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Amazon Freight's Chidi Onwuka
February 14, 2024
Amazon Freight employee spotlight: Pricing expert Chidi Onwuka
As we continue to celebrate influential Black Americans in freight, this year, we’re spotlighting another Amazon Freight employee. Meet pricing expert Chidi Onwuka, who will share his experience in the field and insights into what impacts freight pricing.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into transportation?
I was trained as an economist and kicked off my professional career on Wall Street. Shortly thereafter, I wanted to pivot, so I returned to business school. This led me to the transportation tech field, where I worked on shipper analytics. It was my first foray into freight, and I tremendously enjoyed grappling with the complex dynamics of the industry. When I got the opportunity to join Amazon Freight as a pricing product manager, it was too good to pass up.

Q: Describe your role at Amazon Freight and what it means for our customers.
My team’s key function is to find ways to maximize the long-term sustainable growth of our business by building products that leverage the Amazon network’s investments to pass on cost efficiencies to our customers. It involves a deep understanding of our capabilities as an organization and the complex dynamics of the segment. Most importantly, it means knowing the end customer’s needs. My day-to-day involves working cross-functionally to deliver technology and programmatic solutions to these problems. This, ultimately, allows us to drive network efficiencies which result in value for our customers and the business.

Q: How do you make sense of the complexity of the freight world for customers?
There are a lot of variables that come into play when it comes to pricing. On top of it, those variables are constantly in flux. They can include extreme weather (that we’ve had so much of this year), available capacity, world events like what’s happening in the Red Sea, and much more. The big thing that we do at Amazon Freight is harness these inputs into our systems to give customers competitive and current prices that they can have confidence in. We can forecast spot rates 14 days out and contract rates 52 weeks out. It’s stimulating to put all this disparate and dynamic information together for customers.

Q: How do these events and occurrences make your job more interesting?
The dynamic nature of freight disruptions keeps my job from being monotonous. I’m required to constantly adapt and problem-solve as we attempt to distill the truth from the noise. I find it both challenging and rewarding to stay agile and responsive in the face of unpredictability. Such events can introduce variability that must be carefully managed. This complexity, while difficult, is what makes the role engaging. It’s a continuous learning process, where each event provides new insights and opportunities to refine our pricing strategies and improve my own personal growth.

Q: We’re in the middle of Black History Month and, this year, Amazon is celebrating with the theme, “Black is Remarkable.” Who is a remarkable figure in your life?
Foremost is my mother, who has been a bedrock. As both a mother and father figure, she worked tirelessly to provide me with opportunities that have shaped who I am today. Her unwavering dedication and the values she instilled in me—resilience, integrity, and compassion—continue to guide my life and decisions.

In the wider historical context, Harriet Tubman stands out as a beacon of courage and determination. Her bravery in leading others to freedom and her role in the fight for equality are sources of deep inspiration. Her life reminds me of the power of resilience and the impact one individual can have in the face of immense challenges. And finally, is Nina Simone, with her extraordinary talent and unapologetic advocacy for others, has also always resonated with me. Her legacy is a reminder of the power of voice and art as tools for positive change.

Q: How has your culture, background, and sphere of influence inspired you to be remarkable?
My upbringing in a family deeply passionate about the arts and reading has been a cornerstone of my life. These interests were not just hobbies, they were tools for understanding the world and enacting positive change. From a young age, I was taught that creativity and knowledge could open doors and create opportunities, transcending circumstances. This foundation has profoundly influenced my desire to be remarkable. I've always believed in the power of education and art to inspire and uplift. It's why I dedicate my spare time to teaching in local elementary schools. There's a unique joy and fulfillment in igniting the same spark of curiosity and creativity in children that I experienced growing up.

Additionally, my journey in writing poetry and books is a testament to this legacy. I write with the hope that my words will not only find a place on shelves but also resonate in the hearts and minds of readers. It’s a way of sharing my privilege of a rich cultural upbringing. Hopefully, I will inspire others to see the arts as a means of personal growth and societal improvement.

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