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High Ekberg to succeed Dave Rusch as president, CEO of CRST International

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — As part of CRST’s two-year succession plan, CRST International one of the largest privately-held transportation and logistics companies in the United States, said that Dave Rusch, current president and CEO, will retire effective December 31 and will be replaced by Hugh Ekberg, current COO and group president.

Rusch will remain in a full-time advisory capacity to John Smith, chairman of the board for Admiralty Holdings and owner of the CRST International family of companies, until December 31, and will remain on the CRST board of directors going forward.

After being a special agent for the FBI, and 10 years of increasing responsibilities in operations and finance for North American Van Lines, Rusch joined CRST Malone as vice president of operations in 1991. In 1998, he was appointed president and COO of CRST Van Expedited. According to Smith, Rusch turned the expedited operating company into a streamlined, operationally efficient and profitable entity within a short timeframe, earning him additional responsibilities and promotions.

Rusch was named president and CEO of CRST International in 2010, following Smith’s retirement from that role.

“Dave is one of the best operators in the industry and the master of negotiations,” Smith said. “He has acquired five trucking companies, significantly grew our revenue and charted the course for CRST to be debt-free again next year. Dave has brought CRST financial stability and operational excellence. We are most grateful to him for his 27 years of dedicated leadership to CRST, our employees and our customers. He’s an industry veteran who should be proud of his legacy, which includes positioning the company for continued growth and success.”

Smith said over the course of Rusch’s career he has accomplished many milestones, most notably:

  • Successfully negotiating and crafting complex agreements to acquire the best transportation providers in niche markets, including Specialized Transportation Inc., the Special Products Division of Allied Van Lines, BESL Transfer Co., Pegasus Transportation Inc. and Gardner Trucking;
  • Growing CRST revenues from a $300 million company to a $1.7 billion company;
  • Positioning CRST’s future for success with the financial stability and profitability that is revered in the industry.

Ekberg joined CRST International in September 2016 as COO and Group President, bringing over 25 years of strategic business leadership to the CRST family of companies.

“Considering Hugh’s extensive expertise in corporate strategy and strategic growth, leadership and multi-site management, we are thrilled to have an executive of his stature named as CEO,” said Smith. “Hugh’s strengths will complement and enhance CRST’s strong team of operational executives. We look forward to Hugh leading CRST through the next chapter of our company’s growth and success story.”

PHOTO CAPTION

Courtesy: CRST

Hugh Ekberg, right, will replace the retiring Dave Rusch as president and CEO of CRST International.

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NACV to feature 3 Solutions Theaters to focusing on trucking industry needs

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Leading truck and trailer manufacturers and commercial vehicle parts and components suppliers will demonstrate their latest product offerings during the NACV Show 2019, taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from October 28-31. The NACV Show 2021 will be held in Atlanta from September 27-30, 2021. (Courtesy: NACV)

ATLANTA — The North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV Show), the biennial B2B trucking industry event focusing on the needs of fleet owners, managers and decision makers, said Thursday that it will feature three new Solutions Theaters to showcase topical industry discussions on the show floor.

The show organizers have partnered with leading industry publications to secure thought leaders and industry visionaries who will discuss a range of topics.

All Solutions Theaters’ sessions are free for NACV Show 2019 registered attendees.

“We expect the discussions that take place in our three Solutions Theaters will inform and empower all industry professionals who attend NACV Show 2019,” said Carmen Diaz, show manager for the NACV Show. “We are excited to present top industry leaders and visionaries during our on-floor education sessions to discuss both the challenges and opportunities confronting today’s fleet professionals.”

Following is an overview of some of the NACV Show 2019 on-floor education sessions:

Two panel discussions will take place in the Solutions Theater located in Hall A.

The first panel is entitled “Finding the Data Driven Solutions That Work for You,” which will focus on how fleet owners can identify leading service challenges. Panel participants will provide insight into collecting and organizing the right data to help overcome these challenges. The second panel is entitled “How to Use Data to Improve Service Operations” that will highlight how to best utilize data — from fault code data to VMRS records — to reduce fleet downtime to improve operations.

