This is an important time in our country in terms of justice, and equality. Whether it’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other areas in which we differ, it’s obvious we haven’t made enough progress. This is a time to remember that diversity is our greatest strength, not something that should divide us. It’s something we should celebrate, not shy away from. And it’s time to take action.

How are we doing it? One way is by creating a Diversity & Inclusion Council to help guide our strategy and human resources teams in making change.

After an extensive application process, 15 of our team members were selected to participate on this council. Each of them is excited to bring their own perspective and make an impact on both the company and within the trucking industry. They are:

 

Brandon Bibbs, Vice President of Regional Sales: 

As an African American man under 30 with a 7-year-old “princess,” Brandon is able to bring multiple voices to the table – that of millennials, fathers, and members of the Black community. Having served on other diversity committees in the past, his expertise will be a huge asset, particularly as the council gets up and running.

Wise Words from Brandon:

“Change happens through understanding, not just promoting your own agenda.”

Fun Brandon Fact:

Ever heard of the award-winning documentary “Hoop Dreams?” It’s about Brandon’s family.

 

Tamara Douglas, Customer Experience Growth Representative: 

Tamara’s enthusiasm and optimism are sure to be great assets to the team. She knows forming this council is only the start but is looking forward to seeing the changes it can make within the company – particularly when it comes to women and people of color in management positions.

Wise Words from Tamara:

“There are already opportunities to grow in this industry, but it’s time to see more women and people of color in upper management positions.”

Fun Tamara Fact:

In 2007, Tamara was voted Homecoming Queen – the first Black Homecoming Queen in her high school’s long history.

 

Kristin Fabio, Customer Service Regional Manager: 

Kristin lives in Jackson, MS and is the one council member who is part of Total Transportation, a U.S. Xpress subsidiary. Not just as a woman, but as a new mom, she has a strong perspective to bring to the council. She puts it best saying, “Being a female and being a mother isn’t a handicap. My daughter is my motivation. I’m working full time, and I’m a full-time mom. Don’t tell me I can’t do it.”

Wise Words from Kristin:

“I want to show my daughter that, no matter who you are or where you come from, you can have anything you want as long as you earn it and truly give your all.”

Fun Kristin Fact:

A self-proclaimed music junkie, Kristin used to travel around the country to see live music.

 

Eric Fuller, President & CEO: 

Eric’s presence on the council doesn’t just show executive support, it reflects his passion for improving diversity and inclusion within the company. He’s ready to act on the front end, attracting a more diverse pool of applicants that reflects the diversity of today’s driver base, which is made up of over 40% minorities.

Words from Eric:

“We can do more. It’s time to set a path and expectations for diversity and inclusion. It’s time to take action.”

Fun Eric Fact:

Like a true Chattanoogan, Eric loves the water. On the weekends you can find him boating or paddle boarding on the river with his wife and three kids.

 

Marvel Lawson, Systems Engineer: 

Marvel grew up traveling, experiencing cultures around the world that have given him a unique perspective on people and the importance of inclusion. As part of the council, he hopes to help create tools and activities that will allow us all better understand and connect with each other.

Wise Words from Marvel:

“I think the perception of the trucking industry is that it’s white male dominated. That needs to change. It’s time to bring equality to the workplace, particularly when it comes to the treatment of women, especially women of color.”

Fun Marvel Fact:

An artist at heart, it’s pretty common to find Marvel doodling while he’s waiting on loading screens.

 

Kelsey Lewis, Human Resources Business Partner: 

As part of a multicultural family, Kelsey has always been interested in understanding differences between people. It’s important to her that U.S. Xpress does the same, highlighting each person’s uniqueness and pushing the status quo to help unite us all, no matter where we come from or who we are.

Wise Words from Kelsey:

“Now more than ever, it’s important that we unite no matter our backgrounds, races, genders, sexualities, etc.”

Fun Kelsey Fact:

Raised in Michigan, Kelsey loves to downhill ski. Living in Chattanooga makes that a rarity, but she’s still got it.

 

Will Linder, Finance Coordinator: 

Will applied to be part of the council not only because he wants to celebrate diversity, but also because he has a strong personal understanding of what it’s like to be part of marginalized communities – he has a hearing disability with a 70% hearing loss in both ears and is both biracial (half Brazilian and half white) and gay. Using his personal experiences, he’s looking forward to providing recommendations on how to advance cultural development, setting clear plans and goals to strengthen diversity and inclusion within the company.

Wise Words from Will:

“It’s important to be open minded, to listen and value other people’s opinions and feedback, to accept other people for who they are, and to help make people smile.”

Fun Will Fact:

Several years ago, Will worked for Walt Disney World as a dancer for Festival of the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom!

 

Danielle Lloyd, Driver Development Manager: 

Danielle applied to be part of the council to help represent the rest of her team – a group of 10 enthusiastic individuals from different backgrounds who are all passionate about making a change. She wants not only her own voice to be heard, and not even just that of her team’s, but everyone’s voice, to help spread awareness and cultural consciousness.

Wise Words from Danielle:

“You can’t pre-judge people because of how they look. It is important to grow the culture and acceptance of everyone. It may take time, but things can be accomplished when everyone is heard.”

Fun Danielle Fact:

Like many of us, she loves the water – pool, ocean, lake, all of it. But Danielle can’t swim! Pretty brave of her if you ask us.

 

Lunzo Martin, Carrier Sales Representative: 

Even before the council was formed, Lunzo was passionate about bringing cultural celebrations into the workplace. His optimistic outlook, team mentality, and willingness to listen and change are undoubtedly going to be huge assets to the council and the cultural change happening at U.S. Xpress.

