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Ask the Exec: Get to know President of Trident Transport Heath Haley

Chattanooga-based Trident Transport recently made Inc.com’s list of fastest growing companies.

The third-party logistics company launched in 2013 and generated 11.7 million in 2017.

Freightwaves.com has a cool feature on the business, and President Heath Haley provided insight into his life and leadership style below.

Describe yourself in five words.

Outgoing. Compassionate. Inquisitive. Calculated. Communicative.

List three characteristics of your leadership style.

Approachable. My door always stays open to our employees. They can come talk to me about anything.

Empowerment. I’m not a micro-manager. I really try to empower our employees and let them do their own thing.

Team-oriented. I rely on the help of others and I’m willing to change or implement new ideas from my team.

Do you have a process for making difficult decisions? If so, what is it?

I really think about how my decision would affect the business, would affect others, and would affect myself.

I have to shift my perspective to the other person’s, step back, and see if it’s truly the right decision.

Then I ask for others’ input. I rely on it.

I have to look at the situation as the whole picture. I’m a visual person so I need to try and visualize the problem.

There’s no easy answer for making difficult decisions. It’s tough and you just hope you make the right one.

What challenges come with heading up a company?

Making the right choices knowing they affect everyone.

I have to keep the vision and goals on the forefront of my mind, but I make sure that I involve everyone, receive input from multiple people, and always accept their feedback.

How do you stay grounded, given your authority/leadership responsibilities and success?

It can all be gone in an instant. And that keeps me grounded.

I couldn’t do any of this without my team so I’m thankful for them.

I can’t be a quarterback and throw the ball to myself.

If I left tomorrow, Trident Transport would still go on. It’s not about what I did, it’s about what we did.

Work-life balance: What does that mean to you? How do you achieve it?

It’s the most important. If people aren’t happy, you can’t expect them to perform at their best.

It’s important to work hard, but also prioritize your life.

Work is important, but so is family. Work isn’t the only thing about life. We emphasize that here.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Interacting with everyone and helping my team fulfill their goals and dreams.

I had a lot of help throughout my career, so I want to help them through theirs. Empowering them and motivating them then getting to see their success. That’s my favorite part.

Describe your role in your business and what a typical day looks like for you.

My role is to keep the vision, throw out new challenges or new visions, help in times of problems, and create an atmosphere that people enjoy.

I need to have a 30,000-foot view to see what’s up ahead as far as I can so we can avoid obstacles or take advantage of opportunities.

A typical day for me is giving my team every tool available to help them be successful.

What’s your favorite one-line quote?

“You’re your own success story.”

This shows with how we’ve chosen to structure and run our company.

Each employee has the opportunity to create their own success story, run their own business, have their own successful career; we encourage and empower that.

What do you do in your spare time?

Be with my family. Fish. Golf. Watch sports. Shop.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a younger generation, what would it be?

Listen to others and not only learn from your own mistakes but learn from others’ mistakes.

If you listen to my experience, learn from my mistakes, and believe in yourself, success will happen faster.

What’s something not many people know about you?

That’s a tough one. I honestly don’t know. I’m an open book.

What’s the last book you read and/or favorite book?

The last book I read was “Beyond Halftime” by Bob Buford.

My favorite book is “The Greatest Game Ever Played” by Mark Frost.

My secret favorite book is “Are You There Vodka?” by Chelsea Handler.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Working for a nonprofit or for a charity. I’d also like to teach entrepreneurship or business classes- anything to help people.

Do you have a favorite curse word, and if so, what is it?

That’s a tough one. I don’t want to say. My mom may read this.

What excites and/or inspires you?

The future excites me—what can we accomplish today to help tomorrow.

The next generation inspires me. I see their passion for working hard, their drive, and vision.

They want to make a difference in their lives and the lives around them and that inspires me.

Who are your role models and why?

My parent, grandparents, great-grandparents—what they had to endure and sacrifice so that we get to have what we have now.

My grandfathers fought in WWII and had to sacrifice so much of their life for their family and future generations to benefit from it.

What would you do with your winnings if you hit a huge jackpot in the lottery?

Pay for my kids’ colleges, add money to my retirement, and then give the rest to charity.

Really excited with what the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is doing so they would get a big piece of it.

Where would your dream vacation be?

For myself—home. I’m not a big traveler.

But, I would go anywhere that my kids wanted to go and that would be a dream vacation for me.

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