Jacksonville bills itself as “Americas Logistics Center” for good reason, according to industry experts. The latest employment figures show that over 26,000 people work in wholesale trade, logistics and transportation here on the First Coast. It’s one of the targeted industries for economic development here, and one of the fastest growing. Companies like Hybrid Logistics are part of the reason why.
Hybrid Logistics, founded in 1990 and based in Portland Oregon, has operations in Georgia, Tennessee, and Tampa and Jacksonville in Florida. The company employs 15 workers here, and is in the process of hiring up to 70 sales executives over the next 18 months. The positions at Hybrid are freight brokers, intermediaries who bring together a shipper that needs to transport goods with an authorized carrier that wants to provide the service. The jobs are fast-paced, competitive, inside sales jobs. Recruiter Michelle DeVevo says that candidates must have a fierce competitive spirit and be quick on their feet. “You’ll know within the first year if you’re going to make it or not,” she says. “There are no ‘pretty good’ people in the industry; you’re either great or out of business.”
To become a fright broker, you don’t need experience in transportation, but you do need sales skills; being good with numbers is also essential, because you’ll be calculating loads and costs on the fly. Hybrid’s recruiting has drawn in candidates from many different industries. DeVevo says that the interview process takes three hours; candidates spend the first hour or so watching successful brokers at work. They observe what they do and are free to ask any questions they want. If the job appeals to them, they’ll go through interviews with hiring managers. Three hours is a long time to spend at the company, but candidates leave with a job offer if they’re a good fit.
New hires spend 18 weeks in training learning the business. They’re paid a base salary during training and start earning commission after they start brokering deals. By the end of the first year, most brokers are making six figures in commission alone and have given up their base salary, according to Casey Barts, Hybrid’s general manager in Jacksonville. Barts spent years in the logistics industry before being recruited to Jacksonville to work for Hybrid.
“We’re a work hard, play hard company,” says Barts. “We have fun doing what we’re doing. This is a great place to start your career or get into something that allows you to get paid as you perform; so many jobs don’t really reward performance.” The job can be simply nine to five, Barts says, but brokers who are will to put in extra hours are rewarded for their efforts. “The main skill I look for is persistence,” he says. “You’ll get a lot of ‘no’s’ on your way to one yes, but that yes will make you very successful, if you take care of that customer. This is a business where building trust and relationships is critical.”
There’s no specific set of skills that will predict success in this career, according to Michelle DeVevo. Hybrid recently hired a young bartender from the Lemon Bar. Adam says he’s much happier in his role as a broker. “It’s a great change of pace from the bar life I was once in. I would say the greatest change has been the financial stability I have since starting at Hybrid; you definitely get back what you put into it.”
Learn about careers at Hybrid at www.facebook.com/HybridLogisticsjax.