The Schneider Evolution with CCO Erin Van Zeeland
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On this episode of Everything is Logistics, host Blythe Brumleve interviews Erin Van Zeeland, the chief commercial officer, SVP and GM of logistics at Schneider about the evolution of the logistics industry and the company.

Erin shares her story of how Schneider recruited her from Penn State and introduced her to the world of logistics. They also discuss the value of staying with a company long-term, despite the common belief that employees should constantly be seeking new opportunities. As someone who has spent over 30 years at Schneider, Erin  provides insights into the benefits of longevity and building a career within a company.



00:05:02 Schneider: Top two transportation provider.
00:10:48 Tech for real customer value.
00:15:09 Relationships create better experiences.
00:17:12 Women can achieve leadership roles.
00:25:50 Trust employees to succeed.
00:30:09 AI improves efficiency and service.
00:37:38 Invest in technology platforms.
00:42:50 Stay curious and learn.
00:44:09 Stay updated on logistics news.



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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Unknown: 0:00

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:10

welcome into another episode of everything is logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I'm your host Blythe Brumleve. And I'm happy to welcome in Erin Van Zeeland. She is the Chief Commercial Officer SVP and GM of logistics over at Schneider. And we're going to be talking about the evolution of the industry and the company as a whole. He has spent more than 30 years at Schneider so she has a wealth of knowledge to share. So Erin, welcome to the show.

Erin Van Zeeland: 0:37

Thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you today.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:40

Absolutely. Now, now, do you remember what initially sparked your interest in logistics and transportation? Yeah,

Erin Van Zeeland: 0:49

I graduated from Penn State, and Schneider came on campus, and they look for business students that had a opportunity to interview with them and learn more about the industry, mine was more my background was more operations management, think about it within a facility, a production facility, the kinds of things that we would do to make that plant really effective. So I didn't really study the supply chain. So I don't even think they had a major in supply chain when I was coming out of Penn State. But when I got to meet the folks from Schneider, and they were kind of opening my eyes to what this industry was all about, and clearly how vital it is, that really started my journey. And with Schneider and in supply

Blythe Brumleve: 1:33

chain. Now, obviously, with spending, you know, so long at a at a company in today's day and age, most employees are told, you know, after two years, you need to be looking for another job, that's the only way you're going to advance your career. I mean, obviously, that hasn't been the case for you. So what I guess what would be, I guess the value of staying with a company for so long? When modern? You know, I guess sort of advice is that you have to switch every two years, where do you find the value in staying at a company for so long?

Erin Van Zeeland: 2:07

You know, this organization has changed and grown so much in the last 30 years, the company that we were way back when is very different than who we are today, not from a kind of value and what we bring overall, but all the ways that we bring technology, people services, we continue to grow and expand. And I've always found the opportunity to utilize my skill sets in a different part of the business that was very encouraged. And so I constantly was learning and growing. And there was really never time to look outside because I was getting that opportunity was in this organization that I greatly admire and want to be part of, of its success.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:51

So when we think about sort of the evolution of the industry, especially with you know, just just sort of the evolution of work and within this space, what do you what has been sort of the I guess the biggest moments of evolution that's happened maybe at Schneider over the years, or, or maybe the industry as a whole and then how Schneider has adopted some of those those trends.

Erin Van Zeeland: 3:13

Yeah, when I started out, but I managed drivers for dedicated operations all over these coast as well as our one way network. And really what a professional driver would experience in coming into this organization was quite a bit different than the kinds of career opportunities we can offer them now. And whether you think about the algorithms to make sure that we're utilizing their hours of service, getting them home, making critical events, getting them through the house, every other day, or whatever that configuration will allow. We want to continue to make sure that we're bringing people into the enterprise training them and then making a scenario where this could be a career for them. And so deep investments there overall, but for me personally, I started out all on the driver operation side and got to do a lot of different things in that space. But at one point, I was asked to lead our enterprise business transformation and change management working for our CIO, Judy Lemke and my eyes opened up significantly to how you can embrace the power of Tech Data Science into what we do in traditional transportation that makes some incredible solutions for drivers carriers and customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:36

Now, for folks who who may, you know, have been living under a rock for you know, the last 50 some odd years or you know, give us a sense of the where Schneider is like as a company like the elevator pitch in how they compare is it like top 20 carriers I believe, as far as the country is concerned, or Yeah, give us that elevator pitch of Schneider.

