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Founder steps down

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Businessman Barry Smith (right), founder of Smith Transport, is stepping down after 35 years as president of the company. Another Smith, Todd — not related — will take over.

ROARING SPRING — Todd Smith has a new job, and he likes the name of the company — Smith Transport.

Todd Smith, 54, who grew up in southeast Iowa, recently succeeded company founder Barry F. Smith as president of the Roaring Spring-based trucking company.

Barry Smith, who will turn 71 on Feb. 13, remains as CEO and chairman of the board of the company that he founded on July 7, 1982, along Route 867, near the Albright Church of the Brethren.

Barry Smith said he had been looking at a succession plan for several years.

“I’ve been trying to get Mr. Right from within the company. You try to make that happen, if you can’t find him you keep searching. Todd and I go back 15 years or so. I acquired an admiration for Todd over the years. We shared best practices for many years, this (transition) seemed to come natural,” Barry Smith said.

Barry Smith said Todd Smith — they are not related — had the proper attitude.

“To make the company grow and flourish, we needed someone who had a ‘can do’ attitude. Todd will make it happen,” Barry Smith said.

Barry Smith recommended Todd Smith to the board of directors.

“The board and I are confident that Todd will advance the mission and vision of our company to allow it to excel in the dedication to employees, customers and our community,” Barry Smith said.

“We are excited to tap into Todd’s experience and abilities. He has 25 years of executive management experience in the transportation industry and has established himself as a leader with integrity and exceptional insight that has led to the growth of an array of companies that have called upon him in the past,” he added.

Todd Smith most recently served as president/COO of Decker Truck Lines in Iowa.

“This was not a decision either one of us made overnight. We analyzed this for many years. I looked at the company and the person in charge — are my values and vision in line with his? If they are, great things should happen. I’ve got to know Barry as a person, an entrepreneur and as a businessman, and all of them aligned. It is a really good fit,” Todd Smith said.

As president, Todd Smith will handle the day-to-day operations.

“The president’s duty is to be accountable for the company’s day-to-day operations and report to the CEO and board to meet their goals. Barry’s role is to work with me more on the strategies. I’ll be using him as as mentor and sounding board and position us on our way to drive the company forward,” Todd Smith said. “It is like two heads driving the company forward instead of one. The goal is to grow the company significantly so we create more good jobs for the office and professional drivers.”

Smith Transport has grown from the five units that it had when it began operations.

“We are pushing 700 fleet-powered equipment (cabs) and 2,200 trailers,” Barry Smith said.

Today, Smith Transport employs more than 1,000 people in nine locations, including its Roaring Spring headquarters, and it has grown into a company that provides a complete line of logistics services to businesses located throughout the United States.

The company has achieved stable growth throughout the years.

“Now we intend to further grow the company,” Barry Smith said.

“We want to expand the company to meet today’s changing customer demand and professional drivers’ demands,” Todd Smith said.

The company’s employees have been the key to success.

“Our key to success has been the work ethic and the decisions of good people wanting to do the job. We have a lot of loyal people who have been here for 30-plus years. You have to have people with a ‘can do’ attitude who believe in the goals that were set to be accomplished,” Barry Smith said. “We don’t just hire drivers; we adopt them as family. Without drivers, we can all go home.”

In December 2014, Smith Transport became an employee-owned company.

“Employee ownership is the best direction for the future of Smith Transport. Sharing the success of the company with the employees is a great way to reward all of our dedicated employees, and it will serve as a great tool for driver recruitment and retention,” Barry Smith said at the time.

“With an ESOP, you reward the employees. They gain ownership of the company. They get rewarded for that by the value going up. It really creates teamwork. It is a little extra incentive to do things right the first time,” Todd Smith said.

Todd Smith is optimistic about the future of the company.

“The market will be good in the next few years for trucking. The challenge will be recruiting professional drivers. We are driver-centric, focused on the drivers. We will be as successful as our drivers are. If you position yourself properly, the good ones will come here,” Todd Smith said.

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