Darrel Harris is the president of Yellow Trucking based in Overland Park, Kansas. He became the first Black president of a national trucking company when he started leading Yellow Trucking in April. The company is the fifth-largest transportation company in the U.S. and the second-largest “less than truckload” (LTL) company in the U.S.
Yellow has some 30,000 employees and operates in all 50 states as well as Canada and Mexico. It also has some 200,000 customers including Walmart and Target and small businesses.
Harris has been in the trucking industry for over 25 years. Before joining Yellow, he worked at Xpress Global Systems in Chattanooga, Tenn as the CEO and also worked in sales and operations in the LTL sector, including FedEx Freight.
He started his trucking career as a dock worker after his mother’s boyfriend told him about the job. He applied for the job and was offered $10.50 an hour as a part-time dock worker.
“It was real money when you came from my hometown,” Harris told Transport Topics about his decision to join American Freightways, which was later acquired by FedEx.
Harris spent 17 years there, taking every opportunity that came his way. He worked his way through the trucking and shipping industry and eventually became the first-ever Black president of Yellow Trucking this year. Prior to being appointed President of Yellow, he was the firm’s executive vice president of strategic initiatives and rose to his current position within six months of joining the company.
Harris did not attend college, and he attributes everything he has learned in the industry through mentors in the business. At the first company he worked with, he enrolled in a continuing education and training program offered by the company, and that has also helped, he said.
In his new role at Yellow, Harris has been charged with not only instituting a companywide transformation to modernize the way freight is delivered, but also to expand and enhance the services available to Yellow’s 200,000 customers, according to ttnews.
“Darrel is well-positioned to help drive Yellow toward a vibrant future. He brings innovative, exciting ideas and leadership to his new role,” CEO Darren Hawkins said. “He started his trucking career working the docks, and few are better positioned to understand this industry than those who have worked at all levels. I’m proud to see him in this expanded role.”
Yellow was established in 1906 and amid a financial and business turnaround, the business is reinventing itself. The company in February this year announced plans to hire some 1,500 new drivers and train them at several of its locations.
The company also provides freight services for the U.S. military. Following an agreement with the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. government has a nearly 30% stake in the company.