Erin Van Zeeland: 4:57

Yeah, we are one of the largest transportation Asian providers in North America and we are in a top two position. And many, we have three major segments. So we have a truckload segment, which is really our irregular route drivers operating freight for all different customers and we keep them toward in our network. For that type of transportation movement that includes dedicated our bulk trailer operations, we're removing liquid bulk commodities, that's truckload and we would be top two, top three in that space from a size perspective, and then we have a thriving intermodal capability. And that's when we're utilizing our own assets. So containers and chasis, and working with some of the class one railroads to really help get products off the road and onto the train and really take advantage of what we're able to bring together with that supply chain. And again, they're from an asset base provider, top three, and and then from a logistics, that's where we have been growing rapidly, that's the area of accountability that I have. And in some cases, we are operating within the customer and operating their full supply chain, and we become part of their team. In other cases, we're moving freight for them across all kinds of modes, and we help them really bring their product to market at the right value points, service, cost, visibility, all those types of things, and we use over 64,000 carriers to do it. So where we started all with our own assets as the full solution, now we can bring that ecosystem of other capabilities to be able to say yes, in a broader perspective, and that, that business has been really growing exponentially.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:48

And I love that you brought up the logistics side of things, because, you know, as the Chief Commercial Officer, and also SVP and GM of logistics, what does sort of, I guess a quote unquote, typical week look like for you?

Erin Van Zeeland: 7:00

Yeah, I get to spend a lot of time with customers. And that part I absolutely enjoy, you know, understanding where they're at and what they're trying to accomplish. And how do I learn and immerse in that piece so that we can take that business problem and or opportunity and solve for it across our enterprise or across with our partners to deliver a differentiated value to our customers. So I, we have our enterprise accounts, they're probably our 30 largest accounts. And that full customer service sales team is my direct accountability. And then the distributed sales force, those that represent just a service offering, and really the depth of what we can bring within that sales offering, I have accountability for that, as well as all the marketing for, for for Schneider, but I really enjoy understanding and looking around corners and helping customers achieve what they want to achieve, because that's why they're in their primary business. And we have to help them be stronger performer and getting the most out of their supply chain overall.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:06

What does what does a typical customer and I say typical, I'm just using that sort of term loosely, because I feel like nothing is typical in this industry. But what does a typical customer look for in a present day? Freight environment? You know, we have COVID, you know, lock downs in E commerce demand all of these impactful changes that have happened over the last few years? What does a typical customer expect now from from their logistics provider?

Erin Van Zeeland: 8:33

Yeah, it would be what we expect, you know, in terms of anytime that we're going and purchasing something, they want to get a good value, they want to be sure that they're getting a good value, they want predictability, and a high level of service, we all have a higher level of service expectation in our private life. And that obviously has gone across to our customers as well. And so they want visibility, and they really want to ensure that we can we have kind of a optionality around what we're able to do. So if there's an issue that's going to impact the rail in Chicago, how do we think about what we might be able to do in over the road or in dedicated operations so that we're able to keep and secure that operation but we're able to utilize our broad portfolio of services in order to do it and and when your company ADA is the size that we are overall, you can really bring those pieces together so you can help them be successful. And if you think about gosh, the amount of disruption that has taken place over the last two years that has been absolutely critical.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:43

