Here’s One Man’s Secret to Solving the Trucking Talent Shortage

This director of corporate operations believes risk management has done a great job of filling the talent gap, but it can do more to adopt helpful technologies into the fold.
By: | October 9, 2019

R&I: What was your first job?

A civilian stocker for an AAFES Shoppette (and the military was very decent at safety training) at Ramstein Air Force Base.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

BLS Trucking was one of my bigger Nextel cell phone customers. We took great care of them, and the owners asked me to come on board to help grow their company. Claims and insurance were a big part of my initial responsibilities.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Generally, I think there is a serious focus on what to do with the shortage of workers across many different industries … for us, in the transportation industry, the shortage of drivers has been quite a challenge to deal with.

So regardless of the solutions that are being suggested, I think the best suggestions are the ones where technology has been playing a part in bridging some of the gaps of risk/reward.

Additionally, I think that the push in technology overall in trucking has been something that is being done right.

From cameras, company and driver safety ratings, collision mitigation, telematics systems — just to name a few — I think we are heading in the right direction.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we need to continue to educate ourselves on the different technologies available and be aware — but also somewhat skeptical at the same time — of the benefits it could provide to our industries.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Regulations and available technology.

Josh Zimmet, Director of Corporate Operations, BLS Trucking Inc.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Driver recruiting/retention.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

From what I have seen in the last 10 or so years, AIG has set the standard for service (for workers’ compensation programs in my field of work) that has been unmatched since we unfortunately parted ways with them.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

All our insurance is through a broker.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the U.S. economy or pessimistic and why?

I think I fit in the middle. While I truly believe we have a great nation with a lot to offer so many people, I think we have a great deal of conflicting views on where we need to go next.

This results in a waste of time and money with not a lot of progress getting made. I feel that this tends to impede the overall potential growth of our economy.

A more direct answer to the economy question, I think we have been in good shape here over the last five to six years and will likely have a correction sometime in the next 18 months.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

There are so many people that have been a part of shaping me into who I am today.

First and foremost, my parents for their strong guidance and teaching me so much while I was growing up and for the opportunities that they provided me (traveling and learning about different cultures throughout the world).

Additionally, Kevin Eikenberry (The Kevin Eikenberry Group), currently for management and leadership. Matt Mauller (AssuredPartners), for insurance and workers’ compensation knowledge.

And I could name a handful of DODDS teachers and coaches from Ramstein American High School in Germany and professors at Wright State University.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Barrel-aged stouts.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Playing baseball in the Senior League (14- and 15-year-olds) and the Big League (16- to 18-year-olds) World Series, representing Europe many, many years ago was pretty cool, but I am most proud of my family (my wife, Tracy, and our two kids, Elliot and Bryson). We have a pretty awesome family!

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

I don’t think I have one favorite in either category, though focusing on movies, Braveheart, The Shawshank Redemption, The Usual Suspects, Field of Dreams, Rocky, The Bad News Bears, Airplane! and Caddyshack, to name a few.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Amsterdam, Netherlands.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

Wow, I think there are too many people doing great and selfless things right now to simply single one out.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I think I find the most satisfaction when I can see that the idea came to life, was put into action, and that it is making a difference to others. &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

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