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Growing Together Winter 2021

The Heart of Hammer Transport

John Hammer + Ernie Roncoroni

John Hammer went to college with the intent of making a living for himself and his family.  He didn’t know that path would lead him to start Hammer Transport, the trucking company he has built himself from the ground up. “I initially was going to do life insurance and investment work, but it didn’t feel quite right when the opportunity arose.” John’s father encouraged him to get his trucking license, and at the time, he didn’t have any interest in transport and trucking. It wasn’t until an opportunity arose to haul loads for Wilber Ellis Company that John started to take an interest in the industry and saw the opportunity to grow his own business. His solo truck soon snowballed into five units under the Hammer Transport name, which still wasn’t enough to meet the demand. That was when John started implementing sub-haulers to increase productivity, and the business continued to gain momentum.

“For the first 15 years of my business, I was in the truck.  I would go deliver a load, and once I was unloaded, I would pull over on the side of the road, grab my dispatch book and my BIC pens, and dispatch other haulers from my truck. It got to the point that I was behind the wheel 18 hours a day and my business was running me, instead of me running the business,” John recalls. In 2004, John stepped out of the truck and took on a new position working on the business rather than in it. “I was able to look at my business from a different lens. I brought my wife, Sabrina, on board to help with customer service, and billing and things improved greatly from there.”

Diversification and change are two things that are very familiar to the Hammer Transport business. There were many different opportunities John took to diversify his business and to keep his trucks busy in the offseason. Not all of them were successful, but that is part of the game too. “I see a lot of companies that do not accept change. To be successful, you have to think ahead of the game and break down those walls that you have held up for so long. This is challenging, but when everything is changing around you, you need to stay current and up to date with your industry.”

Managing a family-owned business comes with its own set of challenges. For John, there was immense pressure he put on himself to build a legacy for his family. “When trucks are driving down the road with your last name on them, it adds a level of responsibility to ensure your image is maintained through your company,” comments John. “Image portrays so much in the trucking industry, and I had a vision of what I wanted to see on the road.” John spent most of his time once he was out of the truck training new drivers and teaching them the Hammer Way of customer service and peak truck care. “I wanted to ensure our  customer experience, from the time we answered the phone to their load being delivered, was high quality, consistent, and created an ongoing relationship that would sustain for years to come.”

The Hammer Family

John is currently working for Grow West in Trucking as the Business Development Manager. His attention to detail, hunger for growth, and commitment to creating consistent processes will continue to be a significant asset to our team. “The road I have traveled has been a journey. Although I am closing one chapter of my life, I am opening a new one with Grow West. My goal was always to build my business to this point.” We are so proud to welcome Hammer Transport and John to the Grow West team. We are excited to see what we can continue to build together.

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