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CFI marked seven decades in business Oct. 1 and held a ceremony the week prior to commemorate the anniversary at its headquarters in Joplin, Mo.
Ursul Lewellen started with just one truck and two trailers when he founded the company in 1951. At the time, it was called Contract Freighters Inc.
“CFI has called Joplin home since our first day in business, and we have been blessed with strong leadership and dedicated associates who have always represented our company with passion, professionalism and integ- rity,” CFI President Greg Orr said.
CFI now deploys nearly 2,000 professional drivers operating a fleet of more than 1,800 tractors and more than 7,000 53-foot dry-van trailers throughout the U.S. and Canada, with cross-border service to Mexico. The company also contracts with approximately 700 owner-operators.
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“That includes a remarkable team of fleet managers, safety and support personnel standing behind a group of professional drivers who continue to be an inspiration and are the backbone of the safe, reliable service we deliver to shippers every day,” Orr said.
CFI bought its first company-owned truck from Kenworth in 1985. During the ceremony, the company received the delivery of its 15,000th truck from Kenworth, a 2021 Kenworth Next Gen T680. The company also honored several of its professional drivers for exemplary work by presenting them with custom-made trucks and trailers. The professional drivers were:
- Ricky and Mary Norman: The team-driving couple has been together since high school. They received the 15,000th Kenworth tractor and plan to operate it nationwide. They have run 5.2 million miles with CFI.
- Michael Woods: He received a new 2021 Kenworth T680 which is outfitted as a CFI “first responder” truck. The first responder series features special large-format graphics honoring emergency medical personnel, police and firefighters. He is a 22-year EMT and firefighter as well as a 19-year member of the Army National Guard.
- Steve Landon: A 26-year Army veteran who served in Afghanistan as an E7 combat medic, he also received a new Kenworth T680. CFI said that about 14% of its drivers are military veterans.
- Les North: He served in the reserves from 1979 to 1982 and served active duty from 1982 to 1997. He retired as a major from the Air Force. North drives for CFI’s temp-control division.
- Albert Arriola Jr.: He is a 28-year CFI driver with 3.3 million driving miles with the company. He will be in charge of the commemorative CFI 70th anniversary Kenworth W990 tractor with a special logo.
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