Self Improvement

HealthSelf Improvement

Written by: Michael McKinney, CTB Why the heck would anyone run a 50k, let-alone a 50k trail run over difficult and at-times dangerous terrain? It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times as I prepared for my first ultra trail run a couple of weeks ago. It’s one thing to love running, but why was I changing it up? I’d run a few road marathons, so why not focus on improving my time? Why take my running off-road while increasing the distance? I’ve been pondering these questions in the days since I competed in the Shawnee Hills 100m/100k/50k. After all, the training was intense and time-consuming, the run itself was difficult and risky as trails and rocks and streams aren’t always the safest running surfaces, and I’m fairly comfortable at home with my wife and three great daughters. What compelled me to get out there, to push myself harder, to risk failure or injury? *** I didn’t start running until I was 36 years old. I ran off and on for a few years until my wife, Brandy—a runner herself who had competed in a couple of half-marathons— encouraged me to run my first 1/2 marathon five years later. I was hooked to the sport from that first race, so I began training regularly with an online coach because I wanted to run a full marathon, and I did—it was a great experience. Since that time I’ve run a couple of marathons, a few 1/2 marathons, and an entire 5k dressed as the Easter Bunny. I have to admit, I didn’t plan to run the whole race in that hot-as-hell bunny suit, but the looks on the other runners faces as I ran along beside them, my big bunny eyes wide and my ears flopping, spurred me on. Running as a bunny was challenging, but not challenging enough. Neither were the marathons. And not because I'm an adrenaline junky or believe myself to be an elite athlete. I’m neither, but I do believe trail-running has a few benefits that make the risk of injury and the intense training more than worth it. Trail runs are less peopled. The Shawnee Hills 50k portion of the run had only 39 competitors and 34 finishers. This means that as a runner, I spent more time alone, had more time in my head. There is a meditative aspect to running that is amplified in the woods where everything is green and the breeze rustles through the leaves. At the same time, the small number of other folks on the trail made it imperative for me to create connections with other runners. This helped me to keep track of the trail’s twists and turns and created a safety net. This 50k trail run required me to pay attention in a way that we rarely do in our regular lives. Roots and rocks and ditches make missteps not just possible, but probable for the runner who isn’t paying attention. And paying attention to the trail isn’t the whole of it. I also had to pay attention to my hydration and my nourishment in a way I have never needed to before. Injury on a trail run is a real risk. So back to that question I started with—why the heck would anyone run a 50k trail run?  Sure, connections in a running community, solitude, building attention skills are great answers, and they all contribute to my love of the sport. But here’s the real reason. Because it’s fun and challenging. Seriously, it is that simple—being comfortable is great, but it can also be limiting. I believe it’s important that we push ourselves out beyond the edges of our comfort zones, that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to risk failure. I didn’t know if I could finish a 50k trail run, and I don’t know if I can finish another, but that’s okay. It’s where I want to live at least part of my life, on the wild trail where not-knowing can bring the biggest rewards. ...
SalesSelf Improvement

By Jordan Pottorff, CTB Have you ever heard the phrase “change is a good thing”? Chances are you have and I’m sure it was met with some form of hesitance as the vast majority of us don’t like to venture out of our comfort zone and embrace something new. It’s human nature. Well, I’m a person who has battled change – both for it and against it - in the past and has worked to embrace it throughout my personal and professional life. At AM Transport and in the transportation industry as a whole, change is coming and change is coming fast. We all know about the upcoming ELD mandate and other trends starting to gain momentum in our industry, but it’s easier to look at massive change within an industry that the national media is reporting on than looking in-house for changes that could boost company morale, communication, energy, production, and even the bottom line. Just in the last week we have shuffled the makeup of our “teams” in the office. We all work together as one well-oiled machine but nearly everyone in the office moved to a different desk and will be working alongside a different set of people to accomplish what’s always been our goal, which is to provide the best customer service in the industry. Gone is Team Charlie, gone is Team Phoenix and soon we will be saying goodbye to a trusty communication tool and a key software piece that’s been a mainstay in the company since I joined in 2015. This isn’t admitting failure or trying to provide a “shock factor” to everyone in the building. To me it’s about striving to be better than we already are and recognizing the positives change can create to reach our full potential as a company.     As part of the sales team at AM Transport I can’t tell you how many times we have embraced change. We’ve changed things up in a way to attract new business and carve out a niche in this ultra-competitive industry. We have had various marketing and email campaigns, we have switched up our packets that are stuffed full of company information, we have targeted new industries, we have focused on new territory and we have done nearly everything in between.  We believe diverting away from what worked in the past and embracing something new is what keeps us hungry and ahead of the curve. So, shake things up, put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, try something different before you’re left wondering what went wrong. Embrace it! After all, change is a good thing....
3PLHealthOffice EnvironmentSelf Improvement

