Women Leaders in Logistics

By Rich Weissman

December 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Women leaders in logistics. Only a decade ago ago this may have been a foreign concept to many in the supply chain management universe but the glass ceiling is not only showing cracks, it is exploding. And well it should. 

Enter Armstrong and Associates, Inc., Stoughton, Wisconsin supply chain management market research and consulting firm that recently published Leaders in Logistics: Women CEOs and Owners, a report about eight women, who, according to Richard Armstrong, Chairman of Armstrong and Associates, “are creative, hard working CEOs, presidents, and owners of successful trucking and third-party logistics companies.” Abstracts of three of these logistics leaders follow. 

Andra M. Rush, Rush Trucking 

Andra M. Rush founded the Wayne, Michigan-based Rush Trucking in 1984 and today it is the largest Native American owned business in the United States with revenue of approximately $150 million. Rush’s business is primarily automotive based with service lane programs for Ford, GM, Toyota and Chrysler. Rush considers itself an industry leader in truckload and milk-run transportation for short-haul, long-haul, and just-in-time operations. 

Rush, who was working as a full time nurse, decided to begin a part time MBA program. During her studies she accepted a summer internship with Timely Air Freight. With inspiration from a benevolent mentor and an entrepreneurial streak, she founded Rush Trucking.  What began as a three truck company, and some bootstrap financing, has successfully grown to a company with more than 700 tractors, 1200 trailers, 450 employees and company drivers, and 400 owner-operators. 

Ann Drake, DSC Logistics

Since taking over the CEO reins of the Des Plaines, Illinois-based DSC Logistics in 1994, Ann Drake has adapted her company to focus on the integrated supply chain and collaborative partnerships. Her supply chain clients include Bic, Cardinal Health, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, R. J. Reynolds, and Yamaha. With revenue of about $325 million, DSC employees 2300 employees in 45 warehouses.  

A proven leader, in 2012 Drake received the Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, the first women to be selected for the award in its 47-year history. She serves as vice chairman of the Northwestern University Transportation Center’s Business Advisory Council. Drake also serves on the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council and is also a strategy leader for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s World Business Chicago Economic Growth Plan. 

Linda Childs Hothem, Pacific American Services (PACAM)

Linda Childs Hothem founded PACAM in 1987 with her late husband Ronald. With 100 employees and three Bay Area warehousing operations, this $20 million company serves the beer wine and spirits and consumer goods industries, supporting such clients as Coca-Cola, Diageo, Levi’s, and Nestle Waters. Their specialties include packaging, fulfillment, warehousing, and port logistics. 

In 2012, Hothem was named as the first female chair of the International Logistics Association. She was also chair of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (2009-2011), identified as one of the Top 100 Women Owned Business by the San Francisco Business Times (2008), and as the 2008 honoree of the Woman’s Initiative for Self-Employment.

The accomplishments of the leaders profiled in Armstrong’s report are not lost on him. “I am struck by the contrast and advantage that accrues to advanced economies where women can lead and own important companies, says Armstrong. “What a difference from countries where girls have limited access to schooling and business opportunities.” He adds that the women in his study are leaders and owners with the primary responsibility of their companies. “Their successes reflect the important and continuing social changes in the United States.”

Tags: purchasing logistics Strategic sourcing Supply chain management Procurement Diversity
Category: News Article

Rich Weissman


Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board.  A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms. 

Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.

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