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Erin Van Zeeland: 10:37

I love that your answer? They are asking that question because there's a lot of splash out there in terms of the tech investment and a lot of dollars invested in tech. And this is where I do believe Schneider's differentiated is, we don't do tech for tech sake, we do it because it creates a real value to our customers and or to our operators in the way that we get things done. And so we've been deeply invested in creating digital connections with our customers. So whatever platform they're operating in, how do we give all of our solutions and options to them directly, so that they're able to determine and buy easy from Schneider and be able to see that throughout their throughout their life of the loader of their shipments. But if the customer is very small, and they don't have a TMS and they don't have some of that technology really readily available, how do we how do we give that to them, you know, on an app on a on a portal so that they can see lots of different options for their freight and for their, their overall KPIs that are important, how do we inform them of that information, we can do it for customers of all different sizes.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:51

So you had mentioned with with visibility being a, you know, a top need for a lot of your customers. Now, switching gears a little bit, because you're also a board member for the TIA. And so you're you're privy to a lot of different conversations from that group on what's impacting the overall sort of freight brokerage industry or just, you know, brokers in general. So how, what are some of those big challenges there that also affect Schneider as well? And then how are you overcoming them?

Erin Van Zeeland: 12:19

Yeah. So if you think about it, from a carrier perspective, it's a fairly low barrier to entry to become a single truck carrier. And it's important that from a logistics provider, and from as a TIA member, that there is vetting of who those carriers are, what's the experience with them? What's the insurance safety, we share information in terms of if we see, for example, a carrier may pose themselves as being the transportation provider that's going to move a given load, but they may resell that load back to another carrier. And that's a problem because we need to ensure that the carrier that we're tendering to has been fully contracted and vetted by our processes. And so we do work with TAC within the within the TIA to look at how do we provide our members with tools that are really going to help them do that and manage it in a highly efficient way? And so that would be a good example of how do we help shippers make good decisions on carriers? And how do we help brokers make good decisions on carriers in bringing some of that capability to bear

Blythe Brumleve: 13:35

it? Because I think you bring up a good point, it leads me to my next question, because there's there's always been historically so much fighting between brokers and carriers. Are you finding that? Or how what ways are you finding success in trying to, to merge the two together? So they do have more of a collaborative experience?

Erin Van Zeeland: 13:53

Yeah, I think the people that are in it for the long term and have created a lot of value in this space, realize that the carriers every bit as much of a customer, as the shipping customer is. And so those that really deeply work to understand how do we fit that carrier's network? How do we become really easy to do business with from the carrier standpoint, so that carriers really want to align themselves with people that make their operations very efficient, whether it's in the back office, things that we can help them with cash, fuel, you know, tires, those types of things, or whether it's loading them where they land, you know, I know that you're looking at your landing in Atlanta at three o'clock, how do I make sure that I'm planning for that truck so that we can keep you moving within our network? And that just makes it easier for the carrier? And I don't, I think that the brokers that are doing very well recognize that they have to, they have to address both mark both sides of that transaction and that relationship well, because if you've just turned in for In the carrier, you won't be around for very long.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:03

What are some, I guess, ways that that y'all are keeping, I guess the relationship part because technology can come into play. And it can kind of take over that that communication between all parties involved? How are you still, you know, keeping with the human touch, I guess, with all the technology that's come into the space?

Erin Van Zeeland: 15:22

Yeah. So if I use it from a carrier standpoint, we would have what we would call a carrier salesperson that would be aligned to a carrier that understands their network and what they're trying to do. They make sure that our systems are connected with that carrier, or at least the intelligence around where they want to run. And then we will work through that relationship, not only for what we can help them with today, but that carrier may have an empty lane that's consistent in this space. And so how do we even bid with our shipper base to meet that empty need for that carrier? How do we help our shippers a lot of our shippers also have private fleets. And so they have empty miles that they need to be able to get loaded and really work through that piece. And so we think it's about the relationship. And when we have that relationship with a customer, we see service being better we see tracking, we see predictability of, of that full experience just so much higher. So it's not simply about cost cost matters. But it's really about the total cost experience. And if there's less friction for the carrier less friction for us, that obviously takes cost out of the solution that we are in a great position to pass that benefit back to the

