In The News
Expediter of the Year Finalist Spotlight: Vanessa Schroeder
Editor’s Note: Expedite Expo 2019, which runs July 19 and 20 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, is the only trade show in the world geared exclusively to the expedited trucking industry. And this year’s show will feature the announcement of the winner of the Expediter of the Year award, which will be presented to one of these three finalists: Vanessa Schroeder, Lisa Morway, and Frank & Stephanie Rebelo.
The purpose of this award is to recognize those hard-working, professional and safety-conscious expediters on the road today who strive to make the expedite industry better and are deeply involved in serving and making a positive impact on their community.
So, who will win this year’s award? Find out on Saturday, July 20, at 2:30 pm in the Expo hall.
Registration for the entire conference is free. Secure your spot today at https://www.expediteexpo.com/.
In the meantime, let’s get to know each of the finalists. Today’s spotlight is on Vanessa Schroeder.
Carrier: DKP Express
Vehicle: 2018 RAM Promaster 3500 “modified” box truck
One of Vanessa’s nominators is Igor Komisarchik, CEO at DKP Express, who says, “Vanessa is a mentor to all DKP drivers and for many other companies' drivers. Last year, Vanessa also got on local TV in Ohio as a very popular photographer. She took thousands of pictures while she was on the road delivering loads—and those pictures have inspired a lot of potential expedite industry drivers. Vanessa always speaks to drivers at truck stops to help make the industry better. She never says no when anyone needs help or advice.”
Vanessa got her start in expedited trucking two years ago—in June 2017—after a 20-year career in management at Marco's Pizza for 20 years.
How did she get into expediting? What does she enjoy most about her career? And what advice does she have for other expediters?
EO recently caught up with Vanessa to learn more about her story. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.
EO: How'd you hear about expediting? What got you to make the change from manager to expediter?
Vanessa Schroeder: I had an employee at Marcos who started driving for DPK Express. He would post stuff on Facebook, and I thought, "Hey, I can do that!" I was getting a little fed up with my job, too. So I looked into it.
EO: What was it about expediting that appealed to you?
VS: You get to travel the US and see all kinds of scenery. I'm an avid photographer, so [expediting] is right up my alley.
EO: Where do you post your photos?
VS: On my Facebook page at Vanessa Schroeder's Photography. And I post stuff on Instagram, too.
EO: Do you take photos for business or pleasure?
VS: For pleasure. I have weathermen that I send my sunset photos to who put them on air, which gives me some recognition.
EO: What advice do you have for other expediters?
VS: I'm also the recruiting manager at DPK, and when I mentor new drivers, many of them are kind of scared when they're starting. I can relate because I was scared, too, at first. The first day I was puking in the hotel room. I didn't want to go because I did my other job for 20 years. But eventually, when I got out on the road, I concentrated on taking my delivery, picking it up, and delivering it. And I just got over the fear.
EO: How do you help drivers get over their initial fear?
VS: I just tell them about my experience and that eventually they'll get over it. I tell them that once you get traveling and seeing things, you'll love it. Because everywhere you go, it's different.
EO: What would you say has helped you succeed in this industry in such a short amount of time?
VS: I'm really nice to people. When I go to the shipper, I say, "Hi, how are you? How's your day?" You've got to be friendly with people. Sometimes I'll have a complaint about something that doesn't add up—the paperwork doesn't add up to what dispatcher gives me, or something doesn't fit into the trailer. I just tell dispatch, "Hey, this isn't going to work." Try not to get mad or blow up. It'll look bad for you.
EO: What would you say is your favorite way to give back to the expedite community?
VS: When I post my photos on Facebook, I'm showing [potential expediters] all the pretty scenery they could be seeing out on the road. When I’m talking to new drivers, I'm like, "Why wait until retirement to travel? Just travel now and make some money along the way."