Leadership Q&A

Pete Dannecker – VP, Risk & Integrated Resources

Tell us more about your background – what led you to get started in the transportation industry?
I never thought that I would work in the transportation industry, but once I started, I was addicted to the pace. Because I worked my way through school, I was able to jumpstart my career while still in college. I double majored in economics and business administration while working different jobs my first two years. In my last two years at college, I landed a full-time job in the Admissions Office. The Dean of Admissions regularly organized events to attract school benefactors, including concerts, dinners and business roundtables, which I would help set up. Through my job as an Admissions Counselor, I met Don Schneider and other leaders of Schneider National, a truckload carrier based in De Pere, Wisconsin. Those relationships ultimately led to an interview, and after I graduated, I joined the transportation industry as a dispatcher for Schneider National. In the ensuing years I was given opportunities with different organizations within the industry to grow my career and broaden my responsibilities. I enjoyed leadership roles in operations, driver recruiting, labor relations and safety all over the country.
What about Pyle attracted you to work for this company?

I was blown away by the people. Let me give that some context, because I really had something to compare it to. During the .com boom and five years prior to joining Pyle, I worked as President of a boutique software company that catered to trucking. The owners were interested in selling the company outright if they could get the right price. I was accountable for assuring the business stayed on a profitable growth path, among other things, as “Salesperson in Chief.” I set my own schedule and was often on the road for all but a few days a month. Being young and single, I loved being on the road and was excited by the company growth. Once I got married, I began to struggle with the realization that I was seldom home. My professional devotion to what I was achieving with my travel schedule was short-changing my most important relationship; and I needed to fix that. In the meantime, the possibility our business would be acquired was on the rise. We were cautiously exploring options with a couple of prospective buyers.

Naturally, I started giving some thought to my future career options. As the situation evolved, a buddy asked me if I had any interest in coming off the road to work at Pyle. I sent in my resume and was invited in for an interview. While I was nervous walking into the interview, my fears quickly dissipated. Having spent the previous five years meeting with, talking to and working with hundreds of people from various companies across the industry, I had a real sense for the people in our business. When I met the Pyle People, I knew I had stumbled into something special. My final interview was a couple of hours with 3rd generation owner, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Peter Latta. While Pyle had been around for decades, I had the strong feeling that I was being presented with yet another chance to get in on the ground floor of something big, and I wanted to be a part of this team. I walked out of the office enthusiastic about convincing Pyle to offer me a position. I am grateful they did.

Describe your role at Pyle.

I work in an Operations support role where I lead teams that provide support services by optimizing resources, facilitating integration of our service offerings, and managing risk.

“Optimizing resources” includes accountability for leading our Fleet Maintenance and Human Resource teams. Our tools of the trade include thousands of pieces of heavy duty industrial equipment, including power units, trailing equipment, straight trucks, and forklifts. We source the right equipment to do the job and keep that equipment up and running with our network of 22 full-service heavy duty equipment fleet maintenance facilities. At the same time, while we cannot serve our customers without the equipment, ours is, above all else, a people business. We have a dynamic range of people needs including Fleet Technicians, Drivers, Forklift Operators, Administrators and Leaders. Identifying, attracting, developing and retaining the right people is of enormous strategic importance and the Human Resources team leads those efforts.

Our Service Offerings include: Solutions Design, Warehousing, Logistics, Dedicated and Less than Truck Load. While each is a standalone business with its own operations team, physical resources and P&L responsibilities, part of our value proposition in the marketplace is to offer the opportunity to take advantage of synergies through combined services. Our greatest strength is when we can help our customers structurally improve their business through one of our unique engineered solutions combining two or more of our Service Offerings. Our Sales, Operations and Engineering teams conceive of and implement these types of solutions. I facilitate the integration of our services by helping assure that our equipment and our people are ready and trained to support our strategy for cross functional collaboration. In short, the mission of the Integrated Resources support teams is to cost effectively assure we have the right equipment and the right people with the right skill sets, where they are needed, when they are needed, in order to facilitate the profit and growth objectives of the Enterprise.

