Ben Tinker, Allen Lund Co. LLC
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Ben Tinker, assistant branch manager, Allen Lund Co. LLC.
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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Our business and industry ebbs and flows with our economy and manufacturing sectors. The most challenging aspect of our job is forecasting and adapting to transportation market conditions. There are a lot of different factors throughout the country that need to be considered when quoting a customer. Understanding regional events can help us predict driver capacity in a given area. The most rewarding aspect of my job is facilitating a company’s supply chain and taking part of that task off their plate. When we can save a company both financially and in efficiency, it is a win-win situation.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I look up to the professional truck drivers who we work with daily. Driving a truck is a thankless job that often gets overlooked. Currently, the average driver is 56 years old and the transportation industry desperately needs more drivers to avoid raising transportation costs. There has been a lot of press recently about autonomous driving tractors. As exciting as that sounds, it has only seen limited testing and there are a lot of safety concerns that need to be ironed out before it is viable. In the meantime, the driver pool will continue to age unless we find younger drivers.
In addition to the drivers who we partner with, I have always had deep admiration for my grandfather, Bart Klotzbach. As a recently retired, long-time business owner in Monona, he has shown me the importance of working hard for what you want and adapting your business for continued success.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Becoming a certified transportation broker has been the high point of my career. Less than 10% of all transportation brokers have the certification that is issued by the Transportation Intermediaries Association. The course covers the history of the transportation industry, business structures, current industry practices, and legal precedents. Taking the course brought me back to my college days at UW–Whitewater and the dangers of procrastination when studying, but the additional knowledge about our industry and its possible pitfalls give me an advantage when dealing with customers that not a lot of brokers have.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Continue to be honest and straightforward with your co-workers and customers. Whether it is good or bad news, give a straight answer. Often, sales people receive a negative reputation because they are viewed as putting the sale before the person or relationship. The key to repeat business in our industry is being straightforward and proactive with communication to existing and potential customers.