Daimler Trucks AG
Christian Wilz

Transportation Transitions: NMFTA, Mercedes-Benz Trucks announce new leadership

Nov. 17, 2023
NMFTA celebrates its first female leader, while Mercedes-Benz Trucks prepares for new leadership in 2024.

NMFTA appoints first woman to lead board of directors

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association named Lesley Veldstra Killingsworth as the first chairwoman of its board of directors.

Killingsworth, who has been a member of the NMFTA since 2012, serves as director of traffic and pricing for Mississauga, Ontario-based Polaris Transportation Group. She previously served in the same position with Mountain Valley Express after starting in the industry as an account executive with Worldwide Express.

In leading NMFTA’s board, Killingsworth said she wants to advance the gains from recent changes the organization has made and keep progress moving in a positive direction.

“Last year, we had a lot of change,” she said. “This year, I really want to spotlight how those changes have built a strong foundation that is not only helping the industry now but also the future.”

Debbie Ruane Sparks, executive director of NMFTA, said Killingsworth is just the leader NMFTA’s board needs in the current environment.

“Lesley knows the industry inside and out, having started with a 3PL and then moving into the LTL space,” Sparks said. “But she’s also proven her mettle as a person who gets involved and works hard to make a difference. From her service with her local community to the years she’s already served on our board, we know Lesley is a person of action and commitment. Our members will truly benefit from her leadership.”

See also: NMFTA demonstrates how hackers can disable trucks and trailers

Killingsworth cited her personal experience building relationships with other carriers as a key benefit of her long-time involvement with NMFT. The resulting partnerships have broadened her company’s outreach and expanded service points for customers. She said the continued partnership between the board and NMFTA staff will help keep those benefits flowing to members.

Reflecting on the fact she is NMFTA’s first female chair, Killingsworth acknowledged the importance of the milestone.

“I am really excited, and I know this is an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I’ve been working hard to get here, and I am ready.”

Mercedes-Benz Trucks announces new head

Christian Wilz will take over as head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Germany from Jan. 1, 2024. He succeeds Joachim Schlereth, who will retire at the end of the year. In his new role, Wilz will be responsible for the sales and service of trucks of the Mercedes-Benz and Fuso brands in Germany.

See also: Five Good Things: Mercedes trucks headed to Ukraine and help for Hawaii

Christian Wilz joined the former Daimler Group in 2002 and, after completing his dual studies in 2005, started as a salesman for commercial vehicles in the retail dealership in Frankfurt/Offenbach. Since 2008, he has worked in various management positions at Daimler Mobility AG, where he took on a wide range of tasks in the commercial vehicle field. In his current role, he has been responsible for sales and integrated customer solutions in Europe and South America at Daimler Truck Financial Services since 2021.

“With his strong focus on customers and dealers, Christian significantly contributes to our transformation towards integrated and sustainable transport solutions,” said Stina Fagerman, head of marketing, sales, and services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Fagerman expressed belief in and support for Wilz in this new role. 

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