Also, in the Hall A Solutions Theater, three educational topics will be discussed, including a Class 8 panel discussion, a medium duty panel discussion and “Last Mile – Autonomous Delivery Startups” discussion.

Two panel discussions will take place in the Solutions Theaters located in Hall B, including “Vetting Technology” and “Best use of Smart Technology.” Three educational sessions will also take place in the Solutions Theaters located in Hall B, including “Transitioning from AOBRDs to ELDs,” “Driver Retention” and “Rapid Pace of Technology Trucking.”

The show organizers will announce additional conference and educational programming topics prior to the event, which takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from October 28-31.

The North American Commercial Vehicle Show is a B2B exhibition focused on fleet decision makers and key influencers in the commercial vehicle industry.

 

 

 

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FTR March Shippers Conditions Index shows positive momentum

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An FTR official said an area to watch is diesel prices, which could move up in the fourth quarter. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s March Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose two full points from February to a reading of 2.8 reflecting a continued easing of truckload and intermodal rates.  The outlook is for improved shipper conditions through 2019.

However, some key areas to watch are fuel price increases and capacity utilization in trucking which can result in added costs for shippers, according to Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR.

“Shippers are benefiting from relatively stable fuel prices and weaker trucking capacity utilization than they experienced in 2018. But both of those metrics are expected to tighten up as the year progresses,” Tranausky said. “Diesel prices could move up in the fourth quarter ahead of the IMO 2020 fuel mandate, which could pressure fuel surcharges higher late in 2019.”

The May issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published May 8, 2019, details the factors affecting the March Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions include freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

 

 

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Heartland Express opens new, remodeled terminals in Colorado, California

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The Heartland Express Driver Appreciation Team performed at the ribbon cutting for the new terminal in Frederick, Colorado. (Courtesy: HEARTLAND EXPRESS)

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Heartland Express has opened a new terminal at Frederick, Colorado, and a remodeled terminal in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Just north of the Denver metro area, the Colorado facility offers a service shop with a truck wash, fully covered 24-hour fuel island and service lanes.

The terminal features a driver lounge with 24-hour access and amenities that include restrooms with private walk-in showers and laundry room with full size washer/dryer units. Other comforts include sofas and recliner chairs, table seating, ice machine, coffee, and a large screen TV for entertainment.

An RFID software system was installed for driver security and over five acres of parking with industrial Wi-Fi network available site wide.

The opening of the Frederick terminal occurred shortly after the grand re-opening of the newly remodeled Southern California facility in Rancho Cucamonga.

This 20-acre facility includes all of the amenities available in Frederick and utilizes solar power. Rancho Cucamonga is also one of 12 company locations that hosts driver orientation and soon we look forward to driver orientation at the Frederick facility.

“I’m extremely proud of these new terminals and what we can offer to our drivers. We’ve invested significant time, capital, and environmentally conscious resources into these provisions and look forward to seeing growth of our market position in both locations respectively,” said Heartland Express CEO, Mike Gerdin. “These grand openings are just the start of great new things to come from Heartland. Including the completion of these two terminal projects, we are spending an estimated $40-50 million on terminal related capital projects during 2019.  These terminal projects are centered around upgrades, remodels, expansions and terminal amenities for the comfort and support of our drivers, including additions of truck wash facilities at certain locations. Our desire is to offer state of the art amenities to our drivers while they are away from home.

The Frederick terminal is located at 9040 Bruin Blvd. The Rancho Cucamonga terminal is located at8566 Pecan Ave.

Heartland Express is an irregular route truckload carrier based in North Liberty, Iowa, serving customers with shipping lanes throughout the United States. Heartland focuses on medium to short haul regional freight, offering shippers industry leading on-time service so they can achieve their strategic goals for their customers.

For more information, visit www.heartlandexpress.com.

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