In the Beginning…
Back in 1977 Jim Lucey and myself, Rick Sauers, were working in the Purchasing Department at Ingersol-Rand Turbo Division out of Phillipsburg, NJ. We were responsible for million-dollar machines being built to pump crude oil through 24’’ pipe assemblies for the Alaskan, Russian, and Mexican pipelines. These of which, were scheduled to be built, tested, and shipped within a one-year lead time or suffer up to $100,000 in penalty clauses if late.
All materials had to be available on time requiring a full team of expediters who were empowered to authorize supplier overtime if necessary to meet delivery schedules. It became evident to us that waiting for standard two-day LTL (Less Than Truckload) delivery was not acceptable for critical items needed for final assembly and testing in order to ship the finished product on time. In many situations there were times when a part of the assembly line would fail. Therefore, stalling the production line and halting operation. Thus, inspiring Jim and myself to evaluate the needs of businesses and would spark what we would later find out to be a niche industry.
Jim and I wrote a business startup plan which required a $15,000 loan to lease three vehicles and operate out of the basement of one of the partner’s homes. The loan was denied by three regional banks and the Small Business Association. The SBA had a litany of restrictions viewed as counterproductive to the concept of a new start up business whose product was service. Instead, we procured the loan at 6% interest for 15 years from one of our parents. After which, paying the loan off and pulling a profit after only a couple years. There is a sense of pride knowing you identified a problem, found a solution, exploited it. Growing year over year. Then to look back knowing you started in a basement and worked your way up to 22,000 square feet of warehouse. It’s a pretty neat feeling being an entrepreneur before the term “entrepreneur” was a popular social media hashtag.
ETI (Exclusive Transportation for Industry) was created to provide customers with immediate dispatch and execution of an exclusive use vehicle with driver to pick-up and deliver the same day, throughout mainly the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic, however available to service mainland United States if called upon. Initially our fleet consisted of three Econoline vans with a cargo capacity of 2,000 pounds. Quickly the “hot shot” concept caught on with local industries within the Lehigh Valley and the fleet grew rapidly adding straight trucks and eventually to include tractor trailers for loads up to 50,000 pounds. With regional reaches servicing the JFK, PHL, and EWR airports and piers. Creating the “on-demand” emergency service so many businesses didn’t even know they needed. A phrase I have since adopted,
“When you find out today, you needed it yesterday, and can’t wait until tomorrow.”
During our gradual rise from start up to an established company, we worked our way through economic crisis’, gas shortages, recessions, and finally a global pandemic. Realizing we were deemed “essential” and were able to operate while the rest of the world was seemingly shut down.
Today’s fleet consists of 50 vehicles with an office and driver staff of 75 employees. We operate mostly throughout the Northeast regional United States on a daily basis. We now have customers ranging from manufactured machine products, to pharmaceutical/vaccine transportation, and frozen food packing and shipping. Anything from an envelope to body parts, hazardous materials to life saving tools.
“We cultivated our business principles on transparency; Customer first, always” – Rick Sauers