FedEx Service Center holds open house

PARKERSBURG – The new FedEx Freight service center in Parkersburg held an open house Thursday with representatives from FedEx and local businesses participating.

The facility on 15.4 acres at the Airport Industrial Park on West Virginia 2 is a local pick-up and delivery facility for FedEx Freight Priority and FedEx Freight Economy shipments. It provides needed capacity and growth potential by handling additional shipments from surrounding service centers.

“This location is larger and allows us to provide additional capacity in the greater Parkersburg market,” said Pat Reed, FedEx Freight executive vice president and chief operations officer. “We are able to provide customers with enhanced flexibility and solutions for their business needs.”

Reed is from Parkersburg and is a 1976 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School.

The new service center is an expansion of the FedEx Freight’s presence in Parkersburg, increasing capacity to 23 dock doors from 16 at the previous location in Mineral Wells.

“We have a state-of-the-art facility in our hub in Charleston. We have Huntington, Wheeling and Clarksburg so we have my home state covered pretty well,” Reed said.

Reed’s primary responsibility is freight operations throughout North America, including 357 locations in the United States, 17 facilities in Mexico and 14 locations and eight gateways in Canada.

“We have tremendous coverage,” Reed said. “Our customers are telling us there is huge connectivity, not only in the domestic U.S., but also from Mexico to Canada and Canada to Mexico.”

Freight is brought into the center and moved out of the center for deliveries and pick-ups locally as well as moving freight on to bigger hubs around the region and on to their final destinations. Reed said they have some of the fastest transit times in the industry. There is a lot of uniform operations at centers across the country so employees know what to expect and how to do things.

“I think we have built our network over the years to be successful,” Reed said. “It is very sophisticated.”

When people have traditionally thought about trucking, it is a driver traveling cross country. However, around 98 percent of their employees are home every night because many of their drivers work in the region with drivers going to Hagerstown, Md.; Columbus, Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, and Dayton, Ohio, Reed said.

“Our drivers are really our bread and butter,” he said. Many of them are regularly engaging the customers to see if there is any more business they can do for them.

“They are the most engaged workforce in the industry,” he said. “We put our employees in high regard. We put a lot of time and effort into education and training.”

The company promotes drivers to sales and other positions.

Willie Pittser, sales executive – FedEx Services, said he has been with the company for 18 years where he started as a driver. He has worked in sales and dispatching.

“They train you along the way,” he said. “It is truly one of the few companies where you can really work your way up.”

Reed said in the next three to five years there will be a shortage of around 300,000 drivers in the freight business so they are working to attract the younger generation.

The local service center employs around 20 people.

“As we grow our business in this new facility, we hope to add people and jobs,” Reed said. “We are looking to expand our customer base.

“The area of coverage we serve here, the skill of our people locally and the product we offer we hope that will attract a lot more customers. The goal is to fill this facility up, get more people and expand.”