Doyle Coatney, the longtime owner and CEO of Acme Truck Line in Gretna, La., died May 1. He was 82.
A Texas native and former platoon leader in the U.S. Army, Coatney purchased Acme Truck Line in 1972, when it had only six trucks and hauled heavy equipment for the oil-field service industry in Louisiana. Over the course of three decades, Coatney grew the business and expanded into general freight, container drayage and air cargo.
Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express in New Orleans, said Coatney was a pioneer in providing hot shot — or expedited shipping services — to workers in the oil field and was known for his devotion to his employees and drivers.
“He looked after people,” Guillot said.
Coatney served as chairman of the Louisiana Motor Transportation Association and the Louisiana Oil Field Haulers Association. He also took an active role in many local business groups and charities, including the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Blinn College Foundation and the Northshore Community Foundation.
In 2000, Coatney sold the company to his son, Michael, and stayed on as chairman until his retirement.
In a company profile published in the May 24, 1999, edition of Transport Topics, Mike Coatney recalled how his father paid $10,000 to buy Acme after seeing an ad in the local newspaper. At the time, Doyle Coatney was working as a sales manager for a pipe inspection company, and he also owned a couple of small diners in Algiers, La.
“When he would see a customer need, he would find a way to take care of that need, and that’s how we ended up getting involved in so many different things,” Mike was quoted as saying of his father.
Acme ranked No. 14 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada in the flatbed/heavy specialized sector with annual revenue of $173.6 million in 2016.
He is survived by his sister, Jo Ellen Hartnett; his son, Michael; stepchildren Debbie Boe, Diana Boze, Mark Friedrichsen, Wade Landry and Matt Landry; and a host of grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Karen.