Kaylee & Jordan

Interview by
Published on
April 12, 2022

In this episode...

Kaylee Nix is one of FreightWaves’ most outstanding voices - she is the lead anchor and producer of FREIGHTWAVES NOW, a daily 2-hour news program, as well as the host of At Your Doorstep. And what better way to get a pulse on the latest in the industry than by attending the TIA 2022 conference. Life By The Mile got to catch up with Kaylee and FreightWorks’ own Jordan Kidd, who also attended TIA 2022, to get an update on what issues are being discussed, what solutions to current industry challenges are being presented, the latest in tech trends, and all the other conversations.

Jordan Kidd

Jordan Kidd is the Director of Business Intelligence, Marketing & IT for FreightWorks having been there the first day the company was incubated and has been in the middle of most key developments along the way.

Kaylee Nix

Reporter & Meteorologist at Freightwaves.


yesterday I was out here in outside the exhibit hall uh chatting with a software vendor and the president of tia walked up and said look this looks like a robust conversation when you bring anyone that's in sales together you know that they're gonna talk a lot and that's really what this entire thing is right is you got everybody here, everybody, sharing conversations sharing collaborative ideas and there's just a ton of talking we're not bidding as you mentioned but we're out here just having great conversations networking shaking a lot of hands and overall just having a great time

well here we are season two life by the mile delivered by freightworks we promised you that in this second season we were going to bring people on that would have industry updates and experts in different fields and you know what it's our own jordan kidd and jordan where are you and tell us who you're with so i'm out in sunny san diego at the tia capital ideas conference and uh it's day two here at the conference it's been a great show so far great conference great networking and i'm here with kaylee nicks a great place and i'm really honored to be on with you guys i know that we had very sharpie on with you guys in life by the while and that's a couple weeks ago and so it's good to kind of slide into her shoes a little bit do some collaborative content creation with y'all especially after you guys have such a great show about great waves it is so it's wonderful to have you both and of course jordan we miss you feels like matt's just ended we're going through all the editing and pushing out episodes william and the team are doing a great job there and here it is with more content now for those who don't know tell us about the conference specifically and just go back and forth as you feel a flow there on that what are you doing there what are you learning give us an overview

so i'll get it started cia capital ideas conference is transportation intermediaries association so it's focused on the brokerage segment of the industry and it's been really really great so far specifically for me because i really don't necessarily have as deep of an understanding of brokerage as i would like to have so i have learned a ton just in the last two days technically the college started about wednesday afternoon with the welcome reception and it kicked off um but the general session yesterday kicked it off with a great keynote speech we had some award presentations mike riccio who is the chairman of the board sat down and kind of laid out the plans for tiaa the goals for this year and some personal anecdotes really bringing everything together and then anne rinke who is the president and ceo of cia has been now for just about 18 months also kind of sat down with her goals for the association for this year specifically around advocacy transparency and really just stepping up for 3pls at a time where we're kind of in this pivotal moment of what is our industry going to look like the rest of this year are we still going to continue to see this continued sustainability in the market what's going to happen more uncertainty and all of the above yeah great that's a big task big assignment what what would you say jordan yeah so this is my first time at tia i've been to a lot of the trucking events but uh we're we've we've been primarily an asset-based carrier but we've got a small brokerage that's beginning to grow and this conference has been a great insight into what's going on in the brokerage world um of course everything from rail to ship you know container congestion at the ports to technology for brokers and how to leverage that to your sales process and you know end to end of the brokerage world and logistics so it's been great discussions great sessions great speakers so far and uh look forward to the next day let me ask this question of both of you when you're there do you have a sense of optimism about the days ahead or do you have people that are kind of bracing for a burst of a bubble or what what are you feeling viscerally from the educational sessions the informal interaction in other words put your finger on the pulse and describe what you're sensing so i kind of have this feeling of but there's really not a sense of tread or a sense of worry about what's going to happen in the industry but there's kind of this underlying tinge of like we're at this reflection point and i think that everybody here is this heightened sense of awareness that when you're learning in these learning sessions and when you're talking to the speakers and when you're trying to network with these folks whether you're a broker here trying to expand your care your network new technology opportunities that you're you're going to need to do something to differentiate yourself into more intense brokers have been done really well for themselves in the last two years and we all know this is a market that while it's hot well it's great while you're thinking to the money it's going to burn itself out at some point it's not sustainable whether that's at the end of this year in the next 18 months or in the next two years that change is going to come and i think that everyone here is keenly aware of it and that's been kind of the underlying theme of this conversation because we're not at a point where we need to worry we're not at a point where we're watching a car drive off the cliff right now on the brokerage market but we're at a point where if you haven't explored your solutions for sourcing extra capacity or looked at what your sugar plan is going to be when eventually things do fall off and you have now carriers scrambling for these lower grades then you're going to need to start thinking about that now

