From humble beginnings

WSC alum speaks of his success in the business world


Brenden Buskirk

Tom Hastings, a WSC alum, spoke on Jan. 26 in Gardner Hall.

Matt Lanik, Staff Writer

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca
This quote can be used to describe Monday’s guest speaker, Tom Hastings, in Gardner Hall auditorium.

Hastings is WSC’s School of Business and Technology “Executive in Residence.”

In 1981, Hastings founded TSL Logistics in his garage and had no idea what it would one day become. Today, TSL handles the domestic and international transportation of goods to consumers by the boat load, literally.

However, it wasn’t always that way.

“The day I started, my goal was to get to 25 trucks,” said Hastings, chuckling.

Luckily for Hastings, a 1973 graduate of Wayne State College, opportunity struck.

Now his business, which started in Omaha, has 113 offices in 85 countries. It has even received the highest award a company can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.

How could one prepare for something like this?

Mr. Hastings referred to it as “stick-to-it-ness.” It’s the type of perseverance that a person needs to possess in order to be successful. He said that there will be highs and lows, and that’s why a person needs perseverance.

Before Hastings attended WSC to receive his degree in Business Administration, he lost $10,000 in six months trying to start a gravel pit.

When Hastings was just a kid, he gained experience in the transportation industry that would impact him for the rest of his life.

“I started driving with my dad, at 14, but at 16, I was loading grain in Pender, then taking it all the way to Ogallala, right down I-80. That’s how it all began, I learned it from the ground up,” he said.

Today, Hastings’s business still has some of those small-town ideals that he grew up with. In fact, his employees call him by his first name. His whole business is centered on his mentality.

When hiring, the biggest thing TSL is looking for is someone who fits into its culture. To ensure it stays this way, 98 percent of management positions are hired in-house.

He takes pride in the fact that his company is able to “identify talent and grow experience.”

TSL has hired graduates from WSC on more than one occasion.

One employee is Amy Hoferer, who graduated from WSC in 2008. She currently works in the Human Resources department at TSL, and will be attending the upcoming career fair on March 28.