HOW DID YOU AND BLACKLIDGE MEET?
Well, this story does start with a blind date. I was on a trip to the Jazz Festival in New Orleans when a friend of a friend introduced me to the woman who would later become my wife. After a year of dating long distance, we decided to seal the deal. I needed to re-locate to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to be with her, but that meant finding a job first. It wasn’t long before I started hearing the name Blacklidge. It was strictly happenstance, but Blacklidge and I were looking for a change at the same time.
WHAT DOES 20+ YEARS IN LOGISTICS TEACH YOU?
Most of my work experience involves the movement of liquid petroleum products from one place to another. I didn’t always have my own company vehicles to facilitate those movements. So I know what it is like to actually be the customer I am serving today. Timeliness is key. I still remember what it feels like to be let down when a shipment didn’t show up on time. I also remember the times when companies exceeded my expectations and came through for me when things seemed unlikely to work out.
Every day, loads are going to different places and new orders are always coming in. My day-to-day is like putting together a puzzle. No load is any less important than another and they all have to get to the right place on time. In a nutshell, 20+ years in logistics teaches you that you will have never “seen it all!”
WHAT ARE THE PIECES OF BLACKLIDGE’S LOGISTICS “PUZZLE”?
Our dispatchers handle everything from the original communication with the customer to the time the driver leaves to go home at the end of the day. When a customer contacts Blacklidge for a delivery, one person will handle that delivery from start to finish. Miscommunications are reduced to near zero.
We also offer 24/7/365 telephone coverage for our customers, plants and drivers. If you call Blacklidge on Christmas morning, someone in Logistics will answer the phone. If it’s New Year’s Eve and you want to place an order with Blacklidge, someone in Logistics will answer the phone. It’s not a third-party phone service; you will reach someone who can tell you what the score is.
We operate 26 trucks with 29 drivers. Having 3 sets of team drivers means we can be at one end of our geographical footprint one day and at the other end the next. Realistically, a truck delivering in Virginia today can be in West Texas tomorrow, and we can multiply this capability many times over.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISMENT SO FAR AT BLACKLIDGE?
Since my first day on the job, I’ve been centralizing logistics, and this process has significantly improved our financials through efficiency. We monitor every truck electronically and in real time. At any moment, I can see everything from our trucks’ locations to the drivers’ speed to available driving-hours. We know which trucks are available for a shipment and which ones are not. We can react to any issue and answer any question. I like to think of our trucks like a SWAT team – the question is, who can get there the fastest, safely, responsibly and within the limits of the law? Most truck accidents are actually caused because companies make unsafe demands on drivers. Blacklidge isn’t that kind of company. We prioritize driver safety, and we have the systems in place to make sure we meet customer demand without endangering others.
WHEN YOU AREN’T KNEE DEEP IN BLACKLIDGE’S OPERATIONS, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?
You can find me at the beach with my beautiful wife, Laurie, breaking a sweat at the gym, or if it’s football season, cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers.