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Joe Vitiritto on PAM’s Expansion & the Driver Shortage

2 min read

Joe Vitiritto was named president and CEO of P.A.M. Transport in August 2020, replacing longtime CEO Dan Cushman. Vitiritto, 53, had spent 30 years in the trucking industry, including 17 years at Knight-Swift Transportation Inc. in Phoenix, serving as senior vice president of operations and pricing and network design before joining P.A.M.

Vitiritto, a native of Carlisle, Iowa, earned a bachelor’s in marketing from Iowa State University in Ames.

What are the biggest challenges facing P.A.M. and the transportation industry?

This is a cyclical business with low barriers to entry. We have seen significant inflationary cost pressures as an industry at the same time we have seen an oversupply of capacity, which has had a negative impact on the rate environment. This has created one of the toughest environments, if not the toughest, I have seen in the last 30 years.

Is a solution possible to the driver/workforce shortage?

The workforce shortage has been a problem for as long as I can remember. One thing that also doesn’t get enough press is the maintenance tech shortage in our industry. This hits us in two of our biggest workforce areas. You must attack both fronts continually and look for ways to attract and retain the right people on the driving associate and the maintenance tech front. I believe that we must continue to find ways to improve the driver lifestyle. Drivers can be faced with a variety of challenges that come with this industry, such as being away from their family on a consistent basis, delays at customers, the severe lack of parking for commercial vehicles, and the lack of respect for driving associates in our society.

What are P.A.M.’s plans to expand and create a larger portfolio or geographical footprint? (P.A.M. purchased Metropolitan Trucking of New Jersey for $77.4 million in 2022, its first acquisition in 20 years.)

We are constantly in the market looking for quality opportunities. It has been tougher in this environment to find businesses that have been able to weather the current market. They are out there, but it takes a lot of opportunities to find the one that will help PTSI grow and be a longer-term benefit to the overall company. We also are in a multiyear geographical footprint build-out. It is going to take time, but today, we do almost 100% of our revenue in the eastern half of the United States. There are going to be opportunities in the years to come to organically grow in other regions of the U.S. and possibly Canada.

You’ve been involved in transportation your entire professional career. How did you become interested in this business?

It was sort of by accident. After college I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and was looking for a career and had a contact who helped me get an interview with Werner Enterprises. Once I got in, I fell in love with the business and the opportunity to grow as a leader.

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