Former Longistics Transportation Chairman Duane Long Dies

Former ATA Chairman Was 70
Duane Long
Duane Long at the headquarters of Longistics in Raleigh in 2014. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Duane Long, former president and chairman of Raleigh, N.C.-based logistics provider Longistics Transportation Inc., died June 12 after a long battle with lung disease. He was 70.

He was elected the 70th chairman of American Trucking Associations in 2014, and served on a number of ATA committees for more than 15 years. He also was a past chairman of the North Carolina Trucking Association, where he co-founded the state association’s foundation.

Involved in the trucking industry nationally and internationally, Long had a wide range of trucking industry knowledge stemming from running a company with 2,500 employees to downsizing to a small targeted logistics firm with 40 trucks and about 300 employees. Longistics was sold one year ago, but the family has continued to operate their warehousing and real estate business, said Long’s wife, Pat.

As the owner of a logistics company that focused on the pharmaceutical industry, he nonetheless spent time on the road himself to stay connected to truck drivers’ challenges.

“I see the traffic, I see the potholes, I see the construction and the truck stops,” Long once said.

Long loved playing golf, and was a hunter, an outdoorsman and a conservationist, his wife said. “Duane was not a gambler, but he definitely was a risk taker,” she said.

Born and raised in Gaston County, N.C., early in life Long learned the importance of family, faith, community service and hard work.

Known by his friends and family as a deeply religious man, Long tried to live his life according to his favorite Bible passage, 2 Timothy 4:7: “I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

He was the son of a Baptist minister, and both of his parents were instrumental in the local community.

After attending Gaston College, he had a chance meeting with a trucking company that noticed he was moving to Charleston, S.C. It was there where he met Pat. They married in 1977, and had their son, Brooks.

Soon after, they moved to Raleigh, where he worked for Black & Decker before starting the family trucking company, Longistics, in 1984. “We started with $500 and a dream,” Long said.

In a 2015 Transport Topics internet web event, Long said that he has intentionally turned a big company into a small logistics provider, even during a time in which there were large numbers of acquisitions in the transportation industry.

“We were growing so rapidly that we were up to about 2,500 employees,” he said. “We were spread over seven states. At that time we were approached by other companies that wanted to buy our company.

“Early on, we were a good size. Now we’re small.”

It was a strategic decision to scale down the size of the company, he said.

Even while he was busy running an asset-based logistics operation, Long was involved in community work, ranging from chair of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors to co-chairman of the Regional Transportation Alliance. Long also served on the board of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, chair of the North Carolina Railroad Co. and founder of the North Carolina China Center.

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Long and professional tennis player Tim Wilkison formed Raleigh Sports Promotions in 1989, where they developed a local tennis team under Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis as well as the charitable organization Raleigh Edge Kids Foundation, helping underprivileged youth.

He also was a big fan and supporter of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack sports teams, providing trucks and trailers for the university’s football team for more than 25 years, and was involved with the football team’s chaplaincy program.

Long is survived by his wife, Pat, his son, Brooks, his daughter-in-law, Hsin Ming, his brother, Philip, and his sister, Allison Steele.


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