HICKORY, NC (November 3, 2016) - Transportation Insight Founder and Chairman Paul Thompson was the speaker for the 58th Harlan E. Boyles Distinguished Lecture Series at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Thompson is the visionary leader behind six highly successful North American companies, including his portfolio's flagship brand, Transportation Insight, a multi-modal global lead logistics provider and business strategist.
"I consider it an honor to be on a list with distinguished prior Boyles speakers," Thompson says. "More than anything I appreciate the opportunity to share some life experience, my experience, with the students, and while I hope the time I spent with them was entertaining, more importantly, I hope I left them with two or three gold nuggets that they will be able to use in their career and life."
Transportation Insight is a nine-time Inc. 500|5000 honoree, ranked among the Top 50 Global 3PLs, and recognized in the top revenue tier of North Carolina's privately held companies with a No. 4 ranking. The company was also recently designated a U.S. EPA SmartWay® Excellence Award recipient. Thompson, who founded Transportation Insight in 1999, is the inaugural Grant Thornton North Carolina 100 Cultural Leader of the Year and was an award recipient for the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year® Southeast Region. He was instrumental in establishing the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship at ASU's Walker College of Business. The College of Business hosts the bi-annual Boyles lecture.
Thompson delivered his lecture "The Seven Attributes of a Great Leader" in the Holmes Convocation Center Friday, Oct. 28 for an on-site audience of more than 1,000 attendees, including supply chain management and business analytics students, student entrepreneurs, Appalachian State University faculty and staff and regional business leaders.? Thousands more had access to the presentation through online streaming.
"Through my career I have been blessed to work for a number of different companies, large and small, and to work with many executives both in and out of the transportation industry," Thompson says. "Having the desire to be a successful leader, I have watched very carefully those around me whom I aspire to be more like, and I asked myself, what were the qualities about those leaders that made them different? What is the key to their success? Through the years I have accumulated seven key attributes of what I would call great leaders, and while those seven are not the only important things about leadership, I do think all seven characteristics are attributes that separate great leaders from just leaders."
In addition to delivering the Boyles Distinguished Lecture, a morning breakfast allowed Thompson to engage with students attending Appalachian State University and Winston-Salem State University and pursuing careers in supply chain management and business analytics. An industrial engineering honor graduate from University of Arkansas, Thompson notes the dynamic changes that have occurred in transportation logistics during his three decades working in the industry. A business that once largely revolved around "blue-collar" work and trucks, trailers and terminals, is now one that is highly reliant on intellectual capital.
"Advanced careers in supply chain are one of the most under-recognized positions in the North American marketplace. While today transportation and logistics is second only to medicine in GDP, it means that 11 percent of our total U.S. economy is spent in that sector," he said. "Transportation logistics and supply chain management have moved into a very technical, technology-driven career, and it is one that is not only rewarding in terms of being exciting and challenging, it is one that is also very rewarding financially. As we look to the next generation of career opportunities, I think that supply chain management is an area that many students should consider."
Transportation Insight and its recently launched transactional freight division, BirdDog Logistics, are relying on students considering those careers. The company aims to expand its workforce by nearly 20 percent during the next year, Thompson says, adding that of four-year degree holders currently employed at Hickory's corporate campus, about 20 percent attended Appalachian State. The company's workforce demands are driven by growth goals of becoming North America's foremost logistics services provider and achieving $3-$5 billion in revenue by Jan. 1, 2020.
With workforce needs in mind, Thompson and Transportation Insight work hard to establish a corporate culture that attracts the next generation of intellectual capital that will fuel transportation logistics and supply chain management into the future. The culture is grounded in a mission to create a sustainable company that delivers significance within the company walls and its surrounding communities.