Mid-Market Company of the Week: Access America Transport
Many young college grads would be happy working for a large, well established company, especially if the slot put the young graduate on a glide path towards corporate success. This was not the case with Ted Alling. At the ripe age of 24, Alling and two friends from college decided to strike out on their own. Starting in a back office of a small Chattanooga-based construction supply company, Alling decided to take on his former employer and created Access America Transport (AAT).
Since its founding in 2002, AAT has carved out a niche as the middleman between trucking companies and shippers, using organic technology to help companies keep their trailers full and shippers move their freight efficiently. Currently, AAT has some 6,000 customers including 100 members of the Fortune 500.
Alling grafted a combination of an entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to customer satisfaction onto Access America Transport. “Access America is a people company,” says Alling, “A people company that does third party logistics.” Alling believes that as CEO, it is incumbent upon him to raise the energy level of his company. Yet, he continuously monitors the well being of each and every employee and satisfaction of each customer.
Alling is the first to say he is not an innovator. He does stress that AAT’s corporate innovation comes in two forms. The first is a high sense of urgency to the execution of transporting goods on behalf of AAT’s customers. Second, Alling strives to get smart people interested in an industry that many would not usually consider for a career path. Today, AAT’s employees more than 600-people and generates annual revenues in excess of $500 million. Operational excellence is maintained by utilizing off-the-shelf and homegrown technologies which allow AAT to drive efficiencies across all modes of transportation including truckload, intermodal and specialized freight.
Outside of AAT, Alling hopes to cultivate future generations of entrepreneurs. In this vein, Alling and his partners created the Lamp Post Group – a venture capital and small business incubator. Lamp Post’s goal is to assist aspiring entrepreneurs take their ideas from the planning stages to reality through financial investment and business guidance.
AAT sits at #9 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising companies and Alling was recently named as one of the South’s leading young entrepreneurs by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation.
Title: Co-Founder & CEO – Access America Transport
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Goal: Double the workforce, break the $1-billion revenue barrier, while making Access America Transport the best place to work in America.
Fact: A shipment bound from Nashville to Los Angeles ran into trouble. The only way to get the delivery to the customer on time was through chartering a jet. The company lost $35,000 but the customer got their delivery.
Unique: Access America Transport has a “Bring Your Instrument to Work Day” where music fosters a sense of company as community.