Riley Holland

Interview by
Published on
February 3, 2022

In this episode...

Riley Holland is a Heavy Duty Segment specialist for Daimler Trucking. She comes to this podcast conversation with a background in finance and a heart to support industry advocates like Freightliner’s highly regarded Team Run Smart. Together with Team Run Smart's PRO spokesmen, and active promotions across media platforms, she is helping the marketplace stay abreast of vital new developments. And as a woman in the trucking and logistics workforce which has been mostly male, Riley also adds insights on navigating and thriving in this changing and sometimes chaotic world. Important discussion!

Riley Holland

Riley Holland is Heavy Duty On-Highway Marketing at Daimler Trucks North America


now speaking of training and I hope it's not out of school to say this you're on a path to get your CDL is that correct that's correct yeah I what I want you to talk about that a little bit yes um so at the moment I have my CDL permit I've passed the permit test um and then I've got a couple more months left I just need to sign up for driver training school go through that and get my CDL

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this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks we have an incredible guest today riley holland and you know the thing about life of the mile we want to make sure you know this at the outset is we made a commitment to have people on that would be industry experts drivers managers people from our company freightworks it's real important that you subscribe to the channel so if you haven't done that please do so and riley i said before we came on i think this is the best setting i've seen for any of the podcasts we've done you've got beautiful paintings in the background there welcome thank you i thought this would be the most this would be the best setup it's it's better looking than my office which is like a mess so i was like let's find a better better spot it's it's it's great it's absolutely great now listen i've also learned the hard way it's better for me to ask the question what do you do and who do you do it for than for me to try to explain that so tell us riley who you work for and what you do okay um well i work for daimler truck north america um i my my title that i have right now is uh on highway heavy duty specialist uh so i'm in product marketing and what that means is that i focus on our heavy duty on highway products which mostly falls into um the product cascadia so our flagship products so anything related to the cascadia um i'm pretty much working on and in product marketing you work with a lot of the other groups so like you know i'm with strategy engineering communications it's a very cross-collaborative position so you get to see a lot of the different um aspects of like what goes into updating and building the product and and things of that nature um so yeah it's not just freightliner um technically i'm a daimler so but i mostly only work on freightliner products right now let me ask you this question because people are always interested to know how did you get your start were you a little girl that was playing with trucks were you i mean tell us about your journey we want to get to know you a little bit better so give us your give us your story yeah so i never thought i'd actually end up in um the trucking industry it uh just so happened a few months after i graduated college i was looking for a job and my intention at the time was to go into sports marketing i had majored in marketing and minored in sports and kind of really wanted to follow that route and my dad is actually the one who found the internship that i applied for at daimler and it was when uh freightliner was the official hauler of nascar and i was like i don't know anything about nascar or trucks and he was like that doesn't matter just like apply for it like you should you should go for it and so i ended up applying um to be the motorsports marketing intern uh that was a position and then um never left so it started out yeah um in the the brand um kind of like the brand awareness group still like a subset of product marketing working closely with the partnership between freightliner and nascar uh and then i moved down to daimler truck financial um our captive finance partner for a few years and spent some time in finance and then a little over a year ago came back to product marketing again um to kind of came full circle but yeah i've actually this is pretty much the only big girl job i've had is a daimler that is so good now i want to ask you this question just talk a little bit because a life of the mile delivered by freight works is not just talking about motors and engines and trucks and drivers i want to take advantage of the opportunity we have today talk a little bit about just your experiences navigating the corporate world yeah um so it's been i think i mean it's been an adventure for sure and i think that you know depending on your industry it's gonna change uh and i don't really have a ton to compare it to because like i said like i've just been um at daimler but obviously it's a company that i haven't left for a reason so uh corporate wise um you know they take good care of their employees we've had some some good times and some bad times and you know they always seem to help us out and take care of us um when we need it so um from a corporate standpoint you know i think it's a really good company and if you're i'm not sure if you're familiar but we recently had the spin-off um so yeah we're um it's been really interesting to have like the car and truck aspect and now completely separating those two um i'm kind of excited about it in a sense that we're hoping that like certain resources can be allocated um differently now that we're two different organizations instead of one collectively so i think it's an exciting time to be um in the industry and on the corporate side especially with the spin-off happening right now uh so i mean for me it's been like all good things mostly well for people that are uninformed because we have people that know the industry and people that don't that listen to the podcast and also the youtube channel explain what the company is it's different aspects and the like for people that don't know yeah so you've got daimler um which you know before the spinoff was our parent organization you know headquartered in germany and then you've got