Milestone Women In Trucking Recap Featured Image

Women in Trucking – Accelerate! Conference & Expo Recap

Women in Trucking

Women from all facets of the transportation and logistics industry gathered together for the Accelerate! Conference & Expo hosted by Women in Trucking. Held November 6th to 8th in Kansas City, Missouri, this year’s conference focused on how gender diversity can have a positive impact on a woman’s career and her company’s success.

The event, which also celebrated Women in Trucking’s 10th anniversary, drew more than 500 attendees from across the country. This made it the largest group ever for the organization.

“What a wonderful opportunity to gather with likeminded peers to discuss critical transportation issues and trends,” says Milestone Trailer Leasing Division Sales Executive Karen Novak, who attended the conference with Sarah Johnson, Executive Vice President of Highway Operations. “We were grateful to attend and represent the Milestone team.”

Accelerate! Conference & Expo

The three-day conference featured 30+ educational sessions. Topics ranged from speed mentoring and improving early stage driver turnover to creating happiness in the workplace and defining successful leadership. Attendees also had an opportunity to choose from four educational tracks: Leadership, Human Resources, Operations and Sales & Marketing.

The opening keynote address was given by author, screenwriter and attorney Valerie Alexander. Her presentation, “How Women Can Succeed in Trucking (Despite Having Female Brains),” examined a woman’s experience in the industry. It also provided practical tips on how to compete on a playing field designed by men.

Presentations

“Valerie is a dynamic speaker who dove into the basic reasons why women are great multitaskers, organizers and how we can take on multiple challenges,” says Novak. “Her presentation centered around ways women hold themselves back in the workplace and how to overcome that thought process.”

Novak herself participated as a sales coach/mentor and discussed her sales history followed by an informative Q&A. Topics discussed in her presentation included how to position yourself to grow with your company, recognizing when options for growth may not come in your current employment, and “must do’s” to promote yourself for higher opportunities (ex: dress, speak and behave professionally; know your topic better than anyone else in the room; take on projects that you can positively affect).

Conference Sessions

Some of the conference’s 30+ sessions offered included:

  • Steps Women Take to Become Successful Business Leaders
  • Best Practices in Female Driver Recruiting
  • Succeeding in a Male Dominated Industry
  • A Truck Tour (four different tractors were available to tour with a manufacturing rep available to discuss new innovations)
  • Elevating Your Game Through Personal Transformation
  • Tips to Eating Healthy on the Road

Several daily opportunities to network were available, including visiting vendor booths. Some vendors represented were:

In addition to the sessions, there were multiple speakers, networking lunches and evening receptions. The conference closed with drawings for vendor-provided prizes, the Woman of the Year Award (presented to Daphne Jefferson, Deputy Administrator, US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and a final presentation by Valerie Alexander.

Mission of Women in Trucking

Founded in 2007 to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, Women in Trucking is a non-profit organization that works to educate and raise awareness for women’s issues. This includes promoting career opportunities, improving working conditions for women, increasing the number of women drivers, as well as serving as a resource about women working in the transportation and logistics industry.

“In just a few short years, Women in Trucking has made significant strides for women nationwide,” says Sarah Johnson. “It’s great to see the organization grow and continue to support women’s endeavors in this exciting industry.”

Photo courtesy of Women in Trucking

 

 

 

Milestone Blog Post Featured Lori Crider

Meet Lori Crider

Lori Crider is passionate about building relationships with customers. It’s what gets her excited about her role as Sales Manager of Milestone Trailer Leasing’s Dallas division. She shares why Milestone is the absolute best trailer leasing option and what’s key to growing and retaining customer relationships.

A Day in the Life

Tell us about your responsibilities as Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. What does your typical day look like?

My focus has been to grow the Dallas market and maintain our existing customer base. Dallas is one of our newer locations (we opened last summer). It’s a growing market and it’s a great place to be in terms of the economy. Dallas also has an unusually high amount of competition.

Seeing how Dallas is a saturated market, how do you reach these customers?

I try to use all the different modes of marketing including phone calls, emails and personal visits. In this industry, you must be face-to-face with the customers and prospects which makes personal visits vitally important. I am involved in the Transportation Club of Dallas/Fort Worth and other industry networking events. You’ve got to be making those personal connections.

