Lindsey Qualls, Pride Transport, 7/24/2017 – Pride Transport’s official inception date was December 1, 1979. Jeff England left CRE after twenty years to start his own trucking company. He was always a bit of a rebel and just wanted to do things his own way. As a self-professed “truck nut,” he wanted the ability to express himself with his own trucks. With Pat (Jeff’s better half) on board, Pride Transport was officially in business.
So began Pride Transport, with a handful of trucks and drivers as well as Jeff, Pat and Dan Degrazio (who just retired in 2015) running the show. Fast forward thirty-eight years to 2017, Pride has 620+ employees.
Pride is predominantly a refrigerated carrier, with most of its freight on the west coast, though we do go to all 48 states. We service some of the largest food manufacturing companies in the country while also serving the “mom and pop” type customers. We have the ability to service all types of customers, from rail bearings to chocolate bars, we are quite diverse.
The company has a unique culture, it’s referred to as The Pride Way. As a tried and true truck driver, Jeff knew that he wanted to create an environment where the trucker’s needs came first. That sentiment still rings true today. Knowing that the industry and life out on the road can be stressful and harsh, Jeff also wanted to create an easy-going, respectful and relaxed atmosphere. An open-door policy has been in place from the get-go. This provides everyone, from drivers to mechanics, the ability to approach anyone within the company, whether there’s an issue to be resolved or just to shoot the breeze. They very much foster a culture of camaraderie and respect.
Jeff passed his management style along to son, Jay, who has since taken over the company. Jeff instilled in Jay his vision for the company from a very early age. Though their business approach differs, their commitment to the fundamental values for the company are aligned; employees are our greatest asset and they come first.
Jeff and his wife, Pat, are true philanthropists and have always been examples of what it means to truly serve those who are in need. In 1989, Jeff and his good friend, Leonard Freeman kicked off the Great Salt Lake Truck Show. Leonard’s son suffered from kidney failure, so the idea was to create an event that helped children who were suffering from this disease. Twenty-eight years later, the show is going strong. Its purpose is to promote a positive image of the trucking industry while raising funds for The Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho. These funds provide children and their families the opportunity to escape hospitals walls and enjoy some of the most beautiful mountainous scenery Utah has to offer.
This show could not come together without the help of many people. Both Jeff and Pat are key figures, as well as their daughter, Sunne (England) Wallace. Other committee members that instrumental are Doyle Elison, Richard Taylor, Bob Mueller, Rocky Foreman, Chuck Ivester, Al Warriner, Jason Kelsey, Terry Smith, Bettie Morris, Sue Brown, Gordon Lawlor and Neil Sebring.
True to their humanitarian nature, Jeff and Pat serve each week at the youth detention center. As part of a church calling, they provide peace, hope and knowledge to young kids that haven’t otherwise been given much purpose in life.
When they are not serving, they are enjoying time with their family. Jeff and Pat have sixteen grandchildren and one great grandchild, which makes 5 living generations in the England family.
At 76-years old, Jeff still enjoys being out on the road. He frequently takes trip to Southern California and Arizona. He still comes into the office every week. Though he’s not so involved in the daily operation of the company, Pride employees love to see and interact with him. His kind and inviting demeanor is a reminder of what makes Pride different.