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Interview With The Boss: Minneapolis Branch

Q&A with the top leaders at Trident Transport. Today we’re talking to Ryan Johnson (RJ), Vice President of Sales in our Minneapolis branch.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Resourceful, persistent, hardworking, caring, accountable

List 3 characteristics of your leadership style.
Compassionate, lead by example, collaborative

Do you have a process for making difficult decisions? If so, what is it?
Yes, I usually take into account how my decisions affect my team on both the short term and long term. From there, I look into long term benefits and drawbacks and make a decision. The important part is to make a decision and stand by it.

What challenges come with heading up a branch?
We’re just getting started here in Minneapolis. My initial role is going to be trainer, manager, and head of sales. My staff lacks experience in the freight industry, so it’s up to me to teach them the basics, then get them up to speed as soon as possible.

How do you stay grounded, given your authority/leadership responsibilities and success?
I have a wife and two daughters – ages 14 and 10. They remind me consistently who is really in charge around our house. ?

Work-life balance: What does that mean to you? How do you achieve it?
I’m in charge of the family calendar which is getting more challenging. We use a huge dry erase board with everyone’s schedule on it which helps us stay on track. At work, I’m constantly writing notes to myself. I’m definitely a list maker which is critical for meeting deadlines and keeping our priorities straight.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love seeing the light bulb go off for a young broker who is learning the business. Seeing that person have success is why I chose to be in management. Those individual success stories are what make it all worth it to me.

What is your favorite on-line quote?
I really like these two as a tie:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  – Wayne Gretzky
This particularly rings true in sales which I’m passionate about:
“Money once lost can be regained, time once lost is lost forever”.  – Unknown

What do you do in your spare time?
I really enjoy being with my family. My parents are retired and live close by. I help them out when I can. My Dad and I duck hunt together in North Dakota a couple of times a year with my brother and uncles. My dog Millie also likes to hunt and we take her for walks when we can. Our girls keep us pretty busy with swimming, choir, theatre, and track events as well. I like live music shows, sporting events and am a huge fan of the Twins and Vikings. I’m also in a men’s golf league one night a week which is close to the office. The only problem is that we can only really golf 6 months of the year up here in Minnesota. We also like to travel when time permits.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a younger generation, what would it be?
Practice public speaking as much as possible, worry less about what others think about you, and focus on the happiness of you and your family before anyone else.

What’s something not many people know about you?
I’ve never been to Las Vegas before. I’m a very outgoing and social person and like to travel so a trip to Vegas would seem to make sense. I’ve never been but would love to go someday.

What’s the last book you read?
Beastie Boys Autobiography by Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz

Favorite book?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (for my youngest daughter)

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I think it would be cool to be a radio personality or DJ. I love music and sports talk radio and would love to have a show or podcast that combines the two. Maybe after I retire.

Do you have a favorite curse word, and if so, what is it?
I really like dipshit but I’ll only say that if I really like you. ? It can be used in so many different contexts!

What excites and/or inspires you?
I love being in an atmosphere that’s loud, chaotic, fun, yet productive. I envision our office being like that as we grow and add staff. Whenever I hear stories about people overcoming huge obstacles to achieve their goals, I can’t help but be inspired. It’s good to be reminded that your path to success could be much more difficult than it currently is. Get out there and go for it!

Who are your role models and why?
My parents will be celebrating their 50 year anniversary this spring. They’ve taught me everything I know about how to lead a happy and fulfilling life. My grandfather passed away a few years ago now. He was an officer in the Army during WWII and had a huge impact on my life when I was young. From a leadership perspective, he was the best.

What would you do with your winnings if you hit a huge jackpot in the lottery?
I would fund my children’s college education first. Second, I would buy that Ford Mustang I’ve always wanted, and third, I’d donate a bunch to our local high school who doesn’t have a pool for the swim team to practice in. I spent a lot of time as a kid playing baseball in central Minnesota on baseball diamonds that were in terrible condition. I think I’d try to upgrade as many fields in my community as possible. The rest would go to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota – a fantastic charity that I’m passionate about.

Where would your dream vacation be?
We took a short trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota earlier this summer. I’d like to take the family to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. Wyoming and Montana are beautiful in the summer so I think a few weeks out there would be perfect!