President of freight brokerage Equitrans Express International Inc.
Our company has been around since 2003. My function is primarily hiring, training sales staff and overseeing operational issues. We are a transactional-type business, so we oversee each transaction, making sure everything is undertaken properly and all due diligence is performed on behalf of our clients.
We deal with everything from food manufacturers to industrial supply manufacturers to heavy equipment companies. With any company that needs to ship a product by truck, rail or sea, we’ll get involved in managing transportation and logistics.
I went to Centennial College and studied business administration. The courses are very general in terms of their application to different types of business scenarios. The most helpful ones were in finance, accounting, law, marketing and sales. I often draw on what I learned to help promote the business.
I’m always enrolled in school. Currently I’m studying computers, programming and web design at Ryerson. I took business because I knew it could be applied to any field.
Like many students, I never thought of myself as a salesperson. When you get into a business program, you might think more about accounting and finance, but my professor in one class called personal selling really opened my eyes to the opportunities in sales. Nothing in business really happens until somebody sells something. The accountants don’t count, the managers don’t manage. That piqued my interest, and as I got into the freight industry I haven’t looked back.
In this job my best experiences have had to do with different projects. We distributed goods for temporary housing after Hurricane Katrina. We hauled pieces of the buildings away from Ground Zero and distributed them to fire stations around the U. S. as memorial pieces.
In the transport business it’s often said that you don’t ask if there’s a problem on a given day – you ask how many. Basically, there are a lot of moving parts – literally and figuratively – so some of my worst experiences have been dealing with accidents or disasters.
In freight brokerage, absolutely being focused on sales and marketing is the greatest asset. Going out into the industry, making connections with prospective customers and gaining their trust is what it’s all about. Relationships are paramount.
School can’t take you too far into this industry, so once you’re in it, you learn hands-on. Learning the theory of business is like standing outside a church and looking at the architecture. At some point you’re gonna have to go inside and eat the bread. And you may find yourself on your knees a lot of the time.