The Logistical Lowdown

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Thomas E. Keller Trucking History

Posted by Kelsey Tietje on 6/20/16 2:45 PM
Kelsey Tietje

 Thomas E. Keller Trucking started out as a one man trucking company in 1978. Over the last 38 years, Keller Trucking has grown to embody every aspect of the logistics industry forming what is now, Keller Logistics Group. However, there is much more to the story of how Keller Trucking originated.

 Thomas E Keller Trucking

 

How It All BeganWatermelon Truck

Tom Keller grew up living on a family farm in Vincennes, Indiana. As a young boy, one of his jobs was to deliver watermelons from their family farm to Louisville, Chicago, Detroit, and Cincinnati. While Tom was a junior at Indiana University, he saw an ad on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that J.I. Case was hiring and applied right away. Through his new job, he was able to travel through Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, where he sold farm equipment to dealers. Over the three years that Tom worked for J.I. Case, he made friends with a few employees of New Idea Farm Equipment. After being laid off at J.I Case during the 1970’s recession, Tom sent in a letter of request to New Idea. They contacted Tom right away about an opening in Coldwater, Ohio. While working as a Territory Manager for New Idea, Tom saw a need for delivery of the farm equipment to their customers. In response, he bought an International truck and trailer to deliver the equipment and soon expanded the fleet by hauling steel back to Northwest Ohio. Tom was asked to relocate due to a greater opportunity in Defiance, Ohio, where he signed a lease agreement with Brada Miller Trucking Company. Due to a lack of flatbed availability, Tom was able to start hauling loads of steering knuckles from Defiance to Saginaw, Michigan. In 1980, Brada Miller went bankrupt and Tom secured emergency authority with General Motors with the help of Chevrolet Manufacturing. This allowed Tom to focus on growing what was now Thomas E. Keller Trucking. Time went on and business was continuing to grow. Tom was able to recruit his Godson and nephew Bryan Keller, to come help during the summer months. One thing led to another and upon graduation from college, Bryan found himself with a full-time job at Keller Trucking and is now the President and CEO of Keller Logistics Group. With the addition of Bryan, it was all uphill from that point on.

Expansion

Thomas E. Keller Trucking quickly started expanding into other 3PL services. The first official expansion outside of trucking was warehousing. Keller Warehousing & Distribution opened its first warehouse in Defiance, OH in 1999. The success of the first warehouse led to three additional warehouses being built next to the first, totaling over 400,000 square feet in Defiance. In another effort to further expand and diversify, Keller Logistics Group also began its freight brokerage operations in 1999. To complete the 3PL services, Keller bought a facility in Napoleon, OH, forming Keller Packaging in 2011. Still today, Keller Logistics Group is a diverse company with four affiliates: Keller Trucking, Keller Warehousing & Distribution, Keller Freight Solutions, and Keller Packaging.

Biggest Reward  

Tom is very proud of the leadership and staff here at Keller because they have helped engrave a quality reputation for Keller Logistics Group. Reflecting back, there have been several rewarding moments throughout the years. When Tom was asked what his biggest reward was, he responded by saying,

 “I would have to say the biggest reward is the pleasure
to see the 
business flourish and get bigger and bigger all the time.”

 Keller Logistics Group Headquarters

Topics: Company History

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