Photo: Alex McKnightBobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics: "We have a lot of mavericks here. We don't fit the normal corporate profile."
On the move: Innovations at a web-based logistics company
Bobby Harris describes his BlueGrace Logistics website business as akin to an Orbitz or Travelocity that enables retailers, manufacturers and others to take advantage of empty space on trucks that are already scheduled to go to destinations where they need to ship goods.
From the story (originally printed in Florida Trend's December 2016 issue):
“I’m not a person who’s very concerned about risk,” Harris says, attributing his risk tolerance to close family and friendship ties. “I always knew if I failed, there would be a safe space for me to fall.”
In the mid-2000s, Harris acquired nearly two dozen local franchise resellers of services provided by DHL, a logistics and shipping firm based in Germany. At the time, the resellers served small- and medium-sized businesses by arranging transportation of packages and parcels.
Harris saw an opportunity to expand the resellers’ portfolio of freight services to larger shipments. Ultimately, he proposed a private equity-backed rollup of the entire franchise network. But in late 2008, DHL withdrew from the U.S. market, and the rollup deal fell apart.
“I went from being about to do a massive deal that was going to set me up for generations to not knowing how I’m going to stay in business,” he says.
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