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- 2012 - December - 26th -

XPO Logistics sees 100-job potential at new Jacksonville office

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

XPO Logistics Inc. has opened a freight brokerage office in Jacksonville and its CEO said it expects to reach up to 100 employees within six years.

XPO Logistics is based in Greenwich, Conn., with an operations center in Charlotte, N.C. It is a third-party transportation logistics provider.

The company was based in Michigan and announced the headquarters move in May.

XPO Logistics said the move was part of the company's strategic expansion to support its growing network of freight brokerage, freight forwarding and expedited transportation locations nationwide.

In March, the company announced the opening of the Charlotte operations center.

XPO Logistics Chairman and CEO Bradley Jacobs said the Jacksonville office is led by J.E. "Kip" Douglass, an experienced industry executive who previously worked with Crowley Maritime, Patriot Transportation and Landstar. His father, John Douglass, will retire from Crowley on Monday after 25 years there.

The Jacksonville office opened Aug. 1 in temporary space at 10751 Deerwood Park Blvd., where long-term space is being built out and is expected to be completed in about 90 days.

Jacobs said XPO Logistics will use 6,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the building, which is in Deerwood Park in south Jacksonville. Douglass will serve as president of the Jacksonville office.

The office has 15 employees and Jacobs wants to expand that by five or 10 next year "and get up to many dozens in the next few years." He said it could reach 50-100 people in five to six years.

The location is strategic for employment, including its proximity to the University of North Florida, said Jacobs.

"We are a mile from UNF and that is important because our business plan is to recruit people and train them and then to empower them with great technology. Recruiting from schools like that is important," he said.

Jacobs said Jacksonville is an important market. "We plan to get Jacksonville up to $50 million to $100 million in revenue in the next five years," he said.

Jacobs said the office and its sales team, led by Douglass, will be in charge of that sales growth.

"We are looking for those highly motivated, highly competitive people," Jacobs said.

He said the base salary is $30,000 to $35,000. Commissions will boost that. XPO Logistics also offers benefits, he said.

Jacobs took control of the company in September 2011. In June 2011, he and Express-1 Expedited Solutions Inc., founded in 1989, announced they entered into an agreement in which Jacobs and co-investors would invest up to $150 million in cash in Express-1, including an investment by Jacobs Private Equity LLC of up to $135 million.

Jacobs became the majority shareholder in Express-1, chairman of its board of directors and CEO.

His biography shows he previously built two multibillion dollar, publicly traded companies: United Rentals Inc. and United Waste Systems Inc., the fifth largest solid waste company in the United States at the time of its sale.

"I plan to build a multibillion dollar transportation brokerage business over the next several years. Express-1 is an ideal platform, with prominent positions in expedited services, freight brokerage and freight forwarding. I'm excited about leading the company into its next phase of growth," he said in June 2011.

The investment was completed that September.

Jacobs describes XPO Logistics as a transportation logistics firm that arranges shipping services.

The company connects companies that need to ship goods, such as retailers and manufacturers, with those who provide shipping services, such as trucking companies.

"A shipper calls XPO Logistics and that is all we do – moving freight from Point A to Point B," he said.

Jacobs said the sales people will call on companies that need to ship goods. XPO Logistics will provide training and a computer system to help price the business.

The information then is handled by the Charlotte operations center, which has 185 employees, and those employees talk with transportation companies to move the freight.

"The people in Jacksonville are calling shippers to get freight and they are handing those loads over to the national operations center in Charlotte," he said.

He said the sales people being recruited in Jacksonville, including students from UNF, Jacksonville University and the University of Florida, "are customer-focused, talking to people who need to move" freight.

Jacobs said that when he took control of the company in September 2011, he replaced most of the board.

"I greatly expanded the management team and we turbocharged the business plan to grow to a $5 billion company over several years," he said.

Jacobs said the company posted $175 million in revenue in 2011 and is ending 2012 with about $500 million. "We tripled the size in a little over a year," he said.

Jacobs said the company made four truck-brokerage acquisitions and operates in 56 locations, with 53 in the United States and three in Canada.

He said employment is up to 900.

XPO Logistics describes itself at xpologistics.com as a non-asset based, third-party logistics provider of freight transportation services that uses a network of relationships with ground, sea and air carriers to find the best transportation solutions for its customers.

The company said it offers its services through three distinct business units: expedited transportation (Express-1 Inc.); freight forwarding (Concert Group Logistics Inc.); and freight brokerage.

XPO Logistics said it serves more than 7,500 customers in the retail, commercial, manufacturing and industrial sectors through its 56 locations, which comprise 33 branches in the United States and Canada and 23 agent offices.

The ad for a Jacksonville sales position says the job has responsibility for selling customer freight solutions, backed up by an operations team that books the loads.

"It involves a high volume of customer interaction, including prospecting, cold-calling, qualifying, closing deals and account management," it said.

Qualifications include being "driven by the opportunity to make money and the thrill of the win."

In November, XPO Logistics Inc. said it was named a Top 25 Freight Brokerage Firm for 2012 in the "Transport Topics" annual survey of logistics companies for the United States and Canada. The company has been ranked as the 17th largest freight brokerage firm based on net revenue.

"In little more than a year, we've grown our brokerage business from a single location to the top tier of approximately 10,000 freight brokerage providers, with a network that spans North America. Our investments in acquisitions, cold-starts, infrastructure and talent are fast positioning XPO Logistics as the company to watch in our industry," said Greg Ritter, senior vice president of brokerage operations for XPO Logistics.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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