Raised in the small, south Arkansas town of Stephens, Adam Arrington was immersed in the freight industry from an early age.
“I grew up in and around the trucking shop. From the moment I was born to the time I left for college, my dad was in the trucking industry,” he said.
His father drove a truck for 17 years, before starting his own company, G.A. Trucking, in the early 1980s.
Arrington’s summer, Christmas and spring breaks from school were often spent working: washing semi-trailers, learning to drive them, fixing them and changing oil, and while he was in college, he worked as a driver for CNB Trucking.
In turn, his 15-year professional career has revolved around commercial trucking, on the dealership side, and his comprehensive knowledge of the various facets of the industry has been an asset.
Arrington is now in the Dallas metro, acting as executive vice president of sales and marketing over 19 stores (and growing, he says) in the U.S. and Canada at Premier Truck Group, a Penske Automotive Group subsidiary.
He joined the company in 2012, when it was The Around the Clock Freightliner Group, as general manager at branches in Tulsa and Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Penske acquired the company in 2014, and Arrington was promoted to his current position and relocated to Texas the following year.
Now, he is able to count Penske chairman Roger Penske — Michigan-based, billionaire racing magnate and auto empire king — as a mentor, and he cannot be happier about the direction his career has taken.
At the same time, Arrington has not forgotten his Arkansas roots.
He counts the years the family lived in Rogers as some of the most pivotal of his life, from when he accepted a promotion opportunity at Truck Centers of Arkansas in Springdale in 2005, until the Arringtons sold their house in 2014.
“It was a good education for me to work with all those big companies,” Arrington said, pointing to J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., P.A.M. Transport Services Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as major players on the freight scene.
It was a far cry from where he’d been working before, in Texarkana.
“Business was totally different in NWA than it was in Texarkana. It’s different than anywhere else in the world,” Arrington said.
It was also during his time in the region that he was named to the 2008 class of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40.
“NWA is a special place,” Arrington said. In fact, although he started work in Tulsa in 2012, the family didn’t sell its Rogers house until two years later, often taking the hour-and-40-minute drive to return to their home on weekends.
Arrington still has many friends in the region, and he and his family are, as he puts it, “diehard Razorback fans.” In fact his oldest daughter, 17-year-old Katherine, intends to go to the University of Arkansas for college. He also has a 12-year-old daughter, Abigail.
The Arringtons also regularly visit extended family in Magnolia, where he attended Southern Arkansas University and met his wife of 21 years, Michelle.
When it comes to his success, Arrington said, “I owe it all to my family.”
Throughout the years, he did not like relocating them several times for his job. “But if we didn’t make those sacrifices we wouldn’t be where we are as a family. We are better off,” he said.
And he’s always been enthusiastic about the trucking industry.
“If you don’t have a passion for what you do, people will see right through it. You’ll have a short career, or you’ll be miserable your whole life,” Arrington said.
Finally, he points to a series of mentors as sources of motivation.
“I’ve always been set on meeting those unspoken expectations. I never wanted to let anyone down who gave me a chance.”
When it comes to customers, his philosophy is “under-promise and over-deliver.”
He has always enjoyed interacting with customers and building relationships with them. But now that he is not always on the front lines, Arrington has found a new level of fulfillment to his job in mentoring new sales people.
“I love taking people who are new to the industry, helping them along their career paths and watching them grow.”