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Elaine Chao is Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Transportation. She immigrated to America when she was 8 years old. Chao has served under two Republican presidents already, and was the first Asian-American woman cabinet member. She is, notably, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who has said he would not abstain from voting for her confirmation. She is 63 years old.

Elaine Chao, DOL portrait

Elaine Chao


Chao’s confirmation hearing was Jan. 11.  At it, Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) said he looked forward to her being a part of the new administration. She promised to keep senators aware of plans for infrastructure overhaul Trump has said was a priority. She also said she would work with Congress on a system to prevent train collisions. To help fund projects, she suggested public-private partnerships.


She earned a BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Before going into public life, Chao worked in banking. While working with Citicorp, Chao was granted a White House Fellowship, which gives people experience with what happens in the federal government and encourages increased participation in national affairs. The fellows work as assistants to those who work in the White House, including the vice president and cabinet members. It seems to have paid off for her, as she has gone on to several leadership positions, including:

Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration, 1986-1988

Chairwoman of Federal Maritime Commission, 1988-1989

Deputy Secretary of Transportation, 1989-1991

Peace Corps Director, 1991-1992

President of United Way of America, 1996-2001

Secretary of Labor, 2001-2009


For more information about Chao, visit her website.

BAT Logistics, provider of 3rd Party Logistics and Transportation solutions, wrapped its ninth year of business with another year of growth. Over the past year, BAT has found innovative ways to adapt to change, and execution has led to an increase in the amount of dedicated freight that the company has been awarded.

One way BAT accomplished this was by working with BTU SOFTWARE COMPANY, a supply chain software development company. For the past nine months, BAT utilized BTU’s Three-In-One web-based application to improve performance in several aspects of the logistics business.

“It’s worked out to be the best move BAT has ever made, and has already increased our load count and margins within the same pool of customers year over year,” said Jarrod Marinello, executive vice president. “Not only has BTU increased BAT’s bottom line but it has also increased employee performance and reduced stress. Our employees are the most important aspect of our business, so its imperative that we not only give them tools but also reduce their stress.”

To learn more about BTU Software Company’s Three-In-One, visit the website.

on-highway-diesel-fuel-prices-1The first diesel fuel update of the year is available through the Energy Information Administration, and the news isn’t good. Diesel prices are continuing to rise, this week averaging $2.586 per gallon.

That’s almost 5 cents higher than a week ago, 10 cents higher than a month ago, and 38 cents higher than a year ago this week.

For more information, visit the EIA’s website.

Hatchimals are one of the hottest toys this holiday season, as shown by the toys’ immediate absence on store shelves and high prices on resale sites. BAT’s Executive Vice President/Owner Jarrod Marinello got his hands on one, and decided to use the Hatchimals toy to give back to Fisher House.

14813848383801646777131Fisher House offers housing, food and even transportation to family members of patients at major military and VA hospitals. Marinello’s brother is a patient at the Polytrauma Rehab Hospital next door to the Minneapolis Fisher House.

“Because people at Fisher were so kind, I asked if they had children staying there,” Marinello said. “They said yes, one boy who was basically living there with family.”

Without hesitation, Marinello and BAT Logistics donated the Hatchimals toy to the Fisher House so the organization could make the holidays a little better for that child and his family.

For more information about Fisher Houses, visit









on-highway-diesel-fuel-pricesDiesel prices are up six cents this week to an average $2.48 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Prices were previously at $2.48 mid-October, but dropped to $2.20 by last week. The prices have been on a roller coaster ride since mid-summer after a steady climb that started in February.

The average price per gallon is now just over 10 cents higher than prices were this week a year ago.

For more information, visit the EIA’s website.

As we prepare to spend time with our families and feast on home-cooked meals, we reflect on what we are thankful for this year.

At BAT Logistics, we are thankful for our loving families, our amazing clients, and our supportive co-workers. We are thankful that our successes have allowed us to give back and share with others less fortunate. We are thankful for the food on our tables, and all the people- from farmers to truck drivers to store clerks to cooks and bakers- who put that food there.

