Axial's Growth 100 : Mark Weisensee

Mark Weisensee

CEO, OpenRoad Transporation

The Little Trucking Company That Could

Mark Weisensee started OpenRoad Transportation Inc. with his wife in 2004. They began “very slowly,” and now have hundreds of loads per day.

OpenRoad is a trucking and third-party logistics company. With the trucking branch of the business, OpenRoad employs drivers and ships freight itself. With its third-party logistics portion, OpenRoad connects shippers with carriers.

The Dallas, Oregon-based company today works with shippers and carriers around the world.

Differentiated Growth

The beginnings of OpenRoad were bootstrapped. Mark began the company with his home equity line of credit and never took on investors. “We somehow made it through the early years,” Mark says. And OpenRoad did not only survive, it thrived and grew to the $40 million business it is today.

For the most part, OpenRoad grew organically. But the company made a few acquisitions over the years, one on the asset-based side of the business and two on the logistics side. “We were not shopping,” says Mark. “They literally called us.”

OpenRoad’s future plans rely on continuing its organic growth model. If presented with an appropriate deal of fair valuation and the right people, the company would consider an acquisition. With 75 employees and 6 offices, they plan to open another office within the next year.

In the next five years, Mark plans to surpass the $100 million point in sales. He understands that more than doubling the company will require new infrastructure. “We will hire managers to make it happen,” Mark says. “We will recruit and retain people. It is part of our strategic plan to gain more of a share of the marketplace.”

The transportation and logistics industry is huge. Large companies making more than $1 billion in yearly revenue have very aggressive acquisition strategies compared to OpenRoad’s growth model, says Mark.

Retaining Customers

Mark attributes his company’s success to a positive working environment and great customer service.

“It starts with how we treat each other,” Mark says. “We take care of our teammates and that translates to taking care of the customer.”

OpenRoad provides the customer with a personal relationship. Specific employees are assigned to accounts and they support the customer through each transaction. “We will answer the phone at any time of the day,” Mark says. “We’re really there for them. We do what we say we will do and take their freight very seriously.”

This high level of care has allowed for “excellent retention with customers,” Mark says. OpenRoad is making noise in the industry since it almost never loses customers and takes new ones every week.

Mark has received a great deal of affirmative feedback over the years. Customers let him know that his employees are punctual and appointment times are met. Customers are pleased with the company’s communication as well.

Factors like weather can play an enormous role in this line of work. If a trucker has to travel over a mountain during a snowstorm for example, things might not go as planned.

“There have been stories of our people working all weekend on a load that went wrong,” says Mark. “Then by Monday [the customer] says, ‘we will always use you guys. We have never seen someone work so hard.'”