A large crowd showed up Friday to celebrate the opening of the impressive new headquarters of U.S. Xpress in Chattanooga, TN.
The 108,000-square-foot, three-story, triangle-shaped building is clearly visible from I-75 east of the city. After entering the building through a three-story foyer, you go through double glass doors etched with a U.S. Xpress truck to the rest of the building. Beautifully decorated with lots of glass and real wood, there are many subtle references to highways and trucks, including the large round windows above the entrance and on the side facing the highway that allude to a steering wheel. Although there is no terminal here, drivers are welcome, and there's special truck parking in the lot.
Everything was built and designed to grow with the company for the next 20 years - important when you consider that the company has grown from less than 50 trucks 13 years ago to nearly 4,800 today.
The use of technology for which the company is well known is evident in the new headquarters. A powerful computer system ties the whole company together, centered in a room filled with banks of computers. Above the customer service/dispatch area, the latest-technology flat TV screens hang from the ceiling, displaying color-coded maps showing where more loads or more trucks are needed, as well as The Weather Channel and road maps.
Speakers at the open house ceremonies often mentioned U.S. Xpress' leadership in technology and safety.
"Alan Greenspan (federal reserve chairman) says the economy is strong because of technology," said Lana Batts, president of the Truckload Carriers Assn. "I wish he could be here, because U.S. Xpress is one of America's leading technology companies."
Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, also praised the company's use of technology. "I have held U.S. Xpress up as I speak around the country, because it demonstrates real-world examples of safety technology," said Hall, who has made heavy truck safety a priority at NTSB this year, recently holding several days of hearings on the issue.
(Photo by Evan Lockridge, Contributing Editor)