By Lillian Smith | Photos courtesy of Sam Willis
WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES
Behind every truck, ship, or plane carrying products around the world, there is a logistics team working around the clock to make sure each shipment reaches its destination safely. Trinity International University alumnus Sam Willis (Business ‘21) is part of this behind the scenes work at local brokerage LiVe Logistics in Vernon Hills, where he specializes in business operations and serves as the intermediary between customers and transportation.
“We’re the glue that holds everything together,” Willis said. “We make sure everything runs smoothly, and if issues arise, we’re the problem solvers that take over.” Willis works as part of a small but powerful team that makes sure their clients stay informed and are taken care of.*
“As a Christian you have to take a stand. It’s about being a witness to the people that you work with. It’s a way to stand up for what’s right.”
LESSONS FROM PROFESSORS
While Willis studied business, he didn’t initially consider working in logistics until the field was recommended to him by a family member. Nevertheless, his education at Trinity gave him a solid foundation which prepared him for his career. “Our main benefit to our customers is our communication and our service ability,” he explained. He credits much of his professionalism to his Business Communication class, an asset he feels that even students majoring outside of business will find helpful.
At LiVe, Willis schedules and tracks pickups and delivery, communicates with customers and transportation, uploads information to the company software, and recently, he has been entrusted with assisting in financing. While he has learned many new skills on the job, he applies the knowledge he gained at Trinity every day. One of the most valuable skills that Willis learned at Trinity was business ethics. Willis reflected on the impact that the Business and Ethic course had on him, as he learned not only the importance of good ethics, but also how to incorporate his faith into the field of business.
“Many things that are common in certain industries aren’t really ethical,” he said. Through that class and the advice of his professors, Willis has been able to navigate how to ethically work in business as well as portray his faith each day at work. “As a Christian you have to take a stand. It’s about being a witness to the people that you work with. It’s a way to stand up for what’s right.”
“Learn to be flexible in life. . . Adapting well I think is another way we as Christians can be a light to those around us.”
A FULFILLING CAREER
Willis explained that his job comes with a high level of risk, as his responsibilities have included tracking and scheduling multi-million dollar shipments for such companies as BestBuy, as well as working with Costco, OceanSpray, Uline, and others. He feels that the rewards of the job make it worth the risk. Not only is it a profitable industry, but Willis works alongside his clients to ensure that products arrive on time so stores can have fully stocked shelves any day of the week.
He also has advice for Trinity students who are looking forward to their careers: “learn to be flexible in life.” He experienced significant change both at Trinity during the pandemic and in his career, when his company was acquired by another. “A lot of times we can’t control the change that happens around us. Adapting well I think is another way we as Christians can be a light to those around us.”
Even his experience as a TIU baseball player has been an asset to his career – his workplace set up a softball league that he has participated in with his coworkers. As a Christian he may not conform with the secular culture that is prevalent in his workplace, but he feels that he developed social skills at Trinity that have helped him connect with his coworkers and customers.
“Being at Trinity has allowed me to better understand myself, my relationship with Christ, and the world around me.”
The community at Trinity, both in the classroom and on campus, fostered a time of growth that Willis has now carried with him past graduation. During his time at Trinity, Willis truly began to make his faith his own, preparing him for his career, and becoming the foundation of his friendships and his marriage to Trinity alumnae Caroline Miner – Willis (Exercise Science ‘22).
“Being at Trinity has allowed me to better understand myself, my relationship with Christ, and the world around me. It is this and the lifelong relationships that I’ve built that have made my time at Trinity College beyond worth it.”
It is Trinity’s ongoing goal for alumni like Sam Willis to go forth and stand out for the skills they learned while studying at Trinity, and for the faith they deepened during their time as students.
*11-50 employees work at LiVe Logistics according to https://www.linkedin.com/company/live-logistics