Meet Sarah Johnson
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.
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.
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.