Here’s what BAT team members said they were especially thankful for this year:

Jared Kutschara– These girls!kutschara-thankful

Mike Wajda– I have had a great year! I have my family to thank, as well as BAT. I am extremely thankful to have a job at a place like BAT. A place where you can come to work and your extended family is there, too, and fighting for the last dollar to not only help their paycheck, but everyone’s!

Jon Ellsworth– I’m thankful for cheese. I really love it and it’s usually served on Thanksgiving.

Chet Palmer– I am terribly grateful for my family.  They are wonderful!  Each of them provides me with joy and support every day.  By far, the greatest blessing I’ve received.palmer-thanks

Ashley Jankowski– I’m thankful for being able to share an American Thanksgiving with our 16-year-old “son” from Italy, Sergio. He is with us through a foreign exchange program. He’s been in America since August, with us since September, and won’t go home until next June.  We are very thankful to have him in our home and to share American culture and the holidays with him.jankowski-thankful

Anthony Harder– I am thankful for Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers stealing a pass intended for his teammate, Lou Williams, and hitting a game winning three pointer Tuesday night. I am also thankful for the refs of the Houston and Oakland football game robbing Ralph of a fantasy football victory against me this last week in the league we have here at BAT.

Losing your focus on your freight pricing-

A majority of the Transportation Freight Providers I’ve worked with that have struggled to gain more business all had to rely on employees with less than 1 to 1.5 years experience and minimal tools to decide what pricing decisions to quote customers. The same observation of minimal experience and tools also applied to a majority of Transportation Providers deciding what pricing decision to quote when participating in freight bids. The focus at the beginning shifted from accurate competitive pricing but over time the focus shifted to needing to adding new customers and quickly.

Transportation Freight Providers focusing their time and money to add new business when they could be focusing on making better pricing decisions by utilizing a Rate Analysis Tool such as BTU’s( RSO, A cloud-based prediction tool that learns from historical data and uses machine learning techniques to exploit the opportunities hidden in freight data thus increasing business.

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on-highway_diesel_fuel_prices-9As news of an explosion on the same pipeline that leaked in September bought fears of another gas shortage and higher prices, October ended and November started with diesel prices that barely increased and regular gasoline prices that dropped a penny.

According to the Energy Information Administration, diesel prices started the week at an average $2.479 per gallon. Last week, prices averaged $2.478.

The average prices are very close to the amount prices were a year ago this week, at only .6 cents lower.

While regular gas prices saw a significant increase in September, especially in the lower Atlantic states, diesel prices did not. The effects of this new disruption- which killed one worker and injured five others, according to the Associated Press- are uncertain at the moment.

For more information, visit the EIA’s website.

Katie Forney is BAT Logistics’ Top Dog for September! She was selected by her peers and management for her consistent hard work throughout the month.

Team members noted she really stepped up and managed all of accounting and carrier compliance with little to no help.

“I’d like to thank Mike Wajda,” she said. “Without him, I wouldn’t be the positive, hardworking force that I am. He took the time to acknowledge me, not just on this day, but every day.”

Her award included a $50 gift card. She has been working at BAT for eight years.


Diesel fuel pricesSeptember saw the southeastern states in fuel crisis when a pipeline was found to be leaking fuel in Alabama. As the demand increased due to panicked drivers hearing the news, regular gasoline prices also increased across the region. However, diesel prices stayed the course, even though the spill affected diesel supplies, too.

Diesel prices this week are the same as prices were the week of the scare (Sept. 19) at an average $2.389 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. That is actually one cent lower than prices were the week before, and nearly two cents less than prices were at the start of September.

Prices are about 10 cents less than prices were last year this first week of October. Last year, diesel prices spiked in mid-October, before falling just in time for Election Day in November.

For more information, visit the EIA’s website.

Regular Gasoline Prices