CEO • Truckstop.com
“I believe philosophically that whatever you do, you need to do your very best.”
Playing to Win
Hire the best people and give them freedom to succeed
Paris Cole believes people flourish when given the opportunity and flexibility to do their best work. For Cole, this means hiring the best people and giving them the freedom to succeed by not micromanaging them.
At the core of his management style is the Golden Rule: treating people the way he would want to be treated.
“That’s what I want for our people here,” Cole says. “However long they are here, I want them to feel like they are challenged, that they were given opportunities to do their best and that they look back on their careers here with fondness.”
Cole’s family has a long athletic history, and as such, he hates to lose, he says. Avoiding losses is something he’s even worked into Truckstop’s core values. He calls it “play to win.”
“I believe philosophically that whatever you do, you need to do your very best,” Cole says. “That’s what ‘play to win’ means. It doesn’t mean that you will beat everyone else, but it means you go out and give everything your best effort.”
Leading a logistics pioneer
Founded in 1995, Truckstop.com is a freight management and logistics company that matches carriers with brokers seeking to move freight. It was the first website of its kind. Prior to its launch, truck drivers had to search notices for loads on physical bulletin boards at truck stops or post advertisements on the sides of their trucks.
Truckstop.com centralized the process. Today, it offers its clients load planning, transportation management, real-time rates, negotiation tools and even payment management services. In April, a majority share of the company was acquired by ICONIQ Capital, a San Francisco-based privately held financial advisory and investment firm. The deal was one of the biggest ever in Idaho history.
Growing an industry leader
With a background in finance, Cole previously served Truckstop.com as CFO. Since his promotion to CEO, Cole has applied his “play to win” mentality through the expansion and growth of numerous company products and services such as Truckstop.com Pro, a premium service that helps customers operate more efficiently and make more money.
Since Cole began focusing on the marketing of Truckstop.com Pro, the product has soared from being used by fewer than 5% of customers to being utilized by more than 30%.
Philip G. Yates is the founding partner of Bregal Sagemount, a private equity firm. Bregal Sagemount invested in Truckstop.com soon after Cole became CEO and since making that investment, Cole has been the most effective and high-performing executive in Bregal Sagemount’s portfolio of 36 companies, Yates says.
“He has guided Truckstop.com to new heights,” he adds. “(He manages) 440 employees now — verses 170 when he became CEO — tripled the revenue of the company in three years, more than tripled the company’s organic growth rate, developed and rolled out several innovative products —including a payments engine — successfully integrated three important acquisitions, built a world-class management team, set a strategic vision around the next generation of digital freight matching offerings and positioned the company for future growth.”
Yates is impressed with Cole’s ability to handle a busy work schedule while still enjoying family life.
“He seamlessly juggles his professional responsibilities with a very active family life as a devoted husband and father of five daughters,” Yates says.
Implementing payment management
Having a background in finance proved to be a big benefit for Cole when he created and implemented a new payment network for the company called Truckstop.com Payments (previously called LoadPay).
Cole’s previous experience as a CPA, controller and CFO provided him great appreciation and understanding of the benefit customers would get from a better payment system, he says.
Since implementing the system in August of 2018, the company has automated 85% of its carrier payment system, freeing up 15-20 hours of accounting resources per week.
A commitment to excellence
Renee Krug, CEO of logistics solutions provider GlobalTranz, says Cole’s strong leadership, values and commitment to excellence and diversity make Cole an excellent choice to be named a CEO of Influence.
“Paris is a remarkable CEO,” she says. “In the last five years, he has transformed Truckstop.com to tremendous growth while securing deep trust and confidence from our customers and throughout the industry.”
Cole and his team at Truckstop.com are wonderful community partners as well, Krug says.
“They made a significant donation to GlobalTranz’s hurricane relief fund drive,” he says. “Their willingness to help support our effort to help others highlights what a special organization that Paris has helped to build.”
Krug says the company has also been recognized for being a Top 50 Company for Women to Work for in Transportation by the Woman in Trucking Association, a nonprofit organization.
“His leadership and vision, competitiveness and innovation, commitment to community leadership and service, and strong track record of financial performance and growth are worthy of recognition,” she says.
Truckstop’s Chief People and Culture Officer Victoria Roberts has known Cole for over 10 years and says he embodies integrity, authenticity and accountability.
“He believes that everyone has greatness within them,” Roberts says. “Paris is beloved in his organization as he is one of those leaders that truly lives and models his and Truckstop’s values in every interaction, every day and with every human he encounters.”