When he finished his National Football League career playing for the Washington Redskins in 1960, Don Stallings came back home to Rocky Mount and began driving a truck for a living.
After a few years, he decided to form his own trucking company.
That was the genesis for Eagle Transport Corp., a company headquartered in Rocky Mount that today has about 400 trucks transporting petroleum and chemicals throughout the Eastern United States. The company also owns 22 terminals from Delaware to South Florida and west to Nashville, Tenn.
“(Stallings) brought gasoline into Norfolk, Va., and eventually through a pipeline that came from Texas into Selma,” said Herb Evans, executive vice president of the company. “They went into the Greensboro area and bought a company out of Charlotte, then in South Carolina. Then, in the 1980s, it grew into Florida, and we’ve seen substantial growth since then.”
Stallings always knew that he would be returning home to his roots in Rocky Mount one day, Evans said.
“(Stalling’s) father had a small coal and ice company here in Rocky Mount, which he worked for,” Evans said. “He got the name ‘Coal Bucket’ from carrying buckets of coal as a child around town.”
Eagle Transport began in 1969 with only four trucks. According to the company’s website, it first expanded into Tidewater Virginia, and then throughout the Carolinas and Florida in the mid-1980s.
“Even through the major system shock of interstate deregulation in 1980, and intrastate deregulation in 1995, Eagle has continued to grow at a rate averaging 12 percent annually through the retention of existing accounts, the acquisition of transport companies, and expansion into new markets,” the website states.
In late 2011, Eagle Transport launched its chemical hauling division. It runs 24 tractor-trailers and 40 chemical trailers as part of that operation. The company has been using its existing terminal infrastructure to offer services to the chemical industry, and has been transporting liquid and dry bulk chemicals.
Eagle Transport recently purchased four cryogenic liquefied natural gas trailers, which company officials said will be a significant alternative fuel in the United States in the near future.
“So, as one fuel replaces another, Eagle will hold a major role in the new emerging market of liquefied natural gas transportation,” the website states.
Company President Bill George said the trucks constantly are running.
“We haul gas every day of the year,” he said.
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: George: We’ll run 45 million miles in a year’s time, and we’ll deliver about 450,000 loads of gasoline, primarily to the local convenience stores in those markets.
And two years ago, we started a chemical division that is headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., and those trucks in that division go across the country. And on any given day may there may be one of those in Montreal, Canada, and another might be in San Diego, Calif., so the ‘Eagle banner,’ if you will, with Rocky Mount displayed on the doors of the tractor, could be seen in any part of the United States and Canada.
Evans: As far south as Key West, all the way up to Philadelphia, South Jersey – primary the eastern shore of Maryland south. We operate roughly in a dozen states as far west as Memphis, Tenn.
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Don Stallings, owner and founder; Bill George, president; Herb Evans, executive vice president; Joe Duncan, chief financial officer, Lance College, vice president of operations.
Q: How many people do you employ?
A: 900 companywide; 40 at the corporate headquarters in Rocky Mount.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: George: To make a lot of money. I would say we pride ourselves on being one of the safest tank truck carriers in the United States, and we have a group of very talented employees that are very dedicated to the company, and these employees are spread out in 22 different locations.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: George: There are a couple of (unique) characteristics about us as a petroleum hauling company. We’re probably the second, maybe the third, largest privately held in the country. That is one thing you might call unique.
The other thing is our footprint is strategically planned out to cover a lot of geography that is meaningful to us that we concentrate on, as opposed to maybe opening terminals in Nevada or Oklahoma or places like that.
I’d say the No. 1 thing might be our technology. Our technology we believe in our industry is second to none. We don’t have a customer waiting on us to catch up to their technology. Then I’d say the quality of our people, which is exceptional from top to bottom. We just don’t lose people. We never lose anyone to one of our competitors.