Jordan what would be your perspective on that I want you to take it even further and discuss the practical things that you're learning that will affect freightworks uh work in the brokerage arena

yeah so my side of things is traditionally been the technology aspect and i think it's a great opportunity for like haley was saying uh it's it's not a time to panic but it's a time to tighten up you know focus on on on optimizing your processes focus on really getting sharp on your your rates um i've been to a couple of sessions about predictive rates real-time rates how to know uh how to maximize your margins even when they're falling uh it's a it's the best time to know precisely how to how to have your finger on the pulse of market rates and and and all the way around from from your sales to your customer service uh you know your carrier network it's the time to focus and double down on what you've been doing that's worked and it's been a little bit easy and you didn't have to focus on it as much in the last two years uh it's a great time to double down on your operation just because you're looking down the throws of a possible slow down in the market airport as some are starting to call it a break recession potential doesn't mean that it's time to get into this panic mode it's sort of mentioned you can tighten up your operations you can tighten up your booking strategy you can tighten up your capacity strategy and do it in a way that improves your business just overall you don't have to necessarily have this sudden downturn to make your business better right it's just another excuse to tighten things up a little bit and get a little bit better in your business you know when you interact with the folks there tell me a little bit about the kinds of people who have attended i mean give us a sense for the uninformed about the attendees who are they where do they come from what sectors and the like i think that was ryan intentionally photo bombing is there ryan triverges and just walked through a metaphor so you've got there a a great tech consulting agency kind of mckenzie of logistics uh you've got you've got technology vendors you've got um a lot of insurance vendors so mitigating risk in in brokerage we had the president of cma uh you know ship lines that run you know the one of the largest shipping companies we've got rail line uh executives here we've got uh you know trucking and brokerage and everything in between um there's just a real good mix of people in all sectors of logistics and the exciting thing about that too is that this is a conference that's of course geared towards the 3pl industry cia is the association for that middle mile the intermediary that middle space but there is somebody from literally every sector here um i sat in on a session this morning talking about autonomous vehicles with people from plus with kodiak robotics and the people from tucson and that was moderated by the cia's director of governmental affairs and so it all kind of ties together in this one piece which is really crucial for the brokerage space of course because they're in that middle space pollution carrier and everyone is here involved together and there's been a very good sense of collaboration i think with all of this as well and traditionally a space where you're competing against other brokers whether that's in your own individual brokerage or loads or whatever there's a very good sense of collaboration here and just kind of this like sense of being together i think this is the first cia conference since 2019 and so everybody was really really excited about it the production value is top-notch the menu is top-notch the exhibit hall which we're in right now is also top-notch so it's been it's been kind of good to see that everybody's just very excited to be here you know i remember i went to college west of chicago and i remember when i went to the chicago board of trade for the first time and you had all of the people that were like bidding on pork bellies and grain and gold you know the noise in the background i've got this image of when you bring a whole bunch of brokers together what happens are people in that industry in sector i mean what what does it take to be a good broker well let's let's go there that's the question for you i'm not a broker so i've been telling you well um there's a lot of enthusiasm uh a lot of conversations robust conversations spirited conversations um brokerage is all about relationships and informing relationships and partnerships with carriers with shippers um so there's there's a lot of networking going on um i got to actually yesterday i was out here and outside the exhibit hall uh chatting with a software vendor and the president of tia walked up and said look this looks like a robust conversation and uh so you got a lot of animation and and passionate talks about technology about customer service about all aspects of the world when you bring anyone that's in sales together you know that they're gonna talk a lot and that's really what this entire thing is right is you got everybody here everybody sharing conversations sharing collaborative ideas and there's just a ton of talking we're not bidding as you mentioned but we're out here just having great conversations networking shaking a lot of hands and overall just having a great time let me let me stay with you for a minute and uh describe what's happening in your world these days oh man so the world of freight waves is going pretty well so i'm out here as a freeways representative kind of just getting to talk to people getting some fresh faces in for our content something that we did at the start of this year myself and grace sharpie who was on with you guys at math a couple weeks ago we just rebranded one of our friendship shows into great quarter gals which now is a show that's completely focused on really strong really powerful women leadership in the great legislative industry great and so we're going on we've got about seven episodes that have shot and aired so far we're booked out through the end of may right now for people to join us which is so incredibly exciting and really really rewarding and uh one of the things that happened yesterday morning at the general session was ellen boya who is the head of the limited trucking association was here and she delivered the oh she's amazing absolutely a role model um she delivered the award for the tia's recognition for the distinguished women and women in logistics and board and the founder and ceo of pander expedite nicole glenn won that award and had a coming full circle she was our second guest to have a great quarter gals and now she's the 2022 distinguished woman in logistics for the tia

you know since i've got you here and you're a captive audience tell us real quickly your story how did you get into all of this

