The Transportation Research Forum, an independent organization of transportation professionals, recently presented its President’s Award to Don Schneider, who retired as president and chief executive officer of Schneider National in 2002. The President’s Award has been given annually since 2007 to an individual in transportation who has exhibited leadership and innovation on a regional or national scale that has resulted in improving the mobility of freight and/or people. Honorees must also have made significant contributions to the industry by establishing improved practices, standards, or a broader and futuristic vision for transportation.
“We selected Don to receive this year’s President’s Award because we wanted to recognize his outstanding leadership – characterized by the development of innovative strategies, embracing of new technologies to enhance performance and efficiency of the supply chain, and promotion of a safe and green transportation system,” says B. Starr McMullen, president of the Transportation Research Forum and professor of economics at Oregon State University. “A true pioneer in the era of deregulation, he built Schneider National into one of the biggest and most successful truckload firms operating in North America.”
When Schneider retired in 2002, the company employed 19,000 people and had more than 42,000 trailers delivering goods each day. Today, the provider of transportation, logistics and related services serves more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. “If Don was anything, he was intensely committed and focused,” says Chris Lofgren, current president and CEO of Schneider National. “His deep belief in the vision of Schneider National and the crucial role we could play in shaping the standard of living in this country allowed him never to lose sight or doubt for a moment the achievement of the objective we sought – even in the most difficult industry downturns and regulatory upheaval. That steadfast belief became contagious to the associates he attracted to the company.”
President’s Award winners are selected by past presidents of the Transportation Research Forum. The award is presented at the group’s annual TRF Forum. Past recipients include Fred Smith (FedEx) and Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines). “Don’s commitment, drive and willingness to approach business differently made Schneider National the successful firm it is today and demonstrates the need for flexible best practices for success in a rapidly changing environment,” McMullen says.