Emerging Leaders: Travis Herd of Matthai Material Handling

Being the Change

Travis Herd of Matthai Material Handling shares his leadership mantra: Work hard in silence and let your success make the noise.

In the bustling world of material handling, emerging leaders are making their mark, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to an industry rooted in tradition. One such leader is Travis Herd, a 27-year-old professional with a rich background and an unwavering commitment to excellence. From his early days as a lead cook at Wendy’s to his current role as service manager at Matthai Material Handling, he has navigated a unique path, driven by resilience and a thirst for growth.

Herd’s journey began in Baltimore, Maryland, where he faced adversity at a young age with the loss of both his parents in 2009. This early hardship propelled him to mature quickly, taking on responsibilities that shaped his character. His career kicked off in high school at Wendy’s, and after graduating, he transitioned to become an equipment operator at a Kohl’s warehouse. Eventually, Herd found his home at Matthai Material Handling, starting as a truck driver and steadily rising through the ranks.

“I understood the sense of urgency when you can’t move a product in your warehouse and how crucial downtime can be to our customers,” Herd reflects on his experience operating equipment. This perspective would later influence his leadership style.

In his current role as service manager, Herd juggles various responsibilities, including daily interactions with technicians, handling work in progress and ensuring seamless dispatching. His commitment to Matthai’s mission, focused on serving customers with urgency and creative solutions, reflects a dedication to excellence that defines his leadership.

Herd recently celebrated his ninth year at Matthai, a testament to his loyalty and the company’s recognition, winning the Lindie Dealer of Excellence award multiple times. In 2023, Matthai formed a partnership with Fraza/Vitan Equipment and MH Group USA, expanding its reach across different states.

A pivotal moment in his professional development was his participation in the MHEDA Emerging Leaders Conference. Reflecting on the conference, he shared, “Conferences like this can help us gain knowledge and go from ‘a’ leader to ‘the’ leader.” The ELC provided a platform for networking, confidence-building and insights into giving candid feedback during annual reviews.

Herd emphasizes the value that young professionals bring to the material handling industry, citing their fresh ideas and adaptability to technological advancements. “We must be creative and find ways of being more efficient,” he says, emphasizing the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest trends.

A significant influence in Herd’s career has been his mentor, Bill Ryan, known for building winning cultures in the industry. Herd credits Ryan with teaching him how to manage priorities, maintain a work-life balance and excel in leadership.

When asked about the best leadership advice he’s received, Herd emphasizes the importance of listening, learning and staying positive. He quotes a mantra he lives by: “Be the change.” He believes in taking initiative and working hard in silence, letting success make the noise.

What Herd loves most about his career is the diversity of challenges each day brings. From managing his team to resolving customer issues and providing guidance, he thrives in the dynamic environment at Matthai. The company’s culture, recognizing individuals by name and position, fuels his motivation.

Looking ahead, Herd envisions further growth in his leadership skills, possibly moving into a branch manager role or higher within Matthai. With a focus on building a dynasty and leaving a lasting legacy, he embodies the spirit of an emerging leader, ready to shape the future of the material handling industry.

“My versatility and willingness to learn will take me to the next level, and I am looking forward to the bright future ahead of me. My Parents would be proud!” Herd said.