Meet Jeff Swan: Transportation Compliance Specialist, Former State Patrol Officer
If 34 years with the Wisconsin State Patrol was an education, 3 months with HNI has been a revelation for Jeff Swan.
Jeff, HNI's newest gamechanger, retired from the Wisconsin State Patrol in 2014. His extensive DOT experience has taught him an important lesson: drivers often don’t realize the impact that their behavior has on the company they work for. Bridging the gap between the driver and the trucking company is Jeff’s favorite Wicked Problem to solve.
Discovering compliance problems isn’t the same as fixing them
During his time with the State Patrol, Jeff focused on helping carriers navigate complex regulations. In his role at HNI, Jeff's extensive experience will help him uncover wicked problems and—most importantly—bring solutions to the table.
The Driver-Carrier divide
In his first few months at HNI, Jeff has heard a lot about the wicked problems in the transportation industry. Everything from improving driver retention, reducing costs, and (of course) compliance. But what surprised him the most?
"Most surprising is the true emphasis I see by carriers on safety. I was rarely exposed to the top tier companies and the importance I see placed on improving practices and embracing technology. This was something that I never considered in my previous role."
And while both drivers and carriers are tasked with achieving the same goals, a disconnect often exists.
The driver-carrier divide is present in nearly every transportation company. In Jeff’s experience, conventional carriers do a fine job of keeping records and doing paperwork, but they fail to get driver buy-in. So what's missing? They fail to get drivers to realize how much they can impact a carrier, either positively or negatively.
Compliance for non-trucking companies
Non-trucking companies that use commercial vehicles to do work other than hauling freight are subject to the same regulations as more sophisticated trucking companies. However, their compliance challenges are different. Their drivers are often skilled workers who happen to use a commercial vehicle to accomplish another task that they are trained to do. Yet they are regulated the same as big carriers.
Because these non-trucking companies might find themselves way behind in their compliance efforts, a different approach is needed to effectively Change the Game for these companies. The challenge is to effectively reach those entities before they are involved in a serious crash or complicated roadside inspection. Pleading ignorance is not an option, even though the regulations are complicated and at times very confusing.
In his advisory position at HNI, Jeff is helping clients address their compliance issues in a holistic manner.
So why did Jeff decide to Change the Game?
Jeff joined HNI because he was impressed with our professionalism and expertise in transportation. According to Jeff, “I would never work for a company that is not committed to improving safety while helping carriers grow and thrive legally. HNI fits that description for me.”
Hometown: Calexico, CA. My father was a Border Patrol agent and he was stationed there, but most of my life has been spent in Wisconsin.
Career Advice: Persevere. Don’t make a job change just because you run into a few problems. Remember that no employer or employee is perfect.
Personal Hero: My wife for putting up with my crazy schedule for nearly 30 years. She’s my best friend and my rock.
Last Book Read: “Uncommon” by Tony Dungy.
First Job: Working on a dairy and pig farm when I was 13 years old.
Hobbies: I like to spend time outdoors, whether it is in a tree stand or on a fishing boat. I even like mowing my lawn.