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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Power List 2023: Transportation

Kevin Baker
Brian Clark
Bill Collins
Roy Cox
Michael Fox

Marty Freeman
Haley Gentry
Glenn Gonzales
Tom Hoffstetler
Michael Landguth

Ryan Legg
Ralph Lopez Massas
Van Anh Nguyen
Phil Peck
Jim Segrave

Chris Taylor
Carl Warren
Drew Wilkerson*


DREW WILKERSON

CEO | RXO
Charlotte

One of North Carolina’s newest public companies is led by the public relations graduate of the University of South Carolina, who joined RXO’s predecessor, XPO, in 2012. He became CEO when the business was spun off as an independent company last year.

RXO calls itself an “asset light” provider, meaning it arranges shipping for more
than 100,000 carriers rather than owning its own fleet of trucks. It has an app that has been downloaded more than 1
million times.

Wilkerson oversees 700 employees at its main office in Charlotte’s Ballantyne area with clients including more than half of Fortune Magazine’s largest 100 companies such as Costco, Ford,, GM and Lowe’s. He worked for logistics provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide in Columbia, South Carolina, before joining Greenwich, Connecticut-based XPO.

After opening at $22 in October, RXO shares have traded between about $15
and $25. It had a market cap of
$2.2 billion in mid-April and reported revenue of $4.8 billion in 2022.

Favorite family tradition: The day after Thanksgiving, I spend time on the coast with family riding four-wheelers. 

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Home. I travel so much I take advantage of time with my wife and kids. 

What do you listen to on commute: People often send me podcasts on business or leadership. If not podcasts, music on the Pandora app. 

Major inspiration: My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. I watched how they treated people.  

Career highlight: Last November, RXO’s leadership team went to the New York Stock Exchange to ring the bell. My top highlight was the next day. When I walked into work in Charlotte, employees were still taking pictures with the new RXO signage and talking about how exciting our launch was.

Favorite hobby after work: Time with my kids and wife is the best way to decompress.

Best advice for industry newcomer: Listen more than you talk, work hard and build relationships. Spend time in the field. 


KEVIN BAKER

executive director | Piedmont Triad Airport Authority
Greensboro

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              $500 million assembly plant at the site. 

Favorite family tradition: Thanksgiving at Hilton Head

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Bald Head Island

Major inspiration: My wife. She doesn’t know a stranger, and to be her friend, her only prerequisite is that you are a nice person. We should all be like her.

Career highlight: My kids!

Favorite hobby after work: Fine wines, billiards, friends and family, and there is always a home renovation project going on in our house.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Adversity builds character. Embrace it. And perseverance wins. 

Key industry change in next five years: We will have another couple of hundred acres ready for the next aerospace company to call home!

BRIAN CLARK

executive director | North Carolina Ports Authority
Wilmington

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate succeeded Paul Cozza in January 2021. Last year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appointed Clark to the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee. He previously was a senior manager at ports in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Mobile, Alabama.

BILL COLLINS

president | HAECO Americas
Greensboro

The former executive at American Airlines and GE Aviation joined the Hong Kong-based aircraft maintenance company in 2018. HAECO Group consists of 16 operating companies, employing more than 15,000 people in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Europe and the United States. Collins has a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.

ROY COX

president, CEO | Best Logistics Group
Kernersville

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate joined Best in 1994 and became CEO in 2016. He oversees 400 trucks, 2,000 trailers and more than 500 employees. He started career as a driver manager with one of its divisions, Best Cartage, a 12-truck operation at the time.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: North Carolina beaches

What do you listen to on your commute: Channel surf to a variety of music.

Major inspiration: Seeing our team members become successful.

Favorite hobby after work: A cold craft beer.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Work hard, surround yourself with great people and focus on building strong relationships.

