Clark Poole

Interview by
Published on
January 4, 2022

In this episode...

Clark Poole is a key business influencer in western North Carolina with keen insights on the strategic placement of the FreightWorks corporate headquarters in terms of transportation trends, proximity to key markets, quality of life, and economic trends. As the outgoing executive director for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce where he served for 10 years, he’s uniquely qualified to offer his assessments of how the company is in a prime location for growth, service, and innovation. Listen in to the wisdom born of experience and a passion for companies like FreightWorks which he characterized in this episode as being guided by innovation, excellence, and integrity.

Clark Poole

Clark Poole is a key business influencer in western North Carolina with keen insights on the strategic placement of the FreightWorks corporate headquarters in terms of transportation trends, proximity to key markets, quality of life, and economic trends.


but always what I appreciate so much about freight works and I know this is probably not what you intended for the podcast you genuinely care about each other that will make you successful regardless of how many flat tires or how many restrictions or whatever you have to face you will be successful because you care about your people

life by the mile delivered by freight works is your 30-minute weekly podcast adventure you'll hear the hearts soul and passions of those who keep america moving join us we're ready to roll it is such a delight to have for this last program of the year in 2021 here on life by the mile delivered by freight works with your host butch maltby a dear dear friend clark poole he is the outgoing head of the chamber of commerce in rutherford county rutherford county in western north carolina is of course where freight works headquarters is located and i just thought it would be wonderful for you and i to be able to have an unplugged conversation with each other and talk about a number of things that are of mutual interest and importance and also answer the question why is it significant that freightworks is located as a transportation and logistics enterprise enterprise here in western north carolina so clark thank you so much for being here well thank you for inviting me and thank you for our friendship and thank freightworks for deciding that this would be the place that they would plant themselves to go out and spend so much time and energy helping others as you well know we're short of truck drivers and we're short of employees and we're short of all these things and one of the things that i have really appreciated about freightworks is that they care about each and every employee and it's it's not a business it's a family it is a family together they do great things and they make sure that the product is provided but they also give energy and blessing to those that are around them work with them and i can't tell who the president of the company is and who the janitor is yeah it's it's so it's it's so great and so many of the drivers of course talk about the fact that they've got the opportunity to speak to joyce sakura the vice president of operations or josh and and others but you know before before we jump into freight works related matters what i'd like to do is explain to people what the chamber of commerce anywhere across the country is you've been here for 10 years talk a little bit about what a chamber is you know freightworks is very committed to partnerships we have partnerships with key clients key customers like kamoors dole and and others we're also very committed to live by the principle which we believe is a biblical one that we're motivated by relationships not just transactions that's very much your heart too but talk about the chamber what is the chamber of commerce the chamber of commerce is an organization or a group of individuals that really work toward economic prosperity and sustainability with each component within the community and with making sure that they are attentive to the quality of life i for example believe that the quality of life is so much more important than the economic prosperity because the quality of life being really high will bring about the economic prosperity you know if your heart's right and you're working for each other you're going to make money if you're only wanting to make money you're probably going to have some stumbling blocks but the chamber is engaged in always being the bridesmaid always assisting that company through their decision to reach its goal yeah they are to serve you know i as i said so many times in the chamber we talk to a lot of ceos we talk to a lot of very very high folks leadership and true leadership is servant leadership it's not about power and control it's about vision and passion and the ability to bring people together so if we really are doing our job as a chamber organization we're bringing people together to have dialogue to make things better for the quality of their life from the kindergartner to the retirement home it is our responsibility and our mission to make sure that we're listening to them that's why i was so frustrated with zoom last year with covid uh not being able to see the eye contact and the body language and and getting to know on a physical level that relationship so that's the chamber in a nutshell at least from my definition of it well and from what i've seen clark it puts you in a lot of different settings with a lot of different enterprises and people it's small businesses larger businesses and it puts you in a unique position to really answer the question why is rutherford county strategic and then once you answer that i mean as it relates to north carolina the southeast and the country talk a little bit about that and then once you do that we want to talk a little bit about why it's strategic for freightworks to be here well for those of you who do not recognize rutherford county's position is in the lower quadrant of north carolina adjacent to seven different interstates commerce as they say the economists say in atlanta that pretty soon we're going to be known as charlante corridor from charlotte to atlanta industry commerce population growth all of those factors are converging on rutherford county and this county has a unique opportunity and that we're working toward 74 being designated interstate which will connect us from murphy north carolina to manteo as an interstate which really manufactures and explain to people how far that is oh that's a long way that's i don't know how many miles it is but it goes across the entire state more importantly it is the connectivity of the financial structure of our north carolina and becoming the southeast in charlotte north carolina 221 which is had been a corridor of traffic two lane from south carolina to western north carolina and then going on into charlotte it's being four lanes so commerce will have the opportunity in four lanes to connect to six different interstates and that asheville will be able to do commerce with shel with charlotte because they get to bypass shelby all their stop lights right so they're gonna add a lot of great time for them to be able to do business those two things are very very important that we really had nothing to do with but we're going to be able to accept the blessing of it except that i'm sure they know me by my first name and raleigh right you've been interested you've been an advocate you've been somebody that really has flown the flag for rutherford county and for the uninformed can you explain to him exactly where where we are in the state uh we're how far from asheville how far in south carolina it's interesting we're we're 47 miles from spartanburg we're 80 miles from charlotte we're 60 miles from asheville and all of those places have four lanes to for connectivity did you know we had a 60 increase in room nights in rutherford county during coving because sales people would stay in rutherford county and service all those metro well it's a beautiful area it's a beautiful area but they also had a little bit quieter life a little bit more rural today they could think for themselves they could meditate they could do so it worked out well that's why we're going to become the mecca of uh modern times well and for drivers that may come through that are freightworks drivers talk a little that are interested in their health which we're encouraging all of them to be talk a little bit about the thermal rail trail and just other opportunities for personal health that's interesting we have 117 walking trails in rutherford county many of them are located in chimney rock and lake lure area with conservatories that have with the environmentalists wanting to preserve that nature and god's beauty but we're able to walk through those things our fathers decided that they would work very carefully to have a thermal rail trail we all got together they got together found the funding we have uh how many miles is it 37 miles of thermal rail trail paved railroad and folks coming in from all over once a month we have a bike club from atlanta coming in with 40 people they're having this a lot of them are having to stay in spartanburg because we're full every weekend but we're we're trying to correct that because you know success breeds success but the thing about it is we walk five miles a day in my family butch my wife walks 4.7 and i walk three tenths but i claim it as a family walking experience but it has helped a lot of people with their physical health their emotional health and with their spiritual health you can't walk on the trail early in the morning and and and listen

