Leadership Q&A

Peter Latta – Chairman & CEO

Tell us more about your background.
Pyle is a family owned business, and during my summer time off in high school and college, I worked in the family business in our shop, dock, warehouse and driving trucks. I majored in accounting at the University of Delaware, passed the CPA Exam after graduating in 1979, and then went to work for a CPA Firm in Philadelphia. I worked there for a year, and then went to the Dickinson School of Law and graduated in 1983. After passing the Pennsylvania Bar Exam, I joined the law firm of McNees, Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where I practiced with the Corporate and Tax Department at McNees. In 1985, my Dad began to experience some health issues, and I returned to West Chester and joined the Pyle Team.
Describe your role at Pyle.
When I started in 1985, we had one LTL Terminal, two Warehouses and our legacy Steel Hauling business comprised of owner operators and agents. In 1985, our Consolidated Revenue was $12M. When I started, I worked in the operation, began to do most of the hiring, was involved in any legal issues and worked closely with our controller on any financial related issues. As Pyle has grown from Revenues of $12M in 1985 to $492M in 2019, my role has evolved to focusing on real estate & financial matters, strategy planning & execution, family business continuity & sustainability, and ensuring our Leaders embrace our Pyle Core Values to foster the trust of our team members and earn the engagement and discretionary effort of the Pyle People.
What are you most proud of that Pyle has accomplished within its history?

I am proud of many things our Pyle People have accomplished, but I will call out three of their watershed accomplishments in particular. First is the 3 month strike we endured in 1979 when my Dad sought to negotiate a few of the terms of Jimmy Hoffa Sr.’s Teamsters National Motor Freight Agreement. The strike culminated with 42 Pyle strikers resigning from the Teamsters, crossing the picket line, returning to work and voting the Teamsters Union out of Pyle. I will never forget working thru the strike, and the Pyle People ultimately placing their trust in the Latta Family and rejecting the Teamsters.

The Second defining accomplishment of the Pyle People was not just surviving the Deregulation of the Motor Carrier industry that started in 1980, but growing company revenues almost 5,100% from 1980 thru 2019. When I reflect on the fact that in 1980, there were over 125 carriers that operated in parts of the Northeast Region, and that only 5 are still in business today, it speaks directly to the tenacity, dedication and durability of our Pyle People.

Finally, I would point to the Cyber Ransomware Attack that started on June 15, 2019. The ransomware attack brought us to our knees, as it severely impacted the technology we use every day to operate our business. Words simply cannot describe the valiant and sustained effort The Pyle People put forth to fight back from this devastating event.

