Pros to Know: XPO's Casey Smock Named Overall Rising Star

Casey Smock, Southeast VP for XPO, was named an overall winner of the Rising Stars category for this year’s Pros to Know award.

Xpo Casey Headshot

Casey Smock, Southeast VP for XPO, was named an overall winner of the Rising Stars category for this year’s Pros to Know award, presented by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

We talk exclusively with Smock about his journey, his goals, what he would tell his future and past self, his humble beginnings and more.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the 2024 Pros to Know winners.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive: Let’s first talk about you. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey to get to this current stage in your career?

Casey Smock: My journey in freight transportation began when I joined FedEx as a dockworker at the age of 21. Back then, I was just looking for a job, but little did I know, I was stepping into a career path that would become a passion.

The industry opened my eyes to endless opportunities for learning, growth, and building a career I could be proud of. Being a dockworker was no walk in the park, but it laid the groundwork for my hands-on understanding of the industry. As I gained confidence and excelled in this role, I found myself taking on more responsibilities, which ultimately gave me more motivation to stick with it. After almost a year as a dockworker, I was promoted to supervisor of operations.

My experience as a dockworker set me up perfectly for the supervisor role. It made me a more relatable and effective leader because I understood what motivated my team.

Fast forward three years, at the age of 24, I moved to my next role as a service center manager, managing several locations across Georgia and diving deeper into LTL operations. It was during this time that I began to truly understand my leadership style.

After spending six years as a service center manager at FedEx, I knew it was time for the next step. XPO caught my attention with its impressive leadership team. I spent the next 2.5 years getting to know XPO’s business which helped me earn my most recent promotion to Vice President, Southeast. In this role, I’ve been intensely focused on helping my employees become the best they can be and making our service even better for our customers.


Supply & Demand Chain Executive: One of the things outlined in your submission is that you come from humble beginnings, starting out as a dockworker at FedEx at the age of 21, to becoming a VP today. Walk us through what this journey looks like? 

Smock: FedEx began as a part-time job while I figured out what I wanted to do in the long run. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the work, and it turned out I was pretty good at it. I continued to take on more responsibilities as a dockworker and when a leadership position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity to make a larger impact. Applying for a supervisor position wasn't a one-shot deal; it took a few tries and going through the process multiple times before I finally got the chance.

With each step forward in my career, I've always viewed it as a chance to positively influence others and make a positive impact in whatever way possible. I always ask myself, "How can I add the most value?" and "How can we do this better?" I’ve always been focused on how to make my team better while contributing to the overall success of our business.


Supply & Demand Chain Executive: There’s so much going on in the shipping world, and in the supply chain in general. What have you and your company done to help customers improve visibility and optimization? 

Smock: What attracted me to XPO was its reputation for innovation and growth. With a team of over 400 technologists, the company is always coming up with new proprietary technology to simplify our employees' work so we can deliver even better service to customers.

Recently, we’ve rolled out two key pieces of technology that have made us even more efficient in the service we provide to our customers.

The first is our piece-level tracking technology, or PLT which has provided greater visibility of shipments to our customers. In the LTL business, since we handle freight from different companies, tracking freight at the pallet level in real-time can be tricky. PLT solves this challenge by assigning a unique identifier to each pallet, making it possible to track them separately. After implementing PLT across our 294 service centers, we've seen fewer shortages and better trailer loading.

Another piece of technology that has helped us enhance our service while providing friendly competition among our team is our trailer loading rating program. Using handheld devices, dockworkers take a picture of each trailer they unload and rate it on a scale of one to five based on how well it was loaded and unloaded. We've used this data to drive improvement in our overall load quality. Additionally, it has served as a means to recognize and reward dockworkers, operations supervisors, and service centers that consistently achieve the highest ratings and are setting the standard for great service across XPO. 


Supply & Demand Chain Executive: If you could have a conversation with your younger self, what would you tell him? 

Smock: Be patient. The journey is often more satisfying than the result. The work you are doing does not go unnoticed. Recognize that your team and your leadership team is always paying attention.


Supply & Demand Chain Executive: What would you want to tell your future self?

Smock: Don't lose sight of how far you’ve come and what it’s taken to bring you here. When we’re in the thick of it, it's often easy to overlook the time and effort that got us to where we are now. This is why it’s important to stay grounded and remind yourself that while you may have reached a desired point, there's still more work to do. So, keep going.


Supply & Demand Chain Executive: You’ve been named an overall Pros to Know winner for the Rising Stars category, which recognizes young or newer professionals whose achievements, hard work and vision have shaped the supply chain network. What advice do you have for other Rising Stars and up-and-comers in the supply chain?

Smock: I’d advise to always remember what has brought you success in your career so far. The foundation of your success at each step can be applied at every level. Stay true to yourself and maintain your humility. Your team often holds the solutions to your business challenges so as a rising leader, your job is to ask the right questions and draw those solutions out of them. This not only builds confidence within your team but also nurtures future leaders while adding significant value to your organization. This is how you demonstrate your value as a leader and what you should always be pushing towards.