By Erik Jensen, CTB My wife Hannah and I are expecting the arrival of our firstborn child any day now. The emotions we feel leading up to the big day are often overpowering, but the predominant feeling is joy. I still remember the out-of-the-world happiness I experienced when I found out Hannah was pregnant. It was right around Halloween and we were getting dressed for the annual A.M. Transport Halloween Party (which is a blast, by the way). It was hard keeping the good news to ourselves, but we managed to have a great time anyway. Waiting for our baby to be born is difficult, especially these past couple of weeks when I know it could happen any moment. And even though I understand that it’s out of my hands, patience has never been one of my strengths. So I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I admit that when I want something, I want it immediately or yesterday if possible. So waiting a full nine plus months? This seemed impossible. My only glimmer of hope was the possibility of finding out the gender of the baby—which my wife quickly dashed with an iron fist. Ugh. I wasn’t super happy about this, but then again, I’m not the one carrying the baby. So once again, my patience was tested. Fast-forward 38 weeks and things still haven’t changed—this patience thing is really hard. Just a couple weeks ago we had our final ultrasound and I was tempted to take a sneak a peek even though I was told to put my head down and cover my eyes (I’m assuming I could have found out the sex).  And even though I really wanted to, I didn’t. When I think about that moment now, I’m happy I didn’t look. It’s hard to be patient, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Seeing my kid for this first time and finding out if it’s a boy or a girl will be the apex of my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I plan on carrying this new-found patience into my career at A.M. Transport. Yes, I will still want things to happen quickly and hope for expedient email responses, but sometimes it ok to wait for a bit. Life is like a fine wine, with age and time, things become divine....
3PLSalesSelf ImprovementUncategorized

By Jordan Pottorff, CTB Today marks two years since I joined the AM Transport team. It’s been a wild two years - both personally and professionally – but there’s something about AM Transport that makes me eager to come to work. First, you have to understand the culture AM Transport has worked to create. We have a great group of people who genuinely like each other, we do a lot of fun stuff as a team and in our community, we have a variety of great music playing throughout the day, and we care about what we do. I know all of this having now spent two years with the company, but I accepted the job offer to join AM Transport with relatively no knowledge of the transportation industry or the company as a whole. I was a sports writer by craft before moving back to my hometown of Olney, and despite knowing of AM Transport’s existence since I was a kid, it was a blind leap into a new career. Since June 15, 2015, I’ve learned more about the transportation industry than I can wrap my brain around. I walked in the doors for the first time not knowing the difference between a dry van and a reefer, let alone what it took to book a load, and now feel comfortable talking about the upcoming ELD mandate, technology trends, customer & carrier expectations, our service offerings and more in this ever-changing industry. A few weeks of in-depth training got me to the point where I could fly solo - albeit with training wheels and countless questions to a handful of experienced coworkers - and start down a two-year road that had me spending nine months as a carrier manager before joining the sales team last Spring. The nine months spent as a carrier manager laid the foundation of my knowledge in the transportation industry and gave me a good idea of what it takes to be a valued partner in this industry. There were highs and lows that seemed to change by the hour on any given day, but I found being consistent and level-headed was usually the answer no matter which way the pendulum swung that day. When I decided to take on the opportunity to move to the sales side of the business, I had very limited experience in sales but knew I was excited to get started. Since joining the sales team, it’s been anything but easy. There are countless obstacles to overcome as a broker looking for freight in an unfavorable market but that’s where consistency truly is key. I remember landing my first customer relatively quickly and thinking it would continue from there. Like any worthwhile endeavor, I hit a wall and the frustration followed shortly after as the common rejections – “we don’t work with brokers”, “we have an annual bid, call back at the end of the year”, “you’re pricing isn’t competitive”, “we have our own trucks” – came in tenfold, and that doesn’t even mention the hundreds of voicemails that are commonplace in this position. I’d be lying if I said the rejections didn’t wear me down but that’s where the consistency and remaining level-headed became so important for future successes. I, along with Rob, Jason & Heath, knew a change was needed in our approach to land new business, and like the future of this ever-changing industry, we’ve leaned on technology to get over some hurdles. Now it obviously takes more than investing in good technology to see more victories in the sales world but it gave us an advantage that has led to more of a niche in the transportation world as we continue to develop our targeted approach to add new customers. The past two years have flown by. It took a little bit of time to feel completely comfortable in my new position, but the culture and passion the company and my coworkers' display have me 100% confident a bright future exists for both myself and AM Transport as a whole. Onward and upward!...
CommunityHealthSelf Improvement

