ITS Logistics, a third party logistics company, recently announced that they are moving their freight brokerage division to a new office space downtown that will be three times the size of their current location.
Their current office is bursting at the seams after the division grew by 40 percent within the last year. The new office will occupy the entire top floor of the four-story office tower at 50 West Liberty Street located in the heart of downtown Reno.
“It is a continuation of ITS’ long-term investment in the community,” Mike Crawford, general manager of the freight brokerage group, said. “(For the past) 16 years, ITS has always been a big part of the community, so this is just another step in that direction.”
ITS signed a seven-year lease in the building, which is owned and managed by Basin Street Properties, and is currently in the process of renovating the space to meet their needs. They are scheduled to move from their current location on the second floor of 50 West Liberty Street into the bigger space this coming August.
Freight brokerage is a high-energy, fast-paced business. It acts as an intermediary to connect shippers with a transportation solution that can include trucks, trains or airplanes.
“It is exciting, very fast paced,” Crawford said.
Brokerage divisions allow trucking and logistic companies to expand geographically without putting physical assets in certain locations, Greg Sanders, chief commercial officer for ITS, said. The operation provides 24-hour service, which allows them to service all of North America from the Reno office. He explained that if they ever had trouble recruiting talent for their brokerage division they may open another brokerage office in a different location, but as of now, they don’t have any plans to do so.
“We are showing people that we can make it work,” Sanders said. “That this town is very conducive to a strong brokerage operation.”
The company started the brokerage division about four years ago as a support system for the company’s other two divisions, their asset-based expedited and dedicated transportation division and their warehousing and distribution division. According to Sanders, the freight brokerage division is now the fastest growing division in the company.
Last year, they had about 25 employees and this year the division grew to 45 employees. They expect it to be the largest division revenue wise by the end of the year.
And the growth in the brokerage division is just beginning.
“We think five years out this is going to be $150 million operation here,” Sanders said. “That is a 150 bodies, we are at 40 today, we have a long way to grow.”
Sanders stressed the importance of having the brokerage division in a place conducive to the young professional and close to a university in order to recruit new talent.
“We are fortunate that we have a business model that allows us to experience being in a downtown environment,” Sanders said. “Most trucking companies or warehousing companies don’t locate downtown but we have a division that allows us (to be downtown) because we don’t have any assets we really can be anywhere.”
“Our assets here are people,” Crawford added.
ITS works closely with UNR and TMCC to provide job opportunities for graduates. They are very selective in who they hire and look for employees who are team oriented, competitive, and live up to the company’s core values. According to Crawford, about 40 to 50 percent of the employees in their brokerage division are former college athletes.
“It is a very good business for athletes,” Crawford said. “It is very tangible … using the skills from the course of your life and competing on the field they translate very well to this business.”
Sanders explained that one of the benefits of the freight brokerage business is that goods always need to be moved.
“In good times you are moving flat screen TVs and in bad times you are moving George Foreman (grills), Sanders said. “(Even in the) slowest of times in America, goods still move.”
ITS Logistics was founded in 1999. Over the past five years, the company has grown from just over 100 employees to more than 550 employees. The company announced earlier this year that it would be moving into its new 630,000-square-foot corporate office, warehouse and distribution center located at 555 Vista Blvd. in Sparks. ITS moved into their new headquarters June 1.