Sunset’s newly promoted Chief Executive Officer and majority owner Lindsey Graves spoke with Steph Kukuljan (St. Louis Business Journal) recently about her path to CEO, and the journey of working alongside her father and now Chairman, Jim Williams.
The story begins with Jim branching out from another family-owned business, Williams Paper Company, in 1989 when he founded Sunset Transportation. His only daughter, Lindsey, began learning the logistics business after returning to St. Louis post-college, and so began her 15-year (somewhat unexpected) path to CEO.
As she describes it, her addition to the company was as much a surprise to her as her ascension to the CEO role. And working in the family business tested both Graves and Williams.
“It was never easy working for my dad. I think it was frustrating for him, too,” Graves said.
The process of transitioning ownership from Williams to Graves began in late 2020. Graves hired Pittsburgh-based Solenture to help with the transition, and the deal closed within a month in December. Williams and his wife retain minority ownership.
Graves’ goal is to continue the family culture her dad initiated, which includes flexible schedules for employees, in addition to capitalizing on new business opportunities now possible because Sunset Transportation is woman-owned. The transportation industry is predominantly led by men, where female executives make up a third of all executives in the logistics field, according to a 2019 survey from Women in Trucking Association and FreightWaves.
View the full story in PDF HERE.
View the full story in the St. Louis Business Journal HERE.