New to Birmingham, Alabama, and newly divorced with two kids, Maria Gilbert wanted to do more than be a customer service manager at the local Walmart. When she saw a job opening for an administrative assistant at CRST that sounded “exciting and fantastic,” she went for it.
Maria interviewed with Vice President of Sales, Tim Barth. Things went so well that she was offered the job on the spot and started two weeks later as a temp. Sixty days after that, she was called into Tim’s office and offered a permanent position.
After eleven months as an administrative assistant with CRST Flatbed Solutions, Maria applied for a pricing analyst role in 2014. In 2017, she became a pricing manager.
“I love this company. I love what I do every day. I’m engaged with the people that we work with — our contractors and customers. I want to grow with the company and always have different experiences at CRST,” Maria said.
Lots to Do and Making a Big Impact
As a pricing manager, she oversees new business opportunities that come to the company from different customers. She reviews those opportunities and prices them, optimizing the overall transportation network to benefit contractors while also helping CRST contractors earn a livelihood.
“You have to take a lot into consideration with this job. It’s not just about pricing things, winning new customers and completing bids. When hard deadlines come along and a bid isn’t turned in on time, you could potentially forget about seeing that business again. It can be busy and overwhelming at times when big tasks come through,” Maria said.
Maria successfully juggles a lot in her role. She creates dedicated freight lanes for contractors. She works contracts back and forth between legal departments and customers. When it comes to pricing, she considers layover time, detention, cargo liability, driving and loading time, whether the load is legal or over-dimensional in size and protection of the company and contractors hauling the loads.
“At the end of the day, you’re affecting the business and people’s livelihood. If we can win the bid and execute the business, it is a very satisfying feeling, and I know my job has been done right,” Maria said.
It excites Maria to see the impact her job has on the entire company and drivers. “Our department affects so many other departments at CRST. I get to assist in training people in operations and customer service. I get to touch a lot of departments because of the knowledge I have and what I do for CRST’s customers. The more I know, the more I can help people learn and grow,” she said.
She wants the best for drivers and cares deeply about everyone’s well-being. “It’s exciting that I am able to help, not only myself, give opportunities for growth, but also be valuable to the company. CRST allows me to do that,” Maria said.
Making a Difference in Multiple Ways
Volunteering is a large part of Maria’s life — both at church and at work.
Each year, CRST participates in a fundraising campaign for United Way. Maria enjoys being one of the driving forces of the campaign and urging her coworkers to donate for the greater good. She said in 2018, Flatbed Solutions raised $8,065 and increased that by 10% in 2019. Their efforts are then matched by CRST Chairman John Smith.
Every day at work is different, Maria said. Logistics continually change and challenges are met, including the challenges women face in trucking. The mentorship and support of other women is the key, Maria said.
“The women that I have seen be successful in this industry stand behind each other and mentor each other. They help each other learn and be successful,” Maria said.
A good dose of confidence doesn’t hurt, either.
“Mistakes will be made, whether you are a man or a woman, but don’t take things personally. Stand behind your decisions, learn as much as you can, call on other women within trucking and logistics to ask for their advice or help, and do not be afraid to ask questions,” Maria said.