TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION OF LOGISTICS PROS
|Jim Syfan, CEO|
When I started in the truck brokerage business in 1976, I loved it right away.
The broker did everything. You developed relationships with customers and carriers, booked loads, contacted carriers, tracked the load, billed the customer and collected. It was exciting. It was fast paced. And it was a clumsy way to run a business.
There was very little training, too. You played it by ear, learning from conversations, watching, and hoping for a mentor.
I knew when I started my own company, we would want to break down each element of the operation into separate departments – and then implement a training program for each position. That’s exactly what we did with our first company, Turbo Transport, in 1984.
Four decades later, the need for training programs is really no different but never more important in these times of tight labor coupled with high consumer demand. Identifying talented individuals who can thrive in our business, training them from Day One, and continuing their education throughout their career is an integral part of the way we do business at Syfan Logistics.
Still, we’ve always needed more help than we can muster from within. It takes a lot of time and money to train new team members for our business, especially those with no experience. So, as early as the 1990s, I began talking to area colleges about including transportation logistics in their educational curricula. Unfortunately, most business schools taught manufacturing and warehousing but skipped logistics as a subject matter.
It was disheartening, but I didn’t give up while focusing on relationships with the decision makers at several institutions, including the University of Georgia and Clemson University.
In our home region, we started working closely with the University of North Georgia (UNG) to develop our company’s internship program. Through that involvement, Dr. Mary Gowan, the dean of UNG’s Cottrell School of Business, became interested in a logistics curriculum that could offer real-world experience.
Our company provided input into a first-ever logistics course that later led to the idea of creating an authentic third-party logistics learning environment at UNG. That vision is now coming to reality with the development of a new logistics/accounting laboratory at the university.
Syfan Logistics was honored to provide seed funding, and we also worked with our technology partner McLeod Software to provide instructional software tools. When the lab opens, hopefully in time for the 2022 fall semester, it will mirror our company operations and provide students with hands-on experience.
In the long run, it’s a win-win for the university, students, our company and other 3PL providers. In these challenging times for supply and demand chains, the emergence of our industry as a critical provider has been recognized worldwide.
We are certainly proud to be able to lend a hand in our corner of North Georgia to train the next generation to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
STILL GROWING: NEXT EXPANSION
Construction is scheduled to begin late this year (2021) and hopefully be completed by the end of third quarter 2022. With this project, we will expand our offices on both floors into the first three bays of our existing service center, which will be moved on down the line to the opposite end of our building.
“This project is vital to our growth plan,” says Jim Syfan, Syfan Logistics CEO. “We are aggressively adding new team members and need the office space as soon as possible.”
In terms of numbers, the expansion will add two floors, 15,600 square feet, and room for 150 additional team members. The extra space will house our accounting and dispatch departments.
You might remember that this is our second major expansion in the last two years. In 2019, we completed a 19,000-square foot expansion that nearly doubled the size of our previous office space.
NE GEORGIA’S FIRST-EVER LOGISTICS LABORATORY TO MAKE ITS DEBUT
NEW PROGRAM MADE POSSIBLE UNDER SYFAN-UNG PARTNERSHIP
To meet the region’s need for a professional logistics workforce, our company is proud to partner with the University of North Georgia in nearby Dahlonega to create the area’s first supply-chain academic curriculum and logistics/accounting laboratory.
Syfan Logistics donated much of the project’s construction funding in addition to leveraging a partnership with McLeod Software to provide educational technology tools.
“Long before the pandemic created overwhelming demand for products and shipping, we recognized the growing need to recruit future talent to support our customers, our company and the industry throughout this region,” says Jim Syfan, CEO.
“This is an opportunity, especially for young people, to take a first step toward a promising career with an in-depth, hands-on experience in transportation logistics – the lifeblood of today’s multi-trillion-dollar shipping industry worldwide.” The UNG Logistics Laboratory actually simulates the Syfan operations center, allowing students to learn about third-party logistics in a real-world environment.
