25 years strong
President of JED Express Inc. Edwin Duncan will show guests the trucks and latest technology at the 25th anniversary event at the truck yard on Sat., June 23.       Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
SOUTH MOUNTAIN — JED Express Ltd. will celebrate 25 years in business on Sat., June 23. The South Mountain located transportation company became the vision of president Edwin Duncan in 1993 after being in the farm and transportation business with his brother.

When Duncan first started he bought four new trucks and six new trailers. Over the last 25 years the company has grown in spurts, building the fleet. Now as the 25th anniversary approaches there are 46 trucks, 116 trailers that do highway travel, 260 rented out storage trailers, a truck brokerage business in Virginia and an on-going dispatch program in the process of being built.

With the company’s growth, Duncan has been sure to maintain the management values of a small company with his current lineup. To prove it, JED Express Ltd. won best managed business in 2016. “That’s quite a feat for a company our size,” said Duncan.

The company has a unique quality to the business because since the beginning there has been a replacement program for the trucks. Long-haul trucks are kept for three years and local trucks are kept for five. Duncan explained that this program is in place because problems often arise in long-haul trucks after three years, not to mention the technological and environmental enhancements. The company is replacing 13 trucks this year with 2019 models and Duncan explained, “already we see in the new trucks from 2016 to 2019 an increase in fuel mileage by one mile per gallon.” This turn around ideology also keeps labour costs low and the trucks out of the shop and on the road.

Due to the fact that the company primarily focuses on long-haul transportation, drivers can spend roughly three to four nights in the trucks. For Duncan, this means inspections of the trucks and swapping out for new trucks is important to keep the drivers comfortable and safe. Some of those comforts include heated and cooled seats, areas for a microwave, television and new models even have an area that can accomodate a table and chairs when the bed is folded up.

Over the years, JED Express has been a front runner in adopting new technologies into the daily lineup, including being one of the first companies to adopt the automated transmissions in their trucks. The process began with the implementation of an auto-shift manual truck but have recently began integrating a fully automated transmission. “The technology has gotten really amazing in the last few years,” said Duncan. These transmissions along with the addition of a product called FlowBelow, a flaring between the drive wheels of the truck, creates a significant difference in fuel consumption.

On top of Duncan and his team’s full schedules, he said the on-going dispatch program is about 70 per cent completed and excitement about the program is building. The program will tie together satellite tracking, communications and dispatch in one convenient platform. Over the last couple years of building the program with a software developer from Gatineau, Duncan said it has been an interesting challenge. “We’re getting our head above water, it’s working and we’re ready to tie the remaining modules into it,” said Duncan. “I’ll be glad when I see that day come.”

Helping Duncan maintain a high quality in all aspects of the business is his team. Those handling the day-to-day in the office are Kate Gray, Courtney Watson, Mike Patterson, Tammy Ticehurst, Jason Dunbar, Bill Joanisse and Cassie Richmier. For shop maintenance Duncan relies on Brad Thompson and Jeff Shirley. He also mentioned the support and dedication of his 64 full-time and part-time drivers, 13 of whom are women. “We look at treating people right and at the end of the day treat people the way you want to be treated,” said Duncan. “I credit a lot of my success to the people I have working with me. I have a great bunch of people. We are a success because we are all working as a team.”

For Duncan, his own personal success comes from a belief in having a good attitude and working hard. “In any situation I have a good positive outlook on things. I don’t look at the negative, that only puts you behind,” he said. “And hard work, no matter what it is, if it’s a relationship, a business or anything, you get what you put into it. That reflects in my whole family, we work hard and always have.”

The 25th anniversary celebrations will feature Tri-Beck Inflatables, Vanderlaand Barnyard petting zoo, Little Ray’s Reptiles, truck rides – and a look at some of the latest technology, shop tours, a barbecue and music from Ambush. The family day event runs from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on the 23 at the JED Express yard, 11060 County Road 3, South Mountain.