Being the director of transportation for the fastest growing machine rental company in the U.S. involves managing a fleet of vehicles including heavy haul trucks and trailers, water trucks, dump trucks, service trucks for technicians, telematics service vans and branch pickup trucks. Pretty much any vehicle EquipmentShare owns, rents or uses has to be on Kyle Jones’ radar.
“I like coming up with a plan, delivering a plan and being part of executing that plan. This role allows me to do that,” Kyle said. Having worked in the fleet industry for nearly 30 years, Kyle joined the EquipmentShare team in 2022. “I like being part of the process and identifying challenges. This is more exciting to me than consulting and working from the outside. I like the nuances of how we execute a plan, and I like to be right in the thick of it.”
Kyle has worked with and around vehicles his entire life. Growing up, he helped his dad in the shop, tinkering on engines. When he began his career 30 years ago as a diesel mechanic, it was after determining engineering wasn’t his calling. He started on the shop floor and worked his way to management at a Freightliner dealership before joining a local utility company. Kyle was in charge of managing fleet maintenance for the utility company, and even got to supervise his dad, a master mechanic, for a few months before his retirement.
“As life evolves, you find things you are good at and you enjoy. Dad worked at a shop, I grew up in the shop, so diesel mechanic was a logical step,” Kyle said. “After getting an engineering degree, I found myself working inside a factory that’s dark and dingy — and I realized it wasn’t the life for me. I needed something else. Becoming a diesel mechanic — I went into that with a lot of history and I enjoyed it.”
In his role as Director of Transportation for EquipmentShare, Kyle is a problem-solver. Using his experience in regulatory roles, business relations and managing technicians, he’s able to piece together the puzzle of thousands of pieces of fleet and the people who help move and manage it. The puzzle involves the four Ps — people, parts, payments and petroleum.
“I think that problems, challenges and complaints are opportunities to reduce waste,” Kyle said. “No one wants to fill out a detailed action plan, but we are looking at opportunities to enhance processes or procedures and make the puzzle work. How does your piece fit into that role? That’s my job — putting it all together.”
EquipmentShare leans on its proprietary technology T3 – the operating system for construction – to manage its rental fleet which consists of more than 100,000 assets. T3 helps with fleet management on a small and large scale, and Kyle is learning how this technology is empowering him in his job.
“From a fleet management point of view, telematics is a key asset to effectively managing our fleet,” Kyle said. “The value we get from T3 is great. It helps us with understanding vehicle health, how vehicles are performing, what work they are doing and the location of the vehicles.T3 allows us to be three steps ahead, if not more.”
One part of the puzzle moving into 2023 is adding more electric vehicles to the EquipmentShare fleet, which comes with its own challenges. EquipmentShare is consistently working toward becoming a more sustainable company.
“We want to get even more fuel efficient technology in our fleet. As manufacturers are continuing to do more research, we are looking at those things as much as possible. We are aggressive as a company, and we are looking at buying those vehicles right now,” Kyle said. “We have to work on infrastructure with local utilities and municipalities and determine how we are going to charge these vehicles. We need fast-charging stations at branches, and in some cases, home chargers for general managers and the sales team.”
Kyle is also passionate about teaching younger generations that four-year colleges and universities aren’t the only path after high school, and companies like EquipmentShare are hiring in those roles. While he began as an engineer, he found himself in the role of a mechanic where he was able to grow into his career in fleet management.
“Counselors in my high school really pushed a narrative that you want to be the guy sitting in a white shirt at a desk rather than the blue-collar guy,” Kyle said. “They wanted us all to go to college and universities. Kids today are coming out of school with lots of debt and finding they aren’t liking an office job or that it’s boring and repetitive. Now more and more people are talking about trades and tech schools. Formal college education is great, and it’s valuable and some occupations require it — but there are a lot of paths that don’t require an expensive education that will put you in debt.”
EquipmentShare has built relationships with high schools, technical schools and community colleges to find talented apprentices and help them embark on career paths at our branches across the nation. Our apprenticeship program ensures highly-skilled and trained individuals can take on the challenge of building the future of the construction industry. In addition to regular recruiting programs at colleges and career fairs, EquipmentShare is visiting tech schools and community colleges to encourage younger generations to learn skilled trades. Find out more about the EquipmentShare Apprenticeship Program.
When he’s not managing thousands of pieces of fleet, Kyle lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and teenage daughter. In the future, he hopes to do some more farming, work on his Jeep, hang out with his family — and spend as little time in front of a cell phone or laptop as he can.
Learn more about Careers at EquipmentShare.