The History of Sunset Transportation
Williams Paper Company established
Williams Paper Company was started by Sunset owner and founder, Jim Williams’s grandfather, and remains in operation today as one of St. Louis’s oldest family-owned businesses.
Jim Williams dips his toes into transportation under the umbrella of Williams Paper company.
Through Williams Paper Company, Jim began managing the family business’s fleet of trucks. He established a successful and profitable backhaul program, which grew into its own transportation entity within the paper company business.
It was also during this time Jim worked as a freight agent for Keyway.
The Vice President calls.
In late 1988, Jim received a strange phone call on a Sunday night from someone alleging to be the U.S. Secret Service. Turns out, indeed it was the Secret Service, inquiring if he may be able to arrange transportation for Vice President George H. W. Bush, who was arriving in St. Louis the following day for a political rally supporting his 1989 presidential bid.
Through some quick work (and with the help of current employee Lisa Cardinale’s husband Frank), Sunset was able to arrange 11 flatbed trailers to serve as the stage for Vice President Bush’s visit at the local Carpenters’ union hall.
Sunset Transportation is born!
Jim Williams founds and begins operating Sunset Transportation in November 1989 at his home on Workbench Drive in Sunset Hills, Missouri, with two (2) other employees including his sister-in-law, Barb Romine.
During the first years, Jim was an agent for several smaller carriers, operating with the same philosophy he started with; using trusted, smaller carriers (including G&D, Silver Eagle/Schedule, and Highway Trucking) for freight, but continued to nurture the relationship through backhauls and customer-specific lanes.
Within the first year, Sunset’s Quick Pay program for local St. Louis carriers was created by Barb Romine.
Sunset moves to its first standalone building.
Sunset moves to its first brick-and-mortar location on Lindbergh Road in Sunset Hills, Missouri.
Mick McGrory joins the team.
Jim hires Mick McGrory to strengthen the LTL and truckload brokerage business. With his multi-dimensional skills, he helped grow Sunset at every level for the past 20+ years.
He currently serves as Vice President of Strategic Accounts, and is one of Sunset’s most trusted leaders.
Sunset Financial Services and Pay·LOGIK established.
As Sunset Transportation’s customer base grew, so did their needs. Sunset Financial Services was created as a separate service to provide customers with a propriety freight audit and payment system -- Pay·LOGIK. This software and service was on the cutting edge for a small but growing 3PL in 1998.
Sunset starts Agent division.
Jim solicited experienced people to become independent brokers. Freight agents Bill Sullivan, Tom Nesbit, and Gina VanDeberg were in the pioneer group and still work with us today. Jim's rule of having six months of experience remains a Sunset standard.
Learn more about our agent program.
Sunset moves to second, larger location.
Sunset moves to on Gravois Road in Sunset Hills, accommodating 12 people in Brokerage, Operations, Pricing, Accounting, and Human Resources.
Sunset joins the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).
The TIA is a multi-faceted organization for third party logistics companies with the overarching purpose of creating a network of safety, ethics, and credibility for 3PLs. Sunset joined the TIA in 2004, and we are proud to be a contributing member of this esteemed association.
Scouting for Food & Sunset team up!
Jim partners with the Greater St. Louis Area Council Boy Scouts of America to execute the largest one-day food drive in America. In November 2004, Sunset Transportation started handling the delivery and logistics support for Scouting for Food.
Every year since, this event has grown in participation and in our hearts. It has become part of Sunset’s service-based culture with many of our staff contributing their time and logistics expertise year over year. See https://www.sunsettrans.com/giving-back/ for more information.
Mark Cammarata and Lindsey Williams (Graves) join the Sunset team.
Sunset hires CFO Mark Cammarata and welcomes the second generation of Sunset to the team, Jim’s daughter Lindsey Williams (now Graves).
Sunset is NVOCC Certified.
Sunset dives into international business using nearby Scott Air Force Base and a program they created for Chinese imports. We apply for, receive, and currently maintain NVOCC certification.
On the move again!
Sunset moves into current company headquarters at 11325 Concord Village Avenue.
Sunset goes live with McLeod software
First with truckload and then LTL in 2012
And the award goes to...
In 2011, Jim Williams earns an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® award in the Central Midwest area for outstanding growth and innovation in the area of technology.
In the same year, Jim is awarded the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award. This award recognizes Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council.
First appearance of Sunset Transportation on Inc. magazine’s INC 5000 Fastest Growing Company list, which continued for six consecutive years to 2017.
A CFO to celebrate!
Sunset’s own Mark Cammarata wins CFO of the year by the St. Louis Business Journal.
Sunset is busting at the seams.
Sunset Financial Services moves to standalone location across from company headquarters to accommodate overall company growth demands and organizational efficiency.
First organic office opens in Nashville, Tennessee.
Blame it all on our roots, we showed up in boots in Nashville, Tennessee as our first home-grown branch office is opened. The branch is led by Jonathan Falcon.
Tracy Meetre joins the team.
With truckloads of experience, Tracy Meetre joins Sunset as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, completing the Senior Leadership Team in its current capacity.
This five-person group is responsible for leading the organization in all facets and helps guide the strategic direction of our grown organization.
A top 100 3PL!
Sunset makes our first appearance on the Inbound Logistics Top 100 3PL Providers list in 2017.
Sunset grows to over 100 employees nationwide.
Snowland becomes Sunset Transportation!
Sunset adds another two branch offices, formerly known as Snowland Freight Services, to our network.
The new branches provide expanded coverage and support to our national freight network in the upper Midwest from offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota. Both offices are currently led by Managing Director and freight expert Joe Leuman.
Lindsey Graves named 40 under 40.
Lindsey Graves wins a spot on the St. Louis Business Journal 40 under 40 list in 2018.
A top 10? These underdogs?
In July, Sunset was recognized as a Top 10 3PL by Inbound Logistics, a national "who’s who" list of logistics conglomerates (unseating two global supply chain providers who have been on this highly competitive and service-focused list for several consecutive years).
This achievement comes as a result of approximately 13,000 supply chain professionals, customers, and Inbound Logistics readers voting specifically for us, based on the hallmarks of premium service: attentiveness, reliability, flexibility, and ability to execute.
Ready, set, go!
2019 is Sunset’s 30th anniversary! Things are getting exciting after hitting a company revenue record of $159 million in 2018, our 130+ team members are embracing a renewed cultural values system and big goals for the year ahead. Stay tuned!
Lindsey Graves is making waves.
Lindsey Graves is named a finalist of the Women in Trucking’s Distinguished Women in Logistics Award and eight years after her father, she too is awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver Award by the Greater St. Louis Council Boy Scouts of America.