different kind of like brands that fall underneath that and then we had we had mercedes-benz so the car side uh and then you had daimler trucks north america um the the truck side of the business um and then we also have finance a finance section so daimler financial services and then that split with you know uh car so mb and then daimler truck financial who i used to work for on the finance side and uh then we've got a bunch of different brands that kind of fall into daimler trucks north america we've got freightliner we've got western star thomas built buses so it accompanies a lot of different products um like i said it's a it's a global brand so we're in different markets within within over the whole uh world um so it's it's a it's a big organization that that actually kind of like does a lot and you know we've got different you know focusing on like e-mobility it's not just like diesel and trucks and gasoline like we were also focusing on you know you know like i said electric um and things like that that is so good now let me let me ask you this question do you have the opportunity to interact with drivers much yes um i do actually uh um in my department um we have a program uh that we manage called team run smart talk about that yes and team run smart is um we have right now we have three professional drivers who work with us on this program to help bring awareness um of you know the product uh and just things going on within the industry and helping us keep in touch and helping um you know other people keep in touch with us and this program really accompanies the lifestyle of the the driver and then we've got different types of drivers so we've got like a company driver we've got um an owner and a driver and then like we've got a small fleet so it's it's a very diverse uh setup we have here and i actually talk with them every single week and get to hear about you know their adventures on the road and everything and we talk to them about what their trucks doing like what they're seeing industry trends what's happening here what's happening there uh and it's it's very good for us to be able to have that firsthand experience and talk to people actually on the road driving our products and you know interacting with other people uh driving our products and you know being with them every single day because you know in marketing we're not out we're not out there every single day you know on the road driving like from the corporate experience so it's really good to have this um this like eye line into into their lives so that we can make sure that we are building um the best product for those using it that is so good so you almost have like a focus group that's out there all the time that's getting you information and like so based on that let me take advantage of having you here today based on that what are you sensing drivers are dealing with these days describe for people kind of what drivers are dealing with in the day and age that we're in yeah well right now um a lot of what they're dealing with with this pandemic it's been an interesting uh world uh they went down to like having you know working overtime delivering things like getting crazy amounts of hours just with the driver shortage um so the industry itself is looking for ways to increase driver retention and a lot of that starts at you know the at the product itself so the product we make we want it to be comfortable and have that driver experience to keep them wanting to keep driving so it's just an incentive to help you know keeping someone in the truck because it's literally like through their living um it's not just like they're driving in and out for the day they have to spend the night there we need to make it as comfortable as possible because it's like a home for them um and it's really important to view it as that and not just um a vehicle it's more than that uh so we're we're seeing you know trends airing on the side of like driver retention what we can do to keep them in there and then it's just the different right now with traffic traffic's starting to come back now that we've got things going on again um and it's and we've i mean we've seen different things you know like right recently we've had the weather issues going on so we've been hearing a lot about that uh but i'd say for the most part it's you know trying to increase driver retention reduce turnover um is the big thing so that we can have experienced drivers out there uh in an industry that's actually you know growing like right now drivers are making the most money they've ever made and i think a lot of people don't realize that and have this like connotation of what they think the trucking industry is or what being a truck driver is um and you know working with this program we try to like break that stereotype and um i think the guys that we have are great uh great examples of that that it's not just you know what what you what you think it was in the movies so riley talk talk a little bit about the role that technology is playing increasingly you're obviously of a younger generational cohort and we've got drivers that are young medium and old that are retiring but from your perspective i'd be very interested to know because i i sense you've got good insights on this how is technology changing driving um it's changing it a lot uh it's it's not just you know getting the latest and greatest like powertrain equipment in there because that's that's great but you know we have the fuel efficiency and with ghg regulations um you know things like that keeping this world clean like we're running we're trying to run the cleanest diesel we can coming up with e-mobility battery products to help with that as well making the truck basically as smart as possible it kind of helps relieve the driver in a sense when you know you have that secondhand safety features there like we have a suite of safety systems that we call detroit assurance and our most recent version of that's 5.0 and it offers a lot of different uh features in order to help keep the drivers safe because you you can be the best driver in the world but you can't control the traffic around you and so this with this technology helps with that as well um because you can be an a plus driver but like somebody else you know and the truck can sense things they can see things like white lane departure warning um active lane assist active brake assist we've got all these features in there that are supposed