All That's Trucking

Choptank Transport Helps Mentor Future Leaders

Blog commentary by Deborah Lockridge, Editor in Chief

June 26, 2017

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Choptank employee volunteers for the Junior Achievement program: (L-R) sitting: Jennifer Max, Lisa Padgette, Morgan Watkins, Morgan Chatkewitz, Pam Hutchinson. Photo: Choptank
Choptank employee volunteers for the Junior Achievement program: (L-R) sitting: Jennifer Max, Lisa Padgette, Morgan Watkins, Morgan Chatkewitz, Pam Hutchinson. Photo: Choptank

When it comes to improving the image of the trucking industry and getting young people interested in pursuing careers, it’s hard to beat the personal approach of being involved with your community’s youth. It’s summer vacation now, but it’s a good time to start thinking about how you could get more involved this next school year.

Choptank Transport, a Preston, Maryland-based third-party logistics company, has worked with the Character Counts program for the past decade teaching local children about the six pillars of character. Volunteers are asked to speak for 15-20 minutes once a week throughout the school year. The topic of discussion rotates around the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. The role of the volunteer is to help reinforce these character traits along with the school with real-life examples and varied perspectives.

Matt MacCoy, a Choptank Transport area sales manager, has done it for several years and last year taught a third grade class at Preston Elementary. “I love coaching,” he says. “It is easy to talk about the six pillars because they all relate in some way to what we do here at Choptank, so conveying real world examples from the workplace is easy.”

This year, Choptank also started working with Junior Achievement. The program focuses on youth financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, and this spring, 13 Choptank Transport employees signed up to volunteer to teach JA’s hands-on, age-appropriate lessons.

This was the first year the JA program was available in Choptank’s home county, according to Choptank spokesperson Harriet Mills. “There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about this program because leadership and mentoring are a big part of our work culture,” she explains. “It just fits!”

Geoff Turner, Choptank president and CEO, also emphasizes the importance of leadership and mentoring at the company. “Junior Achievement helps develop and encourage local youth to become tomorrow’s leaders,” he says. “Our employees genuinely want to be an integral part of that experience.”

Choptank employee volunteers for the Junior Achievement program: Jennifer Daniels, Matt MacCoy, Marcia Wood, Linore Brice and Mandy Legg (not shown: Steve Covey, Scott Kirtland, Jordan Welzel). Photo: Choptank
Choptank employee volunteers for the Junior Achievement program: Jennifer Daniels, Matt MacCoy, Marcia Wood, Linore Brice and Mandy Legg (not shown: Steve Covey, Scott Kirtland, Jordan Welzel). Photo: Choptank

Junior Achievement can make a significant difference in a young person’s life.  A recent JA-USA survey found that 67% of all JA graduates are more likely to have an advanced degree than the general population.

Volunteers are asked to commit to five days of mentoring, either consecutive or non-consecutive, consisting of 45-minute sessions. In Choptank’s county, Caroline County, they can choose between teaching third or seventh grade. Volunteers are given all the materials they will need, and no lesson planning is required.

JA programs explore everything from entrepreneurship to finances to career planning and marketing; Choptank Transport will be focusing on JA's financial literacy program. “The idea is to use examples of real-work experience to show the students how financial literacy is so important in the real world, and I can't think of a business model (other than maybe banking or investment), where finances are more important than in freight brokerage,” Mills says. “Anyone involved in logistics needs to understand basic financial models that include important things like margins, overhead costs, and negotiating.”

However, “some parents were never taught basic finance,” said Mandy Legg, assistant controller, at Choptank. “We have to educate the next generation now so they can begin to make smart financial decisions at an early age.”

In addition to Junior Achievement and Mid-Shore Character Counts, Choptank offers scholarships at both University of Maryland and Salisbury University business schools. And Choptank is also heavily involved in Salisbury University's new sales program, a part of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business.

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Author Bio

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Deborah Lockridge

Editor-in-Chief

All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.

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