The Courier Express that Bill Messerly purchased in 1990 is a very different operation from the one that exists today. At the time, the five-year-old company was an Atlanta-only operation and provided Messerly with a profitable and stable venture away from his previous homebuilding career.

“We didn’t have the vision to start growing like we have until about five or six years later, when we decided to branch out,” explains CEO Jack Messerly, Bill Messerly’s son. “We first branched out to Alabama, where my brother Jim and I both went to school at Auburn and had contacts in the area. We then spread through larger cities to grow our client base in the Southeast.” About a decade ago, Bill Messerly semi-retired, and the company has been jointly run by both brothers ever since.

Although they might sound like a really big cup of coffee, “double talls” are enclosed double-decker buses and just another example of how Snohomish County’s Community Transit is doubling up on customer service as it expands to serve a growing population near the bustling technology center of Seattle. “Las Vegas was first with double talls on the strip – we were the second, and I think that’s in the country,” Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor maintains. The agency’s fleet of 23 double talls are used on commuter service between Snohomish County and Seattle.

Coach USA is making bus travel more attractive, comfortable and user-friendly with online travel booking and modern buses that offer a variety of amenities such as reclining seats, bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. The bus company has been growing steadily since 2000 through acquisitions of reputable companies and now services 44 states and two provinces in Canada. It offers a variety of services, ranging from school buses to commuter business travel to sightseeing tours in New York and Chicago. It moves an estimated 8 million people annually.

Companies that work with Canada Cartage get all of the benefits of a private fleet but none of the hassle. As the largest dedicated fleet operation in Canada, Canada Cartage is a national company that provides localized service – or rather, customized service. In many ways, the company is an extension of its clients’ operations, providing the trucks, technology and personnel to handle final deliveries.

“As a dedicated fleet operation we tend to handle the final miles,” President and CEO Jeff Lindsay says. “We have fleets positioned at our customers’ distribution centers or manufacturing sites that deliver products from those sites to their end-customers or between their facilities.”

Eli McCormick – the youngest of three sons of Bestway Express Inc. founder Clarence James “Mac” McCormick III – had just joined the family business after graduating from Indiana State University in May 2006 when tragedy struck. His father crashed in the small aircraft he was piloting home from an industry speaking engagement, possibly due to a sudden heart attack.

Eli was working in the operations department as a fleet manager of the regional truck carrier, and his older brother, Will, was selling the company’s used trucks at their grandfather’s dealership at the time. Fortunately, the founder’s brother, Pat, who had started the company with him, moved into the chairman’s position, while a cousin who was president of the company at the time of Mac’s death, Shepard Dunn, took over as CEO and Eli worked his way up to COO.

Word-of-mouth is one of the best recruitment tools, and when a driver hears Artur Express praised by one of its independent contractors, that driver might be interested in working for the company. But Artur Express works exclusively with independent contractors who own their own tractors.

Since the beginning of this year, St. Louis-based Artur Express has been connecting interested drivers with a leasing program that will enable them to become their own bosses with their own rigs. The company also offers its drivers a group lease insurance policy.

Despite the challenges of operating a trucking company with ever-escalating fuel and materials prices and driver shortages, safety is foremost at Usher Transport Inc. “Our safety department will run two to three times as many checks as the scale and the federal and state people do,” President Bill Usher Jr. maintains. “We check our equipment three times more often than it is checked by the authorities, not for weight, for CSA violations – lights, logs, tires, brakes, hazmat. We do level 1 inspections on every truck.”

For Triad Transport Inc., location is everything. The McAlester, Okla.-headquartered hazardous waste transportation hauler’s five largest facilities are spread across the United States, allowing it access to its major customers and disposal sites coast to coast.

The company’s southern regional terminal in Houston places it near a high concentration of oil refineries and chemical plants, while its Columbus, Ohio, and Salt Lake City terminals are located near several waste disposal facilities. Triad Transport also operates a terminal in Phoenix and a yard near Fontana, Calif., giving it coverage in the southwest and along the West Coast. The company also operates smaller, regional yards in Benton, Ark., and Pendergrass, Ga.

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