Conversation with an Entrepreneur

| Oct 29, 2015
WayneBy John Wong

My assignment was to interview Wayne Levinson, a new GSBA member who runs Bulk FR8 LLC, a large chemical logistics company that moves liquids across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

After doing a thorough Google cyberstalking of Wayne, I wasn’t sure if I found the right person: a 27-year-old yoga master, snowboarder, Ferrari enthusiast, and all-around thrill seeker? Could this be the same Wayne Levinson who started a company in his early 20s and quickly grew it to the $20 million leader in the industry?

We met for lunch at his favorite pasta joint, and the online Wayne was in fact the real Wayne, down to the casual sweatpants and T-shirt and seemingly carefree smile.

After a few minutes, however, it was clear that Wayne is like no millennial I’ve ever met. Though being smart, driven, and risk-taking are common traits in entrepreneurs, there is something more to Wayne. Here are a few factors that he thinks contributed to his success:

VISION: Wayne identified an unfulfilled need and had a vision of what he could do to meet that need by starting his own business, borrowing $10,000 from his parents. Wayne stressed the importance of repaying your debts as soon as possible: it builds trust in those who can (and likely will) support you in the future.

NETWORKS: Strong professional and mentoring networks are key factors in his success, as Wayne continually consults with others to get the best advice before making key decisions. In return, he also mentors six young entrepreneurs (aged 13–25). 

TEAM: Wayne surrounds himself with smart, motivated and passionate people who help him manage his growing business and other ventures. Building the right team is the only path to success.

FLEXIBILITY: No two days are ever the same for Wayne. In fact, he has a desk in every department because he is everywhere during a typical workday, interacting with everybody in his company to solve problems. The same applies to his employees: they are all cross-trained to perform all functions in the company.

NIMBLENESS: Though he makes quick, informed decisions, Wayne is willing to evaluate those decisions and change course if needed.

OPTIMISM: Wayne says that there is opportunity to be found in whatever happens, good or bad. While he doesn’t believe that the only way to learn is through mistakes, he loves being wrong because it prevents potentially larger ramifications in the future. 

STUDY: When you stop learning, you become stagnant and less productive, says Wayne, so he offers all Bulk FR8 employees the opportunity to continue their industry knowledge and personal growth by encouraging them to seek (and covering the costs of) degrees and industry certifications. He himself begins his first master’s program (in civil engineering with a focus on supply chain transportation and logistics) this fall at UW.

One that we didn’t talk about is worth mentioning: ENERGY. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur like Wayne Levinson, you better have a lot of energy. He’s in overdrive most of the time and he’s passing everybody in the fast lanes. 

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