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Remote-control truck time trials, on-highway experience with a new role for Convoy freight platform co-founder

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Convoy remote control truck
The Convoy digital brokerage has a remote-control truck time trial competition going on at their booth on the second floor up escalators from the main lobby at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, through Saturday.

The Convoy digital brokerage has been attractive to many an owner-operator since its founding several years ago for a variety of reasons. The broker's freight under contract from big shippers like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble, for one, draws the carriers in, but it's the reduction of friction in negotiations and load procurement that company co-founder Grant Goodale hears about most frequently in his relatively new role with the company -- CXO, or Carrier Experience Officer. 

Carriers appreciate the "ability to take care of problems through the Convoy app and book and bid on loads through the app," he said, without the necessity of time-consuming phone calls and price haggling. Features within the application that suggest load combinations/series to "build batches of work," he added, deliver on a fundamental need for any owner-operator business, to "earn more with less empty miles."

Goodale co-founded the company with Convoy CEO Dan Lewis with a mind toward reducing friction in the carrier-shipper connection process. They've made big strides since then, with Goodale serving as Chief Technology Officer as the active carrier base has grown to the "tens of thousands" at this point, he said, with around 300,000 active power units utilizing the network to some degree.

Grant GoodaleConvoy CXO Grant GoodaleWanting to further optimize owner-ops' and larger carriers' use of the app, Goodale shifted his title around a year and a half ago to Carrier Experience Officer, or CXO, to really double down on improving that experience. And he went a few extra miles, quite literally, in that regard on his way to MATS this year. 

""I’ve ridden with our carriers before," he said, but not quite in the same way he did from San Antonio to Louisville: Goodale worked with three different carriers to stitch together runs to get him to MATS over the course of the week prior. "It was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the carrier base." 

The lanes:

Grant Goodale and Thomas SingletarySan Antonio to Dallas with Thomas Singletary, owner of five-truck Tithing Transportation and the Tithing Foundation, dedicated to securing OS&D (over, short and damaged) freight to donate to charities.

Grant Goodale and Jacinda DuranDallas to Jackson, Tennessee, with Blackburn Energy contract driver Jacinda Duran.

Grant Goodale with Mike and Dawn OwensNashville to Louisville, Kentucky, for the final leg with Mike and Dawn Owens, leased to Greenmiles.

Goodale called it perhaps the most learning-rich environment for him in his role, yielding further appreciation of the intricacies of the operator experience of the Convoy app and, perhaps most importantly, the hiccups that can punctuate the most routine of hauls. He was in North Texas with Duran for the onset and aftermath along I-40 of the tornadoes of a few days ago, for instance, then took a lesson in unlocking a stuck fifth wheel from a mechanic and his pry bar at a Tennessee TA.  

It's more "learning per hour than anything I can do with my time," Goodale said of riding along on a haul, "experiencing issues firsthand and understanding the impact of the friction" of everyday issues experienced. 

How's he getting back home after MATS is done? Unfortunately, he said, it won't be in a truck. "I’m going to go visit our Atlanta office and then I'm off to a partner conference." 

Yet he's around the show for the duration with a pretty "large contingent from the company," he said. "Our primary reason to be here is to learn," he added, to listen and learn.

Find the Convoy booth, including a lounge as well as those remote-control truck time trials mentioned above, in the main-entrance lobby. Look up to the second floor when you enter. 

[Related: Introducing 'Convoy for Brokers' ...]

Truck-show royalty spotted

After two prior cancelations for 2020 and 2021, this MATS is the 50th edition -- the show had prepped for the official 50th anniversary edition ahead of the 2020 show, canceled at the very last minute as COVID's first wave spread around the country. I'll say just a couple hours into my time here it's great to have run into so many familiar faces, including this one spotted not in live form but pictured on a Shell Rotella display across the North Wing lobby doors. 

Eric Turner on MATS doorTurner Transport small fleet owner Eric Turner and his Showtime Pete 389 custom car hauler, featured on the Exposition Center doors.My colleague Matt Cole tells me he didn't see Turner's rig out on the PKY truck show competition lot during his time there all day yesterday, but Eric, if you're here, it'd be great to see you, too. 

And the same goes for all of you. Here's to a great rest of the week, wherever you are.  

[Related: Turmoil in the auto market, rates issues putting the squeeze on car haulers]

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