Ron Hughes, vice president of national accounts with Xtra Lease and a long-time trucking industry figure, passed away recently following a short illness at the age of 63. A familiar face to many trucking industry professionals, Hughes worked for Xtra Lease for more than 27 years. He spent most of those years as a sales executive calling on some of the largest fleets in the Southeast, including UPS, Home Depot, Landstar Ranger and many more.
Hughes began his trucking career with RentCo (an Xtra Lease predecessor company) in Knoxville, Tenn., in October 1984 as an office manager. The company quickly determined he was a salesperson, and sell he did, regardless of job title or location. He moved from Knoxville to Birmingham, Ala., to Jacksonville, Fla., and eventually to Atlanta as he climbed the professional ladder within Xtra Lease. He held positions as branch manager, regional sales manager, regional vice president and vice president of national accounts.
In 1999, Hughes received the President’s Award at XTRA Lease for his stellar performance. “Ron invented our ‘street-corner strategy,’ ” says Bill Franz, Xtra Lease president and chief executive officer. “He understood our values and presented them, in the form of himself, to our customers. These customers rented trailers from Ron – the equipment just happened to have our logo on the side.”
Prior to joining RentCo, Hughes owned his own trucking company, Hughes Enterprises, from 1976 to 1983, and worked for Red Star Coal Co. as an equipment operator.