Of all the major trucking lines in the nation, it’s believed just one has avoided laying off workers during the ongoing economic slowdown – Southeastern Freight Lines of Lexington, SC.
It’s not because Southeastern hasn’t been impacted, but rather because the Cassels family, which has owned the company since its inception more than 50 years ago, is committed to doing right by its employees.
Tobin Cassels, Southeastern’s president, recently identified the secret of his company’s success: “Take care of our people who take care of our customers who take care of our future.”
But you’re not likely to read or hear about Southeastern’s willingness to hold onto to each and every one of its 6,800 associates during the current hard times because the company has long been reluctant to promote itself.
However, those within in the company say it’s always been the Cassels’ way to take care of their people, and they’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means digging deep into their own pockets, to make sure their corporate family remains intact.
It’s not like the past few years have been easy ones, either. Skyrocketing fuel costs have hurt the trucking industry. At least 100 trucking companies in South Carolina, albeit mostly small ones, have shut down since the middle of the decade because of fuel costs, according to a 2006 report in The State newspaper.
Despite the hard times, Southeastern remains one of the largest trucking companies in the country, running more than 2,500 company-owned trucks.
Just last year, Southeastern expanded into Mexico, and to assist with the expanded operations, opened a new service center in Laredo, Texas.
Southeastern, founded in 1950, specializes in next-day service in the Southeast and Southwest, and operates 76 service centers in 12 states and Puerto Rico. The company has a network of service partners to ensure transportation services in the remaining 38 states, Canada, the Virgin Islands and Mexico.
It’s refreshing to see that in an era when so many corporate executives appear more interested in lining their own pockets rather than doing right by their employees and customers, Southeastern still understands that the key to success rests with satisfied, loyal employees.