Forty Under 40: Seth Runser

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,839 views 

Class of 2021 Forty Under 40 Seth Runser President ABF Freight System, Fort Smith

Seth Runser believes a leadership role isn’t about taking the credit.

“It isn’t about what you do,” he said. “It’s about how you develop your people and what results they get. A good leader doesn’t take credit at all.”

That philosophy guides Runser’s recent rise to the top at ABF Freight, the largest subsidiary of Fort Smith-based transportation and logistics giant

ArcBest. ABF specializes in national and regional transportation and offers less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping services across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

An Ohio native, Runser received a marketing degree from Kent State University in 2007. He then joined ABF Freight as a management trainee and has gained extensive knowledge working for the company for the past 14 years in Ohio, Texas, Maryland and Missouri in various roles.

Runser and his team achieved the company’s highest internal honor, the President’s Quality Award, while working in Akron, Ohio, as a service center manager.

In 2019, he moved from Kansas City to Fort Smith after being promoted to vice president of linehaul operations. This year, ABF Freight tapped him as successor to Tim Thorne, who retired after 31 years. Runser became president on July 1, overseeing about 9,000 employees.

Runser said his objective for the business is threefold: facilitate growth, nurture the company culture and remain a high-quality carrier. He said the company’s culture is a strength, noting that more than half of senior leadership came from its management training program.

“We invest a lot in our people to develop them, and I think that’s what differentiates us from the competition,” he said.

Runser is an Arkansas Trucking Association board member.