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holding company, TSL Companies, and five subsidiaries. TSL Logistics is the domestic third party division. It has contracts with every Class 1 railroad along with steamship lines and other carriers. International Logistics handles the company’s ocean freight and is its freight forwarder. Transportation Specialists is the trucking wing. It operates dedicated routes and contract carrier services and has specialized equipment for heavy commodities. TranSpec Leasing manages the companies’ assets and is in charge of maintenance. TSL Terminals manages the company’s storage facilities business and has container depots in Omaha, Des Moines, Denver, Dallas, Fort Worth, both Kansas Citys and Edgerton, Kansas. As important as what the company is, is

what it is not. It handles international and domestic intermodal. It does not do long-haul or irregular route coverage. “My focus was is that we’re a big fish in a

small pond, OK? And by design we try hard not to step in the ocean,” Hastings said. Back when Hastings owned a sand and

gravel operation, he once came across a salvage

yard owner in South Sioux City who noticed Hastings was frustrated and asked what was troubling him. Hearing Hastings’ short explanation of his struggles, he replied. “You know what you really have to do? … You have to keep your doors open. Because there’s going to be opportunities that come along. If your doors aren’t open, you’re not going to be in a position to take advantage of it.” It’s been an eventful 34 years since

Hastings founded the company. It began during a recession and has ridden the ups and downs of the international economy. He’s done a lot more than keep its doors open. But the bigger idea – that persistence pays off – has put the company in a position to take advantage of those opportunities the salvage yard owner was talking about. As Hastings explained, “I always preach to our team that we have to play the cards we’re dealt, so there’s no use in complaining about anything. You have to just figure out what has to be done.” For Hastings and for TSL, these are good

times. His business is thriving, and rather than it taking him away from his family, it draws

its members closer together. Wife Patty is vice president of administration and is actively involved in the business. Te three sons, Patrick, David and Chris, who were young boys when Hastings started the company now are vice presidents. Tey’ve produced four grandchildren: Jagger, Ava, Laurel and Grant. Tis year, Wayne State honored Hastings as its executive in residence, an award annually given to one individual. Hastings built a global logistics business

using lessons he learned from an eight-truck company owned by his father. While the two companies were very different and existed in very different times, the principles that guide them haven’t changed. To be successful, a trucking executive must work hard. But there’s no law saying it can’t be fun. “I’ve never worked a day in my life,” he said.

“You know, this is an old saying, but I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve done. I get away to go fishing once in a while. I do a little hunting once in a while, but I really can’t wait to get back to work.” NT


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