Women & Business: Kristy Knichel
Knichel is CEO and President of Knichel Logistics.
Kristy Knichel always had a desire to build “something from nothing.” Seventeen years ago, she had that chance. The Knichel family together founded Knichel Logistics, which since 2003 has grown to become a $83.5 million Gibsonia-based company that helps its customers transport a wide variety of goods via rail and truck as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
As CEO and President, Kristy Knichel’s role is focused on managing and strategizing for continued growth. “The transportation industry is quite competitive and heavily commoditized; thus it is essential to focus on our unique value proposition in order to retain and acquire a customer base that recognizes the value of our services beyond price,” she said.
The transportation industry is extremely male dominated, which drove Kristy Knichel to prove herself as a leader among her peers. “My mission now revolves around being an advocate for other women within transportation while continuing to grow my business in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry,” she said.
Five years ago, Kristy Knichel reached a major personal milestone when she was asked to speak at the TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Association) Conference after winning the first-ever Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award from the Women in Trucking Association — and she overcame a fear of public speaking to do so.
The Grove City native said she thrives under stressful conditions, which is likely what makes the transportation industry such a good fit for her personality and what prepares her for challenging times ahead. COVID-19 threw a “curveball,” but Kristy Knichel’s plans for growth through technology and revenue diversification have not changed. “Despite the downturn in shipping volumes due to the pandemic, I see growth in our forecast when normalcy inevitably returns,” she said.
Her advice for women in business? “A strong work ethic is an absolute must. Be prepared to work 80-hour weeks if you want to truly rise to the top. It was all very much worth it.”
Giving back to the community plays a “massive” role in Kristy Knichel’s life. Her “passion project” is the Positive Athlete Scholarship Program for female high school athletes who exemplify leadership qualities and are positive role models. She also encourages employees at Knichel Logistics to give back by matching their donations on a company level and allowing them to pursue volunteerism during work hours via additional PTO.
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For more than 10 years, Pittsburgh Magazine has spotlighted exceptional businesswomen within our pages and at quarterly networking events. We plan to continue this program during these unusual times. Join us for a vibrant conversation with our four inspiring honorees and a keynote speaker at our first virtual Women & Business, presented by S&T Bank.