Founder John Kleinschmidt has sold his Racine-based trucking company, J&B Express LLC, to Mark Werner and a silent partner.
The full transaction price was not disclosed, but the real estate portion of the deal totaled $610,000, Werner said.
J&B provides trucking and logistics for the food and produce industry in southeastern Wisconsin. It has five full-time employees, one part-time employee and 14 independent contractor drivers. Kleinschmidt, 71, started the company in 2000 after working as an executive at the former Consolidated Freightways for more than 25 years, Werner said. He will stay on as a consultant for at least a year before retiring.
Werner, 37, has worked as a logistics manager for Palermo’s Pizza, an inbound logistics RFP director for Tesla, an SAP SD analyst at NABCO Entrances Inc., a region manager for Amazon Prime Now, logistics/transportation for DRS Technologies and a logistics analyst for FedEx Ground. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and specializes in transportation network optimization, sourcing carriers and contract negotiations.
Werner has established Kuhlhaus Logistics Systems as the parent company of J&B Express, but plans to retain the J&B branding. He now serves as president and general manager of KLS, and plans to integrate his technology background with the company’s transportation management system. Long-term, Werner hopes to build a refrigerated/frozen warehouse to provide storage services, too.
J&B, which has about 20 trucks, mainly transports frozen food that is manufactured in southeastern Wisconsin to warehouses in the northeast and southeast regions of the U.S. Werner plans to expand the company’s reach by growing to 50 trucks and new contracts with grocers and food producers across the country, he said.
Based at 1913 Melvin Ave. in Racine, J&B has a 5,700-square-foot facility with two main bays for trucks and about 1,600 square feet of office space.
J&B’s contractor business model is a competitive advantage, because it helps develop driver loyalty and keeps them in a quality, well-maintained truck, Werner said.
“The business model that John put together, how he interacts with the drivers, sets them up as an independent contractor, is unique,” Werner said. “Trucking companies are competing with construction companies, for example, for that same type of workforce, so we want to position ourselves to incentivize them to come work for us.”