As for managing risk, I am accountable for guiding our efforts to identify and proactively manage our prioritized risks. It includes a broad range of Operations support functions including health and wellness, personnel and freight security, safety, compliance, preventing process evaporation, assuring we handle our customers’ products without loss or damage; and more than anything else, helping to preserve and promote our company culture.

What makes Pyle’s safety and risk management policy different from other carriers?

At Pyle, we approach managing risk from within our culture and we see it as a strategic pillar of profitable growth. We tend to be pragmatic. It is evident that accepting or failing to recognize risk has destroyed many companies in this business. We also embrace the reality that if there is no risk, there is no business. Resources are limited, prioritization is important and communication with Operations is paramount. When we are getting it right, the program helps serve our customers, protects our employees, the public and the environment, and gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Since customers prefer to partner with solutions providers who control costs and protect their product, proper execution of our risk strategy helps us add and retain customers. In what is a symbiotic relationship, it also helps us add and retain the best people. Good people want to be healthy, safe and cared for, and desire to make a meaningful contribution to a profitable growing company that offers challenges, opportunities and long-term job security. A robust, enterprise risk management program helps achieve those objectives. That’s why an important part of managing risk is assuring we maintain our culture and follow our core values. Our culture ties it all together and helps drive it forward.

What results have you seen from the in-house Truck Driving Academy?
In terms of the day-to-day operation, one of our Regional Operations Directors recently shared with me that the Academy saved him. Within that Director’s Region, we struggle to recruit good drivers at a couple of key locations. The Academy helped us create the capacity we need, where we need it, in order to serve our customers. From a bigger picture perspective, the Academy supports our company culture of developing people and promoting from within. A high school graduate can start out on our dock or in our warehouse as a forklift operator and over time with our support move up to making deliveries in a smaller vehicle, then move up again to a CDL Class A professional tractor trailer driving position. For those who want to put in the time and effort to take on the responsibilities of Leadership, we have our Leadership Development Program. We have a number of terrific success stories of people who have worked their way up through our Leadership Development Program and our Truck Driving Academy.
Were there any changes in Pyle’s safety protocols due to COVID-19? Will any of these changes be implemented long-term after the pandemic subsides?

COVID-19 changed the world and Pyle changed along with it. As an essential business, we continued to operate in order to deliver the supplies America needs. The list of changes we implemented in short order to protect our employees and customers is long, but I’ll mention a few. While we put a short-term stop to hiring, we stood by job offers we had already made. Within days, the team at Pyle converted our hands-on week long classroom safety orientation to a video conference, enabling us to cover the material and still respect physical distancing requirements.

Our contract cleaning crews added rigorous disinfecting routines to normal cleaning rituals, and we increased the amount of fresh air intake into our office heating and air conditioning systems. We ensured our drivers were safe by implementing procedures to enable drivers to make deliveries without collecting a signature, as well as issuing disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and masks as soon as we could get our hands on them. Unnecessary travel was banned and we activated a work-from-home program, moving 80% of our non-operations staff out of the office with priority given to parents who needed to help their children learn remotely. We also shared a steady cadence of COVID-19-related information to ensure everyone was aware of the CDC hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

It’s hard to say what we’ll keep when the pandemic is finally behind us. I expect routine disinfecting rituals are likely to continue. I expect we’ll make better use of online remote collaboration tools, like video conferencing. More significantly, we now view work-from-home through a different lens. Because we are so people focused and believe that personal interaction helps people to learn and understand our culture, we have been cautious about remote work scenarios. COVID-19 forced remote work upon us to protect our employees, giving us an opportunity to re-think our approach and may be more open to the idea in the future.

Tell us about the importance of superior safety and security.

A good safety program is the price of entry into this business. A company that isn’t committed to the safety of its employees is not going to make it long term. A superior safety program can be a market differentiator that helps the company deliver a better service offering at a lower cost.

Security is another matter. For the longest time, the primary function of a transportation security program had been to deter and detect freight theft. Because Pyle People are our best security system and we have such a great team, we have a leg up on our competitors. In the past couple of years, information security has become a front-burner issue with relentless malware attacks that can cripple a company. We survived a ransomware attack, and we will continue to invest heavily in protecting our customers’ information. Personal security has changed the most as people do not feel as safe as they once did with unfortunate, high-profile events taking place nationwide. As we continue to build our security systems and design security protocols to protect products and assets, we are also taking into consideration people’s heightened concern for their personal security.

