Today we heard from Kerry Byrnes who is Chief Operations Officer at TQL.
The idea for TQL began with two men, Ken Oaks & Ryan Legg, who were produce buyers working for Bob Castellini. They used freight brokers to take care of all their produce transportation needs. Both men strongly desired to work for themselves and believed there were huge opportunities in the freight brokerage business. They found many brokers to be unreliable and generally undesirable to work with.
The two kicked off their new company in August of 1997 and did $1 million in sales. Their goal was to proactively communicate and treat the drivers in a professional manner. Kerry joined in the company in March 2005 as employ #220. TQL now has over 2100 employees and continues to to find and develop new talent from across the nation. In 2011, they did $1.48 billion in sales and produce is about 25% of their business. This is rather impressive in light of the trucking business being flat. They do not aspire to be a publicly traded company and currently have no outside investors.
TQL will continue to expand and intends to build a second building in Ivy Point. This building will be 3 floors, have a basement, a training facility and also a work out facility.
On the customer side, TQL has a list containing hundreds of thousands of leads. These leads include present and past customers. Calls are made to folks who are tested with small loads and the relationship grows from there. It is essential to develop the relationship on the carrier side and the customer side to ensure highest quality service.
TQL is looking for a certain profile of employee. Their customers can be extremely difficult and challenging so the timid will not survive. Generally those who are aggressive such as former athletes do well. Employees train for about 1 year. The first 18 weeks they are trained in logistics to learn systems, sales, etc. After that, they train for about 8 weeks in specific sales training where they begin to develop their own business. When the employee begins to earn their own revenue and cover their salary, they can begin earning commission.
There are those who in our community who oppose giving tax breaks to businesses. However, when you open the paper, TQL is often seen giving thousands of dollars to local charities. They encourage both corporate giving as well as employee contributions. Their employees gain a great sense of purpose and engagement from such activities. Kerry called TQL “the poster child for why tax incentives are a good idea” because all they do is invest the money back in developing people and jobs. He said the more they are taxed, the less people they would hire.
Next week we will hear from Rotary District 6670 Peter Weiglin who will share about our district.