CS TRUCK AND Trailer Repair is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding this year. It is the largest privately owned tractor-trailer repair, paint and body shop in the Southeast and includes a mechanical shop, a trailer shop, a paint and body shop with five paint booths, 23 mobile service trucks and its own sandblasting facilities.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1978 and a friend told me about a job opening for a sales representative for Mason Dixon Truck Lines in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the years I have worked for or been part owner of several trucking companies, including S&W Freight Line (Atlanta office), Southern Freight and Volume Transportation. I founded CS Truck and Trailer Repair during my time at Volume, and sold my share of Volume in 2011 to focus on CS.
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO LEAD? WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS LEADER OF YOUR COMPANY?
I gravitated to leadership roles in high school and college, and I have started and/or been a manager or owner in six startup companies.
My responsibility as leader is to share my vision for giving the best service possible. That means hiring the best people and giving them the tools to do their job while educating them, motivating them and rewarding them for success.
WHAT IS YOUR MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY?
My philosophy is to get the very best people and pay and reward them with incentive and bonus opportunities based on achieving goals. I do it with true care and compassion for the individual; I feel people work harder if they know you care about them. I encourage my employees to strive for perfection. I try to show and teach them a better way and make them better.
HOW HAVE YOU ADAPTED YOUR HIRING PRACTICES TO REFLECT THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
Getting good people is harder, as the youth of today are not growing up working on cars and trucks and learning those skills like they used to. We are doing more training and working with vocational school graduates, giving them experience on the latest equipment. We are working with military veterans and even with some people in the penal system who have done well and are soon to be released on good behavior.
Today we have 115 employees and have earned a reputation as a good place to work. We earned the Top Work Place award from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2022 for the fifth year in a row. I am very proud of this as I know our people overall are very happy and know they are cared for.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR YOUR COMPANY?
We have monthly meetings involving the managers and leadership of sales, operation and administration to go over goals, talk about problems and agree on solutions to fix them. We have people with years and years of experience, and if we identify a problem, we can fix it. Every department has a manager and assistants to manage the technicians and issues. I meet regularly with anyone who may need to talk or figure things out.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LEAD YOUR COMPANY IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
We want to continue to be the leader in our industry and continue to get better every day.
We are constantly growing and improving with facilities, policies and procedures. We must meet the challenges of unforeseen issues such as COVID or the supply chain as they arise.
LEADERSHIP CAN BE STRESSFUL. WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
When you have a lot of people in many different departments there are always challenges. But that doesn’t really keep me up at night.
I tell all of our people to expect problems and welcome them. I love to fix problems and help people learn to grow and develop their sales or management skills. I also love the people who work here who have human challenges, and I try to give them the support they need to work through issues.
WHAT LEADERSHIP LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED OVER THE YEARS?
Early on in my career I was advised to welcome objections. Many people are afraid to get objections, but if you welcome them and overcome them, the objections go away and you can achieve success.
When I was in sales for one trucking company, a potential customer kept promising me business, but never followed through. I finally asked him what the problem was. He told me that many years previously one of the company’s trucks had hit and killed his dog, but the driver never stopped. I explained that the driver might have been unaware that he hit something, apologized on the company’s behalf, and even offered to buy him another dog. After that, he gave me some business.
WHAT KEEPS YOU ON TOP OF YOUR GAME?
Loving what I do. I love the trucking industry and the people in it. They truly represent the wheels that move the world. They are smart, tough, compassionate, caring and have an entrepreneurial spirit that can’t be beat.