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Interview With The Boss: Tampa Branch

Q&A with the top leaders at Trident Transport. Today we’re talking to Rush Feldhacker, Vice President of Sales in our Tampa branch.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Teacher. Passionate. Persistent. Strategic. Approachable.

List 3 characteristics of your leadership style.
Culture Obsessed –  I am obsessed with building and maintaining the right culture.  It is imperative that my people have a shared vision, purpose, and direction. I look for certain values when hiring to make sure we are bringing in individuals that will bring a diversity of thought, but also have the necessary shared values needed to go with our carefully constructed flow.  The culture keeps our people motivated, self-disciplined, and passionate. Apathy and complacency are dangerous things in this industry, and our culture is the tool that will keep them from ever establishing themselves in my branch or the company as a whole.

Empowering – I make sure to give my people the freedom and the power to take risks and make decisions.  There comes a point when you must throw them out of the nest and hope they fly and fly in the right direction.  Everyone has been micromanaged at some point in their life, and we can all relate to caring more about not messing up in those circumstances than succeeding.  I always want my people to focus on succeeding, and if they mess up on their way to success, no big deal. Failure is not a bad thing, as long as learned lessons come from it.

Leader Creator – The best leaders develop more leaders, and that is something I am constantly focused on doing. I have a philosophy about wanting an office comprised of player-coaches. These player-coaches are invested in not only their success, but in the success of their teammates as well.  They are leaders who are quick to congratulate their co-workers and are not afraid to critique the errors their peers (or superiors) might be making.  Having these player-coached teams keeps everyone bought in and doing things the right way.

How do you stay grounded, given your authority/leadership responsibilities and success?
I am lucky to have a support system that gives me honest criticism when I need it.  It is not always easy to hear, but it always makes me better.  I am only as successful as my team, so I make sure they know I am here to assist in any way I can and am ready to go to battle whenever they need me. I am not the type to hideaway in my office.  I want to be on the floor and in the action.

Work-life balance: What does that mean to you? How do you achieve it?
I have seen a lot of talented people get burned out because of their lack of a work-life balance.  It is very hard to develop in this industry, but it is doable. I try to leave the problems and challenges I face daily at the office when I leave for the day.  Yes, I always need to be available and I do have to deal with after-hours problems, but for the most part I keep work and my personal life separate. I have found vacations are imperative in the prevention of burnout. I’m a big traveler, and that always seems to be the key to keeping me refreshed and upbeat. Trident gives you unlimited vacation days. USE THEM! It will make you a happier and more successful employee.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Seeing my people grow and succeed, and then the impact that has on their personal lives. We hire a lot of people right out of college, and I love it when I see them buy their first house, new car, or even an engagement ring. That’s what makes me excited to come to work in the morning and the reason I love my job so much.  I love my people and I view helping them grow personally and professionally as my calling in life.

What’s your favorite one-line quote?
“Be the winner of change, not the victim of the circumstance”
This day and age everything is constantly changing and evolving.  It is important to embrace change and find ways to make it work for you.  Be quick to adjust strategy when needed.  If you sit idly by and don’t make adjustments, or try to grow, then you’re going to be made a victim of the circumstance.

What do you do in your spare time?
I like to exercise, play with my dogs, swim, hit happy hours, and watch the University of Tennessee play anything. We are 15 minutes from the beach, so I am there most weekends. I am going to get my scuba certification this year so I hope to be doing that a lot. Chris Burks is going to take me free diving and spearfishing in a few weeks and I am super pumped about it.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a younger generation, what would it be?
Happiness comes from personal improvement. Constantly be learning and growing. The second you feel stagnant you need to make a change. Being unhappy and not making any life changes is pure insanity.

What’s something not many people know about you?
I ran with the bulls in Spain. It was awesome!

What’s the last book you read?
The last book I read was “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz.

Favorite book?
My favorite books are either the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series or anything by Carl Hiaasen or Brad Thor.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I have always thought it would be cool to be an airline pilot.

Do you have a favorite curse word, and if so, what is it?
All of them.

What excites and/or inspires you?
The future.  I can’t wait to see where Trident will be in 5-10 years.

Who are your role models and why?
My grandfather – His work ethic and ability to overcome challenges are just unmatched. The man doesn’t know what an excuse is. My father – I definitely get my love of people from him.

What would you do with your winnings if you hit a huge jackpot in the lottery?
I would spend a few years traveling the world on a massive yacht.  Then I would want to be a teacher or professor. I don’t think I could be happy if I wasn’t having an impact on others.

Where would your dream vacation be?
Going on safari in Africa.