Blythe Brumleve: 16:37

carrier. And that's I read a lot of the different like trucking subreddits and and broker subreddits. And they're always talking about, well, how do I get new business? And I think, you know, with your point that you just made, it's easy to forget that the next business is probably much closer than you think if you think about your own customer base of what you have what you have right now. Exactly. And so as we kind of, you know, switch gears a little bit to to what's you know, some more evolutions that are taking place in this industry. You said in a recent post, that Schneider is known as one of America's best employers for women, and I look forward to moving the industry forward together in 2023. Because at Schneider Women make up a 12% of our company drivers 40% of our leadership roles. And you guys had a great article over on the website that sort of encompass this, this thought process or not this thought process, but mission statement should probably say within the company, for folks who haven't read it, can you kind of give us maybe a few key takeaways on on the value of women and the role that they play within Schneider.

Erin Van Zeeland: 17:41

Yeah. You know, it's, uh, what's pretty cool about Schneider is even from my early beginnings with the organization, the people invested in us as we started out and helping us kind of expand the container of what's possible, I would, it would be an absolute true statement that if somebody wasn't finding those capabilities in me and helping me see how I could use them, I would have been thrilled to be a driver, business leader for my full career operating in Harrisburg. But I really enjoyed that role. And what I was being able to do and get done, I know it was going to start a family and, and really balanced through all the rest of that. But I had phenomenal leaders that really saw that capability in me and they kept challenging, challenging me to take that and apply it here and learn stretch and grow. Take that and apply it here. So One fun fact is I never applied for a single roll action either, including the first one. So Schneider came and and plucked me out of the of the hub, which is the location where all the resumes are at first Schneider, I mean for Penn State, and I started on that path. And so what we recognize is, a lot of times people don't know what their unique strengths and capabilities are. And all of us as leaders, that's how we really invest in the future is helping see that and others helping them see I help them get more confidence, more opportunity to utilize that muscle. So when that next role comes about, they recognize that they have the right stuff to be able to move the business forward in that capacity. And so I've been part of, we have a BRG or business resource group here, the Schneider Women's Network, it's now on its 16th year, and I've been on that core leadership team the entire time. And we we think it's an incredibly exciting place to be for women to utilize their skill sets in order to improve the impact that they can have.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:50

And I think that that's great from a lot of different perspectives. And so you you hit on 16 years, you've had a women's network at Schneider which is well Love, I would say probably one of the first in all of trucking. Is that a safe bet?

Erin Van Zeeland: 20:06

I would say. So.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:08

That's what I would think because I'm trying to I'm of course, there's Women in Trucking, which you were actually nominated for 2023, Top Women to Watch and transportation, which, first of all, congratulations. And I think, you know, from from a second lens, there's this stat that's out there that, you know, men, whenever they see a job opening that comes across, they will apply even if they don't meet any of the the resume standards or the the job recommendation standards of what that job needs. But women will see it and if they don't have and if they miss it, like one or two things, then they won't apply at all. But typically, a man will see that and they'll apply no matter what if they meet the resume expectations or not. So I think that that is really important for the leadership within the company to see that and in some of your other employees, because I would imagine, that's probably how they kept you for so long, and kept some of these initiatives going for so long. Is that a fair assessment?

