October 13, 2014

“Caring, committing, communicating and appreciating…. We care for each other and strive to maintain an environment that is positive and that encourages open communication where everyone is heard and valued.  We understand and value the importance of work, a healthy family life, and fun.”

ACT is a family owned company.  The Kretsingers’ are a large family and I am the oldest of eight.  My brothers, Bob and Bill, have worked here since the early 1980’s.  We have decades of family experience, so when I talk of family, I know something of the subject.

There is something about a family company that is different from a company owned by investors, a private equity fund or one owned by stockholders on Wall Street. If you follow the street, you will soon learn that everything is focused on the next quarter’s results.  This can lead to some very strong financial discipline, but it also leads to some very short term thinking, often at the expense of people and the long term well-being of the company.  If you know anything about some of the mega-sized trucking companies, they are all about numbers.  If you have ever worked at one of the mega-sized companies, you may have found yourself scratching your head, trying to make sense of the most recent decisions.  Numbers are important, but people are also important.  We are a service business.  Our service comes from people.  Without good people, we are nothing.  Many overlook this.

Family companies have a longer horizon. In drastic contrast, family thinking is long term, often to the next generation of family and the next generation of team members.  As we all know, family is one of those things that can get under our skin like nothing else, but it is also the thing that endures with commitment through the generations.  We have seen that in our family.  We believe that family is important.  You have a job to support your number one priority, your family…you don’t have a family simply to support your job.  Family is the most important thing in life.  It’s also an economic unit and economic success depends on the success of the family.  In the difficult profession of trucking, it is hard to maintain a balance and we all, office folks and drivers, need to remember priorities…family is number one.

In many ways, the team here at ACT is also a family, and we function much better as a family than some uncaring mercenary force. We do need to perform and produce, like any business, but we can do it in an atmosphere where we communicate, explain the reasoning behind what we are doing and care when someone falls down.  You’ll always find a friendly family Midwestern greeting when you walk in our doors.  It is one of the things that make us different….and better.

What are some of the benefits of a “family” culture? You’re collaborating with people you trust and care about and who care about you. This can be a very nurturing environment, and it gives all team members more self-confidence. We understand we’re all in this together, and are working toward a common goal. A family-run company may have a more relaxed environment and this is pleasant for non-family members too.

It is easier to make big decisions in a family-run company and people are more willing to explain the reasons behind a decision. Instead of having to wade through multiple layers of bureaucracy, which are common in larger organizations, family-run businesses are often more flexible and can make needed changes nimbly. It is easier for good employees to make an impact in a family culture instead of being burdened down by corporate bureaucracy.

When a family runs a company, the desire to keep things profitable and stable for future generations is usually very strong as it is here. We’ve been through hard times and good times together and we know how to succeed in this business. We’ve been doing this a long time and we’re in for the long haul.

Safe and Happy Trucking! Tom




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