July 28, 2015 3:00 PM, EDT

CRST Founder Smith Dies at 91

Herald Smith, the founder of CRST International, died July 27 at his summer home in Wisconsin at age 91.

CRST — originally Cedar Rapids Steel Transport — ranks No. 25 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. The company’s annual revenue topped $1.35 billion in 2014.

Smith, or “Smitty” to his friends, founded the company in 1955 with his wife, Miriam. He ran the business out of a former chicken coop and got his initial capital by borrowing $1,000 from his father for three months.


The company still is controlled by the Smith family, Herald and Miriam’s son John serving as chairman of the board.

Smith was a notable industry figure, for the state and the nation, said Brenda Neville, president of the Iowa Motor Truck Association.

“His passion and love for the industry was always very evident,” Neville said. “Not only has he done great things for Iowa’s trucking industry and the Iowa Motor Truck Association, but he was also a valued and respected community leader in Cedar Rapids.”

“The story of CRST is one of those great trucking stories that show that hard work, perseverance and unwavering commitment to your goals really does pay off. Herald exemplified everything good about trucking in Iowa.”

Smith’s insight for starting the company was recognizing a need for hauling livestock from Iowa to Chicago and then steel back to Cedar Rapids.

Now the company’s services include expedited team service, dry vans, flatbeds, dedicated contract carriage, temperature controlled and transportation management.