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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Top Family-Owned Business: Raider Express Inc

Raider Express Inc. is a refrigerated over-the-road trucking company working mainly in the middle and mid-Western parts of the United States, primarily as a protein hauler for mostly Fortune 500 companies.

The company was founded in Houston in 1998 by Mike Eggleton Jr., Mike Eggleton Sr. and Daniel Eggleton, and moved to Fort Worth in January 2003.

Mike Eggleton Jr. says that 2017 gross billings were $59 million. Raider operates 300 company-owned tractors and 600 53-foot refrigerated trailers.

The company’s website tells the story of the founding like this: The day Eggleton Jr. graduated from Texas Tech University, Mike Eggleton Sr. and Kaz Wrobel, a truck fleet owner, handed him a briefcase with a key to a small office, an operating authority and an insurance certificate.

He started brokering loads and then was given a few trucks. Within six months Eggleton Sr. had officially joined the company, and Wrobel had moved his truck fleet to Raider Express.

Raider Express expanded its fleet to haul paper, produce and consumer goods but gradually it shifted to almost entirely refrigerated and grocery products. Daniel Eggleton joined the company in 2001, also immediately after graduating from Texas Tech.

Mike Eggleton Jr. responded to a questionnaire from the Fort Worth Business Press:

What differentiates your company from others in a similar business?

The attention and care that we give to all of our employees: office staff, drivers, mechanics. We make sure that everyone feels like family and not just a number here at Raider. We are very heavily involved in the day-to-day operations and make sure that we know everyone by name. We want our employees to treat this company like it is their own; the only way to make them feel like that is treat them like that and share the success with everyone involved.

All businesses go through some tough times. What was your greatest challenge and how did you respond to it?

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 was almost the death of us. We came together as a company and worked even harder to push through every single day, not just every week. Longer hours, better truck utilization, cost cutting, personal funding – pulling out all the stops.

The business climate is changing rapidly. What do you foresee as challenges?

On taxes, including local, state and federal: rising fuel taxes, increased toll roads, increased tariffs on goods used to make our equipment.

On federal government regulation: ELDs (electronic logging device rules) is No. 1 by far; F4A; speed limiters; and increased emission standards.

[F4A refers to a provision in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, which is before Congress for reauthorization, that includes a section designed to ensure nationwide uniformity on meal-and-rest-break rules for truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed rule calling for heavy-duty vehicles to be equipped with speed-limiting devices also is stalled in Washington.]

On access to labor: Our biggest challenge by far. We have our driving school but even then we struggle to get drivers. The influx of the big corporations to North Texas, the always growing construction, the always growing housing market and the oil fields provide a very dog-eat-dog world here in the DFW market.

In general, do you see the present business climate as challenging, uncertain or optimistic and why?

Very optimistic for us. The trucking climate has swung back to the carriers tremendously here over the past year with the government passage of the ELD mandate. The barriers to entrance to this industry are almost nonexistent at this point. The trucking companies that are still in business now and (is wording missing?) over 100 trucks are going to be able to thrive going forward.

If you could make one and only one change in the present business climate, what would it be and why?

TORT REFORM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Raider Express Inc.

2400 Cold Springs Road, Fort Worth

Number of employees: 414


– Paul K. Harral

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Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

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