WilmingtonBiz Magazine

C-Suite Convo: Down The Line At Summit Logistics

By Vicky Janowski, posted Sep 25, 2023
Daniel Fountain
Wilmington-based Summit Logistics was established in 2016 as an asset-based, third-party logistics firm. “We originally started out shipping kegs for our sister company Edward Teach (Brewery),” said Daniel Fountain, Summit’s director of logistics. “Shortly after was the focus of expanding our services here on the East Coast and then eventually all across the U.S.”

The company, which was included on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., has about 50 employees.

Below is an excerpt from a recent Q&A with Fountain. 

Can you describe what the company focuses on and whether it ties in with Summit Industrial Contractors in Wallace?

“As a 3PL (third-party logistics), Summit Logistics Group provides transportation solutions for companies of all sizes across North America. We ship full truckloads, less than truckload, intermodal drayage and expedited shipments for small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We do have close ties with Summit Industrial up in Wallace as they are one of our sister companies and ship their industrial equipment to chicken plants across the East Coast.” 

The company has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing private companies for several years, including this year at No. 190. What are some of the things fueling that growth?

“The growth that our company has gone through over the past several years has been a true testament to our team, the hard work they’ve put in and the trust they’ve built with our customers and carriers. 

There are thousands of freight brokerages across the U.S., and each one is unique in its own way. But when it comes down to it, it’s our team and service level that we provide that has been the driving force of our growth. Our sales teams reach out to develop relationships with thousands of companies across the U.S. each week, and over the years, we’ve really focused on the services that we can be stronger in or expand into. 

By doing so has allowed us to open up more opportunities with these new customers. We are always looking at how we can improve the customer and carrier experience, and as the logistics industry is constantly changing, you have to adapt to these changes as a freight brokerage.” 

Do you see third-party logistics growing as a field for the Wilmington area?

“I certainly do. The growth of Wilmington and surrounding areas over the past years has been tremendous. Companies from across the U.S. are coming to Wilmington and with the Port of Wilmington being named the most productive port in North America shows the amazing job Brian Clark (N.C. State Ports Authority executive director) and his team are doing over there.” 

What short-term and long-term industry trends are you keeping an eye on in the 3PL market? 

“The logistics market reached a value of almost $9 trillion in 2022 and is further expected to grow between 2023 and 2028 to over $14 trillion. This is definitely exciting for what’s projected for our industry. 

At Summit, we consider ourselves an extension of our customers’ logistics and supply chain operation so it’s vital that we are constantly staying up to date on how the market is trending. With COVID starting in late 2019 and into 2022, there was a high demand for carriers because there were more loads than truckers out on the road. 

Since then, the market has softened and taken a complete 180 with more truckers than loads so the competitiveness with rates and service levels is at an all-time high. There have been lots of discussions over this past year about when the market is going to take a turn, and as we head into the holiday season and beyond is where we are expected to see this shift.”

In what areas do you see the most potential for hiring in the years ahead? 
“We are always looking for motivated sales individuals. Our industry is a grind and is definitely very challenging. We pride ourselves on our service level and our customers know they can contact us 24/7, 365. We have a strong focus on continuing education, and whether you come from a logistics background or have previous sales experience, I am always open to having a conversation.”

What’s coming next for Summit Logistics?

“As we continue to grow in our current services, we also are exploring branching out into sea and air shipments.” 

Summit owner Gary Sholar also owns Edward Teach Brewery in the Brooklyn Arts District. Is IPA a perk of the job for you all too?

“Having Edward Teach being another sister company definitely has its perks. When the SLG team heads down to the brewery every so often, they take good care of us.”
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