June 10, 2022

Class of 2022: Trucking company VP sees a role for artificial intelligence in future of his industry

Haskayne grad Kenedy Assman plans to keep family legacy alive as he brings technological solutions to outdated practices
Haskayne School of Business graduate Kenedy Assman
Kenedy Assman participated in Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies enroute to graduating from the Haskayne School of Business with an MBA.

Kenedy Assman is the fourth generation to lead Landtran Systems Inc. down the long highways of Canada as it helps to keep the country’s goods moving. The company, one of the largest trucking and logistics companies in Canada, was started back in the 1930s by his great-grandfather. However, the recent UCalgary grad didn’t come to Landtran by a short route.

Assman added vice-president of corporate development for Landtran to his resume just one month after completing an MBA specializing in finance through the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. (Assman also has a Bachelor of Applied Science from Queen’s University, where he studied mechanical engineering in the mid-2010s.)

During his time at Haskayne, Assman also participated in the innovative course where students support ventures in the Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies (CDL-Rockies). CDL-Rockies is one of 11 CDL sites around the world that brings together experienced entrepreneurs, investors and subject-matter experts to accelerate the growth of early stage science and tech-focused companies. Assman worked closely with Curvenote to help the science-writing platform create a go-to-market strategy.

Now, he’s set to focus on continuing to build his family’s company.

Even through Landtran is a family business, how did you get your start in the transportation industry?

I actually never thought that I would work here! But it seems like I’ve been drawn to the transportation industry my whole life. One summer, when I was in [Queen’s], I started a bus company with one of my fellow students. That company was to bring students to and from Toronto and Kingston to see their families for the weekend. The company that was already there was charging a crazy amount of money, so we were able to cut that cost in half. After [Queen’s], I found myself in marine shipping, where I was a management trainee, then I took over managing oil tankers. But then I started missing the prairies, and that’s when I decided to do the MBA at the Haskayne School of Business.

Is there anything in the transportation industry that you want to change or improve upon?

One problem that I would really like to solve and draws me to transportation is how old the systems are, how antiquated the process is. A lot of things are still done on paper; even routing and dispatching is done manually or in person. Right now, there isn’t a lot of AI that goes into finding and creating routes and finding the most effective ways to move freight from A to B. Even warehousing is still done with pen and paper, whereas you see companies like Amazon really disrupting, bringing in all this tech into this industry. Hopefully, I will be here to guide the company into the next generation of technological developments and bring us up to speed on what is currently out there.

How do you think you’d go about solving and introducing more technology into the industry?

First, I got to learn about the trucking industry and the supply chain and the unique problems to this industry. [At CDL-Rockies,] I was exposed to all the new stuff, cutting-edge stuff that is coming out. There were around 60 companies, and a lot of them were energy-focused or agriculture-focused, but there are things there that can be pulled into the transportation industry. There is also the [CDL - Supply Chain program]; it would be interesting to see what is coming out of there.

Do think making the transportation industry more tech-based will help economic growth for the industry?

Calgary is optimally positioned to be not only a transportation hub for Canada but for a lot of locations in the U.S.A. By transforming Calgary and transportation infrastructure [etc.], we really have the opportunity to be the epicentre of transportation in Canada.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

In the future, I would like to be running and owning this company someday, making it into Canada’s No. 1 transportation company. The best service, the greatest place to work and the safest place to work. Hopefully, I will be here to guide the company into the next generation of technological developments and get us up to speed with what is currently out there and what the Amazons of the world are doing.

Entrepreneurial UCalgary grads make an impact in business, health care, culture, law, education and more. Read more stories about Class of 2022 students.