Q&A: Milton Kirby, President, Allied Logistics, Inc.
1. In a few sentences tell us a little about your business — the clients you serve and the services you provide.
Allied Logistics, Inc. AKA Allied, is a freight transportation solutions provider founded in 2004. In simplistic terms, we help our customer get things moved from where they are to where they better serve their customers and clients. We move goods across town, across country and across international borders. We have traditionally served small to medium size manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers as well as machinery dealers.
2. Describe the moment you decided to start your business and what was the inspiration behind it?
We got into trucking in 1994. I started by buying one truck, then two more with the intent of operating the trucks as a sideline money maker. Managing the trucks soon became too involved for me as a sideline. At that point it was evident that I needed to be involved full-time. I bought two more trucks and operated those trucks until 2004. At our peak, we operated 7 trucks. On New Year’s Day 2004, I received a phone call shortly after midnight from one our drivers who was in New Jersey with a flat tire. At that point I said no more late night phone calls with driver issues. In March of that year, I had finished selling all of my trucks and in June Allied Logistics, Inc. was born.
3. All great businesses, at their core, are providing solutions to life’s challenges. What challenges does your business aim to solve for your customers/clients?
From inception, we always strived to make shipping for our customers a painless activity. We started out transporting machinery. We made sure that we understood the weights and dimensions of the machinery that we transported and that we knew the best suited equipment for its transport. Frequently, we had to coach and walk drivers through the process of securing the equipment they were transporting.
4. What does being a founder/entrepreneur mean to you?
Before seeing the question, I don’t recall ever having given much thought to either. But what has crossed my mind many times is the fact that while we have been operating for almost 20 years, we haven’t graduated to what I call a successful business. My definition of a successful business is one where the CEO can take a 30 day vacation and have the business continue to operate without his/her input.
From our start in 2004, we were growing at about 35% year over year. Then in 2008 the bottom fell out. We found ourselves competing for business not only with companies our size, but with multinational companies. 2008 – 2016 we went through many changes and struggles. We even relocated our offices twice.
5. We know that founders of color face a number of challenges in not only creating but successfully operating their own business. As efforts are made nationally and globally to address racial inequity across industries, what role do you believe founders of color can have?
Just recently, I had a conversation with a very good friend about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a selfless man. He looked to elevate all less fortunate people. The same can be said for a number of people in history. That being said, I would like to see successful people of color across all spectrums embrace the phrase “To whom much is given, much is expected.” If successful entrepreneurs would mentor more up and coming entrepreneurs, more teachers, preachers and automobile mechanics would share their principles of success, imagine the change we would see.
6. Is there a founder of color, historically or present day, who inspires you? And why?
My peers inspire me. Those of us who grow together as small business people. We share moments of success and triumph and sometimes look to each other for solutions to common problems.
The “Big Boys” as I like to call the very successful entrepreneurs have forgotten more than many of us will ever learn. The likes of the late Reginald F. Lewis who acquired Beatrice International Foods in 1987, David L Steward chairman and founder of World Wide Technology and locally, the late Herman J. Russell founder of HJ Russell Company, C David Moody, Founder of CD Moody Construction Company and Milton Jones, Founding member of Peachtree Partners Holding Company. These Big Boys, I aspire to be like them – trail blazers of success.
7. What’s your one piece of advice to someone who dreams of becoming a founder/entrepreneur?
Follow your dreams and your passion not the money unless they both just happen to be walking together down the same path.
Learn more about Allied Logistics, Inc. by visiting their website: allied-logistics.net.