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November 2019

An Elite Private Fleet

Each month NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty writes a column in Fleet Owner magazine that focuses on the individuals, companies, best practices, and resources that make private trucking the force that it is in the American economy. Reaching more than 100,000 subscribers, three-quarters of whom are private fleet professionals, this column provides an excellent forum to communicate the value of the private fleet. Click here to view the archive.

Gary Petty | | Private Fleet Editor for FleetOwner Magazine
Gary Petty has more than 30 years of experience as CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. He has been the president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council since 2001.

American Foods Group ships 6.5 million lbs. of beef a day.

American Foods Group is owned by Rosen Diversified Inc., founded in 1946 by brothers Elmer and Ludwig Rosen. They began buying livestock in rural areas and hauling it to St. Paul, Omaha, Sioux City, and beyond. In the 1950s, they began selling feed, fertilizer, and chemicals to farmers. They entered the “AG chemical” business at the right time and grew along with it.

In 1974, the Rosen brothers again expanded by entering the beef packing business with the purchase of a packing company in Minnesota. Thereafter, they purchased American Foods Group and a truck carrier, America’s Service Line, which was acquired as part of the purchase of Green Bay Dressed Beef.

Over time, with the acquisition of several companies, some still operating under their local names, Rosen Diversified has grown into a vertically integrated family of companies that provide products from farm to table.

One of the largest beef processing companies in the U.S., American Foods Group ships 6.5 million lbs. of beef a day and exports to over 38 countries. It is a major producer of lean beef and sells directly to other retailers.

The company supplies beef to food service establishments coast to coast, is a leading provider of beef products to American military personnel worldwide, and is one of the largest suppliers of beef to the Federal school lunch program.

America’s Service Line is the private fleet for American Foods Group, a company that’s responsible for putting beef on the table for millions of Americans every night.

“Our private fleet is truly a team of elite professionals,” said Scott Willert, president of America’s Service Line. “We expect excellence … and we reward it. Our company drivers make more than $77,000 of gross income a year.”

The company’s private fleet has over 250 tractors and 400 refrigerated trailers. It has operated for 22 years and represents around 35% of transportation required by American Foods Group, serving 11 processing plants located mostly in the Midwest.

“Our fleet has the full support of our owners. The cost of the private fleet is lower than outsourced alternatives. We operate as a profit center and are on a path of slow, steady growth,” Willert said. “The fleet’s focus is on multi-stop shipments. Customers prefer our own drivers for these shipments.

“Ten years ago, we had all owner-operators. Today, two-thirds of our fleet drivers are employees and one-third are owner-operators. Our annual turnover is well below industry standards at 14%,” Willert explained. “Fortunately, we are able to attract good people who work well as a team, who are adaptable, and who are willing to make adjustments as circumstances require. If you are a ‘me’ person, this is not the right company for you.”

Sixty-five percent of company transportation is provided by outside carriers. Willert said the company has developed long-standing relationships with a strong group of smaller carrier partners based at each plant.

“The small, midsized carrier is a sweet spot for us,” he said. “Our carrier partners typically share our company’s philosophy about drivers. They have drivers who want to be on the team, who feel a high degree of support and appreciation by their carrier and the customers they serve. Building long-term relationships with these quality carriers who value their drivers helps strengthen our ability to provide an overall premium transportation experience for customers.”

A commitment to people’s success begins at the top. Tom Rosen, CEO of Rosen Diversified Inc., said. “We remain a privately held family business and through the years, one thing has remained the same: We are a tight-knit group of hard-working people who care about our customers and each other.”

“Our owner takes pride in the success of employees and is delighted when he visits our plants and sees employees driving better cars than they were at his previous visit. This is a great company to work for, the best of my career,” said Willert.

American Foods Group was recognized this year as one of the top 25 shippers in the United States to receive the Shipper of Choice Award as determined by vote of the carrier members of the Truckload Carriers Association and Blockchain in Transport Alliance, in partnership with Convey. This award honors shipper companies which do the best job in keeping America’s economy growing by fighting driver detention, providing accessible facilities, and understanding what it takes to remove inefficiencies from supply chains.

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