Are there any new safety and security initiatives the company is planning to implement this year?
Yes – everyone at Pyle is committed to continual improvement in all aspects of the business. We currently have plans for continued investments in security. Safety and security are woven in to the fabric of the organization. Our programs evolve organically. We take a strategic approach to identifying hazards, assessing risk and working on managing our prioritized risks. We measure our results and then loop back to tweak the plan to see how else we can improve. Our plans are designed for and in step with our Operations Leadership team. Over time, we always expect our safety and security program results to advance because our Operations team has established a superior track record of executing the plan.
What achievement are you most proud of (during your time with Pyle)?
I have had the pleasure of watching people I work with develop and grow personally and professionally. They have increased their income, improved their quality of life and exponentially increased their contribution to the team. While each success story involved an individual making the commitment to dedicate themselves to the effort of personal improvement, it’s tremendously satisfying when I know I have helped facilitate that growth.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a leader?
I want to name a dozen. If I have to choose one, it is to lead by example.
Any closing thoughts?
Answering these questions reminds me how incredibly lucky I am to work with people who consistently amaze me. Pyle is a remarkable team and I am grateful to be on it.

Russ Miceli – VP-Integrated Solutions Sales

Tell us more about your background – what led you to get started in the transportation industry?
It seems like yesterday, but I started in this business in 1981 working for Spector Freight System – a National LTL carrier, where I unloaded and loaded trucks at one of their distribution centers. This was right after deregulation. In 1982, Spector decided to close its doors. Their Distribution Center Manager provided a great reference to a DC Manager at Yellow Freight System. At the time, YF had one of the best mentor-trainee programs in the industry. After several years in operations, I was fortunate to take on a sales role as a sales representative in Orange County, NY. It was shortly after that time when I realized sales was a role where I could make a valuable contribution to the company. During my years at Yellow Freight System, I held several sales roles, including several managerial roles such as a City Sales Manager, National Account Manager, Corporate Account Manager and Director-Sales. As a Director of Sales, I was responsible for sales teams in western MA, CT, NJ and NY State, which included NYC Metro and Long Island, NY.
What about Pyle made you want to work for this company?
During the late 90s, there were senior level changes at YF and I could see the company starting to move in a different direction. During the summer of 2000, Del Bilbao and I had dinner one night in NJ. I knew Del from my Yellow days and it had been awhile since we last caught up. During dinner, Del made me aware that Pyle was looking to expand their leadership team. After several conversations with Kevin Gearin (retired VP Operations), I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Latta one Saturday morning in West Chester, PA. We talked for quite some time about the industry and, more specifically, about Pyle as a family business and the company vision to develop into a Northeast Regional carrier. It was after that meeting I remember speaking with my wife, Pam, about my conversation with Peter and saying that Pyle was a company that seemed very different. I could tell that culture, work ethic, integrity and service were core and very important to the success of Pyle, which lined up very well with my values. This was the primary reason I made the decision to move my family and join A. Duie Pyle.
Describe your role at Pyle.
When I joined the company, I was leading our sales efforts as VP-LTL Sales. In early 2019, ownership and senior leadership asked me to take on a role as VP-Integrated Solutions. In this role, I am responsible for leading the sales efforts in deploying our company strategy, which is to diversify our company revenues by growing our Dedicated, Warehouse and Logistics Services. We are accomplishing this by leveraging our Enterprise Sales Team’s customer relationships coupled with our company resources and assets. Conversations today with customers are centered on supply chain management. This allows our conversations to fully integrate all the services we provide and to create more value for our customers.
What really sells Pyle’s services? Is it Pyle’s core values, the promptness of deliveries, etc.?
Over the 96 years the company has been in business, the Pyle team has built a solid reputation in the marketplace. Even when a customer does not know much about Pyle, the one thing most will tell you is that they have heard of our service reputation. We are known in the LTL marketplace for providing quality, high-level, on-time service. While we are mostly known for our LTL service, we are gaining market share within other areas of our customer’s supply chain by leveraging our relationships in order to provide additional value with our other service offerings in the Dedicated, Logistics and Warehouse space. This has made us more relevant in customers’ eyes and in the supply chain field. Today we can provide customers with more supply chain services, putting us in position to say to YES to most opportunities. In addition, our entire Pyle team engages in prompt follow-ups to customer requests or issues. We believe this is another differentiator that separates us from most competitors.
With close to 20 years working with Pyle under your belt, what are some of the major ways the company has improved over the years?
Today, our company operations and sales are more diversified than ever before. Over the last 5 years, we have transformed the company from what was known as mostly an LTL carrier with warehouses to a Northeast Asset-Based Supply Chain Solutions provider that offers customers a wide portfolio of transportation and warehousing services. Through our engineering efforts, we now provide integrated services that drive operational efficiencies and increase customer value. Our Integrated Services, when truly leveraged, make it very difficult for any competitor to duplicate our service.
What are some of the main benefits of integrated transportation solutions?
Our Integrated Solutions provide customers with tremendous value as customers are able to take strategic, high-level views of their supply chain. Being able to single source with an asset based supply chain solutions provider will help our customer control cost while streamlining their operations. This also allows Pyle to leverage our real estate, assets, technology and people to provide the most efficient and cost effective customer specific supply chain solution.
Are there any new programs or tech initiatives the company is planning to implement this year?
After we are back to some type of normalcy, we will see more clients expand their own e-commerce platforms, which will drive us to think about other services in order to meet those demands. It is critical that our sales team continues to have forward thinking conversations with customers on what they need for go-to-market services and what those services will potentially look like in the future.
What achievement are you most proud of (during your time with Pyle)?

