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Mentors in the Making

Morgan Underwood, Assistant Branch Manager, Allen Lund Company

“My introduction to this world was different from many others as I was drawn to the Allen Lund Company before I was acquainted with the industry.”

This reflection shared by Morgan Underwood is a reversal of many of the stories we hear in this business. Where countless origins reveal family ties that tethered newcomers to fresh produce, or a desire for agriculture propels them into fruits and vegetables, Morgan was drawn to this industry by the allure of the Allen Lund Company (ALC)—what it stood for and the desire to grow alongside some of transportation’s greatest leaders.

“I was working in software sales part-time as I finished college at California State University—Northridge, but was still searching for opportunities. As soon as I visited the corporate office and saw the brokers in action, I was instantly hooked. The fast-paced and exciting environment was what initially drew me in, however, it was the company’s culture that has kept me excited to come to work for the past 12 years. Our company invests in its employees, and customers know they can count on the strong relationships we have built,” Morgan reflected.

Since 2008, Morgan has been on an upward trajectory driven by a deep passion to contribute to the betterment of the company and to his own personal growth. Beginning as a 23-year-old writing up load orders for ALC’s San Francisco Office as a Transportation Broker, before moving to Operations Manager by 2018 and promoted to Assistant Branch Manager in 2019 by Branch Manager Wendy Adan­—Morgan has continued to start each new day with a hunger for knowledge and admirable compassion for each client and team member under ALC’s wide-ranging branches of family and offerings.

"The fast-paced and exciting environment was what initially drew me in, however, it was the company’s culture that has kept me excited to come to work for the past 12 years."

- Morgan Underwood, Assistant Branch Manager, Allen Lund Company

Along the way, two very important people made an impact on Morgan’s life as they reached across ALC’s ranks to mentor him in profound and incredible ways. The first of those two mentors is Kenny Lund, Executive Vice President of ALC Logistics, who Morgan actually knew growing up in Pasadena, California.

“I got to know Kenny, as well as his father Allen Lund, while I was in high school. I volunteered as a camp counselor at a YMCA camp that Kenny helped run. While my own patience was tried, I admired how Kenny was able to compartmentalize different roles while never seeming overwhelmed. He could be a comedian, disciplinarian, and everything in between,” Morgan shared. “All the while, he was conscious of the tone a particular situation needed. I worked at that YMCA camp every summer through college. After graduating, I was intrigued as to what industry someone as versatile as Kenny was involved in. What he introduced me to was a business that would provide never-ending challenges and constantly needed creative problem-solving. The influence Kenny has had on my life has only grown since I met him. His love for his family, dedication to his responsibilities, and tireless work ethic are all qualities I strive to emulate.”

When Bob Rose, Vice President of National Accounts for ALC, got a hold of the newcomer, Morgan realized that the hope he had to grow alongside the company could become even more graspable.

Morgan met Bob Rose when he interviewed with the San Francisco office in 2008. He was immediately impressed by Bob’s knowledge of the transportation industry and quickly learned that the location specialized in produce.

"Regardless of what challenging situations are happening, people need to eat. And building relationships with truckers in order to efficiently get that done is something I am passionate about."

“Just as not all trucks are meant to haul produce, not all brokers are meant to work with produce. It takes a certain type of person to want to get involved with a ‘round-the-clock race against time’ industry. I knew within an hour of meeting Bob that I wanted to be one of those people,” Morgan told me. “Throughout the years, I have learned how to have balance in this exciting industry from him. Through his example, Bob has shown me how to be kind to people while still holding them accountable, how to push people to get the best out of them without being overbearing, and how to be an effective manager by putting people in positions to succeed. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned for the last 12 years and fortunate that he helps continue to support my growth, both professionally and personally.”

I can tell that Morgan takes pride in being part of a supply chain that keeps this country fed. It is in the way he speaks about the life he leads instead of the “work” he does.

“Regardless of what challenging situations are happening, people need to eat. And building relationships with truckers in order to efficiently get that done is something I am passionate about. Most of the population simply goes to a grocery store and doesn’t think twice about the extraordinary efforts that took place in order to get that product in front of them. Working closely with truckers, vendors, and customers makes me so grateful for those conveniences I used to take for granted.”

In this “race-against-the-clock” industry, there is much comfort in knowing that individuals like Morgan are on the front lines taking care of all of us. And in turn, I can almost guarantee his mentorship of others will ultimately help to better our fresh produce industry and the hearts and minds of many.

The Mentors

Here is what they have to say about Morgan...

Kenny Lund,Executive Vice President,ALC Logistics

Kenny Lund, Executive Vice President, ALC LogisticsI have known Morgan and his parents and sisters for more than 25 years. When Morgan was in high school, I invited him to be a volunteer counselor at the summer camp where I was Director. His energy and charisma at camp made him a stand-out favorite with the campers and with his fellow counselors. He is a natural leader and fun to be around. When he graduated from college, we offered him a job at our San Francisco office. Over the past 12 years at the Allen Lund Company, he has excelled and his leadership traits have shown through his work. His was not an easy path at all. He has dealt with some tough situations, but his positive attitude always helped get him back on a successful road. He knows how to embrace the struggle and use those lessons to make him stronger and better. Morgan has earned his leadership position, and he will be a great mentor to others who have struggles of their own. I am tremendously proud of what Morgan has accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what he does next!

Bob Rose, Vice President of National Accounts, Allen Lund Company

Bob Rose, Vice President of National Accounts, Allen Lund CompanyOne of my first days working with Morgan, I had a faux camera on the ceiling. I played a little trick on him with Kenny Lund, who was in the Los Angeles office. For about three minutes, we all had the time of our lives making Morgan do silly things in front of that faux camera. He did jumping jacks and talked into thin air yelling things like ‘Hey, I’m the new guy.’ The hidden smiles and laughter that followed still bring a chuckle to me as I share this. The wonderful thing about the trick was how Morgan was able to have fun with us and be a part of the event afterward. From that time on, I realized that Morgan had what it takes to straddle the world of shippers and trucking companies and deliver in so many ways. Through all the years together, through thick and thin, Morgan has always been a genuine and wonderful human being. Even when things were challenging I always knew Morgan was a special person, a person that was going to help others in this world. Morgan is smart and willing to put in the hard work for his people and all his clients. I’ve been blessed to have Morgan in my life and know he will do great things in the future.