Ernst & Young LLP announced that Craig Fuller, founder and CEO of FreightWaves, was named an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Southeast Award finalist. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program “honors entrepreneurial business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform our world.” Fuller was selected as one of 30 finalists from a competitive pool of nominations by a panel of independent judges.
Award winners will be announced through a special virtual event in early October and will join a community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive award programs for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The nominees are evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management.
“I am honored to be named a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Southeast Award,” Fuller stated. “I founded FreightWaves in 2017, and with the help of the company’s investors, board members and employees, it has been successful and helped make the freight market more transparent.”
Around FreightWaves it is said that “Diesel runs through Craig Fuller’s veins.” His grandfather is Clyde Fuller, a trucking industry pioneer and founder of Southwest Motor Freight. His father, Max Fuller, is the founder of U.S. Xpress, one of the largest trucking companies in the country.
Fuller dreamed of being an entrepreneur like his father and grandfather. At Baylor University he started an on-demand laundry service in partnership with Chip Gaines (now famous for HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”). The on-demand business model was before its time.
After college Fuller went to work as a sales executive in a U.S. Xpress division that managed airfreight. He sought to start his own company, but his father talked him into starting a division within the carrier instead. In only two years, Fuller built the division into the most profitable part of the company, generating $144 million in annual revenue and $68 million of margins.
Fuller then took a small fuel-card processing business that his father owned that processed fuel transactions for U.S. Xpress, and converted the business into a leading provider of prepaid processing services for community banks. The fleet card business was eventually sold to US Bank.
The family retained the prepaid processing business and in 2014, his father fired Fuller. He was devastated at the time, but would later say that his father’s decision to remove him from the company he spent nine years building proved to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
Fuller ended up consulting with some emerging freight tech companies. He also took a sales job with an employee incentive company that had a robust content marketing infrastructure. Realizing that content marketing and account marketing were much more powerful than relationship sales, Fuller soaked up content marketing lessons he would later apply to FreightWaves.
On the side, Fuller would also day-trade stocks, which is what inspired him to start FreightWaves. He believed that freight and logistics businesses were underrepresented in financial market data and news ecosystems. He wanted to build a financial markets data and media business.
FreightWaves was launched In 2017, a business which offers fundamental data services to transportation companies, modeled after the financial market data services he used while day trading.
This pairing of the blue-collar trucking industry with the white-collar finance sector was a tall task but desperately needed. For years, trucking and logistics suffered from a lack of transparency, leading to uninformed decision-making in every sub-sector of the massive industry. The resources that did exist were outdated and incomplete. Fuller sought to change that to create greater stability in logistics, which accounts for 12% of global GDP.
FreightWaves is now the largest provider of market news, research and data for the $9.6 trillion global logistics industry. With an audience of more than two million people per month, FreightWaves delivers breaking news, analysis and content for all transportation and logistics modes. The company provides the only daily streaming TV network dedicated to freight, with a daily viewership of over 25,000. SONAR, FreightWaves data offering, is a dashboard with over 150,000 time series indexes. SONAR helps transportation providers benchmark, analyze, monitor and forecast spot rates, capacity, demand and costs across their businesses.
According to the EY announcement, “entrepreneurship is a key ingredient for transforming our lives, disrupting entire industries and reinventing economies.” The EY announcement also stated, “We couldn’t be happier for Craig Fuller of FreightWaves to be recognized as a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Southeast Award. As the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Of The Year has been at the forefront of identifying game-changing business leaders for more than three decades. The program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Corporation; Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation; and Kendra Scott of Kendra Scott LLC. We’re honored to have Craig Fuller recognized among so many other notable business leaders in the Southeast.”
About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in nearly 150 cities in over 60 countries.