Kelley Walkup Celebrates 25 Years in Trucking
Conversion Interactive Agency’s President and CEO Kelley Walkup celebrates 25 years in the trucking industry as her company continues the legacy she has created of innovation in driver recruiting and retention.
“I’ve learned that having people you can truly trust and rely on is a huge part of success in business,” said Rob Hatchett, VP Communications & Recruiting for Covenant Transportation Group. “Kelley Walkup is one of those people for me, and she has built her entire company to be just like her. That’s why so many people, including us, have great confidence that their recruiting efforts have strength under Kelley’s oversight.”
Walkup started her career in trucking working for a carrier in her home state of Michigan, and after a decade in management and operations at a large furniture retailer, she landed at what was then TMI-MultiMedia. Walkup climbed the ranks quickly, and became the leader of the organization, managing the day-to-day operations and sales for the driver recruitment advertising agency.
In 2004, TMI-MultiMedia was purchased by Fortune 500 Company, Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). Walkup remained the general manager for what became ACS Advertising, and she was also named the organization’s leader for the solution services side of the business, TripPak SERVICES.
Six years later, in 2010, ACS was acquired by Xerox, and ACS Advertising and TripPak SERVICES became a Xerox Company. During her time as the general manager for ACS Advertising and TripPak SERVICES, Walkup and her team developed innovation that ultimately changed the way carriers recruit, retain and train drivers today. These innovations include developing digital and social media strategies like LeadFlex landing pages that drive online leads directly to the carrier’s applicant tracking system; becoming the first advertising agency in trucking to establish a social media marketing and advertising department; developing online training for driver orientation, and much more.
In February, 2015, Walkup purchased the advertising agency and introduced the Conversion Interactive Agency brand to the trucking industry. Since then, she has continued her legacy of innovation in recruiting by launching ConversionU, the training division of the organization, creating ConvertIT, a solution for carriers to leverage their database with call, text and email campaigns, and most recently introducing a recruiting dashboard for Conversion clients to view leads and campaign performance in real-time.
“Those days working under the executive leadership of Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies were challenging but also rewarding,” said Walkup. “I learned a lot about the importance of investing in innovation, building great teams, and always holding the customer’s goals and objectives as priority. While I’m glad I own the company today, I wouldn’t change how I got here and the lessons I learned along the way.”
Walkup’s commitment to innovation is recognized by her customers and the trucking industry. “Kelley has always been a leader in the industry,” said Brad Vaughn, VP of Recruiting for Maverick Transportation. “She is the person others look to in the driver recruiting business to find out what is coming next and what technological advances we should be ready for.”
In addition to the industry-leading innovation Walkup and her team have developed over the years, she is also the owner and founder of the annual Recruitment & Retention Conference, the largest event for driver recruiting professionals in the trucking industry.
Today, Walkup and the team at Conversion Interactive Agency work with over 100 carriers of all sizes helping them exceed their recruiting and retention goals to grow their fleet and fill their trucks. Many of these clients are not only business partners, but have also become friends along the way.
“I first met Kelley in 1997 at the Mid America Truck Show,” said Tim Norlin, VP of Driver Employment at Roehl Transport. “We began working together in 2003 when Multi-Media began handling the recruitment marketing for the carrier I was with. Through the years, Kelley has been a strategic partner. Her knowledge and expertise in driver recruitment is second-to-none, and I owe a great deal of our recruitment success to her and her team. She has become a great friend to many of us in the industry, and I look forward to working with her for many more years to come!”
Walkup’s team continues to grow and evolve as the driver recruiting and retention landscape becomes even more challenging. “I have always been committed to developing innovative strategies that help improve the bottom line for carriers,” said Walkup. “Driver recruiting and retention is such a tough challenge for carriers, and we are dedicated to helping carriers fill their trucks, grow their fleet and recruit and retain the right drivers for their organization. That is our mission, and I don’t think it will ever change.”