Full speed ahead for ITS Logistics’ brokerage division
The northern Nevada-based third party logistics company, ITS Logistics, has experienced substantial growth in the past few years – particularly in their freight brokerage division.
The division is on pace to generate more than $75 million dollars in revenue in 2017.
A freight broker acts as an intermediary between a client who has goods that need to be shipped and a carrier who has the capacity to move those goods. ITS Logistics started their brokerage division approximately five 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. The division is lead by Mike Crawford, general manager of the freight brokerage division.
Crawford originally started with the company in a sales position on their fleet side. At the time, the brokerage division was a very small part of their business.
“The ownership approached me and said ‘would you like to take over the brokerage division and make something of it,’” Crawford said.
He took over in January 2013 with three to four employees in a small office at their old Sparks headquarters on Spice Island Drive. Today, the division is the largest revenue generator within ITS Logistics and they have between 45 to 50 employees.
“On the brokerage side of things, no one thought that ITS could do this,” Crawford said.
He explained that other people within the industry did not believe that Reno had enough resources and talent to create a successful freight brokerage division.
“To back that up there has been probably three or four legitimate companies that tried to do what ITS is doing and failed,” he said.
Since then, the division has experienced remarkable growth. In 2016, they moved into their current 9,000-sqaure-foot location on the fourth floor of 50 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno. Their previous 3,200-sqaure-foot office on the second floor of the same building had been bursting at the seams after the division grew by 40 percent in 2015.
According to Crawford, the success has been set on a strong foundation and doing it right.
The division operates 24-hours a day, which allows them to provide service across North America from the Reno office. He said that they actually move more loads on the East Coast than the West Coast. They also have dedicated fleet accounts, something that is rare for brokerage companies.
“We are doing a lot of dedicated models, which is in direct competition with asset carriers,” Crawford said.
The dedicated fleet model offers an assigned carrier for a client.
“Typically brokerages usually can’t handle that quality of service,” Patrick McFarland, marketing director for ITS Logistics, said. However, the division’s reputation and growth has allowed them to enter that market.
“If you can offer that high-level of service that can rival a fleet or asset-based service you can bring best of both worlds,” Crawford said.
Freight brokerage is a high-energy, fast-paced business. Crawford said that they look for employees who are competitive and work well in teams.
“You have to be ready to go every day,” Albert Rosette, an account manager with ITS Logistics, said. “It can be stressful but it is also exciting.”
Prior to joining ITS Logistics a year and a half ago, Rosette had been living in the Bay Area working for a medical company doing sales. ITS’ unique environment coupled with the opportunity to return to Reno attracted him to join the company.
“You could just feel the energy and feel the vibe,” Rosette said as he recalled his interview with the company. “I played football at Nevada and you could just feel the camaraderie here.”
Many of the division’s employees are former athletes including Crawford. He played for the Wolf Pack football team as well as in the NFL. An athlete’s drive to compete as well as work as a team is an asset to for ITS.
The freight brokerage division is continuing to hire new employees. Crawford anticipates that they will be up to 55 or 60 employees by the end of 2017.
While the division is now the largest revenue generator, Crawford has no plans to ease up on the division’s growth.
“I don’t necessarily want everyone in this company, including myself, to feel like we have arrived,” Crawford said. “We have a ways to go.”
For more information about ITS Logistics, visit https://www.its4logistics.com.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.