published Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Trucking firm Access America expands downtown

Chad Eichelberger, left, and Ronald Ramsey, president and vice president, respectively, of Access America Transport, look around the company's future office at Warehouse Row on Thursday. The office space is still under construction.
Chad Eichelberger, left, and Ronald Ramsey, president and vice president, respectively, of Access America Transport, look around the company's future office at Warehouse Row on Thursday. The office space is still under construction.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

TIMELINE


2002: Access America founded in Chattanooga

2006: Company opens locations in Alabama, Minnesota

2007: Three more locations added

2009: Opens Eastgate Town Center office

2011: Moves corporate offices to Warehouse Row, leases more downtown space

Source: Access America

Access America Transport plans to vastly expand its presence in downtown Chattanooga as it leases more space in Warehouse Row.

The Chattanooga-based company aims to grow downtown from a dozen people to more than 80 by March, mostly by shifting about 65 employees now working in Eastgate Town Center to Warehouse Row, officials said.

By the end of 2012, added hiring is to increase its downtown employee head count to 150 and then to more than 250 within three years, said Chad Eichelberger, president of the third-party logistics business.

"We believe in Chattanooga," he said.

Access America opened a 3,500-square-foot executive office in Warehouse Row three or four months ago and is expanding its offices in the Market Street office and retail complex. Eichelberger said the company is leasing another 20,000 square feet with an option for about 10,000 more.

Ted Alling, Access America's chief executive, said moving its staff downtown shows its long-term commitment to the central city.

"As Access America continues to grow and establish itself as a national leader in the transportation industry, we want to set an example for other national companies that downtown Chattanooga is an excellent place to do business," he said.

George Krauth of Warehouse Row said that landing Access America is a win for downtown.

"The company is a solid source for jobs in the area and we look forward to continuing our great relationship with them," he said.

Eichelberger said the fast-growing company, which handles truckload, less-than-truckload and supply chain management, expects to be up to about 425 workers countrywide by the end of 2012.

Sales in 2011 are to hit $195 million and more than double from the prior year, he said. The company president said it's eyeing sales of $350 million to $400 million by the end of 2012.

"We're really excited," he said. "The Chattanooga branch is the fastest-growing operation."

Eichelberger said the company is growing because it's listening to customers and understanding their needs.

"We know what our competitive advantage is," he said.

Eichelberger said demolition started Monday on the new office space on Warehouse Row's fourth floor.

"It will be a cool, modern work place," he said.

Employees are expected to park in the Warehouse Row garage, Eichelberger said. As the company's presence grows, it's looking at a couple of other options for parking, he said.

Alling said that shifting the work force downtown permits employees to take advantage of the central city's amenities.

"We look forward to seeing the contributions that our Chattanooga-based executives and freight consultants make in the downtown community in the coming years," said Alling, who is one of the company's founders.

Warehouse Row has 260,000 square feet of office space.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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