and not see the handiwork of god that's there you can't possibly know that experience when maybe there are only one or two people on the trail or to see a family with a two-year-old in a bicycle carriage doting over their children and laughing and you know that's when you know life is good god is good and it's a blessing that we have that trail but we not only have it for others but we have it for ourselves that's that's we have a a river wall a river not walk but a river uh trail yes that you can get in at the broad river and just float down the river or paddle down the river or whatever i haven't done that yet but i want to well you know uh so for any driver that comes here that's interested in outdoor activities there's certainly plenty of that we're also talk a little bit about facebook because we're one of the few communities that also has a data farm that's here yeah uh about eight years ago i got known as the rutherford county chamber director that was facebook oh your facebook so we got known as facebook because of facebook being here as a server a farm they've just finished their fourth warehouse you can get into the white house easier than you can get into facebook without the proper credentials because it serves the whole southeast and beginning to go up the eastern seaboard now they only have about 117 employees but about 500 million followers at our location uh putting their thoughts and comments and their pictures and all those kinds of things been a big blessing for us because people who are wanting to come here and make a footprint say if it's good enough for facebook it's good enough right so it's certainly there there's there's a a draw that's there and they came here not just for the water in the sewer they ca and the energy they came here for our values uh we were a very conservative value-oriented family-oriented community and county and we welcome them and it and as we grow in this county uh they say to us gosh y'all so friendly guys people are so friendly here they speak to each other well without getting in any commentary about california we could make some comments there but we're not going to but we certainly so so so we've got facebook and of course we've got real under your leadership a lot of efforts to really diversify businesses attract more businesses talk a little bit about why you think it's strategic for freight works to have made this their home well i think it's strategic for freight works in the sense that we are so closely connected to transportation arteries that makes it very convenient for them it is good for us that frequency is here because it is such a very deep family oriented kind of business that wants to make sure that that every person feels needed wanted and produces something that is of value so i think it's great that freight works as a footprint here uh i'm amazed at how it looks like an ant colony uh you come out here and everybody's doing all these kinds of things and you say we have a we have a podcast at two o'clock and two thirty i've got to do so and so and at three o'clock i've got to do so and so you make me tired okay just go give him my schedule but anyway freightworks freightworks is a blessing to our county because it is providing a lot of jobs for a lot of people and a lot of hope as the drivers travel the roads because their whole countenance is one of joy and happiness clark let me ask you this let's talk a little bit about your own journey how did you end up i just talked vocationally how did you where did you grow up where did you come from when did you come here tell us a little bit about who clark pool is well not a whole lot to tell but i grew up in shelby north carolina and went off to college to the east and never went back and um was in counseling and decided that that wasn't really what i wanted to do and i went into the car business because my car broke down you know the lord has his hand in a lot of things and i spent the whole day and the owner happened to be at the place and said uh i'd like to talk to you about offering you a job i said i don't even like cars but he kept hounding me and helping me to take this test and i took a test well i became the ceo of a very large automobile dealership that had five different lines and about 130 employees i was there for 25 years and my owner tells me that i was the ceo because i couldn't do anything else and they liked me but we had a great time a great family and then i came here to buy a dealership to rutherford county and it didn't work that they were willing to sell it at the end and general motors asked me to go to hendersonville i did that for a few years this is i'm going to china to get to ellenborough but anyway i said you know ellen burroughs in north carolina a little bit a little bitty town about 15 miles from here but anyway you can only play golf so much i came in one afternoon and for those of you who are married you understand this my wife said we need to talk well that's a buzzword nothing and we need to talk are two things that all men should be aware of when that happens she said i love you but if you don't get a job we're gonna get a divorce because you're under my i'm going to get my hair done i'm going to the grocery store i was under foot she was used to me being gone so they had an opening for the chamber and i said no i don't want to do that but they've been looking so long that i filled it out and they accepted me as the chamber i said i will work for two