MICHAEL FOX

chairman | NCDOT Board of Transportation
Greensboro 

One of the state’s busiest persons, Fox juggles leading the state’s key transportation planning group, aggressively promotes the Triad region after succeeding retired Winston-Salem banker Stan Kelly at the region’s business partnership, and practices corporate law. He’s a graduate of Appalachian State University with a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. 

Favorite family tradition: Watching each family member open all their presents individually on Christmas morning

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Anywhere on the coast.

Major inspiration: People who are passionate about their work, regardless of the field.

Career highlight: Being recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” each year since 2008.

Favorite hobby after work: Being outdoors, hiking, boating, hunting or fishing.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Be willing
to dive in and learn everything you can from your
more experienced colleagues and don’t be afraid to
ask questions.

Key industry change in next five years: Automation

MARTY FREEMAN

incoming president, CEO | Old Dominion Freight Line 
Thomasville

Freeman will succeed Greg Gantt as company president and CEO on July 1. He joined the company in 1992 and took on increasing roles as the carrier grew into a national giant. He has been chief operating officer since 2018 and had total compensation of $6.3 million last year. Gantt will remain a director.

HALEY GENTRY

aviation director | City of Charlotte
Charlotte

Gentry started at the city’s aviation department in 1991 and became its first female director in 2021. She oversees a staff of 700 and a budget of $187 million. Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which served about 48 million passengers last year. It is undergoing a $3.1 billion construction and renovation program.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Boone/Blowing Rock

Major inspiration: Both of my grandmothers inspired me because they both worked outside the home at a time when that was not the norm.

Favorite hobby after work: Boating on Lake Norman.

GLENN GONZALES

CEO | Jet It
Greensboro

A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Gonzales
is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The jet leasing company has more than 20 Greensboro-made Honda Jets in its fleet. He has an MBA from the University of South Carolina.

TOM HOSTETLER

CEO | Cardinal Logistics
Concord

Hostetler joined the trucking and logistics company from J.B. Hunt Transportation in 1997 and has been CEO since 2001. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois and a Duke University MBA. The private-equity-owned firm ranked 44th in Transport Topics’ list of largest North American carriers in 2022.

MICHAEL LANDGUTH

president, CEO | Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Morrisville

Landguth has led the Triangle airport since 2011. It served 11.8 million passengers, a 35% increase over the previous year, but 17% fewer than the record 14.2 million passengers in 2019. It has a $326 million budget this year. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

RYAN LEGG

owner | MegaCorp Logistics LLC
Wilmington

The University of West Virginia graduate shares the CEO title with his wife, Denise Legg. Founded in 2009, the transportation company employs more than 650 and has grown rapidly in recent years with a pledge to add 300 more jobs in Wilmington by 2027. He’s a graduate of West Virginia University.  

 

RALPH LOPEZ MASSAS

senior vice president, CLT hub operations | American Airlines
Charlotte

The University of Phoenix graduate took his post in July 2020 after working at the airline’s Fort Worth, Texas, hub. More than 14,000 of the Charlotte airport’s 20,000 workers are employed by American Airlines, according to the city.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: The Carolina coastline and the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Major inspiration: I take pride in setting a positive example for my kids and I work hard to help set them up for successful futures.

Favorite hobby after work: I enjoy running to help destress and relax after work. In my free time, my passion is travel — which should come as no surprise since I work at an airline! I love to explore and experience new cultures and cuisines in destinations throughout American’s global network.

Best advice to industry newcomer: This is a complex business so my best advice for newcomers is to be
eager to learn all facets of the industry. I like to say
“keep your feet grounded and your head in the clouds,” which means, stay humble but stay inspired to continue reaching your goals.

VAN ANH NGUYEN

CEO | VinFast Manufacturing US
Raleigh

The Hanoi National University graduate oversees construction of a proposed $4 billion Chatham County plant. She joined the Vietnamese automaker in 2017. Drawn by incentives exceeding $1 billion, VinFast has promised 7,500 jobs, with as many as 150,000 electric vehicles per year. Production is slated to start in 2025.