Accomplishments & Challenges

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Bringing on customers from my previous employer who sold their trailer leasing division and got out of the business. I’ve been in Dallas since 2010, so I had built up some business with other companies and past referrals.  It was exciting to get those customers to come over to Milestone.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?

There’s a lot of on uncertainty with how the ELD mandates will affect the industry.

Why Milestone?

What things about your job get you excited?

We are absolutely the best trailer leasing option out there. So many of our competitors are letting their customers down. Since Dallas is a newer location, it’s fun getting our name out there. Part of what I’m doing is talking with people and making them aware of who we are and what we offer. It’s thrilling to know that our executive team responds promptly and appropriately plus the fact that we’re in 27 locations with over 40,000 units definitely gets the attention of our prospects.

What keeps you up at night?

I just want to see Milestone’s brand grow and excel in the North Texas market. I see it as an exciting thing as we keep moving forward.

Success Stories

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

We were able to use 15 of our storage trailers in the show, Queen of the South, which is on USA Network. Our trailers were used to simulate a loading dock in Galveston, TX.

What is a great customer story that you love to share?

I walked in at the right time to visit with a prospect. He said, “We have a problem. We need equipment and your competitor didn’t have a quote approved, so the costs actually came back higher but I signed the agreement anyway. I was also just told that they won’t be able to provide the trailers which we need in service within the next two weeks.” We ended up taking three 2009 model roll door trailers, ordered three new lift gates, got them installed and ready to go in a one-month period (from getting the right approvals through our executive team, lift gates ordered, installed and ready to go). The customer was impressed. This is a great example of  how quickly and effectively we can respond as a company to cover a unique need.

 

 

 

Milestone Trailer Leasing Sarah Johnson

Women in Trucking – In Her Own Words

 

Meet Sarah Johnson 

The Beginning

While I was in college, I started working part-time for my dad’s trailer rental and leasing company, Personal Attention Leasing (PAL) which was based in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time, he had a rental fleet of 200 trailers. The summer I started, he added his second location in Kansas City, Kansas.

I always thought it was a temporary position, as I had different plans for my career path. I moved away to Chicago and Los Angeles while got my degree at but eventually settled back to the St. Louis area to help again with the business. We often joke that once you’re in transportation, you never get out!

Over the course of 10 years, Personal Attention Leasing grew through acquisitions of assets and companies to a fleet of 15,000 trailers and 12 locations. I held several roles in the company during those years. From inspecting equipment, processing invoices, human resource function, to helping with IT. Whatever it was, I would jump in and figure out how to make it happen, always putting the needs of the customer first. The growth of the company and my various roles gave me tremendous exposure to all aspects of the business, which I couldn’t have learned in any classroom.

Considering the fact that I worked for my father, I put pressure on myself to prove to my co-workers that I earned my position and that nothing was “given” to me. I often think back to how much I liked to play kickball at recess in the first grade. However, the boys would move in, thinking I couldn’t kick it very far. Then I would kick it over their heads. I simply wanted to get out on the kickball field and play (or win) the same game, the same way as my classmates. No special treatment.

Transitioning from Personal Attention Leasing to Milestone

In 2016 Personal Attention Leasing was rebranded to the parent company’s name of Milestone. The purpose was to represent all product lines to the market including intermodal equipment, containers, chassis and highway trailers. Today Milestone Equipment Holdings features 80,000 assets in total. As Executive Vice President of Branch Operations, I oversee our national network of 27 locations in the Trailer Leasing division. Our highway office is also our St. Louis branch, so it keeps me in touch with the equipment, driver interactions and the core of our businesses.

With our growth trajectory, I have been fortunate enough to see the transportation industry in all types of businesses and applications. I enjoy learning the inner working of the retailers, manufacturers, distributors and trucking companies. I’m equally passionate about helping these industries to creatively solve problems.

My Perspective

I enjoy working with the employees in the field, making them successful and remaining diligent to serving our customer base.

