Meet the Wadhams Family: Three Generations of Family-Run Business
At Wadhams, we’ve always been proud of being a family-run business. We’ve come a long way since our Grandpa, known to the community as “Red”, hauled milk in 100lb cans that were hand-loaded onto the back of his truck. The same values that he credits for his success – “work hard, be honest, and do for other people” – are at the core of our modern operations, even as we grow and expand as a business.
Here’s a quick overview of our family tree and our family business, from our founder, to the new contributions of third generation Wadhams children.
Our Founder: Earl “Red” T. Wadhams (1931-2010)
Grandpa’s success in trucking led to the founding of the company we have today. He purchased his first truck in 1949, and began hauling peas and sweet corn in the summer. In the fall of that year, he took on his first milk route, consisting of 13 farms and 48 cans of milk. Recognizing the potential of enlisting other drivers, my grandfather used his earnings to buy other milk routes and to pay the salaries of the haulers who were already working them.
Over the next five decades, that arrangement grew from a small, single-truck and driver operation to the multi-division operation that it is today – mostly “by word of mouth and a firm handshake.” Grandpa’s ethos of hard work, respect, honesty, and integrity live on in everything we do, right down to day-to-day operations.
Rick & Steve
Grandpa’s two sons, Rick (my uncle) and Steve (my dad), currently oversee the company’s operations. They’re proud to support a team of almost 800 employees and a fleet of 300+ trucks and 560 trailers, in the company’s three divisions – ETW (milk hauling), RIST (truckload, LTL, and brokerage), and ARG (bulk petroleum and liquefied petroleum gas).
Of Grandpa’s eight grand-children, six of us currently work at Wadhams, across all three divisions. Having grown up in and around the business, we all have fond memories of working odd-jobs over summers and college breaks to contribute to the family business. We’re now enjoying being involved in a more consistent and dedicated way. Meet the newest generation of Wadhams family staff:
- Peter Wadhams (Rick’s son): While pursuing a degree in Sport Management, my cousin Peter regularly worked odd-jobs at Wadhams over summers and in between semesters. He took on his first full-time position, working on the LTL loading docks for the RIST division. After almost six years there, Peter decided he wanted the opportunity to learn more about the business (especially the milk hauling division where our grandfather began), so he took on the new challenge of working as a dispatcher for ETW. Peter then moved into ETW Operations. Now with over a decade of hands-on experience across the company, Peter has recently taken on the role of Western Director of Operations for ETW.
- Stephanie (Wadhams) Grenier (Rick’s daughter): Stephanie works in the recruiting department helping to build our “work family”. She’s involved in hiring and training new corporate staff, office staff, and drivers for all three divisions. For several years, Stephanie worked in hospitality and events planning, and now brings her passions for excellent customer service and Human Resources to the family business. Stephanie is a people-oriented person, dedicated to including all our staff in the company culture, and supporting Wadhams’ growing team.
- Andrew Wadhams (Rick’s son): My cousin Andrew is the Dispatcher & Operations Supervisor at ARG’s Rochester-Chili terminal. A civil engineer by training, Andy leverages his technical training to assist in logistical oversight and work to improve Wadhams’ operational efficiency. Andrew is the first person to remind our team that the backbone of the company are its people: the customers and employees. This is how Andrew keeps us focused on what’s most important: every aspect of operations needs to work towards the goal of providing better service.
- Anthony Wadhams (Steve’s son): I began working as a dispatcher in the then newly purchased LTL division. I spent time working in ETW and ARG before coming back to RIST LTL, where I have worked for the past two years, beta-testing and implementing new software to help improve operational efficiency and customer service. My goal has been to customize our software to help capture and retrieve data, providing access to more information from which to make decisions. While I enjoy working with software and making processes more efficient, my favorite part of the business is getting to know the team of drivers, dock workers, and office staff.
- Gabrielle Wadhams (Steve’s daughter): My sister studied Art Education in college and completed her Master’s degree. Despite an initial desire to forge her own path, Gabrielle kept finding herself drawn back to the family business, and realized that she wanted to be more involved in helping it grow. She currently works in the LTL customer service division. Gabrielle loves the opportunities she has had to learn about the business from the ground-up, her interactions with RIST LTL customers, and the surprising opportunities to use her teaching skills.
- Jeffrey Wadhams (Steve’s son): Like the rest of us siblings and cousins, Jeffrey started working for Wadhams over summers and breaks from college. He worked various jobs in the wash bay and as a forklift driver for cross-dock operation. Jeffrey studied Regional Development, where he learned about energy efficiency and the movement for a green economy – an up-and-coming field in the transportation industry. He is pleased to grow his sales experience through working at the RIST Carlstadt terminal in LTL sales. Jeffrey is helping to expand RIST LTL’s reach in eastern regions.
As the Wadhams’ third generation, we’re proud to be part of the family business. We share a strong desire to sustain the hard work begun by our grandfather and developed by our fathers. We strive to continue the legacy by being the Carrier of Choice, Employer of Choice, known for providing superior customer service and encouraging meaningful employee relationships.
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