Wise Words from Lunzo:

“I like the culture swing happening now, in the company and the country. But there’s still a lot of work to do. We need to listen and be a voice for people who have questions or feel a certain way.”

Fun Lunzo Fact:

Lunzo has a wife and kids and loves to cook – so much so, he made over 700 wings for the Super Bowl last year. 700. You read that correctly.

 

Kari Patterson, Xpress Solutions Specialist: 

Growing up gay in a rural town where the LGBTQ community was extremely limited, Kari had a hard time fitting in, regularly feeling discriminated against. Now she wants to be part of the change occurring across the country and within U.S. Xpress so no one will ever have to feel the way she did. By creating an open dialogue between people who might not have considered interacting previously and normalizing all cultures, she hopes people will start seeing differences as positives.

Wise Words from Kari:

“You are never too old to learn new things about other people. People should be proud of themselves, and you should never have to fear being different.”

Fun Kari Fact:

Kari’s working on her most recent tattoo – the Golden Girls styled as Kewpie dolls.

 

Lynn Quintero, Driver Services Director: 

Having moved from a diverse, inner city neighborhood in Chicago, Lynn is ready to bring a unique perspective to the council and take hold of what she sees as an opportunity to make U.S. Xpress a better company. She’s ready to have the tough conversations saying, “There’s nothing off the table that can’t be discussed.”

Wise Words from Lynn:

“We need to focus on all of us being considered human beings, no matter your background, education level, geographic level, or color of your skin.”

Fun Lynn Fact:

She loves hiking and will trek up any mountain, but she’ll never get near the edge of a cliff. She’s afraid of heights!

 

Paul Randolph, Account Supervisor: 

As an openly gay man and an Account Supervisor who works with a diverse group of drivers every day, Paul knows the importance of everyone feeling included and valued, both in the community and the workplace.  He’s an enthusiastic team member who truly loves U.S. Xpress and wants to see both the company and industry continue to transform and make progress in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Wise Words from Paul:

“People should have the ability to move up based on the work that they do – not their background, race, gender, etc. People that feel valued work harder, stay with a company longer, and promote working at that company to people they know. It’s a win for everyone.”

Fun Paul Fact:

Paul loves real sugar Pepsi and has been known to drive long distances to find it.

 

Jason Sabisky, Shop Supervisor: 

After 20+ years in the Army, Jason knows all about hard work and leadership. While he was serving, he had training in Sexual Assault Prevention, Equal Opportunity, and Suicide Prevention – all areas of expertise that will greatly benefit the council. He already works alongside a diverse group in the Markham shop and hopes to see that kind of comradery and inclusion in all facets of the company. The way he sees it, diversity and inclusion should cover all bases, not just those that are perceived to matter.

Wise Words from Jason:

“When it comes to making decisions around diversity and inclusion, it’s important to stay fair, firm, and impartial. Don’t assume anything. We can only succeed by focusing on facts.”

Fun Jason Fact:

Jason’s an outdoorsman and athlete. But his true passion? Cars – hence the whole Shop Supervisor thing.

 

Aven Sane, Account Supervisor: 

In terms of diversity and inclusion, Aven believes the first step is bridging a gap between those with differences, helping them create personal connections that build a foundation of understanding and empathy. Particularly as a transgender man, he knows how difficult it can be for people in the trucking industry who don’t fit a particular mold and is looking forward to helping everyone be understood and accepted by their peers.

Wise Words from Aven:

“It’s important for people who may be different to know that they are not alone.”

Fun Aven Fact:

When Aven’s not hard at work, he’s either spending time with his family, or dabbling in one of his many hobbies – gardening, woodworking, and even fiction writing.

 

Ariel Shaw, Change Management Director, Variant: 

Ariel is part of our Variant team, a new technology-driven, driver-facing venture consisting of a fleet of OTR solo drivers. She’s always been passionate about working towards the common good – part of what this council is all about. As a council member, she is ready to have some of the tough conversations, remaining open and honest to allow for change.

Wise Words from Ariel:

“It’s nice to do something for the greater good. Having transparent, open, and honest conversations is going to be the first step.”

Fun Ariel Fact:

Even though COVID-19 has limited her range, Ariel loves to travel and explore as much as possible. Going to three different high schools, she had a good start!

 

Amanda Thompson, Chief People Officer: 

Particularly as a female in the trucking industry, Amanda is excited to be part of the council. She hopes to not only help lead change, but to make sure it’s implemented – something she sees as both an opportunity and responsibility that comes with her current role. It’s important to her that she, and everyone, has a voice, not just the decision-makers at the top.

Wise Words from Amanda:

“It’s so important to consider all voices and all realms of possibility. We need to look at our decisions through a non-traditional lens, ensuring we’re being both strategic and professional.”

Fun Amanda Fact:

When she’s not too busy watching her 13-year-old baseball star play ball, you can find Amanda jumping out of a plane or, more recently, rappelling into a cave…upside down. When she says, “I’ll try anything once,” she means it.

 

The creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Council is more than a political stance or company policy. For each of the council members and for the whole company, it’s a human stance. It’s the right thing to do. It’s a way to not only celebrate our differences, but also continue taking steps towards complete acceptance, understanding, and equality within the company, within the industry, and within every single one of us.

This is our action. And we look forward to seeing how this group of inspiring, enthusiastic individuals work together to help guide us in making a change that’s long overdue.