In The News

Expediter of the Year 2017 Finalists: Edward Estes

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Jul 13th 2017 12:00PM

Expedite Expo 2017, which runs July 14 and 15 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky., is the only trade show in the world geared exclusively to the expedited trucking industry. And this year’s show will feature the announcement of the winner of the inaugural Expediter of the Year award, which will be presented to one of these three finalists: Bob and Linda Caffee with Landstar, Robert Burton with V3 Transportation, and Edward Estes with Bolt Express.

The purpose of this award is to recognize those hardworking, professional and safety-conscious expediters on the road today who strive to make the expedite industry better and are deeply involved in serving and making a positive impact on their community.

So, who will win this year’s award? Find out on Saturday, July 15, at 3:30pm in the Expo hall.

Registration for the entire conference is free--and so is truck parking. Secure your spot today at https://www.expediteexpo.com/.

In the meantime, let’s get to know each of the finalists. Today’s spotlight is on Edward Estes.

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Edward Estes
Role: Owner-Operator
Carrier: Bolt Express
Home: Montgomery, Alabama
Year Started in Expediting: 2003
Miles to Date: 1.5 million

Ed Estes was nominated by Chad Brown, director of driver relations for Bolt Express. “Ed is the most professional driver that I have ever met during my 20-year career in the transportation industry,” says Brown.

A Vietnam War army veteran, Ed, and his wife Dianne are owner-operators who drive a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter van. Ed started his career in expediting in 2003 after retiring from his long-time role as a project manager in the telecommunications industry.

EO recently spoke with Ed to learn more about his passion for expediting, how he defines “success” in this business, and what has been the foundation for his success in the industry. Here is his story.

Passion for Expediting
Why did Ed pursue the expedite business instead of staying retired?

“Expediting just fit what I wanted to do from that point on,” says Ed. “I wanted to be my own boss and just have freedom to work when I wanted to.”

What does Ed like most about expediting? What makes the expedite life a passion for him and Dianne?

“Just the adventures that we've had going to different parts of the country and visiting all the historical sites, and meeting new people,” says Ed. “And, again, we love having the freedom to more or less do what we like to do.”

Definition of Success
How does Ed define “success” in the context of expediting?

“Success can be defined in a lot of different ways,” says Ed. “I think, in our case, it comes back to being able to do what we want to do. We accept loads that takes us around the country and Canada. And you can feel good about your work because the customer is paying a premium for an expedited service that only you can provide. We leave and go directly to the end user that orders it, and you do it on a timely basis. You do it safely. You get the goods to the customer in good condition. And you’ve fulfilled a big need for the customer.”

The bottom line: “When you fulfill those obligations, and you have a happy customer, then I think that's being ‘successful,’” says Ed.

Strong Foundation for Success
What has been a key for achieving success in the expedite business?

“Having had experience in business has really helped me in expediting in terms of knowing how to communicate effectively,” says Ed. It’s important to be able to understand and serve the needs of both the broker or carrier--which, in our case, is Bolt Express--and the customer. A lot of expediters don't understand both sides of the situation. Instead, they think that it's up to the broker to satisfy the expediter’s needs. But the expediter has to also satisfy the broker or carrier’s needs. It goes both ways.”

Ed says that when you focus on the needs of others, everything else will fall into place. “The focus shouldn’t be on what can both parties do for me; it needs to be on what can we do for each other. I try to perform the best I can to meet the needs of both the operations of Bolt Express and the end customer.”

Giving Back
Ed and Dianne are both cancer survivors. And Ed says their trucking carrier, Bolt Express, has set a high standard for what it looks like to give back to the expedite industry. “Bolt Express had given to the Jimmy V Foundation on behalf of Dianne's breast cancer,” says Ed. “That sends chills up and down your spine when a company you work with thinks that much about you and your family.”

One of Ed and Dianne’s favorite places to “give back” is at their home church, University Church of Christ in Montgomery, Ala.

“There are members with specific needs that we try to help with,” says Ed. “A lot of this begins with the understanding that we're all weak and need help. And so our purpose is to edify and help one another, which we try to do whether we’re home or out on the road.”

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