Anyone can promise to do anything, but keeping that promise is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Illinois-based Fore Transportation has made this the core of its philosophy, and President and CEO Jim Apa says every employee within the company understands that maintaining the company’s integrity is the most important thing they can do. “We live and die by the commitments we make,” Apa says. “We take it that if we promise something and we don’t do it, we’re liars.” 

That attitude has served the company well, and over the last 30 years Fore Transportation has grown into one of the Chicago area’s leading intermodal carriers. Founded by Apa’s father, Michael Apa Sr., Fore Transportation is run by Jim Apa and his brothers, Billy and Michael Jr. The family connection helps strengthen the bond between the company and its customers, Jim Apa says, because it ensures that the core values of the company remain consistent. Beyond those core values, Fore Transportation also brings a number of significant advantages to its customers as it strives to be the best in the intermodal industry. 

Eastern Bus Co. regularly invests in its fleet and drivers. “We don’t run 10- to 12-year-old buses, we keep everything new; 95 percent of our fleet is five years old,” says Chuck Winitzer, president and owner of the Somerville, Mass.-based school bus company.

The company anticipates purchasing roughly 30 buses this year. Many of the company’s buses use GPS technology, and the majority of them have cameras and seat belts installed. “The cities in our area require and ask for the best, and that’s what we give them on our buses,” he adds.

Eastern Bus operates 210 buses in 11 communities in the greater Boston area, and employs roughly 200 drivers, all of whom are paid above industry average wage.

In 2012, shipping giant Maersk Inc. sold off a subsidiary focused on providing intermodal chassis for motor carriers and shipping lines. Because this subsidiary did not fit into Maersk’s strategy, the company said in a statement at the time of the sale, it decided to spin off this division to private investment firm Littlejohn & Co. LLC. However, as befitting a company of the size and scope of Maersk, even a subsidiary can be a giant in the field, and today the company known as Direct ChassisLink Inc. (DCLI) is the third-largest provider of chassis in North America. 

Based in Charlotte, N.C., DCLI specializes in providing chassis to carriers and shipping lines with multiple locations at or close to many of North America’s most important ports. Today, with the financial backing of Littlejohn & Co., as well as some key acquisitions of its own, DCLI is proving that it has what it takes to be one of the premier chassis providers in North America even without its former connection to the world’s leading container ship operator. 

Bennett Motor Express strives to be the best at providing transportation services to its customers and achieves that by providing high-quality service. The company takes extra care in the safe and on-time delivery of its customers’ products while management stays in communication with its drivers and customers daily. 

“My priority is to interact with drivers and talk to our customers every day,” President Len Johnson says. “I make sure we keep that connection and continue to build those relationships. Communication is key.”

The McDonough, Ga.-based company was acquired by J.D. Garrison and Marcia Taylor in 1974 when it was known as George Bennett Truck Lines, a small interstate carrier that was later renamed Bennett Motor Express. 

Serving very cold and wet areas, such as Minnesota, along with very hot and dry areas, such as New Mexico, keeps the expectations for Xcel Energy’s vehicle fleet high. Whether bringing natural gas to a remote region that has never had it, running electricity out to an oil well in west Texas or North Dakota, or maintaining international power lines that run through marshes in the summer, the company’s fleet has to maintain a high level of diversity.

This includes the standard bucket trucks used by utility companies, but also construction equipment with tracks that will not be punctured by mesquite residues in southwestern soil or equipment with flotation tires that can repair crucial hydroelectric power lines running to Canada through Minnesota’s marshy landscape in summer.

Waxahachie, Texas, is a small but growing town and home to a number of small but growing businesses, one of those businesses being Timco Logistics. Based in the quickly growing city just south of Dallas, Timco Logistics has grown into a family oriented and customer- and employee-focused company. Operating by the motto, “a partner you can count on,” the company’s founder and owner Tim Balch started the company based on the philosophy that expectations aren’t to be met, but to be exceeded. 

“Timco has assembled an awesome team of drivers and a very dedicated and supportive staff,” the company says. “We are driven to maintain exceptional leadership and values which enable us to offer reliable service while keeping our commitment to our customers, staff, public safety, social responsibility and our financial stability.” 

At Sue Vinje Trucking Inc., managers know that despite recent technological developments in automobiles, trucks do not yet drive themselves. “Our big thing is good-quality drivers,” CFO Carl Svendsen emphasizes. “They get treated with the utmost respect. I feel in many ways we go above and beyond for our drivers. I was stunned at how much we do for our employees here and how valuable the employees are to the company.”

Sue Vinje Trucking serves 48 states and Canada with its temperature-controlled and dry van air ride trailers. “We know how hard it is to get a driver and how hard it is to keep them,” Svendsen continues. “We work very hard to make sure we give the drivers a good quality of life and give them the miles they want so we retain them. It’s a lot easier to keep a driver than to get one, and we’d rather keep the drivers we have. Any time we can add a good, safe, quality driver, we’re always happy to take that driver. If we have 52 trucks full and find someone to drive a 53rd truck, we’ll go lease one.”

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That’s the advice Southern Wine & Spirits took to heart several years ago when it overhauled the management of its massive nationwide supply chain. According to Vice President of Supply Chain Services Larry Sullivan, this was no small task, given that Southern Wine & Spirits is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor. 

However, the efforts made by the company over the past six years have paid off in a supply chain that is safer, more efficient and more productive than ever before. Considering how many retailers nationwide depend on Southern Wine & Spirits to keep their shelves stocked for customers, this has been a major improvement for the company and its customers. 

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