Erin Van Zeeland: 21:03

Definitely, I've read the same book. And in terms of, we need to have everything filled out and think that we're in a before we go for it. And that just may be a DNA kind of trait. And we want to change that. So everybody is going to learn and grow in that next row. And so how do we help a one having more leaders, more women leaders, they become more of a role model to others that maybe didn't see it before. But hey, I can see it with you. We have a one of our senior leaders started out in our finance group. She's incredible. And she was having a terrific career in finance. And she went into our sales organization did a beautiful job. Now she's leading, I think, almost a third or half of the country on dry on the driver operation side. And I can't tell you how many people come to me and say, Hey, I saw this woman do this. And now I believe I can, too, you know, and so it's where's that background that you started with? And where do you see just the diversity of people that are successful, that come from all different backgrounds, DNA, all of those pieces, and that just allows a more connective tissue in terms of I can see myself doing that. But um, we invest a lot, I would say, like, we look at, lean in is the book that you were referring to. So going through that together, you know, how do you think about grit? How do you think about a lot of the Brene Brown kind of work? And how do we just help each other experience some of these things together, you know, you think about the imposter syndrome would be there as well, I'm gonna fake it till I make it, we just take those items kind of off the table and put them front and center on the table and share some of that vulnerability, and just indicate where we've screwed up and learn from it and got better or where we had our triumphs and, and that has been really, really helpful for more and more people to say, Put me in coach,

Blythe Brumleve: 23:06

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Erin Van Zeeland: 25:01

Yeah, you know, it's funny when I started to have my baby. So I have two, both in college one graduates in May. So I'm thrilled for her that she's getting started. And we we just absolutely think about this career is a marathon, not a sprint. And there are times in your career that you may be able to travel all over and do these kinds of roles and accountabilities. And there may be other times that you need to have a different kind of role. And that maybe requires less travel or less intensity for a period of time. And we are very transparent. with folks around that want to talk about how do I get through this season? Well, how do I continue to learn develop and, and grow? But how do I make sure that I understand kind of the full roles that I have? And how do I balance those together? And so that has been that philosophy has been really good. And to some degree, I think the pandemic has helped us. Because we realize you can work from anywhere, and you can be able to work in teams and and obviously, there was a lot of technology that came to the forefront and through the, through the pandemic, but I think that has created a lot of help and balance as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:15

Absolutely, yeah, it's definitely been I think eye opening for a lot of corporate America that hey, you don't have to have these middle managers sort of babysit other people. It was I think Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook called it, you know, managers, managing managers, managing managers, people. And so I think it definitely opens up sort of the the efficiency or lack thereof for a lot of companies, that you can have these roles, and you can trust your employees to take care of those roles, even if they're not right in front of you completing those roles itself. Now, with with shining a spotlight, you guys do a great job of shining a spotlight on women. But on the flip side, you also do a great job of shining a spotlight on the drivers, of course, and I love ever since I saw this name, the what is it the the Hall of Fame, but Hall is spelled H au L. I love that. And I think that that is probably the most creative campaign within all of freight and logistics. I just think it you know, just parallels to it. You know, I guess the lack of marketing and a lot of different companies. But you guys do a great job of that. For folks who may not be aware of what the Hall of Fame is, can you kind of give us an overview of what the program is all about? Yeah. So

Erin Van Zeeland: 27:29

if you were coming in, if you were visiting me here in Green Bay, of like, as soon as you came in one, you would go under a very huge model of a truck on the way in just remember what we do big orange track, and then you become a receptionist. And right behind her is this huge wall that is the length of our customer service. Floor. By the way, our customer service floor is an acre of customer service. And so you can look our customers look at this full acre and see their name and their team down the floor. It's pretty incredible. We have a sound the horn up on the balcony that when we're celebrating something driver related or customer related, we literally sound the horn, we know how nice that celebration happens. But the Hall of Fame is our million mile drivers. And so when you think about going and all the different places that our drivers grow and be a million miles safe, no accidents, accident free. That is a huge accomplishment. And when they do that they get their name on a gold brick, and indicate when they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. And we have 5 Million Mile drivers on that it just it designates really safety personnel always is our first core value. And so we want that to be the first thing that people see is what we're all about is making sure that our drivers and the motoring public is safe going down the road and we celebrate it. So one one data point for you is Schneider is Omaha orange. That's the color of our trucks and trailers in Omaha Orange is the color the human eye can see from the furthest away. Oh, wow. That's really cool. Yeah, safety things of that same color on the on the highway. And obviously hunters were blazing orange in that space. But our drivers take it incredibly seriously. It's the reason that it's a big reason why they come here is because they know that we will have their safety and the safety of the motoring public first in mind.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:34

