Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts wins Distributor of the Year

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Updated Feb 15, 2024
Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts wins Distributor of the Year
Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts' Bill Wood, Dale Herold and Will Krusen (center three) are presented the TPS Distributor of the Year Award by TPS Editor Lucas Deal and sponsor representatives Jason Soika, Cummins-Meritor; Todd Robertson, Karmak; Rebecca DePaula, Interstate Billing Service; Steve Hansen, High Bar Brands; and Edward Kuo, CVSN during the HDAW opening general session Tuesday in Grapevine, Texas.

Exceptional customer service is a hallmark of the Trucks, Parts, Service Distributor of the Year program. The businesses nominated and recognized within the program over the last two-plus decades have all earned their positions atop the independent heavy-duty aftermarket on the back of their customer service.

Intelligent and adaptive business planning, inventory expertise, visionary marketing and sales tactics, and other traits have defined our program as well, but ask any Distributor of the Year winner or finalist about its greatest strength, customer service will come up quickly.

Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts is great example of that commitment.

The Mid-Atlantic distributor was founded as a battery supplier in the 1950s and has morphed through decades of customer-led growth into a full-line distributor capable of not just stocking truck parts, but also providing comprehensive in-house inventory management to customers in multiple locations. Customers know they can turn Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts when they need anything and the distributor will find it.

It doesn’t even need to be a truck part.

“Once a customer came in looking for a refrigerator,” says CEO Dale Herold. “We said yes. Provided the refrigerator. We don’t carry refrigerators.”

That willingness to go above and beyond helps Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts win and keep customers. It also helps illuminate why the company was named winner of the 2023 TPS Distributor of the Year Award Tuesday at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2024 (HDAW) in Grapevine, Texas.

Dale Herold, CEO at Tidewater Fleet Supply, speaks at HDAWDale Herold, CEO at Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts, accepts the 2023 TPS Distributor of the Year award at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week in Grapevine Texas.Photo courtesy of Revelry Photo House

In accepting the award at HDAW for the company’s more than 200 employees across 16 locations, Herold was gracious, humbled and honored by the award.

[RELATED: How growing leaders also grows the business for Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts]

“First and foremost, glory be to God for the privilege to lead this organization. This [award] has been well earned by our 200-plus team members. I'm sure so proud of them,” he said. “I want to thank our customers for their loyalty and trust. I want to thank our supplier partners, many of who are in the room today. I want to thank our friends at VIPAR.”

Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts was chosen as the Distributor of the Year over other finalists Blaine Brothers, Crossroads Truck Equipment, Freedom Truck & Trailer and Wheeler Fleet Solutions. The award was sponsored by Cummins-Meritor, CVSN, High Bar Brands, Interstate Billing and Karmak, all of which had representatives on stage at HDAW to present Herold and his team with the award.

With facilities from central Virginia south into Florida, Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts is one of the largest winners in Distributor of the Year history. The company was also a finalist for the award last year, as was Tidewater Fleet Supply in 2011 and TNT Parts in 2004. Tidewater acquired TNT Parts in 2016.

Both as independent entities and since combining in 2016, Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts have long been known for market knowledge. The business has sales, operations and purchasing professionals throughout its network that have been with company for decades. These market experts enable the business to be attentive and responsive to customer needs, always staying at the forefront of the independent aftermarket.

“We like to say we offer service within our service,” Herold says. “Our subject matter experts can get customers the answers to their questions in one call.”

Yet Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts also doesn’t rest on its laurels. The company is also impressively driven to develop its next generation of experts and leaders to ensure the business can sustain its level of service for years to come. Herold touched on that commitment in accepting the award.

“At Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts, our value statement is ‘People are our most important parts,’” he said Tuesday. “We are on a leadership journey. We call it the inner game. As some of you know, the soft skills are actually the hard ones. We're asking ourselves curious questions, like ‘What's it’s like on the other side of me?’ and we are dedicated to working on ourselves first, working on ourselves harder, before we work on others.

“That commitment to building better leaders builds better teams. And when we build better teams, we have a better culture. And better culture leads to better ideas, better decisions and, ultimately, a better company.”

As someone who led other businesses before coming to Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts, Herold says it’s something he personally believes in.

“The days of being a boss who says, ‘just do it my way’ are gone,” he says. “To be a leader, you need to have a high IQ, but you also need emotional intelligence, physical intelligence, learning and spiritual intelligence.”

An understanding of how to lead, and support others, also only strengthens the company’s already sterling customer service reputation, while winning the Distributor of the Year validates the company’s commitment to improving itself and its people.

“It would be recognition the care our people put into our customers has paid off,” Herold told TPS in November when asked what the award would mean. “It would by satisfying and gratifying to know we were being acknowledged for what we’re doing.”

Added CFO John Gordy, “Just being nominated is validation of the investment we’ve made in ourselves and our customers. To win, that would celebrate all we’ve accomplished.”

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