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A Discussion With Imroj Singh About the Transportation Industry, the Benefits of Hard Work, and Why It’s Important to Treat Employees Well

Imroj Singh dropped out of UCLA, a move that would likely impede the career progress of just about anyone else, but opened up new avenues of opportunity for him working with his father in the freight and transportation industry. Together, they have overseen the growth of Golden Mile Enterprises Inc., from its early days as […]

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Imroj Singh dropped out of UCLA, a move that would likely impede the career progress of just about anyone else, but opened up new avenues of opportunity for him working with his father in the freight and transportation industry. Together, they have overseen the growth of Golden Mile Enterprises Inc., from its early days as a startup operation with only a handful of trucks to its present state as an industry juggernaut with a fleet of over 100 modern vehicles. The elder Singh founded the company in Fontana, California in 2015, when Imroj was still in school. When Imroj left UCLA some years later, he welcomed his son to the company by offering him the job of dispatcher. Imroj grew to love the job and made the decision to commit himself wholly to Golden Mile and pursue a career in the transportation sector.

Since then, Imroj Singh has come a long way in a very short time. At the age of only 23, he has risen the ranks to become the director of operations at Golden Mile. The company is expanding at an impressive rate. It offers pickups, deliveries, freight, and transport services across the lower 48 states. Beyond that, Golden Mile is currently putting the finishing touches on a brand new terminal in Indianapolis, Indiana, with plans in place to construct more new terminals in New Jersey and Georgia in the near future. Imroj has played a significant role in all of these projects. Indeed, with his father’s aid and collaboration, Imroj Singh is on track for an impressive career in the transportation industry.

What do you love most about the transportation industry?

There are a couple of things about the transportation industry that I love. First of all, it is incredibly necessary. There are some industries and businesses out there—and I won’t name any names—that aren’t what you might call crucial for human survival, but trucking and freight definitely is. Without it, the economy would grind to a halt. It’s the lifeblood of American business.

Second, I love how honest and straightforward the transportation industry is. Sure, there are lots of little details to oversee regarding schedules, employees, customers, maintenance, and inventory, but at its core, the industry is really just about moving cargo from one location to another. So, it’s a necessary sector of the economy and it’s a fundamentally simple concept. That’s why I love it. I also really like my co-workers and love the fact that I get to work with my father every day.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

After I arrive at work at around 7:30am, I spend my mornings checking in with our customers. I generally spend a few hours on the phone talking with our various account holders, making sure that everything is satisfactory with regard to our service. Sometimes, if one of them has a particular issue, I’ll just drop everything else I’m doing and dig into solving that. Otherwise, if there are no issues like a shipment running late or some such thing, I’ll pick up some business and trade papers, or maybe surf the web looking for articles about investing, management techniques, or best practices. If I find something really great, I’ll share it on my Facebook business account.

In the afternoons, I tend to focus on the employees. There’s a back room where they congregate for lunch and coffee breaks, and I’ll pop my head in there to start a conversation. Usually it’s work-related—what kind of issues the drivers face on the road, what pieces of equipment the mechanics find are most effective, what kind of systems the office workers think are work well—things of that nature. But often the conversation will lapse into their home life and they’ll tell me stories about what their kids are up to or talk about some renovations they’re undertaking on their home. It depends on the day. I like talking to them. They’re interesting people, and they’re such an important factor in making Golden Mile a success.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

In myriad different ways. For starters, it has increased in size and market share exponentially. When this company began, it had only two trucks in Fontana, California. But right now, as I answer these questions, Golden Mile has dozens of trucks out running cargo on interstate highways all over the country, and more than 100 vehicles in total. We’re building a big, beautiful new terminal in Indianapolis, Indiana, right now, and we have plans drawn up for new facilities in New Jersey and Georgia, too. From a standpoint of infrastructure, we’re expanding more than we ever have before. On the client side of things, we’ve recently moved away from dealing with middlemen and brokers and have begun engaging directly with our customers. That simple change has brought us in a lot more business. Since 2015, Golden Mile has grown in every conceivable way.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

Without question, my father. He built this business up without an MBA, without any kind of business credentials whatsoever. Do you know what he did before founding Golden Mile? He worked in a liquor store for awhile, and then he became a truck driver himself. After that, armed with only an idea and his own hard work and tenacity, he founded the company and fostered its early, steady growth. Now the company is worth more than he ever thought possible. My father achieved the American dream. He is my primary role model.

What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?

The one that leaps immediately to mind is my work ethic. I’m often the first to arrive at headquarters in the morning, and more times than not, I’m the last one to leave at night, too. Working hard is not a choice if you want to be a leader; it’s essential.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

To anyone who wants to achieve success in the transportation industry, I would say go to school, sure, but maybe don’t spend six years earning a master’s of business administration if your ultimate goal is to run a trucking operation. An MBA can be useful in some industries, but this isn’t one of them. That being said, it’s critical to never stop learning new business tactics and management techniques. I guess what I’m saying is that the fancy credential isn’t necessary to succeed in freight and transportation, but up-to-date knowledge and wisdom is. And it’s probably more valuable to know the internal workings of a big rig engine than it is to be versed in economic theory. Actually, I have a couple of videos posted on my YouTube channel that address this question in a more in-depth manner.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” It’s a cliché, I know, but I happen to believe that it’s true. Drivers are the backbone of our company, and without competent, hardworking, loyal ones, we would be in real trouble. So, we pay them accordingly. Besides, as I said earlier, before founding this company, my dad was a truck driver himself. He had a family to support. So do many of our drivers. Paying them a little bit more than the industry standard has way, way more of an upside to it than a downside. The few extra dollars per hour it costs the company to do so means we retain quality driving talent, which means our shipments arrive on time and in tact with a minimum of problems.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

As your career progresses, mistakes will inevitably be made. It’s not a question of always avoiding mistakes—that’s impossible. I would argue that kind of mindset is a psychological impediment to building a good business, as well. No, it’s a question of learning from your mistakes once they’ve been made so that you don’t repeat them. You have to stand back, take stock, and look long and hard at why a decision didn’t pan out or a plan didn’t work. Only then can you make progress.

What trends in your industry excite you?

I actually wrote about this very subject in the February 11, 2021 installment of my blog on Medium. I touched on six new industry trends that I find pretty exciting. If I had to pick just one, though, it would be how blockchain technology can be applied to the freight and transportation industry. With its power to authenticate transactions and the near-impossibility for it to be hacked or otherwise tampered with by outside forces, blockchain tech holds a lot of promise in areas like buying and selling vehicles or tracking inventory. Make no mistake, the applications for blockchain technology are not just limited to cryptocurrencies and financial products—it could be game-changer in a number of sectors of the economy, and it likely will be in the years to come.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

At the rate Golden Mile is expanding, I wouldn’t be surprised if in five years we were an international company. Maybe not with a global reach, but I can easily envision us expanding operations into Canada and Mexico. We might even be able to bring Alaska into the fold if we establish a presence in Western Canada. As for myself, I’m sure I’ll still be here. I’ve made a commitment to the business and to my father, and I’m all in. Whatever role I happen to have, be it my present one as director of operations, or some other position in the corporate hierarchy, I’ll be happy. Golden Mile is my home.

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