Ruan is happy to feature several of our team members across the country in our People First Spotlight. This month, meet Melissa Kolaas, Ruan’s Freight Audit Accounting Supervisor.
Q: What got you into trucking, and what has your career path looked like?
My first experience with trucks, drivers, or anything related to transportation was with my father and his livestock business. I worked for him in the office during the day and then at night, on a dare, I had someone teach me how to drive. That inspired me to earn my CDL, which I still maintain. I instantly fell in love with driving, so my father decided to hire me as a driver in the evenings. As soon as I was off work in the office, I would put the kids in the back of the cab with a movie and I would head out. I am not sure who was more proud: me for earning my license or my dad for having another driver. When he moved his business out of town, I could only drive on the weekends, so I started working with a produce company going to California and back. However, when my kids started school, I could not take them with me, so I tried my hand at brokerage and ended up really enjoying it. After 15 years working for another logistics company, I accepted my position at Ruan in 2015.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working for Ruan?
I definitely enjoy the family first atmosphere and the belief that we are all equal and no one person is better or more important than the next. In every company-wide meeting, they stress how it has taken a team effort to make the company what is today. We encourage our team members to grow and move up within the company. The more knowledge an employee has, the better they feel about their career.
Q: What is your favorite memory during your time at Ruan?
I have quite a few fun memories, but the best would have to be every year when your service anniversary date comes around and you and other employees with that same anniversary month have an informal meeting in the boardroom with our CEO. This is just something that you never would think someone in his position would take the time to do. And being in that room … I get nervous every year. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell the same story to this group of people; everyone has always been so down to earth and accepting!
Q: What advice would you share with those considering joining the trucking industry?
I would give the same advice that I gave my daughter eight years ago (who is also an amazing broker now!). You must love transportation to do this, no matter what aspect of the business you are in. From driver to dispatcher to accounting to sales, transportation is not like anything else you have ever done. It is GREAT some days, and other days, things can go sideways and you have to be quick on your feet to solve issues. Transportation is a great career for goal-orientated people who have a strong work ethic and want to work as a team.
Q: What excites you about Ruan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts?
This company has such an amazing variety of employees, and I have learned a lot from so many great people in my seven years! I hope that I can continue my career within the company.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have an amazing grandson who is my best friend, and I love spending time with him. I also have two beautiful horses who I can never spend enough time with. One of my horses is the direct bloodline of Secretariat! I am so proud of her as we bought her solely for her name, Faith, and had no idea of her bloodlines. They are a lot of work but worth every bit of it.
Q: In what ways are you involved in your community?
I enjoy taking old blankets and extra dog food down to the local rescue here in town. We always have way too many strays that are wandering around with no home, and that breaks my heart. There is never a reason for a stray or abandoned animal!
Are you interested in joining team Ruan? Check out our open driver positions!