A 20-year veteran of the transportation industry, Brian Kinsey, 49, knows how to deliver change. At his previous company, he wrestled with the impact of deregulation on a major transportation firm. Then he took a job as CEO of CarrierPoint Inc., a business-to-business marketplace for shippers, drivers, and trucking companies, where he is working on moving the transportation industry to the Web.
OLD SKILLS THAT STILL MATTER “Trucking is and always will be a relationship business. When you give a trucker your goods to deliver to someone else thousands of miles away, there’s a level of trust involved. That’s never going to go away.”
LEARNING CURVE “I came from being one of the youngest vice presidents at a huge trucking company to being the ‘old man’ of a startup. You quickly get a sense of how important it is to have a diverse staff. When you’re working this hard and this fast, you’ve got to have an egalitarian environment.”
TEACHING NOTE “The Internet is ultimately a communications device. In trucking, a lot of companies use their Web site as ‘Brochureware.’ It pays to have any sort of Web presence, but you’ve got to use the technology to leverage your business. You won’t make a real impact unless you’re willing to understand everything the technology can do for you.”
— AMY WILSON SHELDON
PUT PEOPLE BEFORE TECHNOLOGY
“Two years ago, I was doing a lot of contract work for companies that concentrated on their technology or their products instead of on their people. That lack of support — in terms of morale and training — made work more and more frustrating for everyone. My productivity, along with that of my co-workers, took a dive.
“When I finally got tired of the disappointments, I joined forces with three other free-agent programmers who had been struggling with the same problem. We created Comsolv Consulting. Along with developing custom software, we decided to hold free, on-site programming classes for clients. The weekly workshops take place during lunch or in the evening, and all employees are invited to come. The classes create a safety zone, where people can feel at ease and can learn from each other.
“So far, the results have been pretty incredible. Some of our clients’ employees have asked to leave their positions in order to come work with us. It’s absolutely imperative that employers create an atmos-phere of growth and community if they want their projects to succeed, their productivity to increase, and their people to remain.”