Lenoir-Rhyne University's Business Council honored D. Paul Thompson, founder and chairman of Hickory-based Transportation Insight, as the 36th Business Leader of the Year (BLOY) during an awards luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Lake Hickory Country Club.
Thompson is an industry-leading executive, serving in his current role since 1999. His strategic vision and leadership achievements make him an exceptional role model for LR students and the community and an ideal selection for the University's BLOY.
"When we started Transportation Insight, almost 20 years ago, we set out with a couple of overarching goals," Thompson said. "First, we sought to fill a significant need in the marketplace for a partner that is capable of helping companies innovate their supply chain processes to achieve greater efficiency and improve business performance. We fulfill that foundational mission every day in the service to our clients who represent nearly every sector of the North American economy. Our ability to maintain a client retention rate above 98 percent is a reflection of the need we fill in the marketplace and the level of service our associates provide for leading manufacturers, retailers, e-tailers and distributors."
Thompson continued, "At the same time, we started Transportation Insight with the goal of creating something really cool here in Hickory and becoming the region's preferred place to work," Thompson continues. "In that way, Transportation Insight's commitment to the Hickory Metro closely aligns with some of the motivation that drives the Lenoir-Rhyne Business Council. As we work together to revitalize and reinvent the Hickory Metro's business community, our efforts rely not only on committed business partners willing to innovate and invest in creating jobs. They also require the education and recruitment of highly trained associates capable of accelerating in these positions. It is an honor to be recognized by the Lenoir-Rhyne Business Council as Business Leader of the Year. This acknowledgement is a strong validation of Transportation Insight's role in creating next-generation, technology-driven jobs that solve the challenges impeding business growth and sustainability."
Thompson has founded or co-founded six highly successful companies, including his portfolio's flagship brand Transportation Insight located in Hickory. A global enterprise logistics provider, Transportation Insight has more than $3.9 billion in supply chain spend under management and more than 1,500 clients that range from midcap to Fortune 500 companies.
In an intensely competitive logistics marketplace, Thompson's strategy to grow Transportation Insight into North America's largest and most reputable enterprise logistics provider is underpinned by a corporate campus that gives an edge in attracting the best and brightest employees. His investment in the 11-acre Transportation Insight Corporate Campus and Olde Hickory Mill Park is a cornerstone of the company's Vision 20/20 growth plan to become a $3.5 to $5 billion company by Jan. 1, 2020. The Olde Hickory Mill Park Campus is anchored by Transportation Insight's global headquarters and the operations for sister company and transactional transportation solutions provider BirdDog, LLC, and it features a full-service cafeteria and offers nearly 300 on-site employees access to a regulation-sized basketball court, athletic field, and exercise facilities.
"Paul leads a business that prides itself on excellence and integrity, two values we hold deeply at Lenoir-Rhyne," said University President Dr. Fred Whitt. "This approach also overflows into Paul's work in the Hickory community, where he is actively involved in strengthening the community and partnering with local schools and businesses."
Transportation Insight offers a robust and appealing portfolio of consultative end-to-end supply chain services that empower companies to optimize their networks and provide unparalleled customer service. It has appeared on the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame for 10 consecutive appearances in the annual list of fastest-growing, privately-held companies in North America.
Further showcasing Transportation Insight's position as an industry leader, the business earned a 2016 SmartWay Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a result of its efforts to implement supply chain network and transportation strategies that move goods in the cleanest, most energy-efficient way possible while reducing the impacts of carbon pollution. Thompson was awarded the 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast Region and named 2016 Business North Carolina's Cultural Leader of the Year.
Thompson graduated with honors in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas and has more than 25 years of executive experience in supply chain, logistics, and transportation leadership. He serves on the board of several nonprofit organizations and established the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State University. Thompson also devotes significant time and resources to nonprofit organizations such as Samaritan's Feet, Restore Global, Wine to Water, Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, and many other organizations focused on lifting up those in need.
The BLOY award is sponsored by the University's Business Council, which was established in 1983 to promote a better understanding of LR and its programs within the business community, to provide unique learning opportunities for students and businesses, and to support the LR giving programs. The University recognizes each year a man or woman who exemplifies the outstanding gifts of leadership within his or her business as well as within the surrounding community. This individual is selected by a University committee from a number of individuals.