While being named the top graduate of the National Private Truck Council's Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) course for 2008 came as a surprise to Bob Boyich, what he gained from this educational effort certainly didn't.
Even after a 30-year career in transportation, Boyich, vp-sales and marketing for CPC Logistics, headquartered in Chesterfield, MO, felt he still had some gaps to fill, particularly when it came to understanding the complex financial and maintenance issues within fleet operations today. A former author and instructor in the NPTC's Private Fleet Institute, as well as a past and current NPTC board member, Boyich felt that in no way excused him from trying to round out his transportation knowledge.
“For a time there I thought I didn't need it because I helped develop parts of the course back in its early stages and even served as an instructor for a while,” he says.
“But then I noticed just how much pride people took in obtaining the CTP and how they were getting such a well-rounded education,” Boyich notes. “There were just a lot of things I didn't know about critical aspects of the transportation business, so I looked at taking the CTP as an opportunity to broaden my knowledge, which would also help me relate to customers better.”
Boyich also found the opportunity to interact with the course's instructors and peers to be perhaps the most valuable part of his CTP experience.
“The course's presenters offer a fantastic opportunity to ask specific questions about the business; you learn a tremendous amount that way,” he explains. “Then there's the group of students you work with: at times in a small group setting of five people with five different backgrounds in transportation. It allowed for a lot of interaction and sharing of varied perspectives that helps you form a more complete big picture concerning industry issues.”
ALMOST BY ACCIDENT
Boyich relates that he got into the transportation industry almost by accident, following the career path of his college sweetheart. “She'd started work for Western Manufacturing Service while I was graduating from the University of Southern California in the late 1970s,” he chuckles. “Her boss heard we were getting engaged, so he encouraged me to join the company rather than run the risk of her leaving.”
Back then, Western Manufacturing Service, based in southern California, was blazing a new and different trail in transportation: contract driver service. They recruited drivers that fit the specific needs of private fleet clients, vetting them and handling all the necessary paperwork. Boyich's degree in business administration, concentrating on marketing and operations, dovetailed nicely with the work — so much so that he stayed with the company, eventually becoming its owner by the mid 1980s.
“The challenge in what we do is matching the right person for the job — and the jobs we're looking to fill are all very different, from straight over-the-road work to team driving, local pickup and delivery,” he says. “Turnover is painful for any fleet, so it's our job not only to help them reduce turnover but find the right people who will stay with the company for the long haul.”
In 1992, Boyich sold the business to CPC Logistics, remaining with the company as vp-operations and staying in California. He also returned to school, attending Cal State University to get his master's in business administration, despite a heavy workload and three kids at home. “I maintained a 4.0 average and graduated at the top of my MBA class,” he says. “But I didn't just do that for me; I hoped to set an example for my kids in terms of doing well in school.”
In 2005, Boyich switched roles at CPC to take on his current position as vp-sales and marketing.
If there's any advice Boyich would impart to the next CTP class, it would be this: balance your study equally between the multiple choice and case study portions of the test, and do as much prep work as you can.
“I wrote sample case studies out by hand before the exam — they all must be handwritten so it's best to practice that way — then had current CTP graduates critique [the case studies], getting invaluable feedback from them,” he says.
What caught him slightly off guard was the toughness of the multiple-choice section. “That was a big concern; it proved very tough. A good one-third of the 120 questions made you stop and pull on your beard a bit,” Boyich says. “Depending on your transportation philosophy, you could answer them one of several ways. The key is to always remember to choose the best answer. That's what carries the day.”