2017 Dynamic Dozen Top Local Executive: Mark Walker
Mark Walker is a second-generation leader who brings a wealth of energy and experience back to the transportation company his parents founded in 1982.
Prior to taking the helm in 2013 at TransLand, Walker’s career included five years of international leadership as managing director of global community affairs at Applied Materials in Santa Clara, California, and six years as CEO of United Way Silicon Valley in San Jose, California.
“My role in growing our company is to be a coach, facilitator and role model,” Walker says. “My high-level executive experience in several other industries means I don’t have to be the subject matter expert on trucking. I can be the expert on a positive culture and vibrant business processes.”
Walker uses what he calls “management by walking around” as a means to personally connect with all employees, allowing each to express concerns or to brag about a recent success they’ve enjoyed with their monthly objectives.
“I get a much better read on our company’s progress when I am visible throughout the company,” he says. Often this includes getting in the cab of a truck and riding with the company’s professional drivers.
“I like to say there is no better view of our company and our customers than from the passenger seat of a blue TransLand truck,” he says.
In Walker’s four years as chairman and CEO, the 35-year-old company navigated some difficult circumstances and managed significant growth in the process. In the midst of an economic downturn and a slow freight market, Walker learned TransLand’s largest customer was planning to relocate its distribution center from Springfield to St. Peters. Walker worked through the issue with the close-knit management team he created, ultimately deciding to create a new satellite terminal in the St. Charles area to be closer to the customer.
“We transitioned in 2016 to a trucking company that focused on being a customer solutions provider and going where our customers needed us to go,” he says.
Walker strives to meet and exceed the next level of operating efficiency and profitability, citing the company’s recent membership in a benchmarking group of 13 peer companies facilitated through the Truckload Carriers Association.
In addition to Walker’s intense focus on developing his team, executing on key performance indicators and continuing to evolve with an ever-changing industry, a passion for community service continues to be an important part of his career.
“TransLand’s largest and best known community involvement activity is our employees’ idea of creating a Miles for Hope pink truck,” he said. “In four years, we have donated over $30,000 to cancer awareness organizations like the American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.”
Walker’s current board service includes multiple roles with Drury University. In addition to sitting on Drury’s board of trustees executive committee, he’s chairman of the academic affairs committee and the newly created Breech school task force.