Nikola
Nikola Corporation recently appointed Thomas “Tom” B. Okray as chief financial officer.

Transportation Transitions: PrePass, WIT, Nikola, and Merchants Fleet name new leadership

March 8, 2024
This week, multiple transportation companies, including PrePass, WIT, Nikola, and Merchants Fleet, announced new leadership.

Chas Wurster joins PrePass as chief technology officer

PrePass, a North American commercial motor vehicle weigh station bypass and toll & violation management service, recently appointed Chas Wurster as its new chief technology officer.

“We are excited to welcome Chas to the PrePass team,” said Chris Murray, president of PrePass. “He brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of driving purposeful innovation in transportation technology that aligns with the PrePass purpose to improve highway safety and efficiency. With his leadership, we are confident we will continue to deliver meaningful value to our customers.”

Most recently, Wurster served as CTO for Platform Science, a telematics and IoT service company. He brings more than two decades of entrepreneurship and technical leadership to PrePass.

“I am excited to join the PrePass family and contribute to its legacy of innovation and excellence,” Wurster said.” Together with the talented PrePass team, I’m looking forward to delivering transformative solutions that address the evolving needs of our customers.”

Nikola names Okray new CFO  

Nikola Corporation has appointed Thomas “Tom” B. Okray as its chief financial officer.

“We are proud to welcome Tom as our CFO. Attracting someone of his caliber is a testament to the exciting journey Nikola is on,” President and CEO Stephen Girsky said. “Tom’s depth of financial expertise, cultivated over four decades, will play a crucial role as we expand our supply base and profitably scale our business. Tom will not only complete our executive team but also help to solidify our foundation for success as we continue to reshape the trucking industry and drive decarbonization forward.”

This marks Okray’s fourth tenure as CFO of a public company. Previously, he served as EVP and CFO at Eaton Corporation, SVP and CFO at Grainger, and EVP and CFO at Advance Auto Parts. He has  also held a number of executive and CFO positions at General Motors for nearly 15 years, including time in product development.

“I have traveled the globe for 40 years and worked with cutting-edge technologies across various vehicles. Scaling the zero-emissions technology at Nikola is something I want to be a part of,” Okray said. “My connection with some of Nikola’s leadership spanning decades made the decision even more natural. I believe in Nikola’s mission and what they are working to do in the trucking and energy sectors and am excited to join the company and contribute in any way possible.”

Women In Trucking names 2024-25 board members

The Women In Trucking Association recently elected its 2024-25 board of directors during its annual meeting in Dallas last month. The board’s role is to provide strategic guidance in WIT’s mission to encourage women’s employment in the industry, minimize obstacles they face, and promote their accomplishments.

Newly elected WIT officers include Chair Kary Schaefer, chief engineer of cab, entire vehicle & DT Mexico engineering, Daimler Truck North America; Vice Chair Sarah Smith, SVP of human resources, Penske Transportation Solutions;  Treasurer Jim Taber, national accounts manager, Arrow Truck Sales; and Secretary Lori Taylor, director of carrier administration, C.H. Robinson.

Ingrid Brown, an owner-operator with Rollin B, is a newly elected board member.

Directors continuing their terms on the WIT Board of Directors include Pierluigi Cumo, VP of marketing North America, Michelin; Domenica Farmer, area VP, WM; LaTres Jarrett, executive director of commercial sales, Bridgestone Canada; Lesley Kerr, VP of human resources, Ryder System; Jennifer Macalaguin, VP of engineering, Navistar; Ryan McDaniel, SVP of supply chain, Walmart; Trina Norman, SoCal division manager, UPS; Jennifer Plumlee, VP of transportation, J.B. Hunt Transport Services; Laura Roan Hays, regional sales manager, Great Dane; Michele Rodgers, engineering section manager, Peterbilt Motors Co.; and Bonnie Voldeng, VP of freight marketing, FedEx Freight Direct.

“It’s a privilege to announce and welcome the 2024-2025 WIT Board of Directors,” said Jennifer Hedrick, president and CEO of WIT. “This talented group of leaders is committed to advancing the mission of WIT and driving both WIT and the industry forward.”

See also: Women In Trucking honors Shelley Simpson as its 2023 industry influencer

Merchants Fleet hires AI expert Hicks

Merchants Fleet announced the addition of Suzannah Hicks, an artificial intelligence strategist who will lead its first company-wide AI strategy. 

“As the fleet management landscape continues to evolve, it’s imperative that we stay ahead of the curve and leverage the latest technologies to drive value for our clients,” Ben McIntyre, VP of enterprise solutions and architecture at Merchants, said. “Adding an AI expert of Suzannah’s caliber reflects our dedication to innovation and underscores our commitment to delivering unparalleled fleet solutions.”

In her new role, Hicks will work closely with cross-functional teams to develop and implement AI-driven solutions that optimize operations, enhance efficiency, and drive cost savings for the company and its clients throughout North America.

Before Merchants, Hicks served as a data strategist and scientist at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, a data scientist consultant at Martin’s Point Health Care, and lead data scientist consultant at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability.

“I am thrilled to join the Merchants Fleet team, a company that is renowned for its commitment to innovation,” said Hicks said. “This is an exciting opportunity to leverage the transformative potential of AI to push the boundaries of fleet management and redefine industry standards.”

 

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