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Trident Transport accelerates expansion with Tampa Bay office

Left to right: Rush Feldhacker, Heath Haley, and Carter Garrett. ( Photo: Josh Roden / FreightWaves )

Trident Transport, a four year old freight brokerage founded in Chattanooga, has announced its plans to open a second office in Tampa Bay, Florida. The logistics company more than doubled its revenue this year and expects to pull in $34M for 2018, having added 32 brokers in the past six months. This year, Inc. 5000 selected Trident as the fastest growing company in Chattanooga. 

Trident chose Rush Feldhacker to be its Vice President of Sales and lead the Tampa Bay office. Feldhacker began his brokerage career at Access America in 2010, and has been working in transportation and logistics in Chattanooga since then. 

FreightWaves visited Trident’s office and spoke with President Heath Haley, VP Carter Garrett, and Rush Feldhacker.

“The key to expansion is finding the right person to lead,” said Haley, explaining that the decision to open a second branch wasn’t necessarily driven by financial imperatives or geographic concerns. Garrett did say that Trident saw an opportunity to develop shipper relationships and secure reliable loads out of Florida, a perennial backhaul market. Feldhacker said that he planned to handle freight nationally, but would start with a regional bias and work out from there. 

“I’ve always wanted to have my own shop,” said Feldhacker, who served as a regional director of sales for a well-known national brokerage, “and I’m happy to do it with a company growing so fast. I want to make Tampa Bay boom and fill up the office as fast as possible.”

Garrett said that Feldhacker would take two other seasoned brokers to Florida with him and then hire an initial training class of six, with a goal to add 15 brokers within 90 days. Trident plans to open additional branches, but is focusing first on hiring, training, and cultivating people who can and want to launch new offices.

Trident said that Tampa was attractive because it was a high growth city with a lot of young people and a large college, the University of South Florida. 

“Energy is so important,” said Haley, citing the youthful, optimistic entrepreneurialism that brokerages thrive on. “We want to find people who are champing at the bit to start working immediately,” added Garrett.

Going forward, Feldhacker’s focus will be on hiring and training new brokers in the Trident Transport Academy, a week-long training course that includes specialized classes on dry van, reefer, flatbed, hazmat, and other topics. 

We ended our conversation by talking about the current state of the freight market.

“Capacity is loose, the market is soft,” said Garrett, “although it’s started picking back up in the past two weeks. This year, with Christmas on a Tuesday, we expect some additional difficulties, and we also think spot rates will increase again.” Garrett said that Trident brokered a lot of freight outbound from California and the Northeast into Freight Alley

John Paul Hampstead

John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.