Fleet Insider — Profile
Jeff England has grown his one-truck operation into a Western reefer-hauling empire
By James Jaillet
Nearly 35 years ago, owner-operator Jeff England, a coast-to-coast reefer hauler, left the carrier he was leased to and set out to build his own fleet. He hauled produce, and he stuck with it, says son Jay England, current CEO of Pride Transport.
“We have a very diverse customer base,” Jay says, which includes such clients as Kroger, Costco and other retail grocery outlets and distributors, and the single truck Jeff started with in 1979 has turned grown organically over the years into a 400-truck fleet that runs from its Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters to what England calls the “Western 11” — Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, etc.
Until 2000, though, England says growth was slow and systematic. The carrier had about 200 trucks, “then we started to see some very rapid growth,” he says. “As our customers’ needs grew, we grew. There was a lot more demand for our services in the West, so that’s where we grew. We’ve basically doubled in size since.”
Pride has a near 1 to 1 ratio of drivers to trucks, and the carrier employs about 400 drivers, all company. England says the carrier prides itself in being a midsize fleet that “treats its drivers like a small carrier would. We know our drivers by their first name and really try to make a family-like environment. They’re what allow us to provide top-notch service, and our focus is on having a different culture for drivers.”
Today, the company hauls primarily produce, England says, and the West Coast market has continued to be a sustainable area for them, he says. England says the company’s also been able to keep its business segmented well, and no customers make up more than 10 percent of the company’s total revenue.
England has been with the company 20 years, continuing to work with his father to sustain and grow Pride. “We’ve got a long trucking heritage in this family,” Jay says.
He says the company, because of its size, can capitalize on the good things a big carrier can afford, amenities such as PrePass, auxiliary power units and home time every seven to 10 days.
Last year, as an exclamation point to it’s endured growth and success, the company was named by the Truckload Carriers Association as one of the Top 20 Fleets to Drive For.
Location: Salt Lake City
Primary freight: produce, frozen food
Number of drivers: 400 drivers
Number of trucks: 400 tractors
Area of operation: western 11 states