In 1903, North Carolina gained the recognition of being first in flight after the Wright brothers’ successful takeoff. North Carolina remains an influential transportation hub, housing one of the nation’s busiest airports, fast-growing trucker Old Dominion Freight Line and an expanding aerospace manufacturing sector.
executive director | Piedmont Triad
The Lehigh University engineering graduate has led the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority since 2009. Employment at the airport has expanded to more than 9,000 in his tenure, many working on building and maintaining aircraft. Denver based Boom Supersonic plans a major assembly plant at the site.
Pre-workday motivation: The “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show and thinking about how to bring new jobs to the airport.
Key to industry success: Being prepared when companies come looking. Have sites that are the right size that can be available at the right time and at the right cost.
Best advice: “Adversity and failure build character,” from the CEO of one of my former employers. And from Nido Qubein: “You cannot control the end quantity, quality or cost of the product the airport provides (air service), but you will be blamed for all three.”
Proud family accomplishment: I have an amazing family. I have an incredible wife of 27 years and two young adult children who are just remarkable human beings. I’m a fortunate guy.
Favorite hobby: My family, traveling and home projects.
Where to entertain a visitor: The Greensboro Science Center.
executive director | North Carolina
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate joined the state system in 2017 and succeeded Paul Cozza in January 2021. He previously was a senior manager at ports in Port Elizabeth, N.J., and Mobile, Ala., and worked for APM Terminals and Sea Land Services.
president | HAECO Americas
The former executive at American Airlines and GE Aviation joined the Hong Kong-based aircraft maintenance company in 2018. HAECO shifted to a weekdays-only work policy, helping attract employees during the pandemic. He has a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.
president, CEO | Best Logistics
The UNC Chapel Hill graduate became CEO in 2016 and oversees 400 trucks,1,500 trailers and more than 500 employees. He has worked at Best for more than 25 years.
Pre-workday motivation: The opportunity to be entrepreneurial in decisions that affect our businesses.
Key to industry success: Hiring great people and getting out of their way.
Best advice: The power is in the people.
Three people to share a meal: My wife and two daughters.
Proud family accomplishment: Their faith and values.
Favorite hobby: Watching my daughter play basketball.
chair | N.C. Board of Transportation
partner | Tuggle Duggins
president | Piedmont Triad
The Appalachian State University graduate, who has a UNC Chapel Hill law degree, is a powerful player in local and state transportation and business matters. His legal practice focuses on business and real estate litigation, zoning and land use.
Pre-workday motivation: Being able to move our state and community forward.
Key to industry success: Hard work and good judgment.
Best advice: “Don’t borrow trouble.” From my grandfather about not worrying about things that have not happened.
Three people to share a meal: Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson.
Proud family accomplishment: How well our “Brady Bunch” seven children have bonded.
Favorite hobby: Bird hunting.
Where to entertain a visitor: Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.
president, CEO | Old Dominion
The Appalachian State University graduate became the first non-Congdon family member to be CEO in 2018. He has helped continue Old Dominion’s growth as one of the 10 biggest U.S. truckers. He joined the company in 1994 and became chief operating officer in 2011.
aviation director | City of Charlotte
Gentry began as an intern at the city’s aviation department in 1991 and held marketing and operations jobs before succeeding Brent Cagle as the top exec last year. The department oversees Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which served 43 million passengers last year.
CEO | Jet It
The jet leasing company added 76 employees last year as demand for private aviation increased. The former Air Force pilot and jet salesperson now oversees 125 employees who lease Greensboro-made HondaJets to customers. He has an MBA from the University of South Carolina.
president, CEO | Raleigh-Durham
Landguth has more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry and has led the Triangle’s major airport since 2011. He previously ran the Chattanooga, Tennessee airport. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical sciences from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.
Pre-workday motivation: Experiencing something new and exciting every day motivates me. No two days at an airport are alike. When I think I know how my day will go, I end up doing something completely different. It also gives me a sense of purpose to be in an industry that contributes to the community by helping people connect.
