The National Private Truck Council has named John Bedford Monday its top Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) graduate for the organization's Class of 2004. Currently Monday is a transportation manager at the Toys “R” Us distribution center in McDonough, GA.

In addition, he has more than 23 years of experience, including 18 years with United Parcel Service (UPS).

When asked what talents he feels are most critical for transportation managers, Monday replied that people skills are at the top of his list. “I believe that how you manage personnel and how you relate to them, especially the truck drivers, is crucial to succeeding in transportation,” he explained.

“As a transportation manager today, the key is to get [people] to want to do their job to the level of expectation you set, without having to drive them to do it,” he said. “If you can't relate well to people, however, it's going to be tough for you to be in that position.”

Monday feels strongly that you can never stop learning, which is why he enrolled in the National Private Truck Council's CTP program. He is also working toward a degree in Business Administration at Shorter College in Marietta, GA.

“If you become complacent about learning new ideas and new ways of doing things, you'll lose your drive and your ability to improve over time,” Monday commented.

“Private fleets are not a core business for the companies that run them, which is why you have to prove your worth every day. That's why continually seeking out new ideas and new strategies is so important.”

Monday pointed out that one of the greatest benefits of his career at United Parcel Service was the continued training and exposure to new tasks and ideas.

And now his position at Toys “R” Us allows him to take all of the day-to-day transportation management skills he acquired at UPS and apply them to larger, more strategic issues.

“The challenges for me now are not only to maintain effective services for our internal and external customers every day, but also to strive to improve our overall operation over time,” he explained.

“In my position at Toys “R” Us, I can plan and test new strategies and concepts to see if they'll work in terms of making us better over the long haul.”

One of the reasons Monday decided to participate in the CTP program was to gain insight into the experience of some of his peers in the industry. He wanted to find out how they solved certain work-related challenges and determine whether those approaches could be applied to his own operation.

“Exposure to your peers is very important, because many of them have seen and experienced things you haven't,” Monday noted. “Taking the CTP course also gave my knowledge and experience credibility; it proved that I have the knowledge and know-how to be in transportation.”

Monday hopes to apply what he has learned to the development of new strategic plans for truck routing and dispatching, as well as training the people he manages.

“Hiring and keeping good quality people is critical in this industry,” he says. “I feel that to be a good fit in transportation you need an open mind, good communication skills, be a people person and relate to customers well. You've also got to have good time management skills, and be what I like to call a ‘king of multi-tasking.’”

According to Monday, all of those skills come into play in transportation because no day is ever the same. “One of the best parts about my job is that there's a different challenge every day; the job doesn't stay the same. And you have to get the job done before you go home,” he explains.

“This job gives me an opportunity to put all of the skills I've acquired over the years to good use.”