Celadon’s Russell Used Hard Work, Luck To Build Large Cross-Border TL Carrier
John Sommers IIBy Eric Miller, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the June 23 print edition of Transport Topics.
INDIANAPOLIS — Stephen Russell might not have become the owner of motor-carrier giant Celadon Group Inc., were it not for a chance meeting 29 years ago at a toll booth.
In 1985, Russell was traveling from his office in Manhattan to his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, when he approached a toll booth on New York City’s Hudson River Bridge. He reached in his pocket for two quarters.
It was empty.
Annoyed, Russell pulled over to the left lane headed toward a change booth to break a dollar.
“There was a horn blowing on my right,” he said. “It was a guy who worked for me years ago who wanted my phone number. He told me he’d call me the next day.”
At the time, Russell had recently completed a business venture in Saudi Arabia and was looking for a new challenge.
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He was 45, and said that he was financially secure and “did not have to worry about money” but was wondering what he was going to do with the rest of his life.
The ex-employee, Leonard Bennett, called the next day and told Russell he was running a logistics company and desperately needed some trucks to carry automobile components between Mexico and Michigan.
It sounded promising to Russell. In a month, he raised the capital to lease 50 tractors and 100 trailers, calling the new truckload venture “Celadon,” a universal word for green-colored Chinese porcelain.
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