Being a woman in trucking reminds me of being on that kickball field. I don’t want special treatment. Not in my favor or against me. I am knowledgeable about this business, I know equipment, I have ideas, I like building business partnerships, and I enjoy making a profit. I want to use the skills I have developed to compete in the game.

My goal is that someday, perhaps with my help, I will have more women on my “team” in the board room to help “kick the ball over their heads.”

 

Accelerate! Conference & Expo

From Monday, November 6th to Wednesday, November 8th, I will be joining transportation, logistics, and supply chain peers at the Accelerate! Conference & Expo, hosted by Women In Trucking. If you will be attending and would like to meet, please complete the form below.

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Women in Trucking

The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry. For nearly a decade, we’ve been focused on this clear mission. It’s supported by a passionate leadership team, highly engaged members, and committed sponsors and partners. We continue to build a strong community among our members (primarily business professionals and professional drivers) who believe in and support our mission.

Milestone Trailer Leasing Sustainability

Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

Environmentally Conscious

Operating with sustainability in mind keeps Milestone at the forefront of the transportation industry. Going green makes sense – and cents – because shippers are looking for transportation providers that are committed to operating with a lower carbon footprint.

Environmental sustainability is not just the way of the future – it’s happening now and Milestone is staying ahead of the curve. We understand the merits of investing in the newest technology and equipment to transform our fleets.

In order to meet growing emissions standards nationwide (CARB, the California Air Resources Board, for example) our dry vans are fitted with aerodynamic and energy-efficient equipment compliant with all current regulations. Depending on our customers’ needs, we will fit our trailers with equipment including:

  • Low resistance tires
  • Side skirts
  • Spoilers fitted behind the back doors
  • Two panels on either side of a trailer; fitted across the top.

These systems can deliver 5 to 10 percent more fuel efficiency, depending on the configuration.

Reefers are fitted with state-of-the-art technology, such as forever filters. This is a new technology that won’t have to be continually updated and will make the refrigeration unit CARB compliant, essentially forever.

“We are continuing to invest in more and more equipment that is sustainable,” says Jason Pahules, Regional Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “Customers want it because it makes sense. For us, reduced fuel consumption is better for the bottom line. Lower CO2 emissions is better for the environment. A green supply chain drives everyone’s business. It’s a win-win-win.”

Greening up doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated. That’s why we make it as approachable as possible. The Milestone way starts at that first conversation with our customer.

“Our approach to customer service is all about that personal touch,” says Pahules. “We are intentional about providing unmatched personalized attention – it’s what sets us apart from the competition.”

Milestone Trailer Leasing Sean Ellison

Meet Sean Ellison

Traveling across the country and having an opportunity network and meet great individuals along the way. This is what Sean Ellison says is the best part of his job as Vice President of Operations at Milestone Trailer Leasing.

For two weeks of every month, Ellison visits Milestone’s various branches in the company’s national network – consisting of 25+ locations in the US, spanning from the Eastern Seaboard to the West Coast. A member of the Milestone leadership team since 2008, Ellison shares about his typical day, his proudest accomplishments, and what elevates good customer service to the “great.”

Day-to-Day

Tell us about your responsibilities as Vice President of Operations at Milestone Trailer Leasing. What does your typical day look like?

A typical day consists of managing our branch network. I oversee/assist with the buying and selling of equipment, coordinating deal fulfillment, and satisfying customer needs across our national network. I also manage the day-to-day personnel of operations out in the field. The great thing is that no day is the same.

When does your day start and when does it end?

My day starts the moment the alarm clock buzzes and goes until I sleep. Customers in the transportation industry have needs that are 24 hours a day. Assistance is needed around the clock. Our operations people are fielding requests at all hours of the day and our team is always there to help them when in a bind.

Core Competencies

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of assisting and developing our branch network. We started out really small and now we’re capable of serving transportation needs of all sizes all over the country. I’m also very proud of the culture that we’ve established, and the personnel that we’ve built. Our customers will get same service in York, Pennsylvania as they would in Los Angeles. I’m proud of that cohesiveness.

What are your thoughts about leadership? What’s key in building good teams?

