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HICKORY, NC (November 3, 2016) – Transportation Insight Founder and Chairman Paul Thompson was the speaker for the 58th Harlan E. Boyles Distinguished Lecture Series at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Thompson is the visionary leader behind six highly successful North American companies, including his portfolio’s flagship brand, Transportation Insight, a multi-modal global lead logistics provider and business strategist.

Transportation Insight Founder and Chairman Paul Thompson speaking at Appalachian State University

“I consider it an honor to be on a list with distinguished prior Boyles speakers,” Thompson says. “More than anything I appreciate the opportunity to share some life experience, my experience, with the students, and while I hope the time I spent with them was entertaining, more importantly, I hope I left them with two or three gold nuggets that they will be able to use in their career and life.”

Transportation Insight is a nine-time Inc. 500|5000 honoree, ranked among the Top 50 Global 3PLs, and recognized in the top revenue tier of North Carolina’s privately held companies with a No. 4 ranking. The company was also recently designated a U.S. EPA SmartWay® Excellence Award recipient. Thompson, who founded Transportation Insight in 1999, is the inaugural Grant Thornton North Carolina 100 Cultural Leader of the Year and was an award recipient for the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year® Southeast Region. He was instrumental in establishing the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship at ASU’s Walker College of Business. The College of Business hosts the bi-annual Boyles lecture.

Thompson delivered his lecture “The Seven Attributes of a Great Leader” in the Holmes Convocation Center Friday, Oct. 28 for an on-site audience of more than 1,000 attendees, including supply chain management and business analytics students, student entrepreneurs, Appalachian State University faculty and staff and regional business leaders. Thousands more had access to the presentation through online streaming.

“Through my career I have been blessed to work for a number of different companies, large and small, and to work with many executives both in and out of the transportation industry,” Thompson says. “Having the desire to be a successful leader, I have watched very carefully those around me whom I aspire to be more like, and I asked myself, what were the qualities about those leaders that made them different? What is the key to their success? Through the years I have accumulated seven key attributes of what I would call great leaders, and while those seven are not the only important things about leadership, I do think all seven characteristics are attributes that separate great leaders from just leaders.”

In addition to delivering the Boyles Distinguished Lecture, a morning breakfast allowed Thompson to engage with students attending Appalachian State University and Winston-Salem State University and pursuing careers in supply chain management and business analytics. An industrial engineering honor graduate from University of Arkansas, Thompson notes the dynamic changes that have occurred in transportation logistics during his three decades working in the industry. A business that once largely revolved around “blue-collar” work and trucks, trailers and terminals, is now one that is highly reliant on intellectual capital.

“Advanced careers in supply chain are one of the most under-recognized positions in the North American marketplace. While today transportation and logistics is second only to medicine in GDP, it means that 11 percent of our total U.S. economy is spent in that sector,” he said. “Transportation logistics and supply chain management have moved into a very technical, technology-driven career, and it is one that is not only rewarding in terms of being exciting and challenging, it is one that is also very rewarding financially. As we look to the next generation of career opportunities, I think that supply chain management is an area that many students should consider.”

Transportation Insight and its recently launched transactional freight division, BirdDog Logistics, are relying on students considering those careers. The company aims to expand its workforce by nearly 20 percent during the next year, Thompson says, adding that of four-year degree holders currently employed at Hickory’s corporate campus, about 20 percent attended Appalachian State. The company’s workforce demands are driven by growth goals of becoming North America’s foremost logistics services provider and achieving $3-$5 billion in revenue by Jan. 1, 2020.

With workforce needs in mind, Thompson and Transportation Insight work hard to establish a corporate culture that attracts the next generation of intellectual capital that will fuel transportation logistics and supply chain management into the future. The culture is grounded in a mission to create a sustainable company that delivers significance within the company walls and its surrounding communities.

“I’m at the phase in my career where I think a lot about legacy. Money and success don’t motivate me, but leaving a legacy does,” Thompson says. “The highest level of life is not success. The highest level of being is significance. Significance is not what you do for yourself – significance is what you do for others.”

Central to that culture, is the Transportation Insight’s new corporate campus in downtown Hickory and near amenities that are highly sought by both new and existing members of the workforce. The 70,000 square-foot rehabilitated mill includes an athletic field and cafeteria, as well as future plans for a full-sized gymnasium with basketball court and employee exercise facilities. The campus - like Transportation Insight’s company practices that support employee development and advancement - mirrors the company’s continuous improvement mindset that it applies to client operations.

“Transportation Insight is very profitable, but profit is not the goal,” Thompson says. “The goal is to make our customers better every day, and for our associates to want to come to work and have fun every day.”

Named in honor of six-time North Carolina State Treasurer and 49-year public servant, Harlan E. Boyles, the lecture series is held each semester since its start in Spring 1988. A native of Lincoln County, Boyles was dedicated to education and was intimately involved with Appalachian State University and the Walker College of Business, where he shared his experience, advice and counsel with hundreds of students and future business leaders. Past speakers include Wells Fargo & Co. Senior Executive Vice President of Wealth and Investment Management David Carroll, BBDO New York President and CEO John Osborn, State Employees Credit Union President and CEO Jim Blaine, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina President and CEO, BB&T CEO Kelly King, and Duke Energy CEO James Rogers.

About Transportation Insight, LLC
Transportation Insight is a multi-modal, global lead logistics provider with more than $4.6 billion in supply chain spend under management. For more than 15 years, the 3PL has partnered with hundreds of manufacturers, distributors and retailers to achieve significant cost savings, reduce cycle times and improve customer satisfaction rates by providing customized supply chain solutions. Transportation Insight offers a Co-managed Logistics® form of 3PL, carrier sourcing, freight bill audit and payment services, state-of-the-art transportation management system (TMS) applications and business intelligence. Its logistics services include domestic transportation, parcel shipping solutions, supply chain analytics, international transportation, warehouse sourcing, LEAN consulting and supply chain sourcing of indirect materials. Headquartered in Hickory, NC, Transportation Insight has secondary operating centers in Atlanta, GA, Bentonville, AR, Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Omaha, NE and Salt Lake City, UT, as well as more than 50 client support offices across North America. For more about Transportation Insight, visit, email or call 877-226-9950.



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