The Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute hosted its third Executive in Residence
conference on November 8, 2011. This program connects industry leaders to University
of Memphis engineering and business students.
This year’s executive was UofM grad David Wedaman, CEO and President of ReTrans. ReTrans is an intermodal marketing company that moves
freight throughout the United States, with its primary focus on intermodal transportation.
Wedaman explained his job very simply. He said, “I move stuff.” Because of Wedaman’s
leadership, his company is successfully moving lots of stuff. ReTrans performs over
250,000 transactions per year for their customers. ReTrans has 47 offices and 290
employees with revenues exceeding $300 million. David Wedman is highly profitable
and his integrity in the marketplace is unmatched.
While on campus, Wedaman made two presentations. During the first presentation, he
encouraged the engineering and business students to do three things: 1) have passion 2) give back 3) be “old school.”
According to Wedaman, passion is an important element to finding success. If one is passionate about his field
and shows that passion in all they do, he will have the desire to continue learning
and striving for success and as a bonus, they will really enjoy the journey. He encouraged
students to be curious and keep learning. Wedaman reminded his audience that, “education
comes first. Without it, you won’t even get your foot into the door. Your classes
are worth it. Attend them. Enjoy them. Set high goals and work hard to achieve them.”
One of Wedaman’s passions is giving back to his community. He is one of the driving forces behind the Jubilee Schools, has
served on the boards of LifeBlood, Youth Villages and the Intermodal Association of
North America. It’s clear from his charitable work that he positively impacts lives
in the Memphis community. Wedman told the students that he wants to hire employees
who are not only smart, but are also involved and philanthropically minded. He said,
“Get a part time job. Do some volunteer work. Make a point to do more than just study.
You need to give back to your community.”
And finally, Wedaman told the students to be old school. Being old school incorporates the fundamental values of showing respect, being polite,
working hard…even when no one is looking, and doing the right thing…even when it’s
hard and you are the only one doing it. Mr. Wedaman shared a few stories about how
his experiences growing up helped to shape him into the leader he is today. He worked
construction, he made copies, and in times of great need, he accepted jobs beneath
his education and work experience level. He attributes those situations to strengthening
For the second presentation, Wedaman conducted a conversation about the freight movement
industry with IFTI students and professors. Wedaman also provided one-on-one career
and professional advice to four students.