Humble Leader Receives Prestigious Trucking Leadership Award
As president of J. Grady Randolph (JGR), Mark Randolph heads an open-deck carrier that continues to perform. Sales growth alone in 2016 was nearly double-digit and the company is on pace for another solid year. Driver turnover is a mere 30 percent — an industry-leading number. Mark expects that number to come down even further, now that the Daseke employee stock program is underway.
A safe fleet? You bet. In 2016 JGR hauled home the hardware. Again. The company won several South Carolina Trucking Association (SCTA) safety awards: second place in the tank-local category (less than 500,000 miles), second place in the general-intercity category (500,000 to 1 million miles), first place for tank-intercity (less than 500,000 miles), first place for tank-combined (less than 500,000 miles) and first place among heavy haulers (500,000 to 1 million miles).
While he and his team have put their heart and soul into bettering the company, Mark has been also doing the same for the trucking industry for more than 36 years. Actually, he’s been involved even longer than that. As he puts it:
”I’ve been going to SCTA gatherings since I was in diapers.”
And he has. Mark’s grandfather started JGR back in 1935. His dad, Grady, took over the company in 1980, handing the reins to Mark in 2008. “My family has a long history of supporting SCTA and being active members,” says Mark.
“SCTA is part of our culture. I learned firsthand from my dad the importance of being involved and having a say in how our industry is run. My dad was a board member of the association for a number of years. He taught me that if you don’t step up, if you don’t have a voice, then you shouldn’t complain because you didn’t take the time to be involved.”
Over the years, Mark has been involved in numerous association programs. More than 20 years ago, he worked alongside Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, on a special project. Bulldog is now a sister business of JGR’s through Daseke’s family of companies.
“One of the great things about being active in SCTA is all the networking,” says Mark. “I got to know and work with Phil long before our companies joined the Daseke family. And, over the years, we’ve developed close bonds with other SCTA member companies and suppliers.”
Thankfully, like Grady, Mark has stepped up and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. At the recent SCTA banquet, Mark (who served as chairman of SCTA in 2009-2010 and is now its TruckPAC chairman) was asked to stay onstage after his presentation. At the podium, Rick Todd, SCTA president, awarded Mark with its Trucking Leadership Award — the highest honor the SCTA can bestow.
“We know who goes beyond the call of duty, and Mark certainly does,” said Rick. “He’s been extraordinary in all he has done for our organization. I just wish we had 100 more Marks out there working with us. His political outreach, his support of our association and bettering the trucking industry have had an impact. South Carolina is a good working environment for the trucking industry.”
Not lost on Mark, nor on other long-time members of SCTA, is the fact that, 19 years earlier, Grady received the same award from the SCTA, one which has only been given out 19 times in SCTA’s history. (Not surprising, Phil also went on to take home the coveted leadership award in 1999.)
“Grady laid a lot of the groundwork for SCTA,” recalled Rick. “He was a political animal who knew how to work that side of things. He would work one end of the state to the other. He was tireless. So, it was very special for me to give Mark this wonderful award — he’s certainly done his family very proud and has continued the heritage of his dad and grandfather.”
With Mark and his brother Jimmy (CFO of JGR) representing the third generation of JGR, a fourth generation is also active in the business. Mark’s daughter, Abbi, serves in the HR/recruiting department and handles communications for the company, while Mark’s son, Steven, is in operations.
That family bond and commitment to the industry is not lost on Don Daseke, CEO of Daseke.
“It’s why they’re a Daseke company,” he says. “They fit the mold as to what we’re all about — the quality of our company and its commitment to people. JGR is one of the shining lights in our organization and I’m so proud of Mark and his entire team. They’re doing our industry, and Daseke, proud.”