Leveraging Associations and Networking - Taking the Hire Road with Jeremy Reymer and Amber Edmondson

On this week’s Taking the Hire Road episode, Jeremy Reymer, the Founder of DriverReach, engages with Amber Edmondson, President and CEO of Trailiner Corp.

Edmondson boasts an industry tenure of almost 25 years, rooted in her association with Trailiner since 1999. However, her ties to trucking go beyond her professional years: Her father ventured into owner-operatorship when she was just 8, and Trailiner itself was established by Edmondson’s grandfather in 1976.

As a long-haul refrigerated carrier based in Springfield, Missouri, Trailiner is no stranger to the market’s fluctuations. Their reliance on produce, particularly from the western U.S., means that something as seemingly simple as a rainstorm can significantly impact their financials for an entire year.

“This year, excessive rain in California severely affected the growing season in the Central Valley, mirroring market challenges similar to those we faced in ’07 and ’08,” Edmondson revealed, recalling difficulties during the Great Recession.

However, the challenges aren’t exclusive to refrigerated carriers; the entire trucking industry grapples with a downturn. In such trying times, companies must ensure they have solid fundamentals in place.

“For Trailiner, safety takes precedence. Our drivers are constantly on the road, and ensuring their safe return while safeguarding the public is our top priority,” Edmondson emphasized.

“And, of course,” she added, “it’s also financially prudent.”

When profit margins are narrow, managing operational expenses becomes pivotal for a carrier’s long-term survival. A strong safety record helps counter soaring insurance rates.

Yet, in facing adverse market conditions, carriers needn’t navigate alone. Relationships and connections hold immense significance.

Edmondson’s track record of leadership and advocacy within the industry underscores her deep understanding of this aspect.

During her time as a LEAD ATA candidate, she discovered that “networking and maintaining those relationships were the most invaluable takeaways.”

As the chair of TCA’s 2024 Refrigerated Meeting, Edmondson views her primary role as providing attendees with timely information to navigate an unpredictable industry—providing members with “what they need to hear, precisely when they need to hear it.”

Networking at such gatherings holds great importance because industry peers often offer the most robust support.

“Simply having discussions about exploring new ELDs or encountering hiring issues—whatever the challenge may be—and gaining insights from others,” she stressed, “is indispensable.”

Ultimately, Edmondson emphasizes that leadership in this industry revolves around “being a responsible custodian of your business, protecting your employees to the best of your ability, and emerging stronger on the other side.”

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