to help mitigate um any unforeseen instances that that may arise for the driver so technology wise we've got a ton of safety stuff to implement and not just that we're um also trying to make it like look and feel more like the inside of like a luxury car as well so recently we introduced the digital dash display um so it's this huge you got an a panel and a b panel and it's got like your infotainment systems you can change what's on the screen in front of you to kind of like have what you want to see whether it's like the different metrics of like what's happening with the truck obviously the speedometer is still on there too but um other things as well and just trying to give that look and feel of making it like the most comfortable experience and um giving you all the things that you could get in a car um so technology it's a huge it's a huge thing right now uh not just for you know safety but driver retention keeping them giving them the best we can give them so how do you encourage drivers not to see technology as an enemy because sitting in the driver's lounge here sometimes at freight works in rutherfordton north carolina i'll i'll hear drivers talk about new implementation and a rollout of new technology platforms and you can tell some of them are oh no here we go again what what what are the encouragements you give to help people understand this can really make your life safer and better yeah it's kind of like what i said before it's like you could be the best driver on the road but you can't control other people um and this really helps with that it can give you the warnings that you may not have seen someone coming because if you're you know completely folk you can't see everything like there's gonna always be some sort of you know huma operator human error whatever it is um it's it's hard to to see everything in your in that could be coming like you can you could do everything by the book just right but like something could happen so this is just uh you know help encourage them that you know it's not like big brother watching them it's not supposed to be like that it's taking the analytics and the insight and taking that data to figure out the safest way to do things and it just you mean you want to get home every day and it's it's the the intention is that is just to make sure that you are safe people around you are safe um and it's just a helpful tool and it doesn't like it doesn't hurt like i mean if none of your safety systems are going off then you're driving the truck just fine so right but it also um it's really it's it's not to say that you can't drive it's just to make it seem make it safe for everyone that's it like obviously you have to have a you know you go through training to drive a truck um it's not just you can't just like hop in and figure it out so we trust your training but this just helps mitigate from unexpected uh accidents now speaking of training and i hope it's not out of school to say this you're on a path to get your cdl is that correct that's correct yeah i what i want you to talk about that a little bit yes um so at the moment i have my cdl permit i've passed the permit test um and then i've got a couple more months left i just need to sign up for uh driver training school go through that and uh get my cdl it's really important to us and our department that we know how to operate the equipment that we're marketing and selling which makes total sense it's kind of like how am i going to market this to you if i can't even drive it myself so it's a it's a whole department effort to make sure that we're educated and knowledgeable um not just from a paper standpoint but from you know actually physically being able to drive these trucks uh so and it it makes sense too because like if we need if we need to move like any of our marketing trucks you know we have the ability to do it ourselves we don't have to hire someone call them in like we can move it from point a to point b it gives us the experience to keep driving letting us use the product not just on private roads but in real life driving scenarios and situations and understanding how it is to drive you know on the highway and not just on a closed track where you don't have any um distractions or anything like that so soon yes soon i will be attending uh cdl school and hopefully passing that first time around and not having to go back again but yeah i'm pretty excited about it um to be able to you know drive this drive these trucks and you know actually know how to drive it not just you know be able to spit back everything on my marketing papers okay i'm going to go ahead and do this during this podcast i'm going to offer an issue an invitation to you we would love to have the day that you are official we're going to cover that we want to we we want to cover that that is just great and this is a good segue into a question that i had for you know later today we're we're doing a today's a three podcast day they come on of course twice a week tuesdays and thursdays but later today we're going to be doing a second podcast with a guest who's become a dear friend and that's ellen voya the head of women in trucking i want you to talk a little bit um riley about where you see women embracing more and more the industry and just your perspectives on that i'd be remiss if i didn't ask yeah um so in regards to women in trucking um in general i had the opportunity to attend um the expo in dallas this past fall uh so that was a really exciting time we got to bring our product out there we got to collaborate and discuss and mingle with other women within the industry from kind of all walks within the industry as well there's drivers there's front office staff or you know your major like fleet fleet corporations and then there's oems like myself there um in marketing and sales uh that you all get to talk to and so i think that it's a very exciting industry to to be in right now and especially as a woman um it's you know traditionally thought of as more of a male dominated industry and you know it doesn't have to be that way you don't have to be a man to drive a truck you don't have to be a man to sell a truck um it's just traditionally that's that's kind of like what's happened and it's it's really great seeing all these women um getting into this industry and excelling and um being good at their jobs and i and it's it's not just um it just helps diversify the market um and bringing it back like we're