It happens with extensive amounts of one-on-one time. When we’re onboarding our employees, we spend a lot of time with them at our branches. We go over best practices and best ways in interacting with our customers. That kind of training takes a lot of time and energy. We are intentional about educating them on the way that we develop services and a lot of that comes from other employees who have been in this industry for a long time.

What is the key to customer service? What separates the good from the great?

The “great” is empowering individuals at branches to make the best decision for their customer quickly and effectively. And giving them the tools to do that. Not having to tell customer, “I’ll have to get back to you with an answer,” and instead allowing our employees to have the flexibility to provide on-the-spot answers and having the confidence to do that.

Challenges

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?

The trend toward e-commerce and just-in-time deliveries. The need for everyone to have everything done yesterday. This all leads to the challenge of tying together the right equipment, in the right place, at the right time. But there’s a whole other piece to it – the logistics piece, the moving of product, getting trailers and fixing trailers. There’s the physical part, the “moving of iron,” and melding it with the technology part, that’s the challenge. It come down to meeting and balancing expectations.

How is Milestone addressing those challenges?

The best way to do it is by developing the best network – An excellent group of repair and delivery vendors and employees. Both in the field and at our head office. I’m confident that we have that in every network and that we set realistic expectations with our customers. I’m confident of the vendors that we’ve chosen to partner with. Our repair vendors provide the backbone to our capabilities.

What sets Milestone apart from the competition?

Having a vast network of experienced and knowledgeable transportation professionals who are empowered to make quick decisions benefits Milestone customers. It really comes down to the educated people in the field who can take our vision and our customers’ requests and put them into action.

Why Milestone?

What do you like best about your job?

I like the fact that technically it’s a big industry, but the country gets smaller and smaller with technology. Being able to network with people around the country is something I love. I get to travel around the country and meet with people. My favorite part is being well traveled and connecting with fantastic people along the way.

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

I always enjoy sharing Milestone’s history. The original founders and how they came together from across the country to create the basis of what we work with today. When knowing how we got here, it makes working towards those same goals, on a much larger scale, much more enjoyable.

 

Milestone Trailer Leasing - Peak Season

Staying Ahead of the Game During Peak Season

We are in the midst of peak season – the months of August through December. This is when customer sales explode, particularly as holiday product comes in on ocean containers. This requires trucks to transport merchandise to the box stores in time for holiday shopping.

Because of this surge, many shippers and trucking companies need to supplement their fleet with rental trailers to meet the demands of peak season. With trailer availability at the tightest point of the year, shippers can expect it to be difficult to fill their needs. Milestone plans ahead by making sure all trailers are ready to go as capacity gets tight during this time of year.

“We recommend planning ahead and letting us know what their anticipated needs will be,” says Lori Crider, Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “The earlier they are reserved, the better.”

Milestone’s mission is to provide transportation equipment under the most creative, cost effective and flexible structures to optimize the value of our customer’s supply chain. Consider the following checklist as the first step in fostering your demand during a busy peak season.

Peak Season Checklist

Milestone has your back. Below is your checklist to prepare for Peak Season:

Confidence During Peak Season

Your Surge in Business, Our Dedicated Capacity

  • Secure your trailers only as necessary to satisfy peak demand
  • Visibility into expenses allowing you to avoid unexpected costs

All of Your Transportation Needs – One-Stop Shop

  • Choose the Right Equipment: Over the Road (OTR) and Intermodal Equipment (trailers, containers, chassis)
  • Connect with Your Local Branch: Our Nationwide Network includes 25+ locations across the US, stretching from Las Vegas and Southern California to America’s Heartland and the South to the East Coast

Choose Your Customized Program

  • One or multiple years
  • Lease and rental
  • Expand or contract with business requirements
  • Maintenance, parking and delivery options
  • Flexible terms and options
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 Trailer Leasing - Jeff Alpert

Meet Jeff Alpert

Milestone Trailer Leasing - Jeff Alpert

Introduction

As President of Milestone Trailer Leasing, Jeff Alpert oversees the company’s highway trailer division which consists of 25+ locations across the US and 56,000+ 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.

Everyday Operations

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 25+ 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.

Challenges

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 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.

Outlook

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.

Personal Story

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 25+ 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.”

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