We are always looking for innovative ways to build a larger pool of quality professional candidates for our industry and our growing company. We believe this
collaboration with UNG will expose many more students to career opportunities in logistics, helping them while building an even stronger workforce in our backyard of
SEARCHING FOR NEW TEAM MEMBERS TO MEET OUR GROWTH PLAN
Recruiting Manager Jakob Jameson joined Syfan Logistics this year to help with this effort. He is in charge of conducting interviews with potential candidates and assessing their knowledge, skills, and experience to find the right fit for our company.
In addition, Jakob works with our Organizational Development Manager Dan Bacus in the development and fine-tuning of job descriptions. He also works closely with our management team to identify future hiring needs in support of our strategic operations and initiatives.
“We identify candidates for our openings through different recruitment databases, social media, and career fairs,” Jakob said.
A University of North Georgia graduate, Jakob comes to us with a background in sales and management – and more recently as a staffing manager with almost two years of recruiting experience.
|Jakob Jameson recently joined our company as recruiting manager.|
We are currently looking to fill Logistics Coordinator openings with a larger focus on our night and weekend shifts. We also have openings for a Training Manager, Rental Asset Assistant and Mobile Trailer Technician.
For more information about our company and the career opportunities available, visit syfanlogistics.com/careers.
Our receptionist, Missy Northrop, is the first person you see when you visit our Gainesville offices, and the first person you hear if you call.
Missy is also one our longest tenured employees dating back to our original company, Turbo Logistics.
“I started working for the Syfans in 1989 at Turbo Logistics, so between both of the Syfan companies, it’s been 32 years,” she says.
Missy really enjoys her job, especially getting to meet and talk to people all day.
She added, “I have always been treated like family by the Syfans and I love that we are a Christian-based company.”
A Gainesville native, Missy has a son, Gene Joy. Away from work, Missy enjoys shopping, going out dancing with friends, watching sports and taking care of her dog, Sophie.
And what’s on her bucket list? “Going to Hawaii,” she says.
One her favorite nonprofits in Hall County is Randy & Friends. The organization, which started in 2012, helps individuals with disabilities tap into their individual strengths and creativity with the goal that they become successful and independent with a job.
“We have a few guys who work here with us that are from Randy & Friends,” Missy says. “I think Randy and his mom (Marty Owens) are very good people to have started this organization for these young people.”
DRIVER SPOTLIGHT: MARK HERRINGTON
Mark has been a driver with Syfan Logistics for more than two years and has over 21 years of trucking experience.
“I was working as a mechanic and got tired of looking at four gray walls,” he says. “I wanted to be outside. I got my CDL because I enjoy driving, and I’ve been able to see many different places.”
His favorite trips as a trucker have been out West to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.
“Colorado is a place everyone should see,” Mark says. “There are mountain ranges every direction you look. It’s beautiful.”
Mark says he appreciates the way Syfan treats its drivers – providing good pay and good trucks to drive. He adds they let you do your job.
Mark, who grew up in Gwinnett County, now lives in Cleveland, Ga. He says he’s constantly working even when he’s not working.
“I’m always working around the house or on cars,” he says. He’s even built an off-road Jeep that he and his girlfriend like to take out on trails.
TWICE AS NICE:
SYFAN LOGISTICS NAMED TOP 100 3PL AND TOP 100 TRUCKER
For 2021, we have received double honors from the Inbound Logistics editorial team.
The national trade magazine named us to its Top 100 3PL list for the eighth straight year and Top 100 Truckers list for the fourth straight year.
“To be selected for both lists is a blessing – and a huge tribute to our team,” says Greg Syfan, our company’s president. “Special thanks to our professional staff and all of our loyal customers for helping us achieve this prestigious recognition.”
For both awards, the Inbound Logistics editorial staff gathers information on candidates through research, personal interviews and information about companies from across the country. The magazine considers criteria such as operational excellence, innovation, network of customer relationships, and quality of services.