in a driver shortage right now and so where can you tap into that like women there's there's not a lot of women driving but you need to have women on the corporate um side in order to like kind of like understand how to get them in the truck and things like that it's not the same like you you have to learn how to so true yeah i mean you have to be able to um uh attract different personalities different types of people like it's not just cookie cutter so diversifying it from a corporate standpoint with you know encouraging women to be in the industry also helps bring women drivers um into the industry as well uh so and you know we kind of look at things a little differently than men a lot of times like well we'll be looking through the cab and stuff and be like oh like how am i supposed to like i'm gonna hang my clothes you know we think about like i need somewhere to hang my clothes up you know men may just kind of like throw stuff in a pile sometimes not everyone but looking at it from from that perspective like getting into the truck having the you know the points of entry that you can grab on and get in making it easier for you know smaller petitor people to get in and having the ability to you know still be uh comfortable when it's you know you have all different types of body types and everyone getting into the truck and making sure that like everyone's gonna be accommodated so i think and also you know it's been interesting to being kind of a woman in the industry as this is the only industry i've ever worked in um on the marketing side you know you see more more females in marketing traditionally but there are times where you know i might be one of you know three females in a room of 50 men and to me it's it's not weird anymore like it's the only thing i've ever known so it's i mean it's completely normal and i think that um especially within daimler it's been a very inclusive um environment and i've never felt like i'm like randomly like oh yeah like i'm the only girl here um and i think that's been really great for i mean for example my direct team that i work with like i'm there's five of us in total and i'm the only female but it never feels like that like it's never like oh yeah riley's the only girl like so um i think that you know it's important to have more women within the industry just for diversity and different ideas um and things like that but yeah it's a it's a it's got a lot of opportunities right now and it's not just for men you know i'm gonna say this at the risk of it seeming patronizing and it's not i don't do that quality sets its own standards so whether you're a man or a woman when you suit up and show up and come to work do your job do it creatively come up with solutions you're going to find opportunities isn't that true that's true yes now let me let me ask you this question because you know we're rounding the home stretch we've got about six minutes it's left here when you look ahead at the industry what are some things that you you see what do what do you see as new developments i mean even predominant what do you see ahead yeah um i think we're going to see a lot of e-mobility um we're going to start exploring more within that electric battery market trying to reduce our footprint where we can within the environment i mean diesel's never going to go away completely i don't think we're there yet but we are going to see larger pushes for electricity um and you know different finding different resources to just uh you know keep the world moving but keeping it clean because i mean we can you know ship things all day long but we gotta have clean air to breathe too so i think we're gonna see technology-wise a lot of that um you know everyone kind of talks about the autonomous driving as well uh that's that's much farther down the road at this point but it's still an interesting topic to kind of like think about and ponder and see what we have like yeah the technology is there to um make autonomous trucks is anything are we ready for an autonomous environment completely absolutely not um i don't i don't know if we'd ever have a complete uh we just don't have the infrastructure right now either for a completely driverless uh you know environment like that's just not gonna work uh so it's not like we have to worry about oh like we have all these technologies that are coming with trucks we're not gonna have drivers anymore that's not the case um the industry is growing and you know one of the the biggest things about trucking is they say it keeps america moving and it really does like you it's gonna continue to keep america moving um with with new technologies and um new innovations but it's not going to be like for a lack of people later you know it everyone's still going to be there um so yeah i would say you know a lot of we'll see more electricity we'll see some more autonomous stuff um it'll i don't know how fast like i said the autonomous part will will end up but i mean the technology is there it's all about perfecting it to make it the safest it can be uh because that's you know the huge thing too is making sure every piece of technology and every piece of um every innovation that we produce is gonna aid in safety and keep everyone safe because we don't need you know trucks flying off the road going awol so you know riley we're we're coming to the end of our time i i knew intuitively that you were gonna be insightful and inspiring and i have to tell you i got up at 4 30 this morning that is so colorful and just energizing the background there i really appreciate it so much i can't tell you how much i appreciate that so now we have the most important part which is uh we want to send you a little gift for being with us today and so i'm going to give you a choice here we've got a freightworks cap we've got a life by the mile cap or seems to be the preferred one this is a yeti mug it's got the life by the mile logo it's got the freightworks one logo this is coming to you from freightworks one studio so if you tell us which one you want we'll send that to the address that you uh you give to us yeah yeah i i love the mug that sounds right in my alley okay are you a coffee drinker i'm actually not a coffee drinker uh i don't know if that makes me a psychopath or not but i do get caffeine in other forms i like i like a lot of tea um right so definitely put some tea in there and then some cold beverages as well you can use it for everything um but yeah

