Summer Internship at JLE Industries
Coming into the summer, I did not expect to enjoy my time at JLE as much as I have. Let's face it, trucking is not the most exciting industry out there. As a finance and marketing summer intern coming from Cornell University, I assumed that I would be sitting in a grey office with grey cubicles cranking out boring spreadsheets day in and day out. In just two short weeks, however, I have witnessed and been part of a company that grows at a rate that I thought was only possible at a tech startup out in California.
My first day was what anyone would expect. I got my work computer and phone, got all my accounts set up, and spent some time with different members of the team trying to learn as much as I could about the company and industry. I got the basics down and began to see just how special this company was.
For an industry that is supposedly dead, JLE sure rocks the boat. It's not out of the question to believe that you're actually at a small wall street brokerage upon entering the office. The account managers (AMs) and driver managers (DMs) are constantly on the phones with drivers and freight suppliers. Communication between the AMs and DMs is streamlined with great coordination about specific lanes and making sure drivers are where they need to be when they need to be there. The AMs even broker freight that doesn't fit into our driver's schedule. Each worker is juggling double digits worth of drivers or accounts, and they do so almost flawlessly.
Week 2 was when things really kicked into high gear. Each day of the week had something new in store. I walked into the office on Monday, June 25th, to find 5 new support staff and brand new modern furniture for the upcoming expansion to our brokerage division. Tuesday brought the start of a fresh coat of paint and a handful of new monitors/TVs while Wednesday brought the news that we had increased our fleet with 70 brand new power units. Thursday brought the final touches of paint and Friday brought some new decor and amenities. Large wall graphics are in store for this week as well as an eventual game room for employees to enjoy after a hard day of making sure our drivers are taken care of.
The office is literally transforming before my eyes. You would think that we are a tech startup out in Silicon Valley when stepping into the office. Large widescreen monitor setups, modern furniture, and the thriving waterfront location make JLE Industries an exciting place to work. Management wants to make sure we have nothing but the best for our support staff, and these recent improvements show that they aren't playing around. With industry-leading software on the horizon, JLE is sure to continue bringing in talented individuals that will maintain the success of our flatbed team.
Aside from the above changes, I have also been working hand-in-hand with support staff in every corner of the office. I have had time with a DM, an AM, the Digital Media and Branding Specialist, the HR manager, the Director of Operations, the COO, and even the CEO. I'm getting my hands wet in every way I can and am learning more and more about the industry and business every day. JLE has created a very inviting work environment that makes me feel like I am already part of the family, just like the drivers and support team.
But what about the drivers?
All this news about the Homestead office is great, but what about people who truly run the business? From my short experience here, I have seen a passion for their careers that I never thought was possible in an industry like trucking. I assumed that these guys were just random drivers who enjoy the open road. To say I was wrong would be a huge understatement.
The word pride gets thrown around a lot in the trucking industry, but none seem to encompass its meaning quite like JLE. When our drivers get behind the wheel, they know that they represent the best the industry has to offer. Not only do they have great safety records, high miles, industry leading pay, and the newest trucks and equipment available, but they are also part of an ever-expanding family that truly cares about them.
At JLE, I have seen that the drivers are more than just a number. Every company claims this, but few can back it up. I have personally witnessed all drivers being addressed by their first name by all members of the support staff, whether they are DMs, HR employees, or even higher-ups like CEO Evan Pohaski. Everybody on the highway team is equally important, and they know it. Weekly contests, like safety recognition and clean ride recognition to name a few, keep these drivers connected and interacting with each other. They are truly part of a family that cares. Drivers are the foundation of the company and I see how hard the support staff works to keep them on the road and getting paid. They really are proudly driven.
JLE Industries has impressed me in ways that I did not see coming. Management is really going the extra mile for every aspect of the company, and I would be genuinely surprised if they aren't the largest flatbed carrier within the next 5 years. Their growth is unparalleled in the industry, and for good reasons. CEO Evan Pohaski has big plans for JLE Industries, and I'm excited to work with the team the rest of the summer to see many of those plans through.