Breakbulk NextGen – Brett Berard

Brett Berard

Vice president operations,
Berard Transportation

Nominated by:
An executive for a leading engineering, procurement and construction company.

Reason for nomination:
One of the most impressive individuals I have ever dealt with. A family business, but he is a professional engineer, can operate any of the equipment, deals with commercial and has outstanding customer service.

How you chose this industry:

My grandfather started a house-moving business in 1945, which transitioned to an industrial moving business by the time I was born. Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by large equipment and engineering associated with this industry.

Industry’s significance, from your perspective:

The “click and ship” mentality doesn’t only apply to Amazon, the desire to modularize entire plants relies on our solutions. Our industry is the key to efficient industrial progress, whether the general public knows it or not.

A mentor or industry leader who greatly influenced you:

My grandfather and father both had massive impacts on my success and outlook for the future. My grandfather never turned down a challenge, nothing too big or too far, he would put forth his best effort. My father approaches projects more conservatively, always calm and methodical, a perfect recipe for success. The positives from each resonate with me every day.

Professional background:

I worked in our family business starting with manual labor and equipment operations at 10 years old. I graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 2006. Upon graduating, I returned to the family business, since serving in a managerial role.

Management Style:

I strive to assign tasks that I would not mind doing myself. Each employee must have pride in his or her work for success, if they are unwilling or forced to do a job, the result may suffer.

Long-term professional goals:

Learn every day. It seems the more I discover about our industry, I realize how little I know. There is always someone that knows something you don’t.

Role as a developing industry leader:

Encouraging all competitors, vendors, clients and partners to provide the best level of service. When one competitor or vendor cuts corners to cut costs, eventually our industry suffers.

Most important industry issue:

The lack of personal connections seems to be more evident in the past few years. We now execute massive transportation projects with the “swoosh” of a purchase order via email, often never meeting each other. It feels as though the legwork required to execute such projects go unnoticed, and brand loyalty is forgotten. Cargo gets larger, routes get tighter, red tape gets thicker, but the realization of a job well done does not translate to the next move.