“Syfan Logistics continues to provide logistics, transportation, and supply chain solutions to meet the evolving needs of their customers,” Inbound Logistics Editor Felecia Stratton said. “In addition, given today’s complex transportation and logistics challenges, the blended transportation solutions offered by Syfan Logistics show true leadership in the trucking sector.”
IN OUR COMMUNITY: LOCAL FOOD BANK HONORS OUR TEAM FOR ‘LENDING A HAND’
Our company and CEO Jim Syfan were honored recently at the Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s Empty Bowl luncheon.
Jim received “The Mike Banks Reflections of the Heart” award in memory of philanthropist and longtime Food Bank supporter Mike Banks. Each year, the honor recognizes an individual whose contributions to GMFB truly reflect “the heart of a giver” in the same way that Mike Banks lived his life.
In addition, Syfan Logistics received the newly named Jim Walters Corporate Volunteer of the Year award.
“Jim and his company Syfan Logistics are always willing to go above and beyond for the Food Bank,” said Joy Banks, daughter of Mike Banks, in her presentation at the Empty Bowl luncheon. “When transportation or logistics needs arise, Syfan is quick to lend a hand. Jim is well-respected in this community for his philanthropic spirit, his integrity, commitment to excellence, and commitment to people.”
Congratulations to Jim and our entire company of faithful volunteers – well done!
WAYNE FARMS HONORS SYFAN AS TRANSPORT BROKER OF THE YEAR
Based in the heart of the U.S. poultry industry in Georgia, our company is well-versed in hauling deadline-sensitive, perishable poultry products.
One of our longtime customers, Wayne Farms, recently confirmed our respect and reputation in the industry with its recognition of Syfan Logistics as their “Broker of the Year.”
“We are thankful for our long partnership with Wayne Farms,” says Steve Syfan, executive vice president. “We appreciate them honoring us as Broker of the Year and look forward to continuing to serve them.”
Wayne Farms produces more than 2 billion pounds of chicken products annually – and we make sure it gets to where it needs to go.
“Once the product leaves Wayne Farms, our business is in their hands,” said Craig Watkins, Wayne Farms director of logistics. “We depend on our logistics and carrier partners to fulfill our commitment to customers — tracking, managing and ensuring on-time delivery of our products. During the COVID pandemic, volumes were up for restaurant and food service businesses this past year and that has been especially challenging — last-minute orders, extra loads, and order changes. Solid logistics and our carriers’ dedication were the keys to meeting those challenges.”
‘REVVING UP’ FOR REGION’S NEW EDUCATIONAL AG BUSINESS CENTER
Syfan Logistics was pleased to do its part recently to support Hall County Schools and the new Ag-Business Center planned in northern Hall County.
We donated a brand-new tractor to this innovative program that will allow students a hands-on learning experience with agriculture. After touring the planned 51-acre site for the first time, our CEO Jim Syfan and Executive Vice President Steve Syfan were impressed. They came away wanting to find a way to support the program and further farm education in our community.
One of the most pressing needs was a tractor. So, our company donated a new Massey-Ferguson front loader. The vehicle is equipped with twin seats in the cockpit that will allow instructors to accompany student drivers in learning how to operate the loader.
“I applaud the school system for having the interest and vision to create that farm out there,” Jim Syfan said. “It’s quite impressive. Students will be able to get first-hand experience, and we are so pleased to be a partner in this wonderful initiative.”
CLAYTON HART DELIVERS WINNING RECIPE FOR TURBO CHILI COOK OFF
Clayton Hart was the winner of the annual Turbo Chili Cook Off, put on each year by our sister company Turbo Sales & Leasing.
Clayton, who works as a trailer technician at Turbo, was one of nine entrants in the contest on Oct. 28. He received a $100 gift card and the chili champion cauldron trophy.
Syfan Logistics’ Greg Syan, Andy Roberts and Dan Bacus served as judges.
Of course, the biggest winners of the cook-off were our team members at Syfan and Turbo who enjoyed eating all the winning recipes!