A Big Small Company

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Over 90 Years in the Making

In 1922 when Gresham Transfer was founded, they were hauling strawberries and local freight. Over 90 years later, Gresham Transfer trucks are running bulk commodity products or heavy haul items from machinery to heavy specialized cargo.

Today, brothers Rick Ulmer and David Ulmer run Gresham Transfer as President and Vice President respectively. Their father, Derald Ulmer, purchased the business in 1970. Derald had a plan for the company prior to his purchase. He wanted to direct and expand his company into a more diversified carrier and would be able to do that with Gresham Transfer’s almost limitless authority. An authority of that versatility was not easily secured at the time, and today such authorities are only held by the moving and storage industry.

Gresham Transfer is successful because of hard work, professional staff and strong customer relations.

Shortly after his purchase, it became clear that deregulation was nearing. Searching for a specialty niche in which the company could excel, Derald purchased a bulk truck in 1973 in addition to his fleet of 25 LTL freight trucks. In 1980, Gresham Transfer purchased Widing Transportation Heavy Haul. These two moves doubled the size of the company, instantly establishing Gresham Transfer as a Dry Bulk and Heavy Haul operation. .

Today, the company has 120 trucks and 160 employees.

Rick runs the dry bulk fleet and the heavy haul fleet is run by David. While their bulk fleet is the larger of the two, the heavy haul fleet has more eye-catching loads—running missile silos, bridge support beams, large machinery and over dimensional loads. When training heavy haul staff, David says, “The only way you can learn how to go down the road with a 16–18 foot wide or top heavy load, is to Take a skilled and qualified driver and with the support of management team haul the load.”

Brothers David and Rick took an interest to trucking when they were young, although father Derald encouraged them to try other endeavors if they wanted.

Derald’s approach was reflective of his experience earlier in life. The son of a farmer, Derald had aspirations to grow professionally in a way that a farmer could not. He started working as a truck driver, and started building business relationships in the community. When he was ready to buy his first truck, he took out a loan from a local car dealer who believed in his business plan. He ended up expanding his fleet and leasing the trucks to the company he drove for. After a period of success, he was able to buy Gresham Transfer.

David attributes Gresham Transfer’s success to two key areas; strong customer relationships and, more importantly, providing the best product possible to customers. To keep customer relationships strong, David and Rick meet with clients regularly and have sales staff dedicated to their accounts as well.

As far as providing the best available product, David says, “You cannot give the best service with sub-standard equipment.” In order to provide customers with the best product, state-of-the-industry equipment is paired with quality service. Gresham Transfer stays on the cutting edge of where the industry is by either helping to develop their equipment or by purchasing it.

Both brothers are closely involved in the business, attending weekly staff meetings and working closely with staff in all areas. David points out that while he and Rick are very involved they also have a strong management staff. David calls it, “a Big Small Company”—big enough to handle growth or difficult jobs, but small enough to maintain strong relationships with staff and clients.

Gresham Transfer is successful because of hard work, professional staff and strong customer relations.

From hauling strawberries to missile silos, Gresham Transfer continues to succeed. Hard work, a great staff, and their self-proclaimed keys to success of customer service and the best available products will help them succeed for the long haul.

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