handling malfunctions and record-keeping during malfunctions, and instructions for transferring ELD hours of service records to safety officials
  • Volume control or mute option for any audio feature

Note: The information provided on this website is to help promote understanding of and compliance with the ELD rule – it is not a substitute for the specific requirements documented in the rule.

American Shipper Highlights Milestone’s Addition of Charles Marsh

We continue to grow our team of experts nationally – welcome Charles Marsh!

From American Shipper:

Milestone Chassis has appointed Charles Marsh as West Coast regional sales manager. He will be based in Orange, California. Before joining Milestone, Marsh – a plus-20-year industry veteran – held management roles at Hub Group, Yusen Logistics and Mode Transportation.”

Read the full article here.

IANA 2016 Vinyls

IANA EXPO 2016: We Came, We Saw, We Launched

This year marked a true “milestone.” For the Intermodal Association of North America, the celebration of their 25th Expo. For our organization, the launch of the Milestone Chassis division and its modernized chassis program. Recently we celebrated both in Houston at the 2016 IANA EXPO.

milestone-chassis-for-web-20160817-v02

It was a pleasure to celebrate both events with so many friends throughout the industry. In addition to meeting with current and prospective customers in our booth over coffee while one of our new chassis was on view , we had the chance to demo ChassisFinder.com (now part of the Milestone portfolio) and highlight the chassis inventory in our expanded equipment fleet.

Our own Jordan Ayers was included on the panel “OTR Capacity Shortages – Will the Predictions Come True?”  Since there have not been any OTR capacity shortages this year the panel moderator, Larry Gross had the panel address other intermodal industry shortages, like chassis. Ayers commented on the surge in chassis bookings due to Hanjin Shipping’s recent bankruptcy. He noted the inability to return Hanjin containers to the terminal operators, railroads, and Hanjin’s depots as a key factor in causing the current chassis shortage. img_7498Many motor carriers are being forced to store mounted Hanjin containers on chassis for extended periods. Milestone has quickly responded by delivering more new chassis to the effected markets, living up to their customer-centric reputation.

This has been, and will continue to be a period of growth for our company, as we innovate and provide chassis solutions to meet customer needs. We look forward to introducing Milestone Chassis to all of our Intermodal partners throughout North America!

 

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