Stephen Russell, the founder of Celadon Group Inc. died on April 15 at 76 years of age. The company he launched over 30 years ago to haul automotive freight from Michigan to Mexico has since grown into a truckload and logistics powerhouse. 

"We are deeply saddened by Steve's passing," said Paul Will, Celadon Board Chairman and CEO. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve's family and many friends at this time." 

Steve Russell Photo: Celadon Group

Steve Russell Photo: Celadon Group

Russell often told the story of how a chance encounter with a business associate in 1985 led him to launch a trucking operation contracted to serve a maquiladora manufacturing plant located in Mexico near the U.S. border nearly ten years before the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed.

Today, Celadon generates more than $1 billion in revenue, operates a fleet consisting of more than 5,000 tractors, 12,000 trailers, and employs more than 4,000. It ranks among the largest providers of international truckload movements in North America. 

Before starting Celadon up at age 45, Russell had a successful business career. He had held various executive positions, including Director of Advanced Product Planning for Ford Motor Company, Chief Financial Officer for RCA Corporation, and President of Hertz Truck and Equipment Corporation. He earned a BA in mathematics and an MBA in finance and marketing from Cornell University.

Russell was a member of the American Trucking Associations' Executive Committee. He also served on the board of directors for the Cornell University Graduate School of Management, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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