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Carrier Profiles

Express-1 Expedited Solutions: Thriving in the Face of Adversity

By Jason McGlone
Posted May 2nd 2010 3:03AM

Express-1 Expedited Solutions, Inc. has weathered the storm of the last year's economy better than even they could have possibly expected.  According to Jeff Curry, Express-1's President, the crash may have even helped them a little: "It wasn't a lot of fun when we were in the middle of it; I think looking back, we handled it appropriately.  We certainly made some cost reductions, because we had to.  At the same time, we didn't tense up so much and choke our ability to move forward.

Since the company opened for business in 1989, they've been focused on moving forward while striving to not forget precisely where their roots are.  "We're a pure ground expediter," Curry says.  "That's what we started in and really focus on, and do a good job at.  Over the last couple years, since we've accumulated so many customers, we've tacked on additional services and forms of transportations, but those are add-on services to meet our customers' needs."  He went on to encapsulate the company's history, which doesn't sound much different than many of the carriers currently on the market: "It was Mike Welch and Keith Avery; they started in '89 and it was just the two of them.  They had a couple of trucks and a car.  Later, they hired a couple of drivers.  Then, over time, they adopted the owner/operator model, and that really helped it grow much quicker."

Express-1 made a major change in 2004, when they became a publicly-traded company.  "In 2004 they [Mike Welch and Keith Avery] sold to a public company, and helped spur some additional growth.  It gave the previous owners an immediate exit plan, and once that was accomplished, it freed the employees up to think big.  We have an employee stock ownership plan.  That makes them feel a greater part of what's going on--also, we're more transparent with our information, as well, because we're public."

But it's staying grounded, literally and figuratively, that keeps the company focused.  Proof of this lies in the fact that the company won, for the 2nd year in the row, the NASSTRAC Carrier of the Year Award in the Expedited category.  "It means a lot," Curry says.  "There are some pretty prestigious companies that won awards in every category.  It's a huge honor.  We're extremely proud of it, especially because shippers vote on it.  I think it's extremely legitimate, and I also think it's the most prestigious award an expediter can win."

The back to back wins are something that Curry finds he can attribute to what keeps the company moving forward: its people.  "I think we're fortunate in that we've got a tremendous group of people.  We're located in a very small community in Buchanan, MI.  We have extremely low turnover and we seem to have a fertile base of available new employees to handle our growth.  I think in our business it takes a certain kind of individual to take care of the customer in this type of emergency setting.  You need somebody with a sense of urgency and somebody that's gonna knock themselves out to take care of the customer and we've been extremely fortunate in that we've got some great, great people."

Of course, their aggressiveness in the face of the economical challenges over the last year hasn't hurt them, either.  It doesn't appear that it'll stop anytime soon, as they're planning to continue to move forward with temperature-controlled freight and government work, as well as LTL freight and adding additional types of transportation, based on their customer group.  "We're gonna continue to look for acquisitions.  We did two last year and we'll always be looking for smart acquisitions as we look to the future."

Curry continues: "We maintained a strong investment in sales and that really helped us a lot.  We actually invested in more salespeople.  We were able to gain the employment of some very experienced sales people.  We have the most experience sales force we've ever had as a result of the downturn and those folks being available.  We've added some people in the operations department as well w/ significant experience. We gained all of that due to the downturn.  If we'd stuck our head in the sand and really hunkered down, in fear of what was going on, that would have been a bad approach.  I almost wish we'd been more aggressive."

Express-1 Expedited Solutions offers its drivers:

    * Industry-Leading Compensation with Low Start-up
    * Standardized Fuel Surcharge on All Loads
    * Free Trip Pak
    * Health Insurance with Prescription Coverage
    * Paid Cargo Insurance
    * Competitive Non-Trucking and Physical Damage Insurance
    * State-of-the-Art Technology
    * Nationwide Road Service
    * Canada and Hazmat Optional
    * Weekly Direct Deposit
    * Two-day Orientation
    * Passenger Program
    * 99% No Touch
    * No Forced Dispatch
    * Experienced Staff Available 24/7/365

Their driver requirements are as follows:

    * Be at least 23 years of age
    * Clean driving record (talk to a recruiter for details)
    * Nationwide cell phone
    * Two years verifiable experience for tractor trailers
    * Be able to speak, write and comprehend English
    * Pass a DOT physical & drug screen
    * No DUI in the past 10 years

Express-1 Expedited Solutions, Inc.
429 Post Road
P.O. Box 210
Buchanan, MI 49107
Phone: 866-857-4546


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