National Fishing and Boating Week 2016 June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week, sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. Throughout the month, many states offer "free fishing days" when anyone is allowed to fish on public bodies of water without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamps, or inland trout stamps  (6/17/16-6/20/16 for Illinois). Find free fishing days in other states here: Free Fishing Days 2016. Recreational fishing presents a chance to escape from the daily grind and spend time with family or friends on or near the water. It also provides an opportunity to bond with children while helping them develop an appreciation for waterways and wildlife. Fishing offers a number of health benefits as well (infographic courtesy of Bass Pro Shops) So get out there and take advantage of some of the beautiful waterways near you. Not sure where to go? The Recreational Fishing & Boating Foundation offers a way for to you find great spots and can be even be narrowed down by species of fish: www.takemefishing.org/where-to-fish-and-boat Learn anything you've ever wanted to know about fishing:  www.takemefishing.org Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you'd like to see? Let us know! Email us - blog@amtransportonline.com  ...
Best PracticesSelf ImprovementTransportation

Find Your Gorilla Sir David Attenborough (who just turned 90 years old this week - happy birthday!) is a British naturalist and documentary maker. He has captivated children worldwide with his television programs and documentaries on the wonders of nature. His career has not only been a very public one, but it is one that he has filled with his own passions. And it is a career that has inspired many children around the world to follow in his footsteps. Richard George, contributor to LinkedIn Pulse, identifies three lessons that we can all take from Sir David's incredible career. All of us may not be interested in travelling the world, studying animals and plants, and sharing those findings with the rest of mankind, but we can certainly find our own dream roles full of interest and passion - we can find our own gorillas. Three lessons from Sir David's career: 1. Find your passion, or something that drives you Figure out what it is that gets you out of bed in the morning. You may not currently be working in your dream role, so find aspects of your job that allow you to expand on your other interests. Sign up for a more creativity-based project, take classes in a skill that you have not quite developed yet, or work with people that can teach you elements of your job that you have never explored. 2. Take risks Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. As Richard points out, "the greatest and most wonderful things we do often happen as a result of putting ourselves at risk and grasping the things that scare us." Do more things that you would normally shy away from, such as public speaking or leading your coworkers. Test new ideas. Reach for that promotion. You may not succeed every single time, but you will certainly learn crucial lessons all along the way. 3. Don't worry so much about what clothes you wear While presentation can be important, it is your content and connections with others that matter most. The more distractions we can eliminate, the more barriers to communication we can break down. Find something that works and stick with it. Then move on to bigger and more important decisions. Read Richard's full LinkedIn Pulse article here. And for more about Sir David, check out his biography. Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you'd like to see? Let us know! Email us - blog@amtransportonline.com...