Leaders with third-party logistics company Access America Transport announced Monday morning that they will more than double the size of their workforce over the next five years.
By the end of that period, leaders predict the company's revenue will reach $1 billion.
"We envisioned the best workplace in America," CEO Ted Alling said Monday morning. "We compare ourselves to Google, Amazon and Apple. We are a people company. That's why we are growing so fast."
The company—which started in 2002 with two employees—will add 450 jobs in Chattanooga and 100 in Knoxville.
Currently, the company employs 425 people in nine offices across seven states.
There are 215 employees in Chattanooga and 25 in Knoxville.
2002 — $200,000
2010 —$97 million
2012 — $385 million (projected)
Access America's projected 2012 revenue puts the company among the industry's top 10 non-asset based providers, officials said.
Third-party logistics is a $150 billion industry, Alling said.
And Commissioner Bill Hagerty with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said Tennessee is a "global logistics powerhouse."
He's pleased to see Access America capitalizing on that, he also said.
"This gets us one step closer to meeting Gov. Haslam's goal of creating high-quality jobs," he said.
Click here to read more about Haslam's jobs plan.
Chad Eichelberger, president of Access America, said that the jobs his company brings are high-paying.
The average pay is $72,000, officials said.
In Chattanooga, the median household income between 2007 and 2011 was $36,689. The average Access America pay represents a 96 percent increase over the median household income.
Eichelberger said it can take a couple of years for an employee to get up in that pay range, but a lot of it depends on what a person puts into their work.
"We have a gentleman in Chattanooga who has worked with us for one year and made six figures in his first year," he said.
Brokers with the company have to build relationships with trucking companies and suppliers so that they can get clients, he said.
The company is getting an $84,000 job training grant, Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner of communications with the Department of Economic and Community Development, said.
State leaders want to support companies that are creating good-paying jobs, he said.
"They are good jobs," Brewer said. "The whole goal is to bring high-quality jobs. They are obviously a growing company, and they've got a lot of support in the community."
Currently, Chattanooga Access America employees are in Warehouse Row's North Building.
About 180 more can fit in the North Building, and then leaders may start to expand into the South Building. They also have some space in the Loveman's Building, Eichelberger said.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield credited Access America with helping revive Warehouse Row.
The dynamic of the Access America office is a spirited one. It's fast-paced and energetic, Eichelberger said. The broker positions typically attract extroverts, he said.
And while the brokers work hard, they also have fun.
From participating in motivational drum circles, to traveling to Minnesota—as some employees will do in February—to jump in a frozen lake, company leaders promote a positive business culture through activities, competitions and team-building exercises.
"We are looking for people that are fast-paced and have that entrepreneurial spirit—people that want to make a difference and be a part of something bigger," he said. "It's a self-starter that wants to have their own small business inside our business."
Disclaimer: Nooga.com is affiliated with Lamp Post Group, which has a business relationship with Access America Transport. Editorial decisions for this publication are made independently of Lamp Post and Access America.
Updated @ 4:50 p.m. on 12/10/12 to expand article.
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