Sarah Johnson

Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced Sarah Johnson as its September Member of the Month. Sarah is the Executive Vice President of Milestone Trailer Leasing in St. Charles, Missouri.

While in college, Sarah started working part-time for her father’s trailer rental and leasing company, Personal Attention Leasing (PAL) which was based in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time, he had a rental fleet of 200 trailers. The summer she started, he added his second location in Kansas City, Kansas.

Sarah always thought it was a temporary position, as she had different plans for her career path. She moved away to Chicago and Los Angeles while earning her degree, but eventually settled back to the St. Louis area to help again with the business. The running joke in the industry is that once you’re in transportation, you never get out!

Over the course of 10 years, Personal Attention Leasing grew through acquisition of assets and companies to a fleet of 15,000 trailers and 12 locations. Sarah held several roles in the company during those years. From inspecting equipment, bookkeeping, facilitating the human resource function, to helping the team with computers. Whatever it was, she would jump in and figure out how to make it happen, always putting the needs of the customer first. “The growth of the company and my various roles gave me tremendous exposure to all aspects of the business, which I couldn’t have learned in any classroom,” she said.

“Considering the fact that I worked for my father, I put pressure on myself to prove to my co-workers that I earned my position and that nothing was ‘given’ to me. Over time, that pressure has transitioned to the fact I am most often, the only women in the meeting,” she said.
Sarah recalls how much she liked to play kickball at recess in the first grade. When it was her turn at the plate, the boys would move in from the outfield, thinking she couldn’t kick it very far. Then, she would kick it over their heads. “I simply wanted to get out on the kickball field and play (or win) the same game, the same way as my classmates. No special treatment,” she said.

In 2016, Personal Attention Leasing was rebranded to the parent company’s name of Milestone. The purpose was to represent all product lines to the market including intermodal equipment, containers, chassis and highway trailers. Today Milestone Equipment features 80,000 assets in total. As Executive Vice President, she has overseen their national network of 27 locations in the Trailer Leasing division. Most recently, she has been appointed the task of building Milestone’s Mobile Storage and Warehousing platform which is scheduled to formally launch early 2019.

“With our growth trajectory, I have been fortunate enough to see the transportation industry in all types of businesses and applications. I enjoy learning the inner working of the retailers, manufacturers, distributors and trucking companies. I’m equally passionate about helping these industries to creatively solve problems,” said Sarah. “I enjoy working with the employees in the field, supporting them in their success and remaining diligent to serving our customer base.”

Being a woman in transportation reminds Sarah of being on that kickball field. She doesn’t want special treatment. Not in her favor or against her. She is knowledgeable about this business, she knows equipment, she has ideas, she likes building business partnerships, and enjoys turning that into profitability. She wants to use the skills she has developed to compete in the game.

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