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BY STEVE BRAWNER Contributing Writer

Omaha and Beijing are far apart. But,

thanks in part to Tom Hastings, they’re not nearly as far apart as they used to be. Hastings, founder of Omaha-based TSL

Companies, runs a company that last year provided logistics services connecting shippers and customers in 110 countries, including China, where TSL has 14 offices. Te privately held company has more than 600 employees and owns more than 400 trucks. It’s the largest

international intermodal trucking company in the upper 14 Plains states. But it’s not really competing with anybody

or anything except its own high standards. “I’ve always told the management team that our only competition is us,” Hastings said. “If we focus on what we have to focus on, and just focus on doing what we know has to be done, we’ll be just fine.” Te company’s roots stretch to Pender,

Nebraska, where Hastings’ father, Dean, owned Hastings Trucking, a sand, gravel and agricultural commodities hauler with eight trucks. By age 14, Hastings, the second oldest of six children, was driving with a learner’s permit. It was a different time – heavily regulated with fewer opportunities for growth,

but the qualities that made a transportation company successful then still make a transportation company successful today. “I learned everything about the trucking

business from my dad. … How to maintain a truck, how to safely drive a truck, how to figure costs, pricing. I learned that all at a very early age - like 14. … My dad was the hardest working guy I’ve ever known in my life, and what I really got from him was a strong work ethic,” Hastings said. Hastings took a winding route to owning

an international logistics company. After high school, he spent two years in seminary studying to be a priest. Drawing on his childhood experiences, he then started a sand and gravel operation, which he sold for five years at a profit. After graduating from Wayne State College in 1973, he worked for National Transportation in Omaha, where he rose in the ranks to become a vice president.




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