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How Uber Freight’s Head of Operations helped create a culture that “liberates the freight”

June 29, 2021 / Global

For Bill Driegert, Uber’s Freight’s Head of Operations, we’ve started a revolution and there’s no going back. Behind the team’s success is a unique culture built on freightisms—customer success, act like an owner, and freight pride—that instill team values around ownership, diligence and work ethic. Below, we chat with Bill about Uber Freight’s culture, what makes Uber Freight special, and his journey to the ‘freight revolution’.

Describe your role
I am the Head of Operations and helped to kickoff Uber Freight back in 2016. I’m accountable for the successful and efficient execution of every load, and I see my primary role as architecting and empowering an organization that can deliver on that commitment. I also spend time focusing on what’s next and how we continue to bring new products and service lines to market to help our carriers and shippers. 

I’m a big believer in empowering leadership at every level, and I am fortunate to have an exceptional team and exceptional leaders. My leadership team has a broad scope, owning our carrier’s success, the growth of new service lines and geographies, the learning and engagement of our team, the service standards that we provide in our market, as well as the success of our products within operations.” 

Tell us about your career journey
My career took a few interesting turns along the way. Before landing in freight and logistics, I had an early career building race cars. I landed in logistics by way of Frito Lay and Pepsico. I interned at Frito-Lay after returning to school at SMU in Dallas and worked on production planning and optimization models. This was real optimization, as I was building Mixed Integer Programming models in Mosel, a language that I would be amazed if anyone reading this had ever even heard of. That job sent me to 32 states. I visited every Frito Lay production facility to implement the new tooling. I had two revelations on that journey. First, I loved working in a space like logistics in which technology and the real world interfaced. Second, building better execution systems should always be the first priority. That second lesson carriers forward into how I think about the mission of Uber Freight in simplifying freight. That love of logistics took me to MIT, in what is now known as the Supply Chain Masters program. At MIT, I met Jeff Silver, who sold me on the vast opportunity to improve freight through better technology. I started that journey with him as the fourth employee at Coyote Logistics, continued it at Amazon, and now have the fortune of taking it to the next level at Uber Freight. “

What excites you about the work you do?
“I had a vision for Uber Freight when we started that we can make the execution of freight effortless, when it has always been burdensome. I believe that freight should be simple, when it has always been hard. For many of our carriers and shippers, we have achieved that vision. For our carriers, we prioritized improving their experience through transparency, upfront pricing, fast payment, and ease of use. Before we came to market, owner operators and small carriers had poor options to find freight. One of our early carriers told us that we ‘liberate the freight!’ We have already changed this industry for the better. We planted the seeds and have dragged the industry into a more transparent and effortless future, to the benefit of carriers and shippers. We were the first to market with upfront pricing to carriers, instant guaranteed pricing to shippers, API integrations to provide prices directly into TMS platforms, and a host of other industry firsts, each with the goal of making Freight more effortless. I am incredibly excited and optimistic around what we will do next and how all these innovations will keep gaining momentum. There is no going back, we’ve started a revolution.”

What’s the culture like at Uber Freight?
“I have always loved the diversity of ideas, background and experiences within Uber Freight. It is one of our core strengths. When we started, our backgrounds were a healthy mix from freight, technology, Uber, banking and from different organizational cultural alignments. The Uber culture was highly entrepreneurial and tech driven. The consumer tech culture was product-driven and user centric. The freight and operations cultures are biased high on ownership, diligence and work ethic. We’ve mixed all those pieces together to form a culture which is unique within our industry. We have three freightisms: customer success, act like an owner, and freight pride. 

Customer success captures both the diligence that we bring in operations as well as the customer-obsessed approach of our product teams to ensuring that we are solving and meeting our customers needs. Ownership is critical. We are still growing, still learning, and still building. A fast growth company has to have empowered employees who feel ownership at every level of the organization. Freight pride because we are a team, we are changing a massive industry, and we have to appreciate how far we’ve come while always having an eye on what we can accomplish next.” 

What makes Uber Freight Operations a great place to work?
“At Uber Freight, we believe in ideas and empowered employees. I am a big believer in giving our team the autonomy to make decisions and drive change. That is the only way we could have scaled as fast as we have, and it’s the only way we can continue to rapidly innovate and drive change in this industry. Uber Freight operations is a place to learn how to drive change with technology, learn how to be a strong operator, learn to be a manager and a leader, and see how industry transformation happens from the inside. Within Uber Freight’s Operations team, we are on the frontlines, working with carriers and shippers, working to make their jobs easier through technology.”

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