Logistics Company Fortifies Mobile Hub
President Kerry Byrne (center) and CEO Ken Oaks (right) serve lunch to Total Quality Logistics employees during a corporate celebration. Byrne says the Alabama hub benefits from its proximity to the Port of Mobile.
How does a ground freight logistics company without any actual trucks do business, you ask? Simple, says its president. Use other people’s.
Total Quality Logistics President Kerry Byrne says that his company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, employs 29 people currently but wants to triple its head count in its Mobile-area office over the next three years because business is good. Their business is connecting shippers who have products that need to move with truckload carriers who have the ability to move it. Dozens of variables have to be considered on each deal including fuel costs, truck availability, product perishability and the urgency of the shipment.
Byrne says that TQL has recruited successful freight brokers from a variety of fields but they seek out competitive personalities. “We used to look for people who were leaders on their high school football teams, but we’ve since found that people who played on the chess team can also be strong competitors,” he says.
The company picked its first sales office to be in the Mobile area in part, he says, because employees transferring to Alabama liked the idea of easy beach access. The location also gives them an edge with freight moving in and out of the Port of Mobile.
Byrne concedes that new employees face long hours and “tons of cold calls” because they’re essentially setting up their own logistics business, mining for extra work from companies that already have a shipping arrangement. New employees receive a $35,000 starting salary while undergoing the company’s six-month training program. The company’s numbers suggest that, if they make it, brokers make an average of $81,733 by their third year and $112,627 by their fourth year.
The company was recently named on Transport Topics Top 50 Largest Logistics Companies and plans to double in size by 2017 from its current 3,200-employee count.