Aug. 17–At the hub of three interstate highways and two major rail lines, Chattanooga’s centralized location helped grow two of America’s biggest long-haul trucking firms, the nation’s biggest privately owned warehouse company and one of the top freight scheduling businesses over the past three decades.
A new ranking of America’s fastest-growing small businesses indicates Chattanooga is continuing to birth some of the country’s most promising logistics companies.
Inc. magazine, which for the past 36 years has ranked the fastest-growing businesses based upon their revenue growth rate in the previous three years, placed five local companies and another company headed by a Chattanoogan on its 2017 edition of the Inc. 5000 list.
Steam Logistics, an international third-party logistics company which was founded in 2012 by former executives of Access America Transport, ranked the highest of any Chattanooga firm in the new Inc. list, placing 254th among the 5,000 companies listed.
The company has grown nearly 17-fold in the past three years, resembling Access America’s rapid growth that ultimately led that domestic freight scheduling business to top $500 million in sales before merging first with Coyote Logistics and then United Parcel Service (UPS).
“This recognition is a great testament to the amazing team we have been able to assemble here at Steam,” said Jason Provonsha, the company’s CEO. “Growth like this only comes from a team that is bought in on our vision and who loves what they are doing. “
Steve Çox, another former Access America executive who is now president and chief operating officer of Steam, called the company “a rocket ship” that is bringing “new life to an otherwise aging industry and we believe this is just the beginning of a long period of explosive growth.”
Another company backed, in part, by the former owners of Access America, is Reliance Partners, which also made the Inc. list by capitalizing on a more streamlined and web-oriented insurance business, targeted at the trucking industry.
Founded in 2009, Reliance Partners is headed by Andrew Ladebauche and has grown its revenues nearly 10-fold in the past three years to $3.4 million last year.
“We encourage sharing ideas and embrace being different from every other insurance agency in the United States,” the company said in its summary for Inc. magazine. “Our mantra is “Go the extra mile.””
Another logistics company on the Inc. 500 list, V3 Transportation, is headquartered in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Seville, but was founded by and is still headed by Bob Poulos in Chattanooga.
Poulos, a former sales vice president at U.S. Xpress Co. in Chattanooga, started V3 in 2012 with two laptops and two cell phones and has grown the company to a 235-truck fleet with sales last year of $17.1 million, up 415 percent in the past three years.
“We believe that there continue to be great opportunities for growth within the expedited sector of transportation, and we believe that V3 is well positioned for the future as we seek to expand our services and footprint of our overall network,” Poulos said in a statement Wednesday.
In addition to its logistics companies, Chattanooga also is home to rapidly growing small businesses in software development (Very), information technology services (Conversant Group) and construction (GreenForm).
Very is a full-service firm for companies seeking to validate, build and launch digital products and platforms and operates in Chattanooga and 17 other cities.
“Whether we’re validating a concept, building a product or augmenting a team, we bring the best design and development expertise to every project, for every client,” said Jonathan Bragdon, a partner with Very.
To qualify for the Inc. 5000 ranking, companies must be privately owned, based in the United States, and independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company).
The Inc. ranking is based on company revenue growth from 2013 to 2016.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.
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