PHIL PECK

president | Epes Transport Systems 
High Point

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 trucking companies, operating more than 1,500 trucks. 

Favorite family tradition: Virginia Tech Hokie football tailgates

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Oak Island

Major inspiration: Team members and co-workers committed to the effort required to produce excellent results.  Because there are no shortcuts or substitutes
for work ethic.  

Career highlight: Seeing people that you have
worked closely with over the years grow, be promoted and enjoy success.

Favorite hobby after work: Attending any sporting event

Best advice to industry newcomer: Focus on investment in your people for long-term growth and goals, and ensure sustained success through good times or bad, rather than the short-term wins.

Key industry change in next five years: Consolidation of carriers through acquisition.

JIM SEGRAVE

CEO, chairman | FlyExclusive
Kinston

Segrave is creating a publicly traded business in partnership with New York investor Greg Hymowitz’s EnTrust Global. The business leases more than
90 charter jets to CEOs, celebrities and others preferring private aviation and employs more than 800. LGM also provides aircraft paint services and is expanding its maintenance business. He’s a trustee at his alma mater, East Carolina University.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Atlantic Beach

Major inspiration: All of my children — the most important job I have!

Career highlight: Selling my first business to Delta Air Lines in 2010 and agreeing to take FlyExclusive public
last year.

Favorite hobby after work: Being on the water somewhere warm!

Best advice to industry newcomer: Pick something you love. It’s lots easier to work hard when you love what you do!

Key industry change in next five years: Technology — urban air mobility (eVTOL).

CHRIS TAYLOR

vice president of manufacturing | Boom Supersonic
Greensboro

As Boom’s first North Carolina hire, Taylor oversees developing the company’s plan to build supersonic jets at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Boom expects to invest $500 million in building a manufacturing plant that aims for 2,400 jobs by 2030. The Georgia Tech University graduate previously worked for Gulfstream Aerospace for 39 years.  

What do you listen to on commute: I curate my own listening experience with a focus on North Carolina artists like Superchunk, Rhiannon Giddens, Link Wray, John Coltrane, The Connells, Archers of Loaf, Flat Duo Jets, Southern Culture on the Skids.

Major inspiration: A mentor in the first 15 years of my career helped me understand how critical my relationships were with technicians and how to best work with them. To this day, I often think about his words of wisdom and I’m grateful he took time to help me become a leader.

Career highlight: Assembling one of the most remarkably talented teams at Gulfstream Aerospace in Oklahoma City. Today, many of those individuals now have top positions at Gulfstream in Savannah, Georgia.

Best advice for industry newcomer: Put yourself in a position to learn something new. If your goal is to make a contribution, my advice is to do something that forces you to learn.

Key industry change in next five years: While there have been advances for certain components in aerospace, there is still some reticence for incorporating those advancements into major structures on a large scale, especially with metallics.

CARL WARREN

president, CEO | North Carolina Railroad Co.
Raleigh

The former CSX ports director in Jacksonville, Florida, he succeeded Scott Saylor at the state-chartered company in 2020. It oversees a 317-mile rail corridor from Charlotte to the port terminal in Morehead City and invests in economic development projects. He has a bachelor’s from Wesleyan University and master’s degree from the University of Washington. 

Favorite family tradition: Summer vacations with extended family allow us to put down our technology and appreciate one another.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Beech Mountain for snow in the winter and natural air conditioning in the summer.

What do you listen to on your commute: My wife. Because I live close to work, we started sharing a car when our son went to college. It provides us with the opportunity to catch up on things.

Major inspiration: I have been fortunate to learn from the example of several great mentors and leaders, particularly from those in the industry who appreciate that the railroad has an enduring impact that will be felt for decades and possibly centuries.

Career highlight: Working on the double tracking of the mainline from Los Angeles to Chicago. I was awed by the immense scale of the entire system.

Favorite hobby after work: Taking advantage of Raleigh’s bike trails.

Key industry change in next five years: Intense federal and state scrutiny with respect to operating practices and safety.

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