Insightful leadership.

Author:Duckwall, Jane
Position:NC100: CULTURAL LEADER OF THE YEAR
 
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Paul Thompson

Chairman

TRANSPORTATION INSIGHT Hickory Helps clients improve transportation efficiency

EMPLOYEES: 417

COMPANY FOUNDED: 1999

NOTABLE: HEADQUARTERS IS LOCATED IN A REHABBED HICKORY HOSIERY MILL

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In the Catawba County city that has suffered some tough economic blows in the last decade, Paul Thompson has emerged as a strong advocate for Hickory and a talented entrepreneur with a major logistics company. He founded Transportation Insight to help manufacturers, distributors and retailers reduce shipping costs and improve customer satisfaction.

While Transportation Insight initially served less-than-a-truckload and small parcel shippers, it now covers all transportation modes. Annual revenue is about $1.1 billion with the company making the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest-growing companies for nine consecutive years. Clients have included American Tire Distributors, Snyder's-Lance and Valdese Weavers, according to a 2014 report by market researcher Armstrong & Associates. The company's growth plan forecasts revenue could top $3.5 billion by 2020, including potential acquisitions.

Thompson, 53, credits the company's employees for its success. Instead of building a new corporate headquarters on a suburban tract owned by the company, he opted to help revitalize Hickory's center city by turning the historic Lyerly Mill into a new campus. The 1930s hosiery mill was restored to include 70,000 square feet of office space and amenities supporting healthy lifestyle choices. The campus has a cafeteria and an athletic field, and plans are underway for a gymnasium, basketball court and workout facilities.

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