After 20-plus years in the U.S. market, Bulkmatic Transport had its operations down to a pretty successful science. The company’s trucking, rail transloading and warehouse operations handle dry bulk deliveries across the nation. In 1996, at the urging of its international customers, it began providing the same services in Mexico and it determined to do it with the same quality, knowing that’s what customers were expecting.

Blackhawk Transport may offer many of the same services as its logistics competitors throughout the United States, but take it from industry veteran Mike Holloway – the difference is in the ownership at the helm of the Beloit, Wis.- based firm.

It is rare when people get excited about going to their jobs, but this enthusiasm is seen daily at V&S Midwest Carriers Corp., Vice President Eric Van Handel says. “We have an amazing office and driver staff that really comes to work hungry and eager to do the right thing,” he says.

Based in Kaukauna, Wis., V&S Midwest provides truckload, dedicated and brokerage services to clients across the country. Eric Van Handel’s parents, President Dave Van Handel and Marge Van Handel, founded the company in 1986 after a few years of operating a single truck.

Brad Westrom was a firefighter in Aurora, Ill., who was looking for a side business to fill the downtime he had when he wasn’t at the fire station. After determining that a delivery service focusing on Aurora and other western suburbs of Chicago would be a good part-time opportunity, he started United Express System Inc. Little did he know, however, that his humble idea would take root and grow the way it has since 1983.

“It grew from our kitchen table into something bigger because we developed a need and created some niche-filling ideas for companies in the suburbs,” Westrom says. Today, United Express System is Westrom’s full-time job, and one of the leading transportation firms in the area. What originally was simply a messenger and delivery service has grown into a company that offers full transportation and logistics services to customers in the western Chicago suburbs. Westrom says adding services such as less-than-truckload services and logistics to United Express System became a natural outgrowth of serving its customers.

Among the top North American specialized carriers, Trans-United has established a reputation for meeting and exceeding its customers’ hauling needs. The company’s services range from flatbed and specialized to superload freight,  and it is capable of transporting goods – from less-than-truckload to heavy haul – in all 48 contiguous states and most parts of Canada and Mexico.

Trans-United has approximately 80 trucks in its fleet at this time, although it plans to grow its sales by 15 percent and fleet size to 95 trucks by the end of the year. The company’s services have been focused on the use of specialized, stepdeck, doubledrop and multi-stretch equipment. However, Trans-United plans to increase its flatbed focus so it can build a stronger volume base.

After 60 years, Tidewater Fleet Supply has emerged as a strong supplier of automotive, truck and heavy equipment to a range of customers. Based in Chesapeake, Va., the company serves clients in southeastern Virginia, northeastern North Carolina and Richmond, Va.

President Allan Parrott says Tidewater started operations in 1953 as a battery distributor and over time evolved and grew to open warehouses in Chesapeake, Richmond, Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va.  Today, the firm’s 2,400 client accounts include federal, state and local governments, as well as fleets, installers and contractors.

One hears origin stories of companies all the time where an entrepreneur sat in his garage, created a gadget or machine, and the success of that device became the foundation of a business that today is very strong. In a similar vein, TDS Transport Inc. also started small, but the work it was doing was very large – in size and importance. TDS began in 2005, when founder Tom Schmidt was using his one truck to pull RVs and travel trailers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to Tom’s brother, Jeff Schmidt, who is director of TDS Management Services, explains “a lot of blood, sweat and tears” were shed to get the operation from one truck to where it is today, but it has all been worth it.

Broadening its offerings to provide more services to existing customers is just one of the strategies that enabled Roadrunner Transportation Services Inc. to expand its business 27 percent in 2012. Like its namesake, the company is putting the pedal to the metal in 2013 to continue its business expansion through organic growth and acquisitions as the U.S. economy improves.

“We have been the fastest-growing transportation company for the past three years,” President and CEO Mark DiBlasi asserts. The company offers LTL, truckload, logistics and TMS services.

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