When you’re in the trucking business for almost seventy years, you learn a few things along the way. With a well-earned reputation for outstanding quality and customer service, asset-based carrier McTyre Trucking continues to meet the needs of a variety of industries who know that when gigantic items need to be hauled safely and professionally across forty-eight states and Canada, they call McTyre.
“We are a trucking company, a specialized carrier, so what we do is haul items that are oversized and overweight,” says John McTyre, the company’s recently retired chief operating officer. “We haul lots of different things, from very large bridge beams – both concrete and steel – pressure vessels for petrochemical plants, transformers, and we haul large components in and out of nuclear power plants. There are very few things of any size or weight that move in the United States that we don’t handle.”
With a full-time staff of about eighty, McTyre Trucking Company, Inc. has the experience, specialized equipment and highly diversified fleet necessary to haul loads of virtually any size. Wide, high, long or heavy loads are the company’s specialty.
John McTyre’s grandfather, Hilton, founded the business back in 1947. Originally a driver for a company that manufactured concrete building blocks – back in the days when trucks were loaded and unloaded by hand – the company for which he was working decided it made more economic sense to sell the vehicles and hire others to transport the products. It was then that Hilton McTyre purchased the truck he was driving and, over time, eventually bought out all the other drivers who had purchased their own trucks and started his business.
Hilton was a partner with his son, Willis, who took over the business as sole proprietor when Hilton passed away in 1967. Willis remained head of the company until 1974, when his son John took over following a tragic airplane crash in which he lost both his parents and other family members. It was then that John, just seventeen years old, became McTyre Trucking’s president and chief executive officer. Although there was a learning curve, the younger McTyre quickly took to his new role.
“I started sweeping the floors in the shop when I was ten or eleven years old,” says McTyre. “Everybody in the company knew me quite well.” He was fortunate that many others took him under their wing and helped him to grow, allowing him to learn more about the industry.
After being a family-owned business for almost seventy years, McTyre Trucking was acquired in July of 2012 by Maryland-based Unified Logistics Holdings, LLC, a specialized logistics company focusing on freight.
Geoff Davis, long-time chief executive officer Unified Logistics and now CEO of McTyre, stated at the time: “We are excited about the acquisition of McTyre and look forward to continuing to build Unified into the premier logistics provider of urgent and over-dimensional freight. Working with our companies and customers, we expect to develop Unified into the premier provider of engineered, time-critical, over-dimensional, and differentiated transportation services.”
John McTyre agreed to remain with the company for another three years as chief operating officer, and, as of this July 1, 2015, his tenure was up, although he will stay with Unified Logistics for a few more years as Director of Strategic Relations.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do at that time,” says McTyre, who also serves as vice president of the SC&RA ( Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association), an international trade association comprising almost 1,300 member companies from forty-three nations. The association is involved in specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations, machinery moving in erecting and other areas.
“Succession was not necessarily the right thing to do, and this was a better choice financially for everybody, including my own kids.” Although he will be leaving the company, his son Johnny has assumed the position of Chief Operating Officer of McTyre and will continue to retain autonomy within Unified Logistics Holdings.
The company moves everything from steel or cast concrete bridge components, electric transformers and parts for nuclear power plants to industrial machinery, airport structures, construction equipment, processing equipment and other mega-heavy shipments. Successfully transporting very large items requires not only the right vehicles and machinery but logistical experience that comes with decades of hands-on industry knowledge.
Successfully moving items weighing thousands of pounds or electrical poles up to 140 feet in length requires not only the right equipment but expert coordination. For both legal-sized and oversized loads, McTyre Trucking uses state-of-the-art communications tools and GPS fleet tracking to guarantee moves that are on-time and trouble-free. Additionally, the company often utilizes the assistance of others, including multiple police agencies, utility companies to raise power lines and even tree companies to trim branches so drivers can safely access certain roads.
“That’s where our project managers come in,” says McTyre. “They coordinate all the activities beforehand. Everything is planned, planned, planned – and when we think we have it all planned, we plan some more.”
McTyre owns all its own vehicles and equipment and rents specialty products on an as-needed basis. The company’s fleet includes flatbeds and extendable flatbeds, single drops and extendable single drops, removable gooseneck (RGN) multi-axle lowboys, extendable RGN double drops, steerable dollies, Schnabel equipment and dual-lane capabilities up to 500,000 pounds. It all adds up to making the company the number one transportation source in the industry.
With in-house training programs and mentorship, newer drivers gain experience starting with freight that is not oversize or overweight. It takes several years to gain enough experience to be a solid super-load operator. Just as important as training, is common sense.
“If you cannot start with a good, generous helping of common sense, you’re wasting your time,” says McTyre. “Our people need to have a lot of common sense, be willing to step back, and think everything through. And when something isn’t like what they are used to seeing, or isn’t expected, they take a breath, understand why it’s like it is, what we can do about it, and be able to recognize things you can do something about and the things you cannot. For the things you cannot, you find a way to mitigate that problem; if you cannot make it go away, just find a way to deal with it.”
While using today’s satellite technology and innovations such as Google Earth help the company to schedule, plan and map routes from the office, nothing is left to chance. With very large loads, it will still send out staff to inspect routes in person.
McTyre is extremely well-equipped to take on massive projects. The bulk of McTyre’s fleet is made by the International Truck and Engine Corporation, while most of its heavy-haul fleet is predominantly Peterbilt with heavy-haul trailers from Trail King. It has three full terminals in locations including Florida and Texas and several drop yards where the company stores equipment.
The company’s largest client is Standard Concrete Products, makers of a large range of prestressed concrete and precast concrete products for commercial and government use. The company produces an array of bridge components and sections for DOT projects. McTyre regularly takes on projects for other customers such as Siemens, General Electric and various freight forwarders who bring in products from overseas.
Another large customer is Valmont Industries, one of the world’s leading producers of engineered infrastructure products and utility support structures. Valmont makes massive spun-concrete electrical poles that are hollow in the centre. “We haul an enormous amount of their product, mainly in the Texas market used for power transmission lines,” says McTyre. “Many of these poles are 120 to 140 feet long.”
Recently, the company completed a project in Ohio that saw McTyre haul three generators with a gross weight of over 1,000,000 pounds each – the heaviest loads ever permitted in the state. With an overall length exceeding 350 feet – about the length of a football field, the loads were twenty feet wide and approximately sixteen feet high. The generators would ultimately make their trek from the United States to the West Coast of Africa as part of a drilling platform. Prior to this, the project required the skills of McTyre staff, three trucks, a dozen people on the ground and months of coordination with permit officials, local government agencies, cities, counties and Department of Transportation (DOT) employees.
The entire project took several months to move all three generators. The company also had to deal with road construction and bad weather yet managed to complete the project successfully. Another recent project saw McTyre transport massive stacks for a new power plant being constructed in Florida. The stacks, moved six at a time, were over twenty feet in diameter and fifty feet in length.
McTyre Trucking does virtually no advertising through traditional means, instead, its entire staff act as promoters of the company by generating positive feedback. Even though the business has been sold, it is still being operated to this day by the McTyre family and continues to run with the same quality service customers have come to expect over the decades.
“I fully believe that you ought to find what it is you do best in this world and then concentrate all of your efforts and assets towards making that a success,” says John McTyre. “We have never tried to be everything to everybody, but we do have a niche market out here. If it’s really oversized and overweight, we’ve got what it takes to get it done. And when we run into something on occasion – doesn’t happen very often – something we don’t think we’re the best at, I’ll find you somebody to do it for you.”