While Purkeys will be celebrating 28 years in the heavy-duty trucking industry this coming April, Justin Purkey (son of founder Bruce Purkey, shown in the picture above) celebrated his 4-year anniversary as CEO this month.
We asked him to share something about his experiences and goals, as well as to share his personal thoughts about Purkeys and the challenges of being CEO.
Be a Great Partner
At the core of Purkeys is the belief in always being a great partner—to customers, employees, and vendors. Justin takes that value very seriously.
“We are not here to sell products and move on to the next guy,” Justin says, “Fleets who use our product get the whole package—training, audits, tech support, installation assistance, etc. We know it requires time and effort to ensure that our products are helping optimize a fleet’s electrical system, so we want to be as proactive as possible to ensure each fleet gets maximum benefit from our products.”
Being able to provide world-class service to customers starts on the inside, with great employees. When talking about the Purkeys team, Justin said, “It’s less about the CEO than the team that supports him/her. That’s where the magic happens.”
The magic has certainly been spreading at Purkeys, leading to some of Justin’s proudest accomplishments as CEO, as well as some of the challenges that come with being in leadership.
Accomplishments and Challenges
When asked what accomplishment he is most proud of, Justin says, “I’d have to say that I’m most proud of taking our company to a point where it’s bigger than the owners.”
He elaborated on his statement by saying,
“When I first joined Purkeys, my dad, Bruce, was the driving force behind everything that the company did. It was the same at Quantum Ingenuities, Dale Henningson’s company when we brought them into the company to form the Purkeys we have today.
For the company to continue to grow, we needed to make sure that EVERYONE felt he/she could add value and contribute to the success of the company, not just those two.
I’m proud that we’ve built a great company that is bigger than its founders so that the founders have the freedom to have lives outside of the company. They now have the confidence that the company can continue to grow and move forward without their being involved in every decision.
I think now they both realize just how much of a burden that was and are grateful to have had it lifted. This has not only benefited Bruce and Dale, but it’s given the rest of the team the confidence to know that they are valued members of the team, capable of making important decisions as to how our company moves forward.”
Justin Purkey, Bruce Purkey, Dale Henningson
Accomplishing this task was no easy feat, however. Growing Purkeys from a “Ma and Pa Shop” to what it is today, had and still has, many setbacks and challenges.
“One of the biggest challenges I face,” Justin said, “is knowing how to allocate resources. As a small company we have limited resources, but we constantly see new opportunities. We’d certainly love to pursue every opportunity that comes, but if we did we’d never finish anything!”
To combat this challenge, Justin says, “Our team constantly goes back to our core values, one of which is ‘innovate with passion and prudence.’ The ‘passion’ part is easy—we love innovating and looking for new ways to help our industry. The ‘prudence’ part is a bit tougher, but we’ve learned that it is just as important to be prudent in our efforts as it is to be passionate, so we can put the necessary energy into those projects we DO select and accomplish great things.”
At all levels of an organization, it is important to have goals and an understanding of your purpose in the company. Otherwise, it is easy to get distracted and not make the progress that is needed.
“It’s easy to be ‘busy’ but not make progress on the important things on your plate,” Justin said. “This is true for anyone in the organization, but the higher your position, the easier it is to get distracted by being ‘busy.’ If the CEO isn’t disciplined enough to stay focused on the core goals for the company, it is next to impossible for the company to achieve those goals.”
“In other words, working hard isn’t enough.” Justin continued, “Working hard on the right things is what is important.”
“It is our goal to continue to grow, and to be the best place to work in our communities,” Justin concludes. “If we can do that, I am positive we will continue to add value to our industry by helping keep fleets on the road.”