I love that because whenever we were talking off camera before this conversation started, I was like, Oh, I love your background. And the first thing I noticed was the Schneider truck, right orange in the background. So I love that you brought up that that data point. That's awesome. So you know as someone who has seen a lot of changes over the years within the industry, we had briefly also talked before the show about AI and how it's just infiltrated you know as sort of every aspect of business life. First of all, you know, from Schneider's perspective, how is the company using AI if at all,

Erin Van Zeeland: 30:10

to a tremendous amount. So if you think about just the the work that we have in our learning models of what we are seeing and experiencing from a customer demand forecasting, to this is the right load and an optimization across 1000s of loads for this driver, that learning process of it works for them, it's great service, and it takes care of the things that are important to this driver, and then really working with those 64,000 carriers. That's all a learning model that gets stronger in every transaction. But even in communication, you know, when you, you now have the ability to take whatever it was that you were writing and put it against a chat, AI type of review, and instantly it comes back in whatever thing you were trying to accomplish, that you didn't get in your first run, you can get it back at that way. And so we think about it in terms of, if we can give an intelligent answer, utilizing outside systems of record, as well as insight and systems of record, the responsiveness to our customers and our drivers is incredible, because time is money. And we want to keep very informed and what that process is in a way that's meaningful to the stakeholder in that space. So we think we're just scratching the surface around what this is, and will be, but we're really

Blythe Brumleve: 31:34

excited about it. That likewise, I think it's you know, as a marketer, as a, you know, sort of a one person business, it has been a game changer for me. And I know a lot of folks are scared about it, and they think it's coming for the job. And it's like, well, it's it could, it obviously will take some jobs, but it's going to lead to greater efficiency, greater services, and you'll be able to do a lot of things that you weren't able to do. Like, for example, I have these SEO focused articles that have been on my website for years, they need to be updated, but they're responsible for 1000s of visitors every single month. I don't want to get rid of them. But I used AI to rewrite them. And it's been so I think, in 15 seconds, which is absolutely insane. So it's interesting that you brought up that you're using, you know, the Schneider data with outside tools, because I there is a lot of criticism for the outside tools of saying, especially when when chat GPT three was on the scene, and a lot of folks were using it and saying, oh, it's wrong, it's you know, it's inaccurate, things like that. And it's like, well, you know, you would probably still have to massage the article a little bit, but it's also not going off of your own proprietary data. So it's interesting that you guys are already using your own proprietary data, with the combination of these tools, which I think is brilliant. I'm not sure that there's any other freight companies out there that are doing that yet. But you should be paying attention to it, and you should be doing it. And that leads me into my next one

Erin Van Zeeland: 33:01

more use case, oh, yeah, please, just it can be so localized. So I mentor, this young woman in our organization that is on the operation side of the house, and she wants to grow into being much more sales and customer oriented, she's been given some feedback around just her very direct communication. And sometimes we need to soften that a little bit, still get the same point across, but do it in a way that really resonates more with the person who's receiving it. So I literally took her last email, and then I ran it back through the model. And I said, Do you see the difference. And she's like, wow, I'm like just you because you start to see your before and after. And it changes the way that you can interact and the way that you can talk because you're kind of seeing what fits and you're still getting the same point across. So it can be a very, very small piece and make a big difference, or it can be fully integrated.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:57

