In his own words: Ken Tavener of ITS Logistics
Name/title: Ken Tavener/Vice president of sales, ITS Logistics
Number of years in this job: A year, but I have been with the company for 10 years
Years in this profession: 34 — I started in the industry as a kid
Education: Reed High School — I was the first class to go there all four years
Last book read: “The Red Circle” By Brandon Webb
Favorite flick: “Lone Survivor”
What’s on your iPod: I don’t have one
Spouse, kids or pets: I have two kids: Kenny, 21, is a third-year student at UNR; Stevie, my daughter, is a graduating senior at Bishop Manogue.
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about ITS Logistics and the responsibilities of your position.
Ken Tavener: ITS Logistics is based in northern Nevada and primarily serves seven Western states as a dedicated transportation, warehouse and third-party logistics provider. The three main components of our business are warehousing and distribution, transportation and brokerage, or non-asset-based transportation management — if it doesn’t fit on our trucks, and a client needs help with a transaction, we will use our team to find a source and a solution. We were founded in 2000 and have more than 300 employees. My duties are to oversee the sales efforts of ITS Logistics, both in warehousing and transportation.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Tavener: As a young person, our family had a small parcel and air freight service in Reno. I started making deliveries and pickups as soon as I could drive. I’ve been in the industry ever since.
NNBW: Your career in the transportation industry spans more than three decades — what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?
Tavener: The technology on the IT side is huge. It has all moved away from 8.5×11 legal pads to onboard computers and satellite tracking. The onboard technology on the trucks, tractors and equipment ties to reporting, accounting and the rest of our business and has been a blessing for us by driving effeciency into our company. There are two main pieces: You can track the trailer, and an on-board computer can track the tractor and communicate with the driver. On the warehousing and distribution side. It is a complete RF environment, so it is all done with bar-code labels and scanning and bin locations.
NNBW: ITS Logistics has enjoyed some strong growth through the recession — what factors drove the company at a time when others were having lean years?
Tavener: First and foremost, we are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry. Even though the industry itself collapsed to some extent, we were able to power through it by working hard and adding new business in a large industry. But the biggest part of our success is our ownership — that is what separates us and is the biggest catalyst in our growth.
NNBW: What’s up next for ITS Logistics?
Tavener: You will see a focus in brokering and in entering the drayage business. We may look into intermodal, and probably into alternative fuel with liquid natural gas or compressed natural gas fleets for specific clients.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Tavener: I was a newspaper delivery boy.
NNBW: What’s your dream job and why aren’t you working it?
Tavener: I really love my job at ITS Logistics. I love the transportation industry. It’s something I truly enjoy. I have a lot of passion for the job I have and the team I work with.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter the logistics profession?
Tavener: Go to school and get a degree — the formal education will help, especially with the technology.
NNBW: What do you like most about your job?
Tavener: It’s fast-paced and never the same. Even though we do the same thing every day, it comes at you in waves.
NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work?
Tavener: On vacation with the family, and I like to travel. I also like to get out in the hills and hike and camp or bow hunt.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Tavener: I honestly can’t remember.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Tavener: I think I would. My kids are grown. I don’t know what I’d do, but I could figure it out.
NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Tavener: My daughter’s high school softball game — Bishop Manogue at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas last weekend.
NNBW: What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Tavener: A bow-hunting trip to Alaska.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living in the area?
Tavener: I like the community, the resources we have at Lake Tahoe, the open space for us to do the things we like. I really like rural Nevada and being able to spread out and not have to worry about whose land you are trespassing on or rules you have to follow.
To suggest a candidate for NNBW’s weekly question and answer column, look at our editorial calendar (http://apps.nnbw.com/utils/pdfs/9683736R.pdf) and contact reporter Rob Sabo at email@example.com or call 775-850-2146.
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