State of the Industry

E10: State of the Industry Podcast with John Elliott - Gearing Up for the Expedite Expo

By Brandon Baxter
Posted Jul 3rd 2023 8:00AM

We are nine episodes deep into the “State of the Industry Podcast, with John Elliott” and the tenth installment is here!ready to extoll this year’s iteration of the Expedite Expo! So, set some time aside and dive into the next episode!

Hopefully, most of you have already been tuning in and making this podcast part of your regular listening, or viewing, routine. If not, why?! Obviously, John and I want you to listen to or watch this monthly podcast, which you can quickly get your fix by clicking below. 👇👇 


Brandon Baxter: Welcome to the State of the Industry Podcast with John Elliott. I'm your host, Brandon Baxter, and this is a monthly series, it's dedicated to discussions pertaining to the trucking industry, and featuring commentary by the CEO of Load One and immediate past chairman of TCA, John Elliott. John, thanks so much for joining me on this hour, our brief pre expo edition podcast. How are you today?

John Elliott: Doing great this morning. Doing great.

BB: Awesome, awesome. Well, good. As we were just discussing off camera here, we're only a few weeks away from the 2023 Expedite Expo. It's going to be held July 21st and 22nd in tropical Fort Wayne, Indiana. I know. I hope you got your swimmies ready.

JE: Pretty excited. Pretty excited.

BB: Well let's jump right into it then, John. And let's spend a little bit of time talking about what the expo really does for its attendees and exhibitors, specifically in the idea of networking and education.

JE: I think it's probably the only event in the industry that is, well, it's the only one that's focused on the expedite industry really. And you look at, it brings together a diverse group of people, vendors, suppliers, drivers, carriers, and that. It really creates a lot of opportunity for networking, idea sharing. There's a lot of educational sessions, great Q&A sessions. You get to listen to people who've got experience in the industry, different vendors talking about everything from let's say insurance and how to best manage that. How to manage your maintenance expenses and risks, selecting a carrier, understanding the industry better. I mean, just all over the map. Which it's a great variety of things and just a lot of opportunities for new owner operators or new drivers, and old the like, to learn and grow.

BB: Yep. And you hit on that right there, just the idea of education. And for example, the trucking 101 session that's being offered this year, specifically tailored towards new drivers or individuals who might be getting into trucking or expedite trucking specifically for the first time. Talk a little bit about that.

JE: I think there's not really a great source out there to learn education and learn on this business. And they think a lot of people do Google the internet and look at Facebook and that can be a real mix of information, good or bad in that. I think when you go to a session like that, they're well moderated. You've got a lot of people in the audience asking questions, so you get a good dialogue. I think if somebody's wrong, they're called out pretty quick or debate sometimes happens because there's more than one view. You go look at every situation.

And I think what what's interesting is the amount of education that goes on in the workshop, but the amount of discussion and education that goes on after, when people are like, hey. Or networking right after that and talking about topics. So you asked this question and I have questions about that too. Or did you find this to be true, or did you have this problem, or how did you overcome this? That kind of thing. And I think that's really where the real value is to a driver.

BB: Well, I certainly agree with that. And to kind of piggyback off of that, a lot of what I would refer to as constructive conversations. I mean, you pointed out obviously people are going to have differing opinions on certain things or different ideas. Doesn't necessarily mean somebody's wrong, it just means that might be a way that they perceive things when they're out there on the road, whether it's as a sprinter, owner, operator, or a husband or wife straight truck team.

JE: Exactly. I mean, I've never seen anything more than a pretty positive collaboration in that. I mean, like you said, again, not everyone's going to agree. But I think sometimes you appreciate the other perspective more once you understand it, even if you don't agree with it essentially. And you understand better where that person's coming from, their views on the industry of how to operate their truck. And that you might say, that's not how I operate mine. Well, that's why not everyone's going to be as successful.

BB: That's true.

JE: And what works for one does not work for the next one. So again, it's all about learning different things, seeing different ways to accomplish things, and having options and learning. It's all education.

BB: And on top of that, and really one of the draws year over year is really the Saturday morning panel, of which you are typically involved in as one of our guests. And this year it's on the future of trucking. I know we've talked about this in a couple of recent podcasts. But one more time, John, just for the sake of those who may be watching or listening for the first time, let's talk a little bit about the future of trucking panel and really what you bring out of that once you get involved.

JE: Oh, I have no idea. It's a crazy time in our industry. So I think panels like this become even more relevant when you have a lot of turmoil and things that... The things I would say today may not be the things that I would say on that panel at that time. The news changes every day. Economic factors change every day. I just read Powell's comments from the Fed that said they may look at another half point interest rate increase for the end of the year. If you had asked me three weeks ago, four weeks ago, I thought we were done for the year, and possibly even to give back. So it's very much a time where I think people want to stay in tune with what's going on and understand and stay updated. So I think it's a great panel for that. It's going to be a diverse group of speakers and that, year after year. So I think this year it's going to be even more relevant to a lot of people than what it is other years.

BB: Well, then buckle up and be ready for, I'm sure quite the question asking session at the end of that panel, right?

JE: I would anticipate a lot of Q&A time and people thinking I'm going to have miracle answers. But we're going to give it our best shot to try to share what knowledge I have. Or it's not even so much, it's the knowledge or perspective I bring from the other side of the desk.

