By Linda Wisch Davidsohn
Kudos to Todd Aaron, vice chairman of Stevens Transport, who was recently named a finalist in Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Todd, son of Carol and Steve Aaron, is a solution-oriented visionary and tenacious sales executive who is revered by his customers and feared by his competition for his strategic leadership, business acumen and market proficiency.
As one of the longest tenured employees at his father’s company, Todd has played an instrumental role in facilitating the organization’s growth to an industry-leading refrigerated carrier; however, his path to success has required patience, innovation and perseverance.
Within his first few years of employment, Todd solidified Stevens Transport’s international footprint by installing key satellite offices in Laredo, Texas; Celaya, Mexico; and Bridgnorth, Canada. When the Celaya office was established in 1990, Stevens Transport became the first U.S. refrigerated carrier to haul freight into Mexico.
That same year, Todd recruited a general manager to operate a logistics dispatch office in Bridgnorth of Ontario, Canada to allow his customers to infiltrate decisive international markets north of the American border.
By his 10-year corporate anniversary, Todd created a groundbreaking transportation division to increase freight volume and reach new markets with the use of fewer resources.
In 1994, Todd partnered with nearly all major U.S. railroad companies including BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and CSX to form the Intermodal Rail Division. Utilizing the U.S. rail infrastructure to transport cargo has played a critical role in helping Todd grow business alliances with his customers, and reach extraordinary levels of capacity for Stevens.
Todd’s initiatives continue to push the envelope to acquire market control and his Intermodal Rail Division presently accounts for nearly a quarter of Stevens Transport’s annual revenue.
Steve Aaron founded Stevens Transport in 1980 with a small fleet of 10 commercial trucks in Dallas and more than 20 years of work experience in the perishable foods industry. As luck would have it, the U.S. Government enacted the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 to deregulate the transportation industry and spurn competition.
As Todd graduated from the University of Texas in 1984, Steve moved his emerging empire to a larger campus and hired Todd as a sales trainee.
After his first year of employment, Todd received Stevens Transport Rookie of the Year honors for his remarkable efforts to acquire a record number of new customers and has since guided the Stevens sales force as executive vice chairman and director of sales and procurement.
Since its inception, Stevens Transport has remained a privately owned and operated family business. In addition to Todd’s invaluable ingenuity, his father and two siblings have all played monumental roles in Stevens Transport’s success.
Clay, Todd’s only brother, has worked at the company in a number of operations and logistics management roles for more than 22 years and currently serves as president.
Angela, Todd’s sister, has directed the recruiting efforts at Stevens Transport for more than 23 years, enlisting more than 2,000 new drivers in the Stevens Training Academy annually, and she currently serves as vice president of driver resources and administration.
In 2012, Todd’s children joined Stevens Transport upon college graduation. Morgan, Todd’s oldest child, works as a key member of the human resources recruiting division, and Todd’s only son Bennett, currently serves as a special projects associate with the goal of driving efficiencies and promoting continuous improvement initiatives across all departments.
During the recession, Stevens’ customers were forced to reevaluate all business expenses, including transportation costs, to maximize profitability. Todd credits his father for his keen focus on cost containment as protection against fluctuating markets. By keeping a close eye on the bottom line, Stevens Transport has afforded itself extreme financial flexibility to withstand imminent economic downturns. Although the recession affected all sectors of the U.S. economy, demand for Stevens Transport’s services remained constant because the global need for perishable foods and pharmaceuticals never subsided.
The Aaron Family is proud to affirm that Stevens Transport has never had a layoff in the history of their company, but most importantly, Stevens has provided tens of thousands of individuals with on-the-job training, a compassionate and responsive support staff and rewarding careers in a variety of logistics positions.
Todd contributes on a global level in support of his ancestry and heritage. His broad list of beneficiaries include the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Jewish Family Service and numerous other causes and organizations.
In 2008, Todd and his wife, Dawn, established the Todd and Dawn Aaron Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Jewish Studies to afford underprivileged students the opportunity to receive a higher education from the University of Texas at Austin.
Furthermore, Todd supports organizations such as Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Hillel and Chabad to offer young adults resources and support to live wholesome and richer faith-based adult lives.
In 2013, the Zeta Beta Tau national governing body awarded Todd with one of the fraternity’s most prestigious brotherhood accolades, the Edwin N. Sommer Award. This award is a rare distinction that is presented to an exceptional alumnus who exhibits “selfless dedication to the ideals of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.”
Since assuming an adviser role for his alma mater organization in 2004, Todd has helped double the fraternity’s annual enrollment to nearly 200 undergraduate brothers, making Lambda the largest Zeta Beta Tau chapter in existence and one of the largest student organizations at the University of Texas.
Through Todd’s leadership, Zeta Beta Tau has been recognized as one of the foremost contributors to charitable causes among all national fraternity chapters.
Todd’s entrepreneurial spirit, strategic direction and social efficacy has positively influenced countless lives, but his impact on his family and community remain among his most noteworthy and meaningful achievements.
Over the past five years, Todd has led significant campaigns to recruit returning U.S. servicemen into the logistics industry and install cutting-edge computer units in every Stevens Transport truck to more efficiently manage driver productivity.
In 2012, Todd spearheaded the largest investment of new computers and technology in company history by updating and upgrading nearly all employee workstations with the latest hardware and software.
By concentrating on his staff, Todd has been able to promote a family-oriented and team-centric corporate culture. Company-sponsored events such as quarterly catered lunches, driver appreciation days, the annual Christmas party and department extracurricular social activities have served as optimum team-building opportunities. Todd recently approved a blueprint to construct a multimillion dollar wellness facility with a café, gym, locker rooms, retail store and full driver logistics experience.
Todd’s passionate spirit and unwavering commitment to push the boundaries of the transportation and logistics industry has provided his company, family and community with invaluable resources to achieve previously unimaginable heights.
Congratulations, Todd! It is true that the “Just as the twig is bent, the tree is inclined.”
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