HDT Truck Fleet Innovators photos

HDT's 2024 Truck Fleet Innovators are, from left, Shane Blanchette of QCD, John Paape of Roehl Transport, Nathan Klein of Sun Logistics, Volker Bargenda of Standard Logistics, and Kyle Neumann of Foodliner.

Image: HDT Graphic

Who are Heavy Duty Trucking’s Truck Fleet Innovators for 2024? HDT’s editors have chosen five fleet executives who are leading the industry in areas including artificial intelligence, zero-emission vehicles, information technology, driver retention, efficiency, maintenance, trailer spec’ing, safety and more.

HDT’s Truck Fleet Innovators are executives from heavy-duty trucking fleets, chosen for specific innovations and for fostering an overall culture that encourages innovative thinking.

They will be HDT’s guests at the Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange event at a luxury resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sept. 4-6, for the awards ceremony. HDT’s editors will moderate a panel discussion with the Innovators exploring their successes, challenges, and the importance of innovation.

The 2024 HDT Truck Fleet Innovators are:

Volker Bargenda, President, Standard Logistics, Dallas, Texas

Bargenda came aboard to grow what was a private fleet into a full-fledged freight carrier and brokerage operation. He used technology updates and change management techniques to grow the fleet significantly, even in the recent freight recession environment. The company provides dry van, flatbed, tanker, and pneumatic services, with more than 400 drivers and 20 locations.

Shane Blanchette, Group VP – Operations, Quality Custom Distribution, Frisco, Texas

A Golden State Foods company, QCD is a national food service logistics supplier doing last-mile delivery to restaurants and coffee shops. Blanchette about three years ago embarked on a project to implement battery-electric trucks in its California operations and has worked to make drivers’ jobs easier through multiple initiatives.

Nathaniel Klein, COO, Sun Logistics, Maspeth, New York

This last-mile less-than-truckload carrier operates in NYC and Miami with 150 drivers, with trailers designed for these close urban areas where some fear to tread. Klein came into the company and changed technology and processes, using data and AI to drive efficiencies, connecting everything from EDIs and routing to billing and weather.

Kyle Neumann, VP of Maintenance, Foodliner Inc., Dubuque, Iowa

In charge of spec’ing and maintaining more than 1,600 power units and 3,500 tanker and dry bulk trailers, Neumann has been on a quest to create the next-generation trailer, maximizing longevity, safety, and load integrity. He also has extended drain intervals to 90,000 miles.

John Paape, VP of Information Technology, Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wisconsin

Paape heads up a 45-person IT team at the 2,200-truck fleet, which offers dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, dedicated, and curtainside transportation. His team writes and maintains custom software integrating all its operations, from dispatching to maintenance to driver safety.

Innovators are chosen based on nominations from the trucking industry, publicly available information, and an interview with each candidate.

Look for full profiles of each Innovator on Truckinginfo.com and in the May/June print issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.

Meet HDT's Truck Fleet Innovators at HDTX

Want to learn more about these innovative leaders? Get a chance to meet HDT's Truck Fleet Innovators in person and ask them questions? Apply to attend Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange at HeavyDutyTruckingExchange.com.

Founded in 2017, HDTX is designed to connect a diverse and influential group of fleet managers of Class 7 and 8 vehicles, at no charge, with a select group of product and service suppliers to exchange information, ideas and solutions.

Fleet manager shaking hands with supplier representative

Meet HDT's Truck Fleet Innovators at Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange.

Image: HDTX | Tavits Photography

Educational sessions curated by HDT’s editorial team complement the networking sessions.

Fewer than 50 fleet managers are approved to attend HDTX each year, in order to preserve the intimate networking nature of the event.

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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