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3/2/2016 10:30:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Daseke Continues to Seek Additions to Flatbed Enterprise

John Sommers II for Transport Topics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Flatbed entrepreneur Don Daseke continues to build his rapidly growing company by hunting for merger candidates, even though the current business environment does not favor an initial public offering for what is now the second-largest company in his sector of trucking.

In an interview here on March 1 during the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting, Daseke said his strategy is to buy “outstanding companies that aren’t for sale.”

As an example, Daseke (rhymes with “passkey”) said he had to court the owners of Bulldog Hiway Express for three years before closing the merger in June. He rejects calling the deals “acquisitions.”

His company, Daseke Inc., has only 15 employees at its headquarters in Addison, Texas, whereas the nine operating companies that provide flatbed, heavyhaul and specialized transportation employ 3,000 people.

Daseke Inc. ranks second in that sector of the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers behind Landstar System.

He said the people in Addison are not “micromanagers." Instead he relies on the veteran managers who remain with the operating companies after the mergers are complete.

Nonetheless, he came to TMC and the related Executive Leadership Forum of American Trucking Associations to learn more about trucking.

Daseke said some of his maintenance vice presidents went to TMC, so he decided to come and talk to people.

“I think TMC is a bit of an industry secret. It’s a strong show,” he said.

The ownership of Daseke Inc. is 71% by Daseke, some other people in Addision and the top management of the nine operating companies. Institutional investors own 12%.

The remaining 17% is owned by “friends and family,” he said.

Daseke said he and his colleagues have a tricky balancing act in their management. They want to centralize functions where they can save money but not crimp the management styles of the company presidents who made the trucking companies profitable in the first place.

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By Jonathan S. Reiskin
Associate News Editor

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