USA Cartage owner gets truck association award

April 11, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

WILLIAMSPORT - Ralph Richmond tries to play down the importance of having recently been named Maryland Motor Truck Association Person of the Year.

But the plaques and citations that nearly fill one wall of his office at USA Cartage say otherwise.

"I'd like to think I got the award for my body of work," Richmond said from the office of his trucking company.

In 1975, after graduating from college in his native Virginia, Richmond took a job with a trucking firm in Winchester, Va., working in the office, in the shop and on the road.

His introduction to Hagerstown came when he became terminal manager of Hemingway Transport, staying for one year before being promoted to a larger terminal in Norfolk, Va., where he stayed until 1981, when the company went out of business.


Back in Hagerstown, Richmond was managing for Saint Johnsbury Trucking when he took a big step in his career.

"I thought there was an opening in the marketplace to provide cartage to out-of-the-way locations," Richmond said, explaining cartage is another word for local hauling.

He started his company, USA Cartage, in 1986, creating a niche market by combining smaller loads into one truckload for economic reasons.

Richmond had one truck, and he was the only driver at first.

"Saint Johnsbury Trucking would like about 20 stops on one truck," Richmond said. "They wouldn't want to take two stops all the way to Cumberland, for instance."

The idea apparently worked since 20 years later, USA Cartage has more than 125 employees and a fleet of more than 100 trucks, Richmond said.

"Now we do take a truckload to Boston - we are a truckload carrier now," he said. USA Cartage serves the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

Challenges always are present and ever changing. Rising fuel costs currently are causing some difficulties for the firm, Richmond said.

His activities with the Maryland Motor Truck Association began in 1992 and progressed through terms on the board of directors and serving as chairman in 2001-02.

"The MMTA is an industry advocate and provides good support and resources," he said.

Richmond currently is on the board of directors of the American Trucking Association and serves as a vice president at large and on several committees.

One of his two daughters, Janet Richmond, is employed by USA Cartage as a systems analyst. Amy Richmond is in Connecticut, where she works with Save the Children.

Proud of his business' success and growth for more than 20 years, Richmond also is quick to point out the plaques on the other side of his office.

"We have won safety awards in four of the past five years," Richmond said.

His advice to would-be truckers is simple.

"Be ready to work," Richmond said.

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