In Trucking, Al Heringer IV Finds His Star Route

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 14, 2018 12:00 am   3 min read

Al Heringer IV
VP of Star Transportation of Jonesboro and Chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association (Graycen Colbert Bigger)

Albert Maria Heringer IV was named chairman of the board of the Arkansas Trucking Association in 2017. Heringer, 42, was previously chairman of the organization’s 40 Under 40 Council. He is vice president of Star Transportation LLC of Jonesboro, which he joined after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Star started as a private trucking firm for his family’s oil business. Under Heringer, it has grown from six trucks to nearly 100.

Heringer may be familiar to Arkansas sports fans for his injury-plagued career as a tight end for the Razorbacks, for whom he lettered in 1995 and 1997-98. Heringer caught 20 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in his career. He also led Jonesboro High School to an upset of Little Rock Parkview for the 1994 state basketball championship.

With the financial pressures of issues such as driver pay and the electronic logging device mandate, how hard is the industry for smaller transportation companies?
With a smaller company such as Star being a hazmat tanker operation, our pool of drivers is constricted even more with the current driver shortage. It’s hard for a smaller company to compete on the benefits side to attract quality drivers versus a larger transportation company. You have to keep the driver pay going up to make this job attractive, which makes your overhead a constant worry; you really have to stay in touch with your customer on why freight prices continue to rise.


Did you ever consider working anywhere other than at the family business?
I have never really considered doing anything else because I feel Star Transportation is where I belong and what I love doing. There is a huge sense of pride, and yes, there is pressure, but I thrive on it. When I played sports I was all in. That’s what my dad always told me. It’s the only way I know how to be. The good Lord blessed me that I loved it.


What have you learned about the industry as a member of the Arkansas Trucking Association?
The bigger picture, the 30,000-foot view and the ins and outs of regulation and how important trucking really is to our economy. I was a sponge soaking it all in. I had great people to learn from, like Craig Harper [of J.B. Hunt Transport Services] and Patrick Reed [of FedEx Freight]. There was a lot about the industry I didn’t know.


What are your main goals as ATA chairman?
My main goal is to leave it better than when I started. The goals of this association remain intact and continue to be the pillar of what makes being a part of this association important to me.


What is the solution to our crumbling infrastructure?
Fuel taxes have to be raised. It is not a popular subject, but this is a mechanism that is already in place. We all use the roads to get where we want to go and we have to take care of them. This has to be addressed at both the state and federal level.


How important was athletics in your life, career and personal development?
Athletics had a huge impact on who I am today. It was what I knew I was good at. We all want to be good at something, and that was where I belonged in that time of my life. Athletics teaches you so much about life. Wins and losses happen every day in life and athletics gave me the tools to handle that. Playing both basketball and football places you on a team. For that team to be successful, you have to work together. Everyone has a job to do and if one person does not perform his assignment, then the team is not successful.

 

 

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