Tell us your favorite story/memory throughout your time at Pyle.
I have been blessed to have many special memories during my time at Pyle. With that said, my fondest memory is the opportunity I had to work with, and learn from, my Father. He was a very special person, as were most from the Greatest Generation who I have had the honor of knowing. My Father and I never had a cross word, and while we only worked together for about 6 years after I returned to Pyle to work full-time until his health began to fail, these were 6 very special years of my life. If my Father could return to Pyle today for a visit, I hope he would be pleased with what he finds.
Anything unique about your approach to being CEO in the trucking & logistics industry?
People outside our industry, and surprisingly many inside our industry, think success in this business depends on the relative competitive standing of your technology, facilities and fleet equipment. While these tools of the trade are necessary and important, at the end of the day, ours is a people business, and it is the engagement of the people that ultimately determines the relative quality of your service and sustainability of the business. Over the years, I have seen many carriers who at one time had a solid culture because they valued their people, drift away from placing priority on earning their on-going trust and engagement. And once they drifted away from this centerline priority, they begin a downward spiral that in many cases ended with the failure of the business. At Pyle, we are committed to keeping at the forefront of our thoughts and actions that it is The Pyle People who are the source of the success we have enjoyed, and we must never lose sight of this and neglect to value our people.
What are some major ways the trucking and logistics industry has changed over the years?
As noted earlier, the Deregulation of the Motor Carrier Industry that started in 1980 was a game changing event. Of the Top 60 Motor Carriers in 1980 as measured by annual revenue, only 5 are still in business today. Of these Top 60 Carriers in 1980, 56 were Teamster carriers and only 4 were non-union. By contrast, of the Top 30 LTL Carriers today, only 3 are Teamster and 27 are union-free. Another big change has been the emergence of 3PL’s, who have displaced the historical direct relationships that existed between Carriers and Shippers. Finally, rapid advancement of technology has been a great enabler of carrier efficiency, while at the same time yielding real-time in-transit shipment visibility to users of motor carrier services.
What are some market predictions that you believe will be shaping the future of the trucking and logistics industry?
I believe the LTL sector will continue to consolidate, and the stronger will grow at the expense of those carriers who do not value their people, lag in technology and do not have a healthy cultural compass setting. The asset-based carriers will figure out how to leverage their strengths and technology, and in so doing will displace 3PL’s whose value proposition will diminish. Cyber security will continue to elevate in importance at a rapid pace, as cyber-criminal incidents of supply chain disruption continue to proliferate in both number and severity.
What major challenges in the industry do you see on the horizon?
A major challenge for our industry will be to attract new emerging talent into our business sector. The consolidation within our industry during the last 35 years made experienced leadership talent available to the survivors who grew and prospered during Deregulation. With the fallout from deregulation largely completed, this source of readily available experienced industry leadership is essentially gone. As such, forward thinking carriers will need to effectively recruit, develop and retain new talent to support their growth. The challenge to do so should not be underestimated, given our industry’s shift and hours variability demands. Beyond the future leaders required to support profitable growth, forward thinking carriers will need to invest in the development of qualified CDL Drivers and Fleet Technicians to combat the shortage of these skilled resources.
Pyle has focused on making its operations more environmentally friendly. Tell us how you believe the trucking industry as a whole will become more eco-conscious.
As we have done at Pyle, leaders will continue to recognize the reality that our natural resources are finite, and we must be good stewards of the consumption of these resources and our environment. It is for these reasons that Pyle has deployed solar power technology, is an early user of electric and hybrid trucks, is converting to electric forklifts in our Warehouses and on our Docks, and has designed energy efficient technology in our Pyle facilities.
Anything exciting on the horizon for Pyle in 2020?
Lots’ of exciting things on the Pyle Horizon. We will continue to grow our supply chain services as we creatively integrate our LTL, Dedicated, Warehousing & Distribution, and Logistics Services thru our Engineered Design Solutions and leverage our real estate, technology and people resources to create a best-in-class cost and service value proposition for our Customers that equip our Customers with a competitive advantage in their respective markets. In 2019, we invested over $98,000,000 in new facilities, fleet equipment and technology, and we will follow on the heels of this in 2020 with another $100 Million in Capital expenditures. We are underway developing a new technology stack that will bring many new and innovative solutions to further enhance our operating systems and processes, while also bolstering our already strong service performance. Finally, and most importantly, we will do these things and more in a manner that honors our Pyle People with the respect and attention they deserve, and which will preserve our Pyle Culture and earn the Trust of our Team Members.
Any programs you’re helping initiate to help promote employee appreciation/company culture?
The best thing we can do to promote our employee appreciation and company culture is to embrace our Pyle Core Values at all levels within the Company. Embracing our Core Values sustains a durable and healthy culture, which earns the trust of our Pyle People and our Customers. In today’s world where cynicism and skepticism are more the norm than the exception, our environment at Pyle is refreshing and invigorating.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I would rephrase your question from “the achievement I am most proud of” to “the achievement I am most thankful for.” The achievement I am most thankful for is that our Company has been able to provide good secure livings for thousands of Pyle People and their families over the 95+ years Pyle has been in business. The people who have contributed to Pyle’s growth and success have realized the personal satisfaction that comes from purchasing homes, raising families, enjoying vacations, funding educations for their children and in many cases enjoying well-deserved retirement with the financial benefit of a secure retirement plan.
Any closing thoughts?
In just four short years, A. Duie Pyle will celebrate its 100th birthday as a family owned business grounded on family based values. We are a blessed company to enjoy this milestone, and we are thankful for the enduring support of our Customers and the many Pyle People over these past 9+ Decades who haves made all of this possible.

