The hall of fame for self-promotion is a crowded one. Often through force or sheer noise, these individuals dedicate their lives to themselves. Despite the intensity of their efforts, many of these leaders discover a sad truth: The more interested a leader is in their own individual success, the less inclined their team will be to fulfill their desires.
Gratefully, not all leaders are so self-centered. Just as success eludes the selfish, history has also shown the opposite to be true: As leaders seek to promote the talents of their people, their legacy continues through the fond memories of their followers.
Under this criteria, Austin’s legacy is not just memorable, it is unforgettable. With devotion to the individuals that comprise his team, Austin works tirelessly to ensure their individual success, only ever half-aware of the stories his friends will one day tell about him.
Austin joined the Portland office in June 2020 as a logistics coach. After moving to Nashville to oversee the installment of the Nashville office in 2022, Austin was promoted to sales director for the East Coast/Central offices in June of 2023.
EL: Austin, it’s so great to sit down with you. Let’s start with your current position, responsibilities, and your career progression here at England Logistics (EL).
Austin: I’m the director of sales for full truckload for our Eastern offices, Detroit and Nashville, here in the Mid-South, and then Atlanta in the South. I oversee two teams in Detroit, one team in Nashville, and one team in Atlanta as well. I started with EL eight years ago.
EL: Wow, has it really been that long?
Austin: Well, I started as an AM, then SAM, and then there was a two-year break in there somewhere. Then I came back as an LC in the Portland office before moving out here to Nashville in the beginning of 2022. I stepped into this role in June of this year. A lot of changes, a lot of good stuff.
EL: When you had the transition period, what were some of the elements that brought you back?
Austin: I love the culture, I love the people. I tried something new at another company, and one thing that I thought was lacking was the accountability piece and the pride in everybody doing their job with their all. I missed the passion.
I think we do a really, really good job of team building here. I think that’s really what gets me excited about work every day is the team that I work with. You know, I think a lot of us could be doing just about anything, but it’s the framework that EL has built that allows our teams to thrive.
EL: I can totally empathize. I know of many that left for a little while but promptly returned for the culture.
With so much passion for what you do at work, what are some things you like to do outside of your career?
Austin: I think one of my biggest passions, though, is supporting my wife and her passions. Right now that looks covering the house in Halloween decorations.
Aside that, any excuse that we can have to be outside, especially living here in Tennessee. Summers are a little hot, but that gives you more excuses to head towards water in the fall. It’s a perfect time to be cycling or running, whether that’s trail or road running. It’s just perfect, man. The sun’s out, the leaves are changing. Anything that we can do outside, I’m all about.
EL: Is that what gets you most excited about living in Nashville right now? I’m sure that’s been a unique experience too.
Austin: Yeah, I think if I was maybe 10 years younger, my passions would be a little bit different for Nashville. But especially coming from the northwest, I love that we really get a long summer with spring and fall being typically pretty nice. So there’s about nine months where you can be outside enjoying yourself. Water’s still relatively warm up until about this time of year. You can do all sorts of stuff within an hour’s drive of Nashville in either direction.
EL: So outside of decking your house with Halloween gear, what’s been some of your most proud accomplishments so far, just for your life?
Austin: A great question. I love seeing other people succeed. You know, if I think about it, Nashville is somewhat of a Guinea pig, and I just look at what some of these folks that have invested in the team and in turn kind of invested in a large organization, what they’ve been able to achieve for their careers and personal lives. I love that and I get chills thinking about it. We have two gentlemen here who will be joining the national sales team in the very near future. They just found out Friday and I was probably more excited for them than they were for themselves.
EL: That’s awesome!
Austin: I’m so excited to share them with everybody else. It’s like I was spoiled getting to know these guys for the past couple of weeks. People are gonna have a heyday because these guys are fantastic to work with and greater on a personal level. Alla, a leader here in Nashville, is another great example. I think most of those who interact with her across the organization love her. Last February we brought her over from being a paralegal from a law firm.
She had no prior logistics or sales experience and now she’s running a very successful team. I just love that stuff. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me accountable.
EL: That’s beautiful. So, kind of a companion question, would you say that that is also your primary source of happiness, or is it something else?
Austin: Yeah, I mean, that’s it. That is, the team collaboration, the personal growth of others. I’m also very routine-based and very structured with how I go about my day, my week, and my month. Sometimes I drive my wife nuts.
Going back to your first question, coming out to Nashville, making it work and taking a group of folks, getting them to work together and all have personal success from it. There’s just no better accomplishment or feeling.
EL: You’ve talked about how you’ve had several professional experiences, even just recently, where you’ve been able to experience a little bit of that fulfillment. I’d love to hear if there was one particular experience that really helped set the trajectory of your career.
Austin: Coming back to EL in 2020. I went and tried something else and found that the grass wasn’t greener. That’s when I stopped worrying about myself so much and my career progression and started worrying about that of everybody I was responsible for. Things just really took off from there.
Though it’s nice to receive for what I do, I know if I make this about the folks on my team, the people that I’m supposed to be in charge of, I will ultimately find success myself. That’s not necessarily a mindset I had up until a couple of years ago.
EL: I feel like it illustrates one of life’s greatest ironies: The more that we turn our focus outward, it seems the better that we’re feeling inward, too.
Austin: Yeah, totally; big believer in that.
EL: I love to see it in practice. You know, you’ve told me a little bit about your holistic attitude, professionally and personally, but do you feel like you have a mantra or motto that really resonates with you?
Austin: I’m not a huge motivational quote person, but I love stories and allegories.
I always kind of look at my life like I’m constantly in the middle of something. I don’t know what the outcome is going to look like. I can’t look back on things I wish I had done differently. I just need to be the best person I can be through it all.
I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and treating everybody as positively, respectfully, and empathetically as I possibly can, and we’ll get to the other side of it.
EL: I think that if you’re always taking that approach, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of room for regret.
If you’re always giving your best, looking for empathy and opportunities of empathy, no matter the situation, I feel like it’ll work out for you.
Austin: I’m definitely not perfect. I have my off days. I sometimes drive the people around me nuts because I think many folks kind of want to create a reality that, in my opinion, just doesn’t exist. I think we need to be able to treat everybody else around us as best as we possibly can, and that’s what we’re going to be remembered for–not necessarily all the things that we accomplish or are actively trying to accomplish by controlling everything around us.
EL: I feel like it’s inspiring to know that if we’re going to default on anything, defaulting on kindness is a pretty good place to be. So kind of an interesting question in this conversation, especially given how you’ve described your outlook and attitude: Where do you want to go from here?
Austin: It probably isn’t a shock when I say, I have no idea. I have no idea what the future plan is.
EL: Love the candor.
Austin: Obviously, I want to be the best provider I can be for my family, and I want to be the best leader of a team and the best member of an organization that I can be. I want to continue to have a positive impact on the lives of others. I think I’m super confident and grateful to say that I haven’t negatively impacted anybody’s life here. I think as a new leader, everybody kind of goes through some challenges, and I know I did myself. I just want to continue to have a larger impact.
I want to just keep focusing on my team and as that team gets bigger, which it continually has, keep focusing on how I can make their lives easier to make their lives better.
EL: That’s beautiful. My favorite part of these interviews is when they are personally instructive for me. Thank you for your time, Austin.
Austin: I appreciate it.
We’re on the search for more senior account managers. If this interview resonated with you, apply at this link: https://www.englandlogistics.com/search-all-available-jobs/