Breakbulk NextGen – Steve Frank

Project Sales, Ceres Barge

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

Reason for nomination:
“Long-time KMX Trucking and now with Ceres, Steve Frank is solutions focused and technically sound.”

How came to choose this industry:
I worked for CEO Jim Berlin at Logistics Plus in Erie, Pennsylvania, and instantly became intrigued by the core business. I asked him if I could join the North America division, specifically trucking, and I quickly realized that this was a career path that I wanted to pursue.

Industry significance, from your perspective:
The logistics industry, as a whole, has a wealth of creativity in the people that support it. We have become experts in our ability to “think outside of the box.” We can move the biggest, heaviest, and most obscure cargo anywhere around the world. The words “no” and “can’t” do not exist in our vocabulary. We innovate and find a way to use technology, unique equipment, engineered solutions and extensive planning.

A mentor or industry leader who greatly influenced you:
Three years into my logistics career I moved into sales. I was fortunate to have met Rick Pagley, who represents the Port of Baltimore. He and I spent quite a bit of time together, as we had mutual business interests. He quickly and effortlessly took on the role of mentor for me as a new salesperson in the industry. He taught me the value of building relationships in business, and encouraged me to “stay in front of the customer.” Ultimately, he implored me to be patient, but also persistent.

Professional background:
I started my logistics career more than 15 years ago at Logistics Plus in domestic trucking including less-than-truckload, full-truckload and over-dimensional truckloads. From there, I had the opportunity to work with KMX International for nine years. I worked in project cargo sales and project management for heavy-haul trucking, export packaging, and warehousing. Currently, I work in the heavy-lift division at Ceres Barge Line, moving project cargo offshore and on the inland river system.

Management style:
Our industry requires strong teamwork, and I am only as good as the team that surrounds me. It is important that we learn from and listen to each other every day. By encouraging an open forum to discuss ideas within our teams, we come up with the perfect formula for meeting and exceeding goals.

Long-term professional goals:
My long-term professional goals are to build strong relationships with others in the industry while engaging in challenging projects that push me professionally and personally. I practice integrity and honesty in the projects I oversee and with the customers I engage. I am committed to ensuring the success of Ceres Barge Line while also meeting the needs of each customer.

Your role as a developing industry leader:
I have had the privilege of being mentored by not only Rick Pagley, but others in logistics, including Jim Berlin, Jim and Jamie Vitez, Mark Fletcher, and Vince Schu. My intention would always be to influence others the way those leaders have guided, impacted and influenced me.

Most important industry issue:
Infrastructure is a major issue facing the industry on a daily basis. Transporting heavy-lift cargoes rely on rigid infrastructure to ensure safety and feasibility. There is a major cost to upgrade our infrastructure with limited funds and it has proven difficult to identify a priority list. Our industry has been creative in overcoming these challenges and finding alternate ways to move heavy-lift cargo, but it comes at an expense to the buyers.