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U.S. Xpress co-chairman and president Pat Quinn passes away at 65

By Staff
December 13, 2011

Logistics Management regrets to report that Patrick Quinn, co-chairman and president of truckload and full-service freight transportation provider U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. has passed away from brain cancer. He was 65.

Quinn founded U.S. Xpress in 1985 with his business partner Max Fuller, co-chairman and CEO of the company. Prior to U.S. Xpress, he was a transportation attorney. Quinn and Fuller took U.S. Xpress from a 48-truck start-up to the second largest privately owned truckload carrier in the U.S., with 8,500 trucks and more than 10,000 employees. Under their leadership, U.S. Xpress became known throughout the industry as a leader for service, safety, and trucking-based technology.

Quinn also served a term as Chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) from 2005-2007 and served as chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association from 2001-2002. Among his many accomplishments in these roles, included serving as an initial member of the ATA’s Associations’ Image & Communications Committee in which he helped to develop the plan for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a successful annual event celebrating the work of truck drivers throughout the country.

In 2009, Quinn was elected to serve as treasurer of the ATA. In 2006, he received an appointment from former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, which held meetings and hearings for two years, discussing the future of U.S. infrastructure.

“Pat was a tremendous business partner and he had a real passion for working to make a difference in our industry,” said Fuller in a statement. “One of the most lasting accomplishments of my career was the business partnership that Pat and I established. We could count on each other to divide up the leadership responsibilities. Both of us knew our strengths, and Pat was a real people person. He excelled in sales and his legal background was very valuable, especially during the first days of the company as deregulation was helping to revolutionize the transportation industry.”

Logistics Management had an opportunity to speak with Quinn at the November 2010 TransComp Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Among the many topics discussed were the myriad regulatory issues within the trucking industry, including hours-of-service, CSA, and truck size and weight.

During this interview, it was clear that Quinn was passionate about his work and his company and pulled no punches when it came to making his opinion clear.

When asked about what effect proposed HOS regulations could have on capacity and truck productivity, Quinn had this to say: “I don’t believe any of us think it is not going to reduce driving time. It depends whether breaks will be allocated in that process-or not-that don’t count against the driver time. That could perhaps off-set the lost productivity. If you lose an hour, it does not reduce the amount of freight to be moved; it means you have more freight to move and it requires more drivers to do it”

And he had this to say on the current state of U.S. transportation infrastructure: “We need railroads and highways to be healthy. We each fulfill a very valuable need for transport, and both entities need to be viable. We have the proper workplace to do it, and that is the highways. This Administration seems to think we can get more out of freight on ocean and rail and not need to build any more roads. But when you look at anticipated population growth within the next 50 years, nothing can be excluded, especially future road development and construction. All facets need to be counted on. Regardless of who is in office, more needs to be done. There are 30 U.S. cities that produce 70 percent of our GDP and getting into those cities out of ports and rail yards is not easy. The cost of goods and services affected by congestion impacts everyone. We don’t have a national debate going on [about freight transportation and infrastructure], and we don’t have anyone championing these things with foresight and a long-term view.”

Quinn is survived by his wife of 43 years, Anna Marie, three children and seven grandchildren. His oldest daughter, Lisa Pate, serves as executive vice president and general counsel for U.S. Xpress Enterprises, and his son, Brian, is the vice president and general Manager of the company’s International Business unit.

Funeral services are Saturday, December 17 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in the name of Patrick E. Quinn to the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org and click on the donation link.

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