years and this was my 10th year i told them when they hired me that i'd please everybody half when i came and half when i left when they had my retirement party they set up two tables i will not tell you which one was the fuller table but that's just me in a nutshell okay okay and the thing that i've noticed is that you really have a heart to see this county grow oh yes and and are you optimistic as you look at things i think the future is going to be brighter for rutherford county if we allow the higher power to lead us in directness than anybody could ever experience the two the second graders in this county are going to be blessed with a very very robust economy with a very solid ground a hub of not only transportation but of information for north carolina you realize in fact that at our community college we have a workshop for workforce duke energy has a stall there that they train their employees in new processes and other companies so we our community college has become a platform for commerce and for other business so things are really great but the thing that i like the most we're so big in territory but we're so close in heart because the silos have been torn down the emotes have been filled in and people like each other right diversity is wonderful we need to seek first to understand so we can be understood and those who have the strength to walk through that valley will come out on the other side so victorious and our county will as well we we've got a great future ahead of us and i'm going to come back one day with my walker and say wow i need this you help you help do this folks i want to remind you if you haven't subscribed to this youtube channel make sure that you hit the button subscribe uh we're growing in our audience it's on every major podcast audio platform so make sure you share it with your friends your family your co-workers and your world and tell them this is a great way for you to come to better understand trucking and logistics let me ask you well one question how many employees does frameworks have that's a good question and i should know the quick answer no it's it's it's more than 150 yeah yeah 150 families are being provided a future by the idea and dream of somebody that said this can't happen right and josh joshua actually tells the story this started as a bio-diesel refining enterprise and he went online and bid on a truck and won it and then it's like okay what do we do well we'll start a trucking company and god blessed it and of course it's grown and continues to grow and we look forward to some josh has been known to do things like that hadn't he well he he has a real gift of entrepreneurship and and leadership and also vision uh i've mentioned before i think on one of the podcasts that in second chronicles eight it talks about the tribe of issachar who understood the times and knew what to do and this company is unapologetically based on biblical principles it's godly principles that guide decisions that are made it's a promise keeping company and we have a diverse family we've got solos and teams men and women people of color every ethnicity age as well and not everyone has the same faith commitment but the company is framed and forged in the crucible of following the teachings of jesus and it's just it's who we are and it's good it's interesting we do the right things because it's the right thing to do and it's what god's told us to do and as a byproduct of that the blessing is it's good business well i know that some of you may not know wayne gretzky uh the hockey player someone asked wayne you told me this ask wayne why are you so great i don't look at where the puck is i look where it's going to be and i think a successful faith-centered business like yours and a leadership like josh and yourself and others looks at where it's going to be next month next year but always what i appreciate so much about freight works and i know this is probably not what you intended for the podcast you genuinely care about each other that will make you successful regardless of how many flat tires or how many restrictions or whatever you have to face you will be successful because you care about your people but now you go ahead and well no i was gonna well i was gonna go ahead and say this i like the word picture actually better of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night you know god leading the children of israel and there's a lot of prayer that goes into what great works does and we pray for drivers we actually have a blog that's on the life by the mile website you can go to and we have a prayer for drivers that's an original prayer that god put on my heart wants to to write and we do pray and we do care and if you're a driver by the way and you're coming into the new year because this is the first inaugural broadcast in 2022 for life by the mile delivered by freightworks if you're considering the company why don't you call us go to our website uh make sure you subscribe and keep checking in to the various episodes that we have here clark let me ask you this about covet real quickly because of course transportation was essential business during cobia drivers kept driving you know they talk about the u.s postal service you know rain snow is going to keep not going to keep them away drivers are the same way if not more so and they had to be very resilient during covet what did you see as it related to businesses during covet and what do you see for the days ahead

