Angela Eliacostas ended her reign as the Influential Woman in Trucking last week.
Eliacostas, the 2018 recipient of the award, announced this year’s honoree, Ruth Lopez of Ryder, at the Women In Trucking Association’s Accelerate! Conference & Expo in Dallas.
But Eliacostas, founder and president of AGT Global Logistics, did not go home empty-handed. She took the stage twice to accept awards. AGT was named a Top Woman-owned Business and one of the Top Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation.
She launched her company as All Girls Transportation & Logistics in suburban Chicago in 2005.
“Like many of the women I’ve met in the trucking industry, I was married young and started a family right away. God blessed me with four boys. Being a young mom with four boys prepares you for basically any challenge,” said Eliacostas.
“Raising four boys as a single mom is a struggle all its own. And then juggling a new job and soon to be divorced, I began on-call dispatching because my kids were in sports and it became difficult to try and find a balance,” she continued.
But Eliacostas had learned the value of a hard-earned dollar early on.
“I owe my success to the traits and qualities of not only my parents but my loving grandparents,” Eliacostas said. “I was born to some very young parents and was fortunate enough to spend the majority of my childhood being raised with the help of my grandparents. They taught me a great work ethic while stressing the importance of family life.”
She owes her interest in trucking to her father.
“My father went from driving a truck when I was a little girl to becoming an owner-operator to starting his own dump business to eventually adding an excavating business with that,” she said.
Her first job was fueling trucks from a pump behind their home. “I was paid $2 a day for that job,” she pointed out.
Later, her dad taught her how to drive a truck. Eliacostas also learned determination and grit.
“I never remember my dad — or my grandparents, for that matter — calling in sick. I thought, ‘Wow, I really have a healthy family. They’re just never sick.’ As I got older, I figured out it wasn’t necessarily they weren’t sick, they just kept going,” she said.
Eliacostas’ family also instilled in her the continuous pursuit of knowledge.
“They taught me to always ask questions, to learn and never give up. There’s always an option and you never take no for an answer. And sometimes you must think outside the box unless you want to be ordinary, and my grandmother always used to tell me, ‘Anyone can be ordinary, but you, my girl, are extraordinary,’” she said.
Eliacostas said she knew she could manage a company on a larger scale.
“I started working as a billing clerk at a local cartage company. I observed everything around me. I learned everything around me that anyone was willing to teach me. Within the next seven years, I moved up to become the general manager and in 2005 I left and opened up, at that time, All Girls Transportation & Logistics,” she said.
After a “growing up phase,” the company was rebranded as AGT Global Logistics. Eliacostas’ sons also grew up and have children of their own. She’s now the grandmother of 10 all under the age of 6.
“We still aren’t the biggest. We don’t necessarily ever want to be. I’m proud of the niche services we provide to the top energy and utility companies around the world. We continue asking questions and learning. All my staff needs to have integrity and commitment to the best customer service we can offer. This is my name and the business I will be proud to eventually see my grandchildren running,” she said.