Absolutely. And I think to that, just from the lens of getting another pair of eyes on your own work, you know, sometimes everybody else is so busy to you know, focus on what you're doing. If you can get other pairs of eyes, or in this case software on that piece of work, it could really streamline and with a lot of your different communications, Microsoft, Google, they're all going to be implementing these tools into their, you know, documents and spreadsheets and presentations. So whether or not you've adopted AI, that's, it's coming, so why not learn it and utilize it to your advantage. This is where I kind of, you know, have a strong standpoint, but we might negate all of the things that we just said positively about AI because I had Chet GPT for write a bio for you. And I would love to go through these four parts and see how accurate it is. And we'll give it a passing grade or a failing grade. So the first part, says Erin Van Zeeland is the Chief Commercial Officer at Schneider. She has been with the company for over 20 years starting her career as a driver recruiter in 1990. gait. Since then, she has held various leadership roles in the company including Vice President of intermodal, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation before being appointed as CCO in 2019.

Erin Van Zeeland: 35:12

There were a couple of things that were. Yeah, so I've never had intermodal directly and I started as a driver, Team Leader versus recruiter, but a lot of the rest of it was was very good.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:24

When they said 20 year they cut off 10 years of experience for you get it right.

Erin Van Zeeland: 35:28

I'm still over 20

Blythe Brumleve: 35:31

That's true. That's true. So the next paragraph as CCO van Zeeland is responsible for overseeing Schneider's customer facing activities including sales, marketing and customer service. She has also focused on driving innovation and growth by leveraging new technologies and developing strategic partnerships. Perfect. That went that was a passing grade. Okay, the next one. Under her leadership, Schneider has continued to expand its services and capabilities, including launching new technology solutions and expanding its presence into international markets and 2020. She was named to the women and trucking associations list of Top Women to Watch and transportation. No one's perfect, perfect. All right. And last one, Van Zeeland is recognized as a thought leader in transportation and logistics industry and has spoken at various industry events and conferences. She is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion and has been actively involved in initiatives to promote women's leadership in the industry.

Erin Van Zeeland: 36:21


Blythe Brumleve: 36:22

that's for see, three out of four, get a passing grade, the first one was a little, you know, little, I don't know where they pull that information from. But that just proves you know, how accurate I think a lot of thank God, it was, you know, proved a little bit at least accurate. After all this conversations, we just,

Erin Van Zeeland: 36:39

we just got through St. Patty's Day, I'm one of seven kids, and my brother had a post out there on Facebook, that was this, you know, Irish story, and rhyme and all those types of things for St. Patty's Day, and he listed out four of our family names, and just maybe three other bullet points, and you had this beautiful, poetic cheer to St. Patty's Day, I'm like, Mark, how long did that take you to write? He's like about three seconds. Like, that's terrific.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:09

That's awesome. So he can help you in your personal life, too. It's not just coming for your jobs, it's coming to help your personal life as well. Now, as we kind of sort of round out this discussion, what kind of I guess what's a challenge in the industry that you're experiencing now that you hope to overcome in the future?

Erin Van Zeeland: 37:27

Yeah, I think that companies that can really see a benefit in the digitization are companies that have invested on their side, in the technology platforms, and whether they have a homegrown one, or whether they're sitting on a commercially viable one, we've been accelerating significantly with those customers. So it really is how do we take our salespeople and our service people and help escort customers onto tech that they can use really for free to get the benefit of the digital connections. And so before it used to be just about the transportation, now, it's about the whole experience. And we do not want smaller customers to be left behind, because they can't do the connection into their system. So we've invested a lot to help them have that full footprint, so that they can get all the benefit associated with it. So this technology is available to everyone. And just being a embracing and having curiosity around what's out there and then continually finding ways to extract more value out of it. I just think there's going to be a lot of benefit that's available today and in in future years in this space for certain.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:51

Do you have a moment that you're the most proud of over your career at Schneider?

