A Sharp Group

| June 29, 2001

In 1973, John Sharp was a warehouse supervisor for lawn mower maker Murray Inc., in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., when he got the opportunity to become a piggyback drayman. John took advantage of that opportunity, and since then has turned Sharp Transport Inc. into a successful business.

The company was originally headquartered in Lawrenceburg, but eventually it was moved to Ethridge, Tenn., in 1987. Later, terminals were added in Nashville and Lewisburg, Tenn.
In 1978, Sharp expanded his business by purchasing two semis to haul locally in Lawrenceburg. Two years later, he had five company trucks and five owner-operators who drove long-haul delivering bicycles and lawn mowers.

“The opportunity came up to start the business, and he took the chance,” says Angie Adkins, John’s daughter and office manager at the Ethridge terminal. “With hard work and many long hours, it paid off.”

When the company began, Murray was Sharp’s largest customer. Now, Sharp Transport has several large accounts, and they haul many products including lawn mowers, HVAC units, tires, automotive parts, and school and office supplies.

“As we continue to grow larger, it’s hard to know everyone, but we try to know our drivers by their names instead of their numbers,” says Allie Schwalb, John’s daughter and operations manager of the Nashville terminal.

James Griffith is Sharp’s chief operating officer and has worked for Sharp for 15 years. He oversees the daily operations of the three terminals. Griffith worked for three trucking companies before he came onboard with Sharp and says he’s never known anyone quite like John.
“Mr. Sharp is a good person to work with,” Griffith says. “It’s the attitude and the way employees are treated that make this a good company to work for. It’s a day-to-day operation, and it’s important to get things done, but there is also leeway to do things with your family. It’s an 8-to-5 job, but he doesn’t hound us to death. It makes us want to work for him because he’s so giving. If I’m half the person he is, then I’m in pretty good shape.”

Making profits and driver satisfaction mean the most to John who says his company has grown at a deliberate rate. Instead of being bigger, he chooses to be successful.

“Many companies are large, but it doesn’t mean they’re profitable,” he says. “I don’t know if we would have achieved our success if we tried to grow 20 or 30 percent a year.”

Sharp has Qualcomm satellite systems in its company trucks, and the company tries to keep up with technology. Its trucks have 70-inch condo sleepers for driver comfort.

For 20 years, its trucks were black with the company logo. This year, Sharp purchased 30 new Freightliner Classics in seven colors, which include raspberry, granite and black. “The colors give the drivers individuality,” John says.

Acquiring new customers is important, but these days Sharp Transport can be selective. Sharp concentrates on Chicago, Cleveland, Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. They look for customers in the middle Tennessee area who have business coming back to the area. This allows Sharp to get their drivers back home on a weekly basis.

“We try to get our drivers in and out two or three times a week if we can,” Angie says. “We have families, too, and understand the need to get home. The drivers like that, and we let them take time off for family reasons.”

A Sharp Group

| June 29, 2001

In 1973, John Sharp was a warehouse supervisor for lawn mower maker Murray Inc., in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., when he got the opportunity to become a piggyback drayman. John took advantage of that opportunity, and since then has turned Sharp Transport Inc. into a successful business.

The company was originally headquartered in Lawrenceburg, but eventually it was moved to Ethridge, Tenn., in 1987. Later, terminals were added in Nashville and Lewisburg, Tenn.
In 1978, Sharp expanded his business by purchasing two semis to haul locally in Lawrenceburg. Two years later, he had five company trucks and five owner-operators who drove long-haul delivering bicycles and lawn mowers.

“The opportunity came up to start the business, and he took the chance,” says Angie Adkins, John’s daughter and office manager at the Ethridge terminal. “With hard work and many long hours, it paid off.”

When the company began, Murray was Sharp’s largest customer. Now, Sharp Transport has several large accounts, and they haul many products including lawn mowers, HVAC units, tires, automotive parts, and school and office supplies.

“As we continue to grow larger, it’s hard to know everyone, but we try to know our drivers by their names instead of their numbers,” says Allie Schwalb, John’s daughter and operations manager of the Nashville terminal.

James Griffith is Sharp’s chief operating officer and has worked for Sharp for 15 years. He oversees the daily operations of the three terminals. Griffith worked for three trucking companies before he came onboard with Sharp and says he’s never known anyone quite like John.
“Mr. Sharp is a good person to work with,” Griffith says. “It’s the attitude and the way employees are treated that make this a good company to work for. It’s a day-to-day operation, and it’s important to get things done, but there is also leeway to do things with your family. It’s an 8-to-5 job, but he doesn’t hound us to death. It makes us want to work for him because he’s so giving. If I’m half the person he is, then I’m in pretty good shape.”

Making profits and driver satisfaction mean the most to John who says his company has grown at a deliberate rate. Instead of being bigger, he chooses to be successful.

“Many companies are large, but it doesn’t mean they’re profitable,” he says. “I don’t know if we would have achieved our success if we tried to grow 20 or 30 percent a year.”

Sharp has Qualcomm satellite systems in its company trucks, and the company tries to keep up with technology. Its trucks have 70-inch condo sleepers for driver comfort.

For 20 years, its trucks were black with the company logo. This year, Sharp purchased 30 new Freightliner Classics in seven colors, which include raspberry, granite and black. “The colors give the drivers individuality,” John says.

Acquiring new customers is important, but these days Sharp Transport can be selective. Sharp concentrates on Chicago, Cleveland, Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. They look for customers in the middle Tennessee area who have business coming back to the area. This allows Sharp to get their drivers back home on a weekly basis.

“We try to get our drivers in and out two or three times a week if we can,” Angie says. “We have families, too, and understand the need to get home. The drivers like that, and we let them take time off for family reasons.”

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