loaded businesses in rutherford county panicked and were frightened and I saw grown men who had had businesses for 40 years almost cry and sit at the table as we filled out those ppe forms that the federal government was going to give us not so much to keep their business open for themselves but for their families and others for their employees because their employees were their family and uh I saw if there ever could be a blessing from this disease this dreaded disease if there could ever be a blessing it was that they truly showed their colors of faith and connectivity with one another so what do I see coming forward I think it's become so political that it's difficult for a person to really know and understand

if you have the shot or you don't have the shot that's a personal decision between you and your doctor if that's who you want and you and your lord whatever it may be but the main thing is for those of us who've had a shot or those of us who have not had a shot we will in fact keep the faith and have a way to conquer this and live through this and be okay but i don't like people talking about our first responders or heroes in 2020 and now they're being fired if they have a person maybe this is not important for the podcast you can cut that out if it's not but uh toby was like the plague in the old testament uh folks whether you have it or you don't have it whether you get it or you don't get it keep the faith it's gonna be okay uh god always wins let me ask you this question uh have you ever been in an 18 wheeler i have okay uh have you driven some distance in one oh no they didn't let me drive that would be a mistake they took you as a passenger they took me as a passenger on a freightworks bid y'all did right yeah right yeah okay so you like that that's a big old truck it's a it's a it's a big old truck well you know we're so excited about the prospect of a uh replenishing of the fleet with uh new new peterbilt trucks that are coming out that's gonna happen in the first part of the year and that's congratulations and when that happens we want you to come down and maybe take a test ride in in in one of those i'd be more than happy to as a citizen i won't be the director of the chamber so if you were inviting me as the director you'll have to do that for somebody else but yes i will let me ask you a couple more quick questions if you weren't the head of the chamber of commerce or if you hadn't been the head of a successful auto dealership what do you what might you have done what are some other places you might have landed i'll give you an example when i take vocational tests one of the things that i scored very high on in high school was being a hospital administrator which i never pursued the other of course was law which was something i was going to pursue but what might you have done i mean you're obviously affable you're very engaged with people you care about folks maybe that's not something you gave consideration to because you you've done what god called you to

