Trucking firm vice president resigns

USA Truck Executive Vice President Jeff Lester resigned from his position on Aug. 24 after Chief Executive Officer Tom Glaser asked him to change his weekly routine and work from the company's Van Buren offices on a daily basis.

Glaser said Monday that Lester -- who had been with the company for two years -- regularly commuted between his home in Dallas and Van Buren under an agreement with former CEO John Simone, who resigned earlier this summer to concentrate on his health after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Glaser said he had been speaking with Lester about making a commitment to the community as well as the company for the past month.

"The way I operate as an executive, I think the executive team needs to be in the home office and part of the team," Glaser said. "That's a word that is used sometimes offhanded. But having the executives in one location to help mentor the group and being part of that executive team means you've got to be here for a full-time basis. Jeff was only here on a part-time basis."

USA Truck announced Lester's resignation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Lester, who oversaw risk management and safety with the Van Buren-based trucking company, became the second USA Truck executive to resign in August.

Burton Weis, USA Truck's vice president of human resources, resigned on Aug. 13 after 22 years with the company. USA Truck promoted Kandice Harshaw to the position.

Lester was hired as part of Simone's management team in September 2013 and earned $669,322 last year, according to the company's proxy statement. Glaser estimated Lester, who he called a "good risk officer and good safety guy," spent roughly three or four days a week working out of the office in Van Buren.

Glaser said he will begin looking for Lester's replacement, but the risk, safety and driver orientation departments he was in charge of are in good hands for the time being.

"It came down to the point where Jeff chose to stay in Dallas with his family," Glaser said. "He has a young son who plays football in high school and he didn't want to disrupt it. I respect him for that.

"At the same time, we've got a business and we've got a whole bunch of people who rely on us and that's part of the commitment."

In addition to his duties with USA Truck, Lester was a member of the Arkansas Trucking Association's board of directors. Shannon Newton, who is president of the association, said Glaser is expected to replace Lester as a member of the board.

The board will vote on Glaser's appointment during its next meeting Sept. 24.

Business on 09/01/2015

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