BB: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think over the years people have grown to appreciate that. No matter who's sitting up there, as you've said before, it's sharing information and that's the important part.

JE: For sure. And it's also a good time.

BB: Absolutely. Speaking of a good time and then that's the perfect segue. Friday night is the always popular casino night. A lot of fun, a lot of games, prizes. Anything you want to share about your time at casino night? Have you been a high roller, big winner?

JE: I have not. I normally there, it's been a staple of the of Expo for a long, long time. I've always been on new philosophy if I didn't want to win, because that would look bad, if the boss won. I've got to feel like the prizes and all that really are for the drivers and owner operators, so-

BB: Of course.

JE: So, I prefer to hand out some drink tickets and watch the fun go on and just converse and network with people and things like that. But it's definitely a good time. It's nice to be able to watch the drivers and owner operators just get to relax a little bit and play together and network and have some fun and that outside of a truck stop or a truck stop parking lot. Because they don't get to gather or join together at a lot of places, let alone gather and join and then, like you said, network and educate. And have fun and socially network and things like that. So I think a lot of people make friends. I know a lot of relationships have been developing-

BB: Oh, for sure.

JE: Out of the expo and lifelong friendships and that for sure.

BB: And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Load One is hosting the welcome barbecue on Thursday night. So that when folks arrive we want to welcome you with some good eats. And we just added, I'm not sure if you're aware yet, John, but a corn hole tournament that we're going to be holding there at the barbecue.

JE: Getting [inaudible 00:08:30].

BB: Get your beanbag tossing arm ready because I think we're, going to throw together some brackets and we'll have some prizes.

JE: We have a guy in our company who's like semi-pro league with that. I mean it's like he travels serious.

BB: Okay.

JE: Bring them. But, no, the barbecue's always a good time. I think I like the idea they moved it from the end to the beginning as a kickoff, which is nice because a lot of times people at the end need to get back home, need to get on the road or they got loads so they need to get rolling. So I think scheduling wise, logistic wise, this is going to be a good improvement for the expo. And again, we're looking forward to it and we're happy to be the kickoff sponsor.

BB: Well I love that and I love that what you said right there, John, is that it's a great way to welcome. As opposed to at the tail end of it, even for those who are there as exhibitors, recruiters with some of the companies that are there, everyone's packing up, they're ready to roll. Most people don't want to stick around for that. But if you do it at the beginning, which we're doing this year, man, I'm telling you what, you get some good eats the night before you show up for the show on Friday-

JE: I want people remember like Load One feed me, what a great company. Everyone likes a full belly.

BB: Exactly. We're going to have to slap a Load One logo on the barbecue sauce bottles, I think. That's what we need to do.

JE: There we go.

BB: All right. Yeah, I got the brain churning right now.

JE: Your marketing degree.

BB: Exactly, exactly. Well, and-

JE: I would be remiss to mention, I met you many, many, many years ago at the expo.

BB: Many.

JE: There's a lifelong relationship. I didn't anticipate.

BB: I mean 15 years and going, John, it feels like yesterday. But the fact that it's still going, you've made that point time and again. I mean, gosh, back then I was a recruiter for Panther. I was marched over to your booth over there at Load One. Shook hands for the first time and it's all downhill since then.

JE: Yeah, man. Life's full of give and takes.

BB: Ain't that the truth? Ain't that the truth? Well, on top of that, John, finally we will be recording a live fireside chat, if you will, episode of our next State of the Industry podcast. You and I will be doing it live and in your booth at the expo on Saturday afternoon. So I'm sorry, Friday afternoon. So I know that you and I are excited to give that a try. A lot of magic is made behind the scenes when we're recording, but we're going to be doing it live.

JE: We're going on back. But it should be fun and hopefully another interesting addition to the expo as it continues to grow and develop.

BB: Absolutely. And hopefully we'll have some interactions with some folks that are going to be gathered around watching us do our thing, waiting to see us fumble and pick up the ball and then run with it again. So it should be fun. I'm looking forward to it.

JE: That's fair. I'm interested to see how you handle the pressure of having people there.

BB: I'm pretty sure I can handle that. Last year I tied my hair back, this year I'll just brush it. We'll be good and ready to go.

JE: Sounds good. This looks like this every day, so.

BB: Well, then folks know what they're getting into. No excuses now. Well, John, anything else. Again, I know this was just kind of a quick little jump in. We're going to talk about the expo. Anything else you want to throw out there before we reconvene in about four weeks time in Fort Wayne?

JE: Not really. I mean you go online to the expo and Google it up there, or I'm sure you'll give the website at the end. I know you can register in advance, have your name tag set.

BB: Yep.

JE: I'd love to have you stop by the Load One booth and meet everyone. We're right up, right when you come through the front doors, you run right into us, so you can't miss us.

BB: Going to be really hard to miss, that's for sure. Well, awesome. John, we're a month away. Looking forward to seeing you again in person. We'll do another handshake. Been 15 years and it's been my pleasure to host the show with you.

JE: Sounds great. Thanks Brandon.

BB: You got it. We'll see you soon. And for those of you who are going to be coming to the expo, we're looking forward to you sitting in on the next State of the Industry podcast. Join us again. I've been your host, Brandon Baxter. Next time John and I will continue the discussion, all topics transportation. And don't forget to check out expediters and just CDL for access to over 150 carriers who are actively hiring, including Load One. Until next time.