HDT chatted recently with Anthony Wallace, CEO and founder of Am Trans USA, which provides freight transportation and logistics services. Within one year of launching the company, in 2014, Wallace guided it to surpass sales of $6 million. He expects that number to triple in 2016 along with the number of employees. In starting up the family-owned firm, he drew on his 12 years of prior trucking experience, which included serving as operations manager at US Xpress.
Q: Am Trans USA opened for business in October 2014 and notched sales of over $6 million by the end of year one. What did it take for a privately owned startup to do that?
A: An incredible support staff made AmTrans USA what it is. We made sure to give our employees the support they needed to be successful. We also show our customers that they are our priority by building personal relationships with them.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to an entrepreneur thinking of launching a trucking operation?
A: Make sure that you have plenty of working capital for growth and purchasing power. Be ready to treat your customers like they are your family. Treat your employees how you want to be treated. Roll up your sleeves and don’t ask anybody to do something you would not be willing to do. And just dive in!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how Am Trans USA came to be launched?
A: Local Chattanooga boy with big goals and big dreams with a very competitive background stemming from many years of playing football [including varsity at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville]. Outside of football, I found a passion in transportation. I wanted to make a difference in my community and other people’s lives, which is why I branched out on my own.
Q: Your firm is described as a “full service transportation company.” What services do you offer and what might be unique about your offerings or how you compete in any specific arena?
A: We offer truckload, LTL and international transportation as well as third-party logistics services. If our trucks cannot get it there, we will find a truck that can. We don’t measure our pricing based on our overhead. We measure our prices based on our customers’ needs, because we want to be the go-to for all of our customers.
Q: On the logistics side, Am Trans USA offers brokering and warehouse services. How does that complement your trucking operations and do you think there is a trend toward offering such a one-stop-shopping array of services?
A: We are trending to provide the one-stop-shop operation. Being able to offer so many different variables makes it easier to be in the marketplace to provide everything all under one roof. Having the ability to provide all of those ensures 100% customer satisfaction.
Q: We’ve heard that Am Trans USA is expecting to triple sales in your second year of operation. Can you tell us what you are focusing on the most to achieve that goal?
A: Our main focus is customer satisfaction and growing opportunities for our employees.
Q: Was there a particular reason you set up shop in Cleveland, Tenn.?
A: There is not a dominance of privately owned transportation providers in Cleveland. We were looking to be able to provide that opportunity for a growing market, as Cleveland has grown tremendously in the last decade.
Q: Am Trans USA currently is donating $8.00 of every load booked on eight specific days to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting Alzheimer’s. What is your thinking on the importance of giving back in this manner?
A: Everywhere there are people who are not given opportunities. As we get closer to success, we like to give people those opportunities. It is more rewarding to be able to help others before helping ourselves.