As I look back, I am most proud that we accomplished our Sales growth objectives while maintaining our service performance. This is a true team effort and accomplishment. Our growth objective started early on when we developed a formalized National Account Sales go-to-market program which allowed us to get in front of decision makers who are domiciled across the US and Canada. This helped us to launch Pool Distribution services to customers, engage 3PLs that were just starting to expand their presence in the marketplace, and opened us to a larger, Fortune 500 customer base. Then, as a byproduct of expanding our Sales efforts, we grew our market share by out-selling and out-performing the competition. Our team effort led us to exceed 12,000 shipment for a single day milestone during May 2019. Through all of these strategic objectives, Pyle has become a dominate Northeast Regional service provider.

I’m also proud to have been a part of the team rolling out our Pyle Priority Service. I remember early discussions when PPS was questioned as being a viable service offering since the company was already providing a 99% on-time service back in 2002. Based on what we learned from customer behavior, we knew there was a market for those customers who needed 100% on-time service, peace of mind and were willing to pay a premium for this type of service. At the end of 2002, we averaged 12 PPS shipments per day. During 2019, we had a record year with our PPS service offering, handling 311 PPS shipments per day.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a leader?
One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned over the years is to never assume anything. While it is very important to learn how to delegate, as a leader you must also inspect what you expect.
Any closing thoughts?
Over the next three to 10 years, supply chains will continue to evolve at a fierce rate. We know customer expectations will continue to increase, as they will continue to push service providers for new and different services. These expectations will force Pyle and the rest of the industry to look at different ways to do things that will drive cost out and improve service. History has taught us that only forward thinking service providers, who provide diversified services and support end-to-end supply chain services will survive.

