Con-way Freight Marks 30-Year Anniversary
ANN ARBOR, MI… In the spring and summer of 1983, Con-way Freight opened its doors as the newest entrant into the recently deregulated U.S. trucking market. Employing a union-free business model that empowered employees to deliver exceptional next-day service, two regional less-than-truckload (LTL) start-up carriers were founded: Con-way Western Express, with 11 service centers and 120 employees in California, Arizona and Nevada; and Con-way Central Express, with 68 employees across 11 service centers in seven states of the Midwest.
Collectively, on their first day of business, the two carriers handled some 150 shipments. All were delivered on time the next day. “Con-way started with a concept that was revolutionary at the time – deliver every shipment every day. Nothing sat on the dock,” recalled Ed Conaway, who is one of 27 employees across the country celebrating 30-year careers with Con-way. He started as a service center manager in Sacramento, Calif., and today is the company’s senior vice president of sales.
“Thirty years ago, our employees set the standard for fast, reliable service, and went the extra mile to deliver for our customers on that first day of business,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, Con-way Freight’s president. “Today, we have 21,000 employees who continue to go that extra mile and strive to uphold those exceptional service standards that their predecessors introduced three decades ago.”
That 30-year journey included the founding of two other regional LTL carriers, Con-way Southern Express in 1987 and Con-way Southwest Express in 1989, dozens of expansions, the creation of thousands of jobs in hundreds of communities, and a “start from scratch” LTL growth story unparalleled in the industry.
Today, Con-way Freight, the largest subsidiary of Con-way Inc. is a $3.4 billion company with a North American network of some 425 service locations, a fleet of 9,600 trucks and tractors and 26,700 trailers, and 21,000 employees, including more than 15,000 professional driver-sales representatives. In its daily operations, Con-way Freight employees pull up to nearly 200,000 customer docks, and log over 3 million miles each workday, safely and efficiently moving the nation’s goods and providing America’s businesses with the industry’s fastest, most reliable transit times, measured against its most stringent service standards.
“The past 30 years have created a great legacy, and are a tribute to the foresight of our founders, the support and confidence of our customers, and the commitment and hard work of a great team of employees,” noted Lehmkuhl. “But I truly believe that our best years are yet to come, and that our next 30 years will be equally as exciting, challenging and rewarding as the past three decades.”