okay that's great we'll make sure we get that to you and we we've been so grateful for you helping us interact with the t-run smart pros they've been phenomenal we've enjoyed getting to know them at freight works we're interested in relationships, not transactions so we know that this will deepen uh through the years and I want to ask you real quickly as we end if you had a group of young women that were considering getting into trucking and logistics what would your short speech to them be

um my short speech speech would be just like don't be intimidated um by the industry at all you know just i mean from my personal experience i was going into applying for a job about nascar and trucking neither of which it was traditionally you know female oriented or i knew much about um at the time and i still got the job for it and i haven't left so i think don't let you know it being a male male-dominated industry um scare you from applying um and just uh you know always keep learning uh this is an industry that you know like i said it keeps america moving um it's an industry that like i'm proud to be a part of especially you know seeing how the industry came together during the pandemic moving supplies getting things out like it was a really uh exciting time and i would just encourage you know any young women to go for it like if this is what your your passion is and you want to be in here then come on we'd love to have you that is so good you know riley uh as you get back to your work day we just want to make sure you know we really appreciate you taking the time you know every time we have somebody on we're conscious of the fact that they've got a job and things to do but you've been very helpful today and as we push this out folks on life to the mild delivered by freightworks if you want to make sure that you get uh updates on all the new episodes make sure that you hit the subscribe button this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks i'm butch malphie your host we've have riley holland here today you have been an incredibly helpful guest and we hope to have you back on yeah thank you so much for having me butch this has been a great time have a wonderful day thank you you too thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to this channel by clicking here we'll see you there


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