September 28, 2019 Business Features
You would think it would be difficult for a truck to stand out at McClymonds Supply & Transit's main terminal. The Portersville location buzzes with daily comings and goings of a variety of trucks, in a variety of colors carrying a variety of freight.
And yet, there it is: A bright yellow tractor-trailer with custom decals to raise autism awareness.
Company owner Mark McClymonds “is kind enough to let the drivers pick their truck colors,” said Frank Zbuckvic, a 25-year company employee and current vice president. “One of our drivers has a son with autism. McClymonds' leadership decisions coupled with a healthy economy have grown the company to 400 trucks and drivers — a 10,000 percent increase — in less than four decades.
Outlook potential remains positive, McClymonds said. “Our future growth is capped only by the driver shortage.”
Officially, the company was founded in 1945 by one man with one truck: Mark McClymonds' father George McClymonds started the business after serving in the U.S. Army in World War II.
But earnestly, the company stretches back to George McClymonds' youth. Having lost his father at a young age, George McClymonds teamed up with his brother Floyd to haul coal to homes in the Ellwood City area. “They grew up making their own way,” Mark McClymonds said. Those circa-1930s trucks didn't dump, so the brothers shoveled the coal into the basements of customers who used it to heat their homes.
George McClymonds, during his tenure, increased the fleet to about 16 trucks in the 1960s. He scaled back to four anticipating his retirement in 1983.
Mark McClymonds, one of George McClymonds' six children, had been active in the family business since graduating from Slippery Rock High School in 1976. He purchased the company from his father, and today it has a steady stream of trucks moving about a 25-state area. “We are petty diversified,” said Mark McClymonds, naming as clients, “homeowners, industrial accounts. We haul limestone, steel, scrap, frack sand to well sites, heavy equipment.”
In addition to the rapid fleet expansion, the company has grown to include four trucking facilities (the Portersville headquarters, and locations in Kennerdell, Saxonburg and Somerset; two rail facilities — New Castle and Monaca; and two river facilities — Monaca and Crescent).
“We have seen a lot of growth,” Mark McClymonds said, noting that especially in recent years the economy has been favorable to the trucking industry. “A lot of stuff is moving with a good economy.”
Like many companies, McClymonds is in the market for qualified workers, especially drivers to fill the seats of those about to retire and foster future expansion.
“We have gained a pretty good team over the years,” said McClymonds, who drove one of the trucks full time from 1976 to 1985, then part time for a few years after taking over the company. He has great respect for his drivers.
In addition to drivers, the company employs about another 135 workers, including mechanics and those who man river and rail terminals.
Family is welcome to attend the company's annual picnic at Kennywood Park, which draws about 850 attendees.
“We have done that since the 1980s. We have food and passes and raffles,” Mark McClymonds said. “Things like that are not about employee retention. We did that long before we needed drivers. It's just a really great family event. The company has grown substantially, but we are still a family company.”