Key to industry success: Persistence and not quitting when you’re down. It would have been easy to get discouraged when the pandemic brought our business to a halt. Instead, we took the long view and pushed through a tough couple of years. We didn’t give up, and now we’re enjoying a recovery that is moving faster than we ever expected.
Three people to share a meal: Jesus, Warren Buffett and John Elway.
Proud family accomplishment: Becoming a grandfather for the first time late last year. Seeing my grandson grow and reach milestones, like rolling over or lifting his head, has been a life-changing experience. Watching my daughter as a mother caring for her son makes me incredibly proud.
Favorite hobby: I could spend all day on a jet ski.
Where to entertain a visitor: The airport, of course.
owner | MegaCorp Logistics
The University of West Virginia graduate shares the CEO title with his wife, Denise Legg. Founded in 2009, the company assigned 200,000 truckloads and reported $700 million in revenue last year. It added 175 employees with plans for 300 more over the next five years.
CEO | Charlotte Area Transit System
The Allegheny College graduate is focused on developing a multi-billion long-term transit expansion around the Queen City that requires local, state and federal support. He took the Charlotte post in 2015 after serving as CEO of the Central Florida Regional Transit Authority.
vice president, Charlotte hub |
The University of Phoenix graduate took his post in July 2020 after working at the airline’s Fort Worth, Texas, hub. He helped America recover its passenger traffic in Charlotte more rapidly through the pandemic than many other airports. He joined the airline in 1995.
Pre-workday motivation: Solving the puzzle ahead. Since I began my journey in commercial aviation 26 years ago, I wake up energized to tackle the challenges of one of the most complex industries and dynamic work environments imaginable. A quick 20 to 30 minute workout, getting breakfast ready for the family — complete with freshly brewed coffee and squeezed orange juice — helps get me ready for the day ahead.
Key to industry success: Run a safe, reliable and efficient operation while consistently delivering the very best network for our customers. To do so, it is imperative to have the right plan, the right processes and the best team in the business.
Best advice: Keep your feet firmly on the ground and your head on the moon… and no one needs to know that. This advice was given to me by a great mentor as I began my leadership journey and has been foundational in my development. It reminds me to be rooted, humble and receptive and never forget where I came from while always aspiring and eager to conquer the challenges ahead.
Three people to share a meal: I’ll go with two: Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso.
Proud family accomplishment: I am very fortunate and proud to have an incredible wife and two fantastic sons. They are the best gift life has afforded me.
Favorite hobby: Travel, exploring and absorbing new places, their unique culture and diverse cuisines. When home, I enjoy cooking a great meal, going out for a run or a great yoga flow.
Where to entertain a visitor: We moved to Charlotte in the height of the pandemic, so we are still discovering the area ourselves.
president | Epes Transport System
The Virginia Tech University graduate took his current role in 2021 after starting in 1995 as a driving manager. The Penske Logistics-owned company has become one of the state’s largest private trucking companies, operating more than 1,500 trucks.
CEO | LGM Enterprises
Segrave’s business includes the flyExclusive unit that leases more than 80 charter jets to CEOs, celebrities and others preferring private aviation. LGM also provides aircraft paint services and is expanding its maintenance business. He’s a trustee at his alma mater, East Carolina University.
founder, chair | Transportation
The University of Arkansas MBA founded or co-founded eight other North Carolina businesses in addition to the $4 billion revenue logistics company formed in 2000. San Francisco-based private-equity group Gryphon Investors bought a majority stake in TI in 2018. It employs more than 600 people.
president, CEO | North Carolina
The former CSX ports director in Jacksonville, Fla., succeeded Scott Saylor at the state-chartered company in 2020. It oversees a 317-mile rail corridor from Charlotte to Morehead City and invests in economic development projects.
Pre-workday motivation: Knowing I can have a positive impact on others.
Key to industry success: Being patient and listening.
Best advice: Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Proud family accomplishment: My thoughtful and compassionate wife and my amazing, fearless and talented children.
Favorite hobby: Riding my bike on trails.
Where to entertain a visitor: North Carolina Art Museum.