By Steve Svetovich
Jim Barrett, 71, has been involved in the trucking business as long as he can remember.
The Dunmore native graduated from Scranton Prep in 1969 and the University of Scranton in 1973.
A couple years later he began working for Fowler and Williams, Scranton, before deciding to venture into his own business.
He and his wife, the former Debra Fowler, formed Road Scholar Transport in 1988. The business is located at 130 Monahan Ave., Dunmore.
Road Scholar Transport has grown into a large asset based carrier serving the Truckload LTL and specialty service needs of businesses in the northeast and mid Atlantic United States.
Over the past 34 years, the business has grown from one owner operator to a fleet of over 105 tractors, 300 trailers and 65 refrigerated units. The technology and methods evolved over the years, but the mission is the same.
“We approach every customer and every customer’s customer with the same dignity, respect and professionalism we would afford our own family. We employ only experienced drivers who are always uniformed, clean-cut and courteous.”
Road Scholar Transport combines its experience and culture with its Northeast and Mid-Atlantic footprints and is always considered to be a local trucking company.
Barrett said he thought of the company’s eventual name while traveling through Philadelphia. “I wanted to put a positive spin on it,” he said. “I came up with the name and called my wife. She agreed to it.”
Barrett and his wife started with very little and gradually built up the business.
“I learned how to drive a truck and I liked it,” Barrett said. “So I decided to start my own business.”
Barrett said the purpose of the company is to provide first class transportation products and creative solutions while delighting the traditional and digital customer.
Road Scholar Transport is a carrier with vast pharmaceutical transportation experience and a complete understanding of the regulations, security protocols and equipment requirements.
Charity work as part of an “Awareness Campaign” is also a part of Road Scholar Transport. “We don’t only deliver freight, but we deliver awareness,” said Barrett.
It all started with the pink tractor trailer.
Barrett was unable to attend a walk with his family to support breast cancer, so he promised them he would do something “big” to make up for it.
A week later, a pink trailer rolled into his business lot. It was the birth of a program to partner with organizations and customers to raise awareness with “rolling billboards” on trucks for dozens of affiliations, groups and causes.
Barrett has a particular fondness for children’s causes. Road Scholar Transport created a truck to promote the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation. The goal each year is to support as many children and families as possible.
A single awareness trailer on the road receives between 30,000 to 80,000 impressions in a single day, said Barrett.
Road Scholar Transport’s temperature controlled trucks also provide high security shipping, food grade transport, beer and liquor transport, hazmat and chemical transport, storage trailer rental, expedited and emergency shipping, dimensional freight, cross docking, warehousing, and Road Scholar relay.
“We have 170 temperature controlled trailers, 350 van trailers, and run 125 tractors,” said Barrett. “We operate in 12 states.”
There are 55 “decorated” tractors used for the Awareness Campaign.
“We do it to spread awareness to the less fortunate and for different causes, especially for children,” said Barrett.
Barrett and his wife have four children: Mary Beth, 47; Kathie, 44; Bridget, 43; and Matthew, 40. All of the children work in the business.
The couple has eight grandchildren.
“I love what I do,” said Barrett. “It’s a tidal business. There is an incoming tide and an outgoing tide.
“I don’t look at it as work. When things are going well, it’s addictive.”