“Whenever I travel to another city, I always go and find the rock store and I'll buy something that's from that area.”
Keith Davis, CEO of Sterling Transportation, shares his remarkable journey in the cargo industry, from humble beginnings to becoming a respected leader. With over 30 years of experience, Keith offers valuable insights and advice for those aspiring to join the sector.
Keith recalls his entry into the industry, stating, “I started in 1982 when a friend of mine owned a local pickup and delivery company in Los Angeles, and I came to California to work for him.” Over the years, he honed his skills and gained industry knowledge, paving the way for the establishment of his own domestic freight porter business in 1990. It was this entrepreneurial spirit that ultimately led to the creation of Sterling Transportation in 1993.
As the CEO of Sterling Transportation, Keith relishes the autonomy and freedom to make crucial business decisions. Keith affirms, “I can do whatever I want to do, and that’s been successful up to this point right now. You better embrace change. I’m flexible with stuff like that. I think that’s going to be a benefit to the company. I’m not entrenched in the way that I’ve done things for the last 30 years.”
Despite his professional achievements, Keith places great importance on work-life balance. He shares, “I just love what I do, and that is my balance. I mean, I would be bored to death if I wasn’t working. But this is what I like to do. That’s my life balance.” Additionally, Keith cherishes moments spent with his family, including his wife and two daughters, who hold a special place in his heart. Beyond family time, Keith reveals an interesting hobby – collecting rocks. He elaborates, “I am a gem collector. Rocks. I’m a rock. I collect rocks. Whenever I travel to another city, I always go and find the rock store and I’ll buy something that’s from that area. I have an extensive collection of rocks.”
Keith’s role models are individuals who prioritize doing the right thing over purely pursuing financial gains. “A role model is a person who puts doing the right thing ahead of making money. Someone who cares about people,” Keith emphasizes. One of his favorite pieces of advice from the industry echoes this sentiment – “never burn a bridge.” This principle has served him well throughout his career, as he believes in maintaining positive relationships with everyone, regardless of circumstances.
On a lighter note, Keith reveals his ideal dinner guest – Deepak Chopra, whom he admires as a meditation instructor from the Chopra Institute. Furthermore, he shares his love for the movie “The Last of the Mohicans” and his all-time favorite book, “The Stand” by Stephen King.
For the next generation seeking to enter the cargo industry, Keith advocates hard work, networking, and openness to new opportunities. He advises, “Work hard… when I was younger, I worked 18 hours a day. I remember many times working 24 hours straight, and to me, that was the greatest feeling in the world that I had accomplished that. But I just think that hard work will get you where you want and always be fair to people and just be open. Be open to people.”
Keith Davis’s inspiring journey exemplifies dedication, passion, and integrity – qualities that continue to drive his success in the dynamic world of cargo transportation. As Sterling Transportation celebrates its 30th anniversary, Keith’s invaluable experiences and wisdom stand as a testament to the power of vision, hard work, and embracing change.