Southeastern Freight Lines unveiled its multi-million dollar expansion Thursday at its Tyler facility.
Dean said it is a one-of-a-kind truck. It was one of three made in the 1950s and the company bought it in the 1970s and it is the last of its kind standing. He said the truck has a diesel engine and can run up to 60 mph. It is used in parades and company events and is usually stationed at the company headquarters in South Carolina.
Hall, who has worked for the company nearly three years, said there are about 60 employees at the Tyler facility.
About a dozen direct employees were added because of the expansion but additional employees will be needed for peripheral services, such as additional equipment and repairs, he said.
The Tyler facility delivers goods in the East Texas region, from Tyler and Longview; to Athens, Canton and Palestine; Lufkin and Nacogdoches; and Kilgore. He said trucks from services centers in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama come here.
Dean Baker, vice president of sales, is based in Dallas and has worked for the company for 25 years. “The company is doing well,” he said. “We're growing.”
Baker said the company, based in Columbia, S.C., started 62 years ago and remains a family owned business. He said the business was close this year, but will probably do more than $1 billion next year.
Hall said the company has about 7,000 employees nationwide and was the 10th largest carrier in the country last year. Even though it services only 12 states directly, it competes “with the big boys,” he added.
The Tyler center opened in 2005 and started with eight city drivers, four line haul drivers and about four office staff, Hall said.
“It's been a real success here,” Baker said. “Seven years later we've already had to add on.”
The company recently opened two new service centers in Lafayette, La. and Jonesboro, Ark. and plan to open one in Fort Worth in October and its second center in Houston in January, he said.
Hall said 90 percent of the facility's activity goes on at night because all of the trucks are out delivering products during the day.
Everything comes into the facility over night for delivery or pick up then starts all over again, Baker added.
Southeastern Freight Lines doesn't typically deal with full trucks, Hall said. Instead, customers pay for deliveries according to the space they use, the weight and value of their product.
Trucks out of the company's Tyler center haul everything from air filters and air conditioning components, to lubricants and bridge bearings. Hall said one of his biggest customers ships gloves to poultry processors.
Scotts Miracle Grow is one of the company's largest customers in Fort Worth and when it opens a new facility in Tyler's former Goodyear building might help out the local facility, he said.
Hall said everything is computerized and works off of efficiency. Before drivers get to the Tyler center, a computer tells them what door to back up to, while it tells employees at the facility how many pallets they have and where they are going.
Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer Henry Bell said it looked like the company had doubled in size with its expansion. He said it shows the demand for moving products around in the community and the growth here.
“It's good to see a good, solid business up here on FM 14,” he said.