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As a 10-year-old, David Congdon accompanied his dad to meet with truck drivers. His father, who ran Old Dominion Freight Lines, told his employees that the more the company succeeds, the more they can earn.
Congdon, 56, now conveys the same message to his workforce of about 14,000 full- and part-timers. He’s president and chief executive of Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL), a transportation firm founded by his grandparents in 1934.
“My dad is 81 and our executive chairman,” Congdon said. “He tells me, ‘The thing you brought to the business is a participatory style of management.’ He sees how I listen to employees and reach consensus rather than shove things down their throat.”