Hoover Is Leading Mover To New Heights
A University of Alabama graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, Bentley spent 15 years as a trucking Publisher before becoming the Editorial Director for Randall-Reilly's Recruiting Media division.
New A. Arnold Chairman and CEO is driving growth by being good, having fun
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. – Dr. Seuss
In 2012, Greg Hoover came to A. Arnold Moving Co. LLC, because of the company’s reputation, long history, and a potential ownership opportunity. He found this and much more awaiting him at this established Louisville-based moving firm.
A. Arnold was a family business for more than 80 years until Rick Russell bought the company in 1991. Last year, when Russell was making plans to retire and looking for a successor, he knew Hoover was the man for the job. Before joining A. Arnold, Hoover was CEO of Bekins Van Lines in Chicago. He previously was chief marketing officer and later vice chairman and COO of Evansville, Ind.-based Atlas World Group.
But Hoover’s trucking career began long before those executive positions.
He literally grew up in the trucking industry and learned the business from the ground up. Hoover’s family owned three Atlas agencies. As a kid, he worked in the warehouse and on the trucks during the summer months. This continued throughout college, then he started working in the family business full-time.
In the late 1980s, Hoover began a 20-year stint at both the agent and van line level in the Atlas World Group system. He started in Operations, then moved into Sales before working his way into management. “One of the things that makes me unique is I’m one of the few guys who has been exposed to every facet of the moving industry – as an agent, on the van line side, in Ops, and on the street,” Hoover said.
Experience like this is why Russell approached Hoover, who became the majority shareholder in a buyout group and moved into a new role as chairman and CEO at A. Arnold. “What I loved about this place and why I bought it is the culture,” Hoover stated. “A. Arnold has been around for 109 years, and the company constant has always been their high ethics and good quality.”
With a stable infrastructure in place, one of Hoover’s first moves was to expand on those inherent principles.
Not long after Hoover took over the reins at A. Arnold, he implemented a new company mission statement: Be Good. Have Fun. He explained that it means to be good at your job but also to be good to your co-workers, customers, family, and community. That clarifies the “good” part of the equation, but once you learn more about Hoover, you understand the “fun” part as well.
Hoover has always been a “work, hard/play hard” guy. He is a licensed pilot, and at one time held a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing license. Hoover is definitely a “gearhead” and even fueled Indy cars for two years as part of Robby McGehee’s Energizer-sponsored pit crew.
Hoover’s motto is having an immediate impact, which is important for the primary goal he has identified in his new role – aggressive growth. Hoover plans to double the size of company in the next five years, and he is taking a multi-tiered approach. Internally, he is focused on process mapping, a step in workflow management that seeks to create transparent processes that can be easily assessed and adjusted to increase efficiencies of current systems and technology.
For process mapping to work, it is extremely important to communicate both ways, so Hoover is focused on being a good listener and a good talker to give the whole story. “From top to bottom, everyone needs to know what’s going on, so we quantify and map things out before we can replicate it,” Hoover added. “Constant, complete communication is important for a staff of more than 100 full-time employees, and I believe taking care of people comes from these efficiencies.”
Externally, Hoover wants to build on his predecessor’s success in changing the misconception that A. Arnold is just a local mover in the Louisville area. A. Arnold now has additional residential moving operations in Indianapolis and Kansas City, Kan. and commercial clients all over the country for their corporation relocation business. “With our growing account base, we want to leverage our sales footprint with high-touch, high-care service,” Hoover added.
The moving industry is notorious for generating 50% of their revenue from June 1- August 15, so Hoover wanted to flatten out the revenue cycle to drive additional growth. Pursuing opportunities for revenue in the off-peak season has resulted in a new Strategic Transit Resource (STR) unit, which provides moving and transportation services for high-value and specialized goods used in conventions and trade shows nationwide.
A. Arnold is now transporting items such as medical equipment and audio/video equipment that likely would not fill a freight trailer but needs to be handled with care for events that take place in fall and winter. Since these are the months when household goods freight is slower, Hoover says STR is a perfect fit. “With the freight switchover, it offers our guys year-round work and is a lot less labor intensive.”
The STR unit has already generated about $2 million in revenue, and while that is still a small portion of the company’s business, Hoover hopes it will represent 20 percent of the company’s revenue by 2015. However, Hoover will face many challenges along the way.
One of the major problems affecting the industry is attracting and retaining qualified drivers. Hoover thinks our industry needs to be concerned about the driver shortage at a high level and is proud the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) now offers a training program for people interested in becoming moving van operators.
A. Arnold has hired a few workers who graduated from that program in the past year, and Hoover also credits the AMSA for addressing the problem of “rogue movers” who load up a customer’s goods then find a way to hold them hostage for more money. The AMSA recently developed a ProMover accreditation program, which offers a way for legitimate companies like A. Arnold to stand out from the reprobates.
Of course, the moving industry is no different than anyone else when it comes to feeling the sting of additional trucking regulations. Hoover says the regulators are making it tough on trucking, at least in the short-term. “We are just starting to see the impact of CARB, for example,” Hoover said. “I think increased regulations equal decreased revenue opportunities, and in the big picture we need to be conscious of compensation for our guys.”
From a dollars-to-miles standpoint, Hoover says A. Arnold is the best place to be – and their dollars/miles ratio supports his claim. “Our average guy made $260,000 last year but only had to run 58,000 miles to get there,” Hoover added.
Hoover relates well to the drivers and wants them to know he has an open door policy. A. Arnold is a small enough company where the chairman and CEO can still maintain a personal relationship with their drivers, and Hoover starts this process in orientation. The day and a half training ends with a meeting with Hoover, and that communication and conversation is continued via monthly conference calls between the owner operators and the A. Arnold Operations team. “It’s important to me. I am hauler friendly and like to get their side of situations,” Hoover said.
A. Arnold currently has 37 owner operators but has the freight base to grow that number immediately. If you are looking to “Be Good and Have Fun” in your career, Greg Hoover and A. Arnold have long- and short-haul opportunities available.
Interested owner operators can contact Steve Yacko at (502) 810-0672 or email a resume to OwnerOperatorJobs@a-arnold.com. A. Arnold is also hiring Class A & B CDL drivers for local work at all of their locations.