Don Schneider, former president, chairman and CEO of Schneider National Inc. and one of the nation’s most influential trucking executives, died Friday in De Pere, Wis., after a long illness. He was 76.
Schneider — who was born Oct. 19, 1935 — eventually transformed the company into one of the largest truckload freight carriers in the United States, one known for its ubiquitous orange tractors and trailers and its willingness to invest huge sums in information technology.
His father, A.J. “Al” Schneider, in 1935 used proceeds from the sale of the family car to buy his first truck. A few years later, he bought Bins Transfer & Storage, incorporated the business and changed the name to Schneider Transport & Storage.
Chris Lofgren succeeded Don as CEO in 2002, while Schneider continued as chairman of the privately held firm until 2007, when he retired.
“Don Schneider was one of the finest individuals I have ever known,” said Lofgren after Schneider’s death. “He was true to his convictions and committed to his values.”
“The transportation and logistics industry has lost one of its most passionate and influential voices,” said American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves.
“Don Schneider was a visionary, bringing business acumen and technology to blaze a trail and set the standard in the modern day development of our industry,” Graves said.
The Green Bay, Wis.-based company — ranked No. 6 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers — had 2010 revenue of $3.1 billion, with a fleet of more than 11,600 company- and owner-operator tractors, as well as 32,600 trailers and 12,600 intermodal containers.
Editor’s Note: Full coverage of Don Schneider’s life and accomplishments will be in the Jan. 23 print edition of Transport Topics.