Q: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY?
A: I entered the GSE industry not because I was looking for a new career, but because I wanted to work with Don Chapman. Don and I had worked together in an organization called Young Life where I was on the staff and he was on the board. The attractiveness of coming to the industry was to have the opportunity to work with and learn from him. Among other ventures, Don owned a small company named TUG Manufacturing. In 1990 I was selling Prevost Motorcoaches he approached me about handling North American sales and helping to build a sales team and here I am.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR TRENDS YOU HAVE SEEN DEVELOPING OVER THE PAST DECADE?
A: When I came into the industry bag tractors had a small diesel engine or a carbureted gasoline engine and technology was not much of an issue. Tractors had essentially been the same for 20 years. Emission regulations now are major factors in engine choice with resulting changes in more equipment sophistication and also constant change. The tragedy of 9/11 of course brought major changes to the airline industry with major cost cutting and companies forced to do more with less people. Many of the original people I met in the industry are gone.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED OVER THE YEARS?
A: Personally, the biggest challenge for me was my battle with prostate cancer and the even more serious complications that arose from the treatment. Quite unexpectedly, I had to deal with cancer surgery, massive blood clots, and finally radiation treatments. It was difficult to experience a period of time when everything with my health seemed to go in the wrong direction, but a good thing to have to deal with the possibility that I might not survive the process. I’m convinced that I am here only through the prayers of family, friends, and the grace of God. My family was a source of incredible strength in this time. Painful times have an amazing way of focusing your life on what is really important and for that I remain grateful.
Q: WHAT DO YOU FAVOR MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THIS INDUSTRY?
A: The best part of this industry has always been the people and building relationships with them over the years. When I came into the industry I was graciously welcomed by many who took an immense amount of time to show me the ropes. I most enjoy traveling and meeting with the people that I’ve come to know as many have become good friends.
Q: WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE IN THE INDUSTRY?
A: There are several pat answers I could provide, but in actuality I’m not smart enough to suggest how to change the industry. My philosophy in the industries I’ve been involved with has always been to relate to the industry as it is currently.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE NEW TO THE INDUSTRY?
A: My advice to a newcomer is very simple. Get to know the people in the industry and let them teach you how it operates. We are blessed with some great people who have been at this business for a long time. There is a lot of wisdom in what they do and how they do it. Listen and benefit!
Q: WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?
A: I have a close friend who graduated from college and came to the town I live in with no money and the desire to build a group home for troubled kids. He has built a wonderful organization which has had an incredible effect on many kids who needed a safe place to grow up. Literally hundreds of kids have been affected by his work. I admire the gift of his life for others. Many people achieve success without significance. He has achieved both.
Q: WHAT IN THE INDUSTRY KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
A: I’m fortunate that nothing keeps me awake at night, but my concern for the industry is another 9/11. I once heard it said that there are 10 jobs connected to every airline job and the repercussions of another catastrophe in the airline industry is to me the biggest potential nightmare.
Q: IS THERE ONE ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT YOU ARE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF?
A: I’ve been given the opportunity to work with some great people over the years both in the motorcoach industry and the GSE industry. Many are still here and others have gone on to other jobs in the industry and other industries. It was my original task to build a sales team and that has been a very special experience. I was given the opportunity to hire and train a sales group that has been very successful over the years. I have always been excited to see people that I brought on board and worked with continue to succeed. I’m very proud of the teams of which I have been a part.
Q: IF NOT IN GSE WHERE WOULD YOU BE?
A: I came into business from a Youth ministry background and one day, after I retire, would like to return to some type of counseling or teaching. I have had some great successes in business, but I’m still looking for significance in other areas.
Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE TUG IN 5, 10 YEARS?
A: Someone has said that the greatest constant is change and TUG will have to change as the industry changes. I personally believe that the biggest change will be in how equipment is provided to the industry. I believe that equipment will eventually be leased with maintenance to some customers and TUG will be in the forefront of that change. I also see TUG as more of a player in the international market over the next years.
Q: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN OCCUR AT TUG?
A: The changes at TUG have been huge over the years. Obviously the biggest has been in ownership and structure. When I began at TUG we were owned by one individual. From there we were sold to Stewart & Stevenson, a large publicly traded company and are now owned by Jacobson Partners. Jacobson Partners is a Private Equity Firm. The changes in leadership over the years have been significant. Through it all we have been very fortunate to be owned and managed by good people and have been able to keep good people working for us.