did you ever think of running for office or i couldn't get elected dog catcher because i want to tell the truth regardless yeah you're you're principled people just wouldn't do that but anyway what would i want to do i'm doing what i'd want to do that's great there's a lot of joy in it and i'm going to retire from the chamber but i am not going to retire from life and i feel like i still have another way for god to use me in making things happen that rutherford county will even be greater than it is today that's great not me but the the gifts that i've been given can help others lead the way because we're going to look out the windshield we're not going to look in the rearview mirror that's great we're not going to look at what's happened we're going to look at what is what's ahead if you had 10 drivers from other companies that were considering making a shift and they were going to kick the tires with freight works what would you say to them as we end the program here what would you share with them i mean you've had the chance if you want to utilize your talents as a truck driver but want to be recognized as a human being that has value and worth and a very significant part of their whole vision for who they are as a company you need to consider looking at freight works this is a commercial this is a non-ask for advertising did we pay you to say this no you did not i say this because from the bottom of my heart these folks know that it's important to love one another and they'll love you and they'll care about you and maybe where you are right now they care about you but you've not seen anything yet if you just apply freightworks needs your talent did you say you had new trucks coming yeah there are trucks that are new trucks that are on the way but you know we we we'd love to engage in dialogue with people that are considering a shift or change call them write them go to their website see what happens they need you but i want to say some one more thing yeah go ahead you need them that's really that's very that's very good well thank you thank you now you know we're coming to the end of our conversation we uh we always have a little thing we do at the end we have a gift for you oh man yeah we have a gift for you every guest that comes clark uh has the opportunity to get this genuine yeti mug and on the one side it's got the number one freightworks shield and on the other side it's got the life by the mile logo and this is going to be great for your sweet tea your lemonade for your coffee your water whatever it might be so we want you to have that thank you and when you're out there in the community knowing that you're not the person the kind of person that is ever going to retire and we're going to be in a friendship and a relationship working on a variety of different things we just appreciate so much you flying the flag and the banner for freight works knowing that it comes from your heart and our heart is to serve and build relationships in this community that we love so much and we know it's not an accident that we're here if you're a driver if you're somebody that's a mechanic if you're interested in knowing more about freight works please hit the subscribe button go to our webpage call us be in touch with us we've got friendly folks driver managers receptionists others that are here ready to put their arms around whatever your needs might be and see if this is a potential home for you we're on two times every week in the coming year we're looking forward to doing some remote broadcasts from places like the mid-america trucking show and and others we've got a variety of guests from outside including washington d.c and raleigh that we're anticipating in the days ahead so come grow with us and invite others to be a part of the exciting journey here at life by the mile delivered by freight works i'm butch malty the host this has been our guest clark poole dear friend and thank you so much for the insights that you've given and a little more perspective on the community and the county here in north carolina that calls freightworks a place of significance and growth of the days ahead we're so grateful that he came thanks for having me and if you truck drivers if you're driving through toot your horn let me know that you're here and i hope you have a great experience thanks so much we're looking forward to a blessed 2022 this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks i'm butch maltby we look forward to seeing you again next week


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