Erin Van Zeeland: 38:56

Gosh, I have so many you know, I think the most rewarding piece is when I have someone on my team that accomplished something that they didn't think was possible. A lot of that is commercial and or achieving a role and doing those types of things. But I was there when Schneider went public in New York, and I got to spend time with Don Schneider when I first started and it was surreal kind of walking onto the Stack Exchange and seeing Dan's picture in what he would say all over all over the room. But I thought the coolest thing was his his kids and some of our leaders were up on the podium and our we had a 5 million mile driver that rang the bell. That was just phenomenal in terms of what that experience was but I was standing beside below the platform beside his grandkids and they were just reading about what this was all about. And they were experiencing it if or their family. And I just thought, Gosh, Don would just be so proud of his family, both the company family and his family, in terms of selling the truck and, and starting out in this industry, and really what it meant. And it's funny, the best part was when we left New York, the stock exchange, there's this banner in front, and it falls to the ground, and the next one gets raised. And we're like, okay, that's over. So it just is that moment in time, that, then we just went back to operating as well as we did before and just continue to get better. But it was, it was nice to see his family. Enjoy that opportunity. That was pretty cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:41

So it probably came full circle for you to be able to see that kind of achievement, and then really, just get back to work. And speaking of of getting back to work, you know, what can folks you know, expect from Schneider, you know, maybe in the coming months or over, you know, during 2023. Anything to look forward to or out on the horizon?

Erin Van Zeeland: 41:02

Yeah, what I'm really excited about sustainability is really important in our industry, and Schneider is absolutely an industry leader here. So we've made significant investments in the infrastructure, the tractors, the learning with you, VMs, in terms of what that isn't look like, but we all are on this, this race to ensure that we get to this net zero, eventually, you know, you think about the Paris Agreement 2050. And many customers are making that earlier and earlier and earlier and making agreements as to what they're going to do to improve their carbon footprint. And we can help them there. And we are helping them there, measure it, understand the decisions that they can make, and really get in the position of the promises that they're making to their customers. So we're really excited about what this means there's a lot of learning, and a lot of work to get our infrastructure to a position that it needs to be at. But these are the right things to go after. And Schneider is making a difference here every day.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:03

Amazing. So for folks who, you know, as we, you know, last question, I always like to ask, you know, is there anything that I didn't ask that you feel is important to mention?

Erin Van Zeeland: 42:14

Yes, I have a daughter that's going to be graduating in two months. And I think one of the things that people usually want to understand is what makes somebody successful, especially as they're starting out. And I think that really important is just that area of curiosity constantly, whether it's podcasts, whether it's books, talking to others, broadening your network, make sure that you don't stay small, or stay in a lane. So just constantly be a lover of learning, and, and developing yourself and building others along with you. And you'll just gonna have a great amount of joy in your career and in the impact you can make. So be curious, be true to your values, and, and just continue to expand. Learning is one of the greatest gifts.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:06

That is a mic drop moment, ladies and gentlemen. Erin, where can folks follow more of your work? Follow Schneider, I mean, I'm sure they probably already know the website address. But for folks who may not know where can they follow more of your work in Schneider? Yeah,

Erin Van Zeeland: 43:21

well, So it's pretty easy. There's a lot of really good information out there about life and on our sustainability, what we're doing in the digital space, and just our organization. But we're all over every social media you can imagine, in just sharing some of that messaging. And if anybody would like to just reach out to me certainly do that. I am out there on LinkedIn. And I would love to connect you up with what we can help with in any kind of capacity at all. Erin, thank you so much. Thank you so much.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:56

I hope you enjoy this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. If you liked this episode, do me a favor and sign up for our newsletter. I know what you're probably thinking, oh God, another newsletter. But it's the easiest way to stay updated when new episodes are released. Plus, we drop a lot of gems in that email to help the one person marketing team and folks like yourself who are probably wearing a lot of hats at work in order to help you navigate this digital world a little bit easier. You could find that email signup link along with our socials and past episodes. Over at everything is And until next time, I'm Blythe and go Jags

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.