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Career Tracks: Former Mack president joins startup TrovaCV

Smith Transportation hires CEO, Gulf Winds names president and COO, JAXPORT announces chair reelected and WSC hires communications director

Denny Slagle, who retired as executive vice president of Volvo Group and president of Mack Trucks in 2018, has joined electric vehicle startup Trova Commercial Vehicles as senior adviser.

TrovaCV was launched this summer to provide commercial vehicle manufacturers with customized engineering, design and manufacturing expertise while at the same time developing its own electric vehicle from the ground up.

Denny Slagle joins TrovaCV as senior adviser.

TrovaCV founder and CEO Patrick Collignon, the former COO of Volvo Trucks North and South America, said Slagle’s “vast commercial and construction vehicle market experience in sales and marketing, business finance, and brand management will strengthen our position as a major player in the world of electric commercial vehicle manufacturing.”  

“With the involvement of two experienced truck OEM executives, TrovaCV can offer customers more real-world expertise than any other EV startup in the market,” Collignon said. “Denny’s areas of commercial expertise will complement my focus on product development, engineering and industrialization.”

Slagle will join Trova’s newly formed advisory board, which will be tasked with counseling management “in its quest to secure a strong market position among newcomers,” the announcement said. 

Slagle began his career as a certified public accountant. He spent 20 years as controller, chief financial officer and later president of JCB North America, a construction equipment manufacturer. He joined Volvo AB in 2000 as senior vice president of sales, marketing and distribution development for Volvo Construction Equipment North America. He became president of Mack Trucks in 2008. 

In a 2011 episode of the television show “Undercover Boss,” Slagle posed as a factory worker to get a better understanding of Mack Trucks’ employee environment.

Smith Transportation Services

Smith Transportation Services LLC, a Tampa, Florida-headquartered full-service third-party logistics and asset-light transportation services provider and a portfolio company of Post Capital Partners, has hired Jonathan Adams as chief executive officer. 

Adams has spent his entire 25-year career in the transportation and logistics industry as an investment banker, strategic adviser, board member, operational leader and consultant. He led the transportation and logistics advisory teams at Houlihan Lokey, Sterne Agee & Leach, and Deloitte. As president and CEO, he led SeaCo Ltd. from its bankruptcy in 2009 to its sale to HNA Group of China. 

“After a thorough search, we are thrilled to find someone of Jonathan’s energy, skills and experience to lead Smith Transportation,” said Sam Woodward, a Post Capital executive partner and Smith Transportation board member and adviser. 

Adams said he was excited by Smith Transportation’s potential.

“Smith Transportation’s highly innovative freight-consolidation model creates incredible efficiencies for its customers by combining multiple pallet load shipments at its terminal facilities in New York/New Jersey, Southern California and Florida into full truckload shipments that can then be shipped across the USA at both faster and at significantly lower costs than traditional less-than-truckload shipments,” Adams said. 

Gulf Winds International

Gulf Winds International (GWI), a regional provider of intermodal container drayage services, has promoted BJ Tarver to president and COO.

Todd Stewart said it was with “great joy” that he was passing the baton to Tarver.

Gulf Winds has promoted BJ Tarver.

“The president’s role has been occupied by me since 2012 and originally by my father, Steve Stewart, who founded the company in 1996. I am currently transitioning into the chairman and CEO role and will continue to work with our board and executive team on strategy while also spending more time guiding our local and international nonprofit ministry efforts,” he said. 

Tarver joined Gulf Winds in 1999 and over the years has been responsible for customer services, operations, warehousing, trucking, and driver development and safety. 

Stewart said Tarver “is the right person to lead our expanding container drayage business throughout the U.S. His new title of president and COO will allow him to guide all daily business activities companywide in conjunction with a very talented team of executives, directors and team members.”

Headquartered in Houston, GWI also has facilities in Dallas-Fort Worth, Mobile, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee.


Jamie Shelton last week was unanimously reelected as chairman of the board of directors of the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT).

Shelton, president of bestbet Jacksonville, was appointed chair to fill a vacancy in March.

Jamie Shelton is reelected as chairman.

He will serve through Sept. 30, 2021, as will Vice Chairman Wendy Hamilton, president of Eventide Investments of Florida; Treasurer J. Palmer Clarkson, founder, president and CEO of Bridgestone HosePower; and Secretary Daniel Bean, attorney and partner at Abel Bean Law.

“From harbor deepening and terminal enhancements to new business opportunities, now is a time of incredible opportunity for JAXPORT and Northeast Florida,” Shelton said. “The board will continue to work closely with CEO Eric Green and the rest of JAXPORT’s leadership to build on this momentum and further JAXPORT’s mission of creating jobs and opportunity for our community.”

Four board members are appointed by the mayor of Jacksonville and three by the governor of Florida. 

JAXPORT is Florida’s largest container port by volume and the nation’s second-busiest vehicle-handling port.

World Shipping Council

The Washington-headquartered World Shipping Council (WSC) has hired Anna Larsson as its communications director. 

Larsson, who will be based in Europe, most recently served as head of corporate communications for Wallenius Wilhelmsen. 

“The World Shipping Council’s mission is to provide a coordinated voice for the liner shipping industry, and we have added a new senior staff position dedicated to development and implementation of communications plans and activities to help us do that,” said President and CEO John Butler. “We are very happy that Anna has decided to join the team. She has worked for over 25 years as a communications professional and that includes extensive experience with a member company, so she is familiar with the issues and the challenges facing the industry.” 

In addition to Washington, the nonprofit trade association has offices in Brussels and Singapore. Members of the WSC represent about 90% of the global liner vessel capacity.

JAXPORT records bunkering first for liquefied natural gas

JAXPORT expands funding for harbor deepening

JAXPORT reports sunny forecast

Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Transportation Services (No. ), Smith Transport (No. 95) and Gulf Winds International (No. 135).

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.