John Tillison – Sr VP Sales & Marketing

Tell us more about your background – what led you to get started in the transportation industry?
Upon graduating from Penn State University, I joined Roadway Express as a management trainee, which was my first full-time job out of school. Roadway Express had an excellent leadership development program, where I received extensive training on the basics of trucking, including rating, billing, pricing, freight operations, leadership and more. I spent 27 years at Roadway Express/YRC, rising through the organization from trainee to Group Vice President. I chose to leave YRC in 2010 to join Pitt Ohio Express in Pittsburgh. There, I was Director of Enterprise Solutions and a member of the executive sales management team based at its corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I joined A. Duie Pyle in April 2019 as Vice President – Sales & Marketing.
What about Pyle attracted you to work for this company? Company culture, family-run business, etc.
Prior to joining Pyle, I researched the company extensively for many months. I respected the company as a competitor knowing how good the service product was based on customer feedback. I was fortunate to know some of the Pyle management team who I worked with at Roadway. They assured me that the culture was everything that I had heard about from outside the company. The owners of a company set the standard and expectations for the employee. The Latta family values the employees – those that service the customer. A company that survives into the fourth generation of family ownership is special. I knew I would enjoy working with a team of employees who work hard, are proud of their company and are devoted to servicing the customer.
Describe your role at Pyle.
My role is Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing. I lead our team of sales and marketing professionals who engage our customers on a daily basis. We deploy both an inside and outside sales organization. The inside sales team primarily contacts new prospects while managing existing customers via the phone. Our outside sales organization meets with customers in their offices on a regular basis. They seek to identify opportunities to deliver value by using the various assets the company manages throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Our marketing team supports all important areas of the company, and are a key link between the company’s brand, values and culture through the use of electronic, print and digital media outlets. They are responsible for our internal and external training and advertising programs across the entire company.
What changes has Pyle made under your leadership to improve Pyle’s relationships with customers?
While no significant changes have been made since I arrived, we have enhanced training to ensure our sales organization is prepared to consult with our customers on the most effective tools needed to compete in their markets. The better educated our sales and marketing organization is on the complexities of the modern supply chain, the more successful we will be in helping to design the most effective solutions. When we are successful in that area, the customer, the employees and the ownership will continue to thrive for many years to come.
What are the most effective methods Pyle uses to develop and maintain strong relationships with customers?
It all starts with the Pyle reputation for outstanding service supported by employees across our network. The Pyle brand recognition in the market supports the sales organization’s goal of enhanced growth and profits. Our sales representatives’ ability to build and maintain strong relationships is based on the execution of goals set by the customer. When we exceed expectations, our customers will seek additional ways to utilize our services.
With around 35 years of experience in the transportation industry, what changes have you seen regarding customer needs?
Customers are seeking to partner with companies who deliver value for their organization. Because of industry consolidation, customers are looking more and more to partner with supply chain providers who offer multiple solutions, such as A. Duie Pyle. Our integrated supply chain solutions strategy, where we leverage transportation with warehousing and/or dedicated, is unique in the market. Owning these assets is a key differentiator when compared to single service providers. The combined services under one company brand, supported by a strong culture, addresses many of the services a company utilizes for the benefit of the customer in their key markets.
How are marketing and sales initiatives in logistics unique compared to other industries?
We are in a service business. The employees at the company engage with customers on a daily basis across the network. Our brand is very recognizable in the areas we operate because our equipment is visible in the cities and towns across our coverage area. The logo is well-respected, providing a unique opportunity to introduce our services to those that see our equipment on the highways and engage our highly trained, professional workforce on a regular basis.
Are there any new programs you’re initiating to better customer relationships?
The best way to improve customer relationships is to seek new products and services to help them achieve their corporate goals. For example, our continued investment in technology (enhancing shipment visibility end-to-end in the supply chain) is a key initiative in 2020. Our customers require full transparency of their products moving through our network beginning with the acquisition of raw material through manufacturing and onto final delivery. Every movement of product and material must be visible at all times. Our IT team continues to upgrade our capabilities in this area. Companies seek a relationship with those who solve problems. Delivering value is our greatest customer relationship tool!
What achievement are you most proud of (during your time with Pyle)?
I have been with Pyle for almost one year. I have tried to meet as many Pyle employees as possible at the various facilities, beginning at the corporate office. I have developed a strong respect for the culture, having gained an understanding on why and how the company has grown and flourished for the past 96 years. As I stated at the beginning, I researched the company prior to joining. I have gained an even better respect for the Pyle family in the past 11 months. I believe I can now say I am a member of the Pyle family.
Any closing thoughts?
We have a great future with many opportunities for growth in the coming months and years. I look forward to working with the entire Pyle team on achieving our goals, which will firmly secure the future of the company for many generations to come.

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.