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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Brett Suma


Loadsmith, Inc

Location: Denver, CO

Founded: 2019

Industry: Shipping & Transportation

“If you are not able to be reflective and humble about the opportunities that you’ve been given, the previous leaders and mentors who went out of their way to mentor, guide, encourage you, and use that to guide your leadership, that is a problem,” Suma said. “You need to remember that and use it to apply to your team leadership. Not feeling the need to be the one to know everything and that you are not the be all (and) end all is also critical. You need to go find experts in different areas to have influence on your business and listen to them because otherwise you cannot grow a world class business.”

Suma is CEO of Loadsmith Inc., a transportation and logistics firm with the mission “to transform the future of truckload transportation through the deployment of autonomous trucks,” the company said.

Locksmith launched after Suma had worked for 20 years in conventional truck transportation. He felt the need to transform the industry and, given the technology and regulatory environment, the timing was right, he said.

“We hope to be the first to deploy autonomous trucks in the middle mile, creating a whole new category of transportation services provider,” Suma said, “transforming the driving job and being a force multiplier in productive and economically viable first- and last-mile driving positions.”

The company launched in the fourth quarter of 2019 and did $126 million in business in 2022. The company has been profitable each year since its founding, and Suma expects the growth track to continue in the same fashion during 2023, 2024 and beyond.

“In my business, the people who have the most risk are not me but the people who left great jobs in order to come on board,” Suma said. “They are taking a much bigger risk to buy into the founder’s vision. The founders take less risk than not, and the founders will have the greatest upside. As far as sacrificing, you will never be a leader if you are not willing to lead by example and never ask an employee to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.”

When he’s faced with a complex problem, Suma believes diversity of background and viewpoint is crucial.

“It is all about lenses,” he said. “That is why diversity is so important. Sometimes people get diversity conflated with ethnic or gender diversity, but diversity ultimately is in regard to the life experiences and backgrounds of the individuals that you hire. You can have immense diversity in the backgrounds, childhoods, education, upbringing, technical background, etc., among your employees. If you can provide an opportunity to learn other lenses, you can create a holistic solution.”

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