so it's so funny when people ask me that because my background is actually in meteorology i'm i'm a weather person a weather nerd in part and got into meteorology started doing broadcasting on the local news level straight out of college and then i honestly just i fell into the role here at great waves because i like talking to people about what they're passionate about so i love talking to you about talking to jordan and everybody here everybody here is just so passionate about what they're doing so i started in the industry with great waves a year and a half ago did not know a single thing about transportation and i owe pretty much everything to places like this and opportunities like great waves and content like that comes out of life by the mile to teach me about the industry and now i have the privilege really of getting to come out to things like this and talk to people that are so excited about the industry and then make it come through for you guys as well you know i i just want to say this i've said it before you obviously have a lot of enthusiasm for the industry in the sector and it makes the delivering of information much more interesting when you have somebody that's actually excited to share it so keep doing what you're doing jordan let me ask you this question what would you envision what would you envision jordan as two or three practical things that the brokerage effort of great works might apply from what uh you've learned

yeah so i've got a long i got a couple pages of notes and i didn't prepare for this so uh one thing i snapped through a session this morning talking about refrigerated uh the transport of refrigerated goods um kenny luck the son of alan lund who's a titan in the refrigerated space was one of the panel members and uh we should discuss some of the uh some of the pains of handling fresh produce and it's a 24 7 365 operation and some brokers aren't used to that so we talked about everything from how to handle produce to um you know how to how to get some of our our freight onto the rail so you know there's there's a lot of points on on a lot of fronts uh i've got a lot of notes on technology vendors that we may want to work with to improve our operation um you know if you're not improving your technology in this day and age as a brokerage you're getting left behind quickly and so just trying to stay on top of all that i got a couple of pages of notes and a stack of business cards to go through when i get home

let me ask you each a final question here and then we'll kind of wrap up when you look at the role of media and all the different platforms that we have now you know with podcasts everybody's kind of an expert uh there's crowded space and to like what would your hopes be for freight works and for freight waves what would your hopes be in the days ahead about distinguishing the content that's being pushed out there, of course, freight waves is a marketplace leader be there first to be their best you're kind of both of those but look ahead for a minute and talk about in a crowded media space let's start with you Jordan what would you hope distinguishes the content that we push out

well i think we were both just in a session that was titled the power of social media in uh for logistics and so it was a great discussion about how to leverage social media to speak directly to the audience um you know how to build your content strategy and it's it's an increasingly uh novel idea that's becoming mainstream uh you know start a podcast do whatever um vlog whatever uh medium is your forte to create content that engages with the audience um i i i've got a list of notes also on on our social media strategy and how we'll be able to leverage that coming out of the tia event and um you know we directly engage we try to directly engage with drivers in the ways that they uh find value in and i think we'll be improving that as as we come out of this i've been collaborating with a number of other channels and podcast posts and and folks that are that are on top of their game as well we'll have some collaborations coming out of this um just really looking forward to coming out of that session for me yeah so coming out of that session for me they opened it up for questions at the very end my hand was like the first one in the air because i think with freight waves as you mentioned we have that establishment as this media presence in the freight world right now both on our written editorial side on our social media and also on the content that we're putting out on streaming tv and podcasts in our on-demand applications and things like that as well um and my big thing is how do we balance collaboration in the industry with competitiveness and keeping this edge so obviously like the life by the while on the frameless partnership is something that can be mutually beneficial and the best question or the best answer that i got out of that question was check your ego at the door and realize that everybody has a different perspective to provide and at the end of the day you have to have that symbiotic relationship with two different companies trying to do two different things at the end of the day we're all trying to get somebody to get that message out we're all trying to get people to get more educated about brokerage we're educated about how to succeed in the industry we're educated about how to live in the school system and making supply chain work we're also trying to get people to be more interested in the industry overall and obviously when things like overhead supply chain issues hit that gets the general public's interest but how do you keep them interested if you've been interested by pushing out different content on different platforms by making friendships like this in collaborations like this and showing people that there's not just one side to a truck transportation there's not just one side too great it's multifaceted it takes a really huge multi-faceted approach and i hope that everybody who is now pushing content strategy whether that's written editorial podcast video etc has that idea of let's collaborate a little bit more and get an entire audience just from one platform one company to just an audience for the transportation industry well i suspect and jordan and i have talked about this that there's a road trip that he and i are going to take or an air trip i don't know where we could sit down and have what my israeli friends call a four eyes meeting where we sit and discuss and collaborate brainstorm plan and ultimately execute you know i was thinking it's great great waves great works it's all about the work it's all about the waves and uh it's so great to get this report from san diego i'm so grateful that you were on today and uh we know that you got more to do before you leave this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks and as we promised we're going to have updates from the road and jordan tell us again where you are

yeah so we're at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego it's uh beautiful weather couldn't beat its great location great people here

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