Kuhnle Brothers Trucking – Family Delivers Excellent Service
Former Kuhnle Brothers CEO Kim Taylor Kuhnle and current Kuhnle Brothers President and CEO Kim Thomas Kuhnle. – Photo by Steve Pollock –
From left to right: Casey McNicholas, Frederick (Fritz) Murfello, Kim Taylor Kuhnle, Kim Thomas Kuhnle, Roger Kral and Tom Kuhnle.
By Steve Pollock
In 1963 the Kuhnle Brothers, Thomas and Kim, each purchased a truck and leased on to the Lake Shore Motor Freight Company doing flatbed work. Kim decided to go back to college and put a driver in his truck. Thomas established Kuhnle Brothers in 1966 in Bainbridge (Geauga County), Ohio. At the time the Aurora Sand and Gravel Company owned a dump trailer and needed someone to pull it. While Tom was pulling a dump trailer for Aurora Sand and Gravel, Kim was attending college and spending his summers hauling asphalt with a single axle tractor. Tom and Kim bought yet another dump trailer and started to haul for Apex Concrete. After graduating from college, Kim bought a tandem dump and started hauling sand and gravel. When talking about his trucking career, Kim said, “Driving is the best job I have ever had.”
Deregulation hadn’t happened yet, so in order to obtain an ICC Authority, Tom and Kim purchased the Buckeye Dock Transport Company for its authority and equipment. By this time the Kuhnle Brothers fleet consisted of fourteen trucks and the company was the biggest broker for Wills Trucking of Richfield, Ohio. Tom and Kim’s father George landed the Morton Salt account for Kuhnle Brothers Trucking, hauling road salt from the salt mines to municipalities. Kuhnle Brothers provided such good service that they quickly became the carrier of choice for Morton Salt. Kuhnle Brothers became one of Morton Salt’s largest carriers, often hauling 600-700 loads per day. Excess freight was brokered and contractors liked hauling for Kuhnle Brothers because they were paid every Friday.
The Kuhnle Brothers Company was growing and they purchased a dry bulk hauler in New York that serviced the International Salt Company. Their involvement in hauling industrial salt eventually led to hauling salt to the chemical industry. The companies they were serving encouraged Kuhnle Brothers to start hauling dry chemicals, which also eventually led to hauling liquid chemicals in tankers. Kuhnle Brothers, with help from their shippers, learned the bulk, dry bulk and liquid tank business. Today Kuhnle Brothers has authority and clearance to haul nuclear materials, explosives, Hazmat, radioactive and hazardous waste. In order to service these industries under current regulations, Kuhnle Brothers employ more people in their Compliance Department than they do in the Accounting Department.
Tom’s son Kim (named after Tom’s brother Kim) began working at Kuhnle Brothers full time in 1979. At first Kim worked in the shop and then he began driving. After two years on the road, the company was in need of a dispatcher so Kim left his driving job, which he enjoyed, took a pay cut and went to work in the office as a dispatcher. Kim’s father Tom served as Kuhnle Brothers CEO from 1986 until his death in 1989. His brother Kim took over as CEO from 1989 until June 2006, when he passed control of the company over to his namesake, Kim Kuhnle (Tom’s son), who continues to serve as the company’s CEO to this day.
Today Kuhnle Brothers operates 85 tractors and about 450 trailers. The company has built a reputation as a great place to work as evidenced by the many employees who have been with the company for years, as well as the extremely low driver turnover. Gib Gribble, the company’s 1st dispatcher in New York started in 1967 and still manages the Lakeville, New York terminal for Kuhnle Brothers. The company’s CFO Bob Russell began working for the company in 1971 and “Uncle Kim’s” son Tommy is now his assistant and serves as the company’s Treasurer. Even their first mechanic, Fred Murfello, is still repairing trucks at Kuhnles.
Kuhnle Brothers has a very high driver retention rate and most drivers retire from the company. Because of the commodities they haul, they are also selective as to whom they hire. However, if you have a good safety record and CSA Scores, Kuhnle Brothers has a few positions available. While Kuhnle Brothers still do a limited amount of industrial dump work, they are primarily tank haulers. Their service includes all of the lower 48 states and Canada, with irregular freight routes. There is local, regional and long haul work. Kuhnle Brothers drivers enjoy good wages and a nice family atmosphere in which to work. For additional information, log onto www.kuhnlebrothers.com or call Casey at 800-873-8757.