David Mitchell is a managing director of Transportation Resource Partners, a sector-focused private equity firm based outside Detroit that is currently planning its fourth fund. Mitchell has extensive experience in the transportation sector, including consulting in the manufacturing and automotive practice of Deloitte prior to joining TRP in 2002.
Q. SINCE JOINING TRANSPORTATION RESOURCE PARTNERS, WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN WITHIN THE TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS SECTOR?
In the last decade, industry velocity has increased—for example, new automobile development programs have compressed to as few as three years. In the logistics sector, consumers’ expectations for faster deliveries have altered the global transportation network.
Meanwhile, core services such as supply chain management and logistics have become commoditized with improved technology, information systems and automated material handling equipment. Alternative fuels like compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, along with electric powertrains and hybrid-electric vehicles, have become mainstream for commercial fleets and consumers.
Finally, regulatory changes in areas like safety and hours-of-service limitations for drivers have pressured fleets to become more productive. To capitalize on these changes, we recently invested in 4Refuel, which provides mobile onsite refueling, saving fleets valuable time. We previously owned Fleetwash, a mobile washing company that services 8 million vehicles annually, often while they’re parked overnight.