Music City native and MoLo VP Ryan Dent to run Tennessee branch
On Wednesday morning, Chicago-based freight brokerage MoLo Solutions announced the opening of its first branch office in Nashville, Tennessee. The new office is located downtown in the Life & Casualty Tower, a 30-story skyscraper built from limestone and glass.
MoLo launched Nashville with 23 employees led by Ryan Dent, vice president of carrier sales and pricing. Prior to joining MoLo in 2019, Dent spent nine years climbing the ranks at Cavalry Logistics in Nashville and starting a family. Dent cut a deal with MoLo Chief Executive Officer Andrew Silver: If he moved his family to Chicago for a year to “give … everything he had” and build a new carrier sales and pricing strategy, Silver would send him back down to Nashville to take charge of a new office.
By year-end, MoLo plans to have 60 people working in the 7,000-square-foot Nashville space, approximately the office’s full capacity.
“Opening a new physical location in the middle of a pandemic had its own challenges, from anticipating how to be prepared when no one could tell us what would happen to how our company policies and procedures adapt,” said Katie Richards, manager of business operations. “As we built this spot out, one of the things that’s really key for us was making sure we’re setting ourselves up for flexibility.”
MoLo chose Nashville for a number of reasons, Richards said, including its strategic location in the Southeast, a high number of residents fitting MoLo’s typical employee profile and the fact that MoLo already had key team members with deep roots in the Music City.
The office is laid out with a circular open floor plan that surrounds a central conference and meeting area. Richards said the furnishings were selected and arranged to conform to CDC guidelines around social distancing — including the 6 feet of separation — but with an eye to those restrictions being lifted at some point in the future.
Anticipating rapid growth, MoLo signed a two-and-a-half-year sublease for the space. Richards said that if MoLo needs to expand the Nashville office’s physical footprint, it could either secure more space in the same building or look elsewhere.
“One thing we’ve all learned is that we don’t necessarily know what’s coming,” Richards said. “We’re setting ourselves up to pivot when the time comes, and we applied the same approach to the bigger capital decisions as well as the actual location.”
MoLo prides itself on its people-centric culture, and Richards said that meeting the team’s expectations after a difficult year working from home was part of her mandate in designing a great work experience. There’s a terrace for MoLo’s brokers to catch a quick break and speakers installed throughout the floor so that teams stay energized by listening to their favorite music (as long as it’s on a MoLo-approved playlist).
“Getting the team back together after the year they’ve been through is a central part of the mission,” Richards said.
MoLo does not require or encourage employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination, Richards explained, but said that MoLo had different procedures in place — around COVID testing and quarantining after travel, for example — that would come into effect if an employee was vaccinated or not. But MoLo’s executives have been vocal about how they’ve chosen to take care of their physical and mental health during the pandemic, choosing to lead by example rather than diktat.
“Our leadership team prizes vulnerability and we take a people-first approach to the work we do, with carriers, shippers and absolutely our employees,” Richards said. “One of the ways we live around our values around ‘family,’ one of our core values, is strengthening and supporting each other, especially in times like this.”