John Luciani – COO LTL Services

Tell us more about your background – what led you to get started in the transportation industry?
My introduction to the transportation business is similar to that of many of my co-workers. I was supporting my way through college when I went to work for my first trucking company. During that time, I fell in love with the people and pace of the business. No two days are exactly alike and that has kept the business challenging and fun for more than 30 years.
What about Pyle attracted you to work for this company? Company culture, family-run business, etc.
Pyle has a great business strategy that is built around the engagement and discretionary effort of the team. The dedication and loyalty of the Pyle team starts with the Latta family and their commitment to developing and maintaining the culture. During 95 years of ownership, the Pyle and Latta families have always taken a long term approach to business and, in doing so, have earned and continued to build the trust of the team. The owners' “stewardship” business philosophy, coupled with their commitment to the future, has been the foundation of our company culture, making it a very attractive place to start or continue a career.
Describe your role at Pyle.
As the COO of LTL Services at Pyle, I get to wear many hats to help the organization be successful. However, I feel my most significant contributions to our future are achieved by engaging with our customers and Pyle team. After speaking with our customers, I’m able to plan strategically for our future. By engaging and working with our Pyle leaders, many that are just starting their careers, I can help motivate them to see the opportunities available at Pyle and help them be the best leaders they can be. Mentoring the team to navigate through the inevitable challenges and then celebrating their successes is extremely rewarding.
Anything unique about your approach to LTL and Integrated Logistics operations?
I’m not sure my personal approach is unique, but I believe by leading our LTL business unit and feeling strongly about our integrated business strategy is the best approach for the long-term growth of Pyle. Having four disparate business units – Dedicated, W&D, Logistics and LTL – that can successfully work together for the benefit of our customers is unique within the industry. As a result, there is a requirement to balance resources, be creative and have more flexibility than any other point earlier in my career.
With decades of experience under your belt, what are some of the major ways truckload and logistics operations have changed over the years?
During my 30-plus years in the transportation industry, the advancements in technology have had the greatest impact on efficiency and driver safety. It has been interesting to be engaged in route optimization, the AOBRD and ELD migration to manage driver hours of service, on-board cameras and, more recently, having the ability to leverage document scanning as we strive to become completely paperless. As soon as we implement something new, it seems the next thing is being launched.
What are some market predictions that you believe will be shaping the future of the trucking and logistics industry?
As our customers look for creative and reliable solutions to eliminate delays in their supply chain, I believe Pyle is ideally positioned for the future with our comprehensive supply chain offerings. I believe that a combination of our culture and unique infrastructure can provide a superior cost and value proposition to our customers while providing growth opportunities to the Pyle team.

Frank Granieri – COO Supply Chain Solutions

Tell us more about your background – what led you to get started in the transportation industry?
When I was a freshman at Penn State, I took a job as a part-time seasonal package handler at UPS. My tenure with UPS lasted 10 years, and I credit the company with providing me with an invaluable education in leadership, hard work and operational discipline. I then left the transportation industry for a few years and tried my hand at a company that provided document management services and distributed copiers. It was there that I met my wife, who happened to be a member of the 4th generation ownership group of Pyle. I like to say that I was recruited to A. Duie Pyle by way of marriage!
What about Pyle attracted you to work for this company? Company culture, family-run business, etc.
I was attracted to the idea that I could dedicate the remainder of my career carrying forward a legacy that was established through the hard work and efforts of several generations of men and women before me. I also believe great progress and innovation can be made in flat organizations where people are empowered to enhance processes and drive results. Pyle’s lean structure fosters a nimble culture that is able to quickly pivot when opportunities exist to enhance our operations and better service our customers.
Describe your role at Pyle.
I am responsible for Pyle’s Supply Chain Solutions Group which includes Contract Dedicated Transportation, Warehousing & Distribution, and Logistics (Non-Asset TL, Drayage, and Managed Transportation Services.) My role is to recruit, develop and serve the Pyle People by removing obstacles that have the potential to limit progress in fulfilling our value proposition to our customers.
Anything unique about your approach to Dedicated and Warehousing & Distribution operations?
Our transportation and warehousing engineering group is engaged with every prospect and pursues consultative partnerships with our clients. We shy away from traditional RFP’s where companies are simply comparing costs between providers. We believe the greatest value can be derived from reviewing raw transportation data. This enables us to make suggestions regarding optimization of transportation and distribution including geographic location, vehicle and driver class, and productivity standards. We believe our role is to provide our customers with expertise derived from our 95 years of moving and storing goods.
In the next five years, what are some market predictions that you believe will be shaping the future of the trucking and logistics industry?
I believe we will continue to see the market move towards greater collaboration between Carriers, Shippers, and Brokers to drive out inefficiencies. Customers will look for providers that offer multiple services and can effectively integrate those services to provide seamless support of multi-facets of a company’s supply chains, in a manner that limits cost increases. I also believe that the C-Suite will view their transportation and warehousing strategy as a vital role to their future revenue growth and competitive differentiation.
Any logistics or operational challenges you see that are on the horizon?
I believe attracting and developing talented logistics professionals will continue to be a critical need to support the positive evolution of the industry.
How does Pyle plan to close out the year – any exciting updates to mention?
We are very excited with the progress of the construction of our Integrated Logistics Centers in Hagerstown, MD and Westfield, MA. Walls are being erected and customers are increasingly securing capacity in advance of our opening in 2020.
What achievement are you most proud of (during your time with Pyle)?
My greatest sense of satisfaction comes from seeing people develop and progress in their professional careers. The countless number of customer service reps, dock workers and various other positions that have worked hard and progressed to positions of greater responsibility in the organization as a result of their ambition and abilities speaks to both the company’s culture as well as the caliber of the Pyle People. People are our greatest competitive differentiator.