DriverReach Chats | Rachel Lovell, VP of People Operations for Milan Supply Chain Solutions

All of us in the trucking industry understand firsthand how the pandemic changed recruiting operations. But the recent global shutdown also had lasting ramifications for carriers and operations teams outside of recruiting – many of which trickled down to impact drivers themselves. 

In the most recent episode of DriverReach Chats, DriverReach CEO met with Rachel Lovell, VP of People Operations for Milan Supply Chain Solutions, to discuss how her team was able to turn a global pandemic into an opportunity for growth.

You can watch Rachel and Jeremy’s entire conversation here.

Recruiting and Operations

Rachel has been part of the trucking industry her entire career, ever since she joined Milan Supply Chain Solutions over 14 years ago on the recommendation of an uncle, who was driving for Milan at the time. She worked her way through the company, holding roles in operations, customer service, and driver relations. When Rachel moved into people operations and recruiting, her deep understanding and knowledge of the company’s processes – and the types of challenges drivers face – helped her overcome any communication barriers with drivers.

One recommendation she has for carriers is to immerse new driver recruiters in the operations side of your organization as much as possible. Understanding how other departments work can help recruiters engage with drivers on a deeper level. Additionally, HR teams should look internally for potential recruiters to join the team.

Building a People-Focused Culture

As VP of People Operations, Rachel doesn’t spend all her time recruiting drivers. Instead, her main goal is to build a company culture that promotes visibility, transparency, and commitment. Rachel takes pride in her role as the executive voice for all employees, drivers and otherwise, and works to help employees in and out of the office.

Change in The Industry

While the pandemic did have an impact on the demand for drivers, it also changed the way carriers handled driver operations. Many carriers were forced to get creative with pay structure, hours, routes, and other processes. Additionally, with plants and manufactures either shut down or delayed, the entire industry was turned on its head.

At Milan, Rachel and her team are working to make it as easy as possible for drivers to get back on the road safely. The team is pushing for voluntary onsite vaccination clinics for drivers who want to take that step, as well as creative pay structures and route modifications.

There is an end in sight! With vaccinations rolling out, the industry could be back to in-person conferences and gatherings soon. If there is a silver lining, however, it is that this time apart – and the challenges presented by the pandemic as a whole – has given the industry time and motivation to take a step back, develop creative driver retention and recruiting strategies, and be ready to come back together with more good ideas than ever.

You can watch the entire conversation between Rachel and Jeremy here. Don’t forget to subscribe to DriverReach’s YouTube channel, where you can view all of our conversations with industry thought leaders.

Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

Listen to Taking the Hire Road podcast, hosted by Jeremy Reymer and in collaboration with FreightWaves, for timely conversations with industry experts. For more information, or to join a live group demo, visit


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