Young boys often like to play with trucks. Adam Wingfield never stopped. The North Carolina businessman started out as a trucker behind the wheel of a long-haul, driving coast to coast. Eventually, he became a fleet owner.
“I've loved the industry since I was a kid," says Wingfield. “I grew up in rural North Carolina, and I've been around trucks all my life. I have a passion for them. As I grew older, I realized my only impact was my fleet size, and that had limitations. I decided if I helped people scale their own businesses, I could have unlimited reach."
In 2016, Wingfield leveraged his experience to create a consulting company that provides executive mentorship to those looking to join the trucking industry. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., he coaches others on thriving in the industry he loves through his business, Innovative Logistics Group, LLC.
“The trucking industry has an 80 percent failure rate," he says. “People can be successful in this industry if they know how. I love connecting the dots for them. I show them how to master to multiply. I get such a tingly feeling seeing other people become successful."
When Wingfield started his own fleet, he was just one of a handful of Black owners. “Plenty of drivers looked like me—we were over-represented in under-valued positions," he says. “There were no business owners who looked like me, though."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 75 percent of all trucking businesses are white-owned, and they account for 66 percent of all trucking business revenue. In fact, white-owned trucking firms' receipts average double that of black-owned firms.
Wingfield wants to change that. “I want to show other Black entrepreneurs how to be successful," he says. “Leveling the playing field is so important. The trucking industry has been fragmented for so long and not diverse."
Entrepreneurs who work with Wingfield will learn how he set up his business to be successful. Trucking is one of the most essential industries in the world. The pandemic proved that fact as trucking companies distributed much needed supplies as well as the COVID-19 vaccine. It's also recession-proof, creating a lot of opportunity.
According to the American Trucking Association, the current annual revenue for the trucking industry is nearly $800 billion. An individual truck has a yearly earning potential upwards of $250,000. “Four units in your fleet can equate to you running a million-dollar business," says Wingfield.
Wingfield teaches his clients how to run a profitable and sustainable business. Since the industry is federally regulated, it's important to stay on top of operational requirements and current regulations, which can be overwhelming and daunting.
“As a recession-proof business, there is no better industry than the trucking industry," he says. “Rules can get in the way, though, and success isn't created overnight."
Wingfield launched his consulting company to offer services he could have used when he started. He calls himself a North Star, showing others the path to success that he was able to achieve.
“I'm the person I wish I had when I started 20 years ago," he says. “I had to learn by failure. I truly believe in empowering others by giving them the right tools they need to win in this industry."
Wingfield says there are riches in niches for the trucking industry. “Find out where your niche is and use it as a guiding light, he says. “Until you find your success, focus on it. Then make sure to educate yourself. Don't give up the process during the ups and downs—the highs and lows—because they will be there. Make sure you stay even-keeled. It's the only way to survive."
If he could go back in time, Wingfield would tell his younger self to not be discouraged. “The industry is intimidating," he says. “Be persistent. Be a learner. And never give up."