Emerging Leaders: Cole Daniel with Gregory Poole

An Unexpected Perfect Fit

Cole Daniel with Gregory Poole shares his unanticipated journey into the material handling world.

By Nicole Needles

In the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina, Cole Daniel has emerged as a leader in the material handling industry, a field often overlooked but pivotal to our daily lives. His journey from the rolling fields of his family’s agricultural background to the warehouses of material handling is a testament to his adaptability and determination.

His story begins at North Carolina State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management. His family’s legacy in farming and construction led him to believe he’d eventually step into one of these industries. Little did he know that his career path would take an unexpected turn.

“If you would have told me then that I would be in the material handling industry I would have thought you were crazy. My supervisor now even still makes the joke that I didn’t even know what a material handling machine was and he was right, but I have learned a ton just in the few short years I have been here,” said Daniel.

He joined the Lift Systems Rental Department at Gregory Poole, the Caterpillar construction dealer for eastern North Carolina and the Hyster-Yale Dealer for parts of Virginia and South Carolina. Now, four years into the industry, Daniel is showing us what he’s got.

One significant milestone in Daniel’s professional journey was attending the Emerging Leaders Conference, where he gained fresh insights into the industry. He found it valuable to connect with like-minded individuals who faced similar challenges, even if the problems weren’t within his immediate area of expertise. One exercise that stood out to him at the conference was from the “Say Anything to Anyone” session.

“As anyone’s career progresses you are faced with different problems that you must deal with. This exercise was informative in the sense that most problems can be broken down into simple processes, which allows you to provide informative feedback in a timely manner,” Daniel said.

Throughout his journey, he had the privilege of learning from mentors who shaped his passion for the industry. One of his earliest inspirations was Hal Ingram, the former vice president of Gregory Poole. His dedication, profound knowledge of the lift truck business and commitment to employees and customers left a lasting impression on Daniel. Additionally, his supervisor and asset manager at Gregory Poole, Jason Cooke, and sales director, Steve Strenck, offered unwavering support, encouraging Daniel’s growth and progression within the company.

The advice that resonates most with him is, “People quit bosses, not companies.” He understands the importance of being a leader who values their team and embraces their ideas and suggestions. In an industry marked by urgency and stress, he knows the significance of maintaining a supportive and open environment. After all, a company’s success hinges on its employees.

What Daniel likes most about his career is the far-reaching impact of the material handling industry. It’s an industry that often remains hidden but plays a vital role in our daily lives.

“Without the material handling industry, the global supply chain would come to a screeching halt. Another huge aspect that I enjoy about my career is the ability to meet and interact with people and form relationships that I would have never imagined myself being in,” Daniel said.

In Cole Daniel, we find a young professional who has seamlessly transitioned into the material handling industry. His adaptability, commitment to learning and appreciation for the significance of his work set an example for all emerging leaders in the field.

“I envision myself gaining more responsibilities within the company and using my skillsets and knowledge throughout the years to be someone that a person starting in the industry can look up to for advice and feedback,” Daniel said.