The Kentucky Trucker Association had the chance to sit down with Shad Daubard, the new chairman, to learn more about him, his experience in the trucking industry, and his goals for the future of the association. We’re excited to have him on board, and we hope you enjoy our discussion as much as we did.
How did you fall into the trucking industry?
Well, a good friend at IMI, a ready-mix concrete company, recommended me for a dispatch position for the Louisville market. I was fortunate enough to be hired, and from there, I have been blessed to grow my career in many areas of the concrete and logistics business.
Did you always want to work in trucking? Any family members in the industry with you?
I never had any specific intention of working in the trucking industry. My previous background was in automotive service management. It was just by chance that I was looking for a change and a friend that was working at IMI recommended me. While I was unsure of a new direction in my career, after 26-plus years, all I can say is it has been an awesome ride. I have always believed that God will always place you where he needs you. While every day is not rainbows and waterfalls, I never wake up regretting going to work and facing the daily challenges the transportation industry regularly hands out.
What is your educational background? What did you study?
The school of hard knocks and hard work is definitely what I would consider my base of education. Early on, I attended the University of Louisville, and later in my career, I finished my degree in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Did anyone specifically impact your career? Any specific mentor or mentors? What did they teach you?
I would have to say if any one person impacted my career, it would be Earl Kessler. He knew more about the concrete industry than most people would learn during their career. Earl was my VP of Operations, and I spent many days debating that what looks good on paper does not work that well in the real world. No matter the topic of the debate, Earl would always go back to the numbers and typically prove that the numbers don’t lie no matter how many of us felt they were wrong. Because of those conversations, I feel it has made me a better leader in many aspects of our business.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
I think of the famous Truman quote, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” It always amazes me how strong a team is when you put together folks with similar goals. I tell my guys we are in this together. We are together more waking hours than they are with their own families, which in itself is somewhat sad, but that is the trucking business. Having fellow workers that get it, being a team, and working as a team is truly rewarding and sure makes the day go by with a little less worry. The people I work with are my daily reward.
What do you think will be some of the more dominant trends in trucking in the next five to 10 years?
Workforce development of the younger generations will be more prominent with the need for drivers as the industry continues to struggle with a retiring workforce and increased demand. With technology coming into its own, it will be the development of the younger generation that will bring it mainstream. Drivers, technicians, and office staff that understand and utilize the benefits of the new software and equipment coming out will be vital.
Also, electric fleets will become more widespread, but this will only happen as our utility infrastructure catches up with this technology. Charging stations for these fleets will require as much power as a small town and most cities are not ready for that to happen.
Tell us about any civic or charitable organizations that are special to you and your company.
My wife and I enjoy volunteering at church when they coordinate community help days, whether it is shingling a tool shed for an elderly couple or helping paint and clean up around the local schools. It is amazing to watch how much gets done by a group of people just wanting to give their time and not wanting anything in return.
Can you tell us about a particularly proud moment in your profession?
Not sure I have any particular proud moment, but I am proud of being called adaptable. Working at imi has allowed me to learn different areas of the industry without changing companies, starting in dispatch in our Louisville office and moving to regional IT manager, regional VP of Operations, and my current role as GM of BML imi’s pneumatic bulk hauling division. Being adaptable and learning from my peers has always helped me be able to fill roles, take on special projects, and lead departments until permanent managers have been put in place. Knowing that my leaders have faith in me to take on new tasks makes me proud, and I am proud of where I have made my career.
What is the importance of being a KTA member? What makes it beneficial?
The association allows all sizes of companies to have a voice. We have to have the voice to get things done. We need to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and currently, I do not believe we are. It is frustrating when people from companies that are not active in the KTA complain about rules and regulations that got passed. It is important that non-members realize that the KTA needs their voice and assistance. The KTA cannot move the compliance or political needle without the support of everyone in the trucking business.
Having a go-to source for information with all the changes that are happening in our business is invaluable. When you have questions on how to manage some new compliance regulation or law, it is pretty nice to know you have that go-to resource just a call away.
Having access to association programs such as tire, fuel, insurance, and others helps trucking companies of all sizes lower expenses. If companies compared current costs to utilizing just a few of the programs available to members, the savings would more than cover membership dues.
What inspired you to be a leader in the association? How does membership benefit you?
I’ve been involved since 2008 and I’m guessing it was my time to do my part to help lead the association. Over the years, being a member has been immensely educational, especially as regulations change. KTA has always been a great resource for how new regulations are going to impact a company. The networking among peers and vendors at council meetings and membership conferences is worth the price of admission, but you get so much more.
What are your goals for the association this year?
Increasing membership is one of my main goals. I also want to continue to promote the Safety and HR meetings. The growth that the safety council meetings have experienced over the past few years shows that with solid communications and intriguing topics members and non-members seek to attend. We need to mimic this approach and use it to promote membership growth.
Supporting leadership is important in improving constant communication with real numbers showcasing the benefits of membership in the KTA and collaborating with the allied members better illustrates the financial savings of membership to company owners. The ability to efficiently show all the intellectual, educational, political, and financial benefits is key to having a strong association.