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REGIONALREPORT Eastern

UPS vets deliver some welcome shipping newsclientuploads/Archive_Images/2013/10/East-region.jpg

Two decades in sales at United Parcel Service Inc. taught Travis Burt and Keith Byrd an important lesson about the logistics industry: There’s always room to negotiate. That led them to resign from the Atlanta-based shipping company in 2008 and start Emerald Isle-based Transportation Impact LLC, which helps companies negotiate rates with UPS, Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. and other shipping companies. Three years later, they acquired Greensboro-based First Flight Solutions LLC, which offered the same service, and moved it to Emerald Isle, where Byrd co-owns a surf shop and Burt had moved to help start Transportation Impact. Sales have skyrocketed. Both earned spots on Inc. magazine’s 2013 list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., the only Tar Heel ones east of Morrisville to do so.
They target businesses with shipping costs of at least $200,000 a year and save clients an average of 18.2% annually. They also developed proprietary software to analyze and audit contracts and create invoices. It determines the sizes and weights of packages shipped most often and the number of packages shipped next-day air compared with ground. That provides specific items to negotiate. Though both companies use the software and are headquartered in the same building, they operate independently. Byrd and Burt, both 50, figure there’s enough business for both companies because they target different sectors. Combined, they employ 23 and have saved about 400 clients more than $45 million.
But it hasn’t been an easy road. Soon after they started Transportation Impact, UPS threatened to sue them, claiming Byrd and Burt were using knowledge of its inner workings. Though they hadn’t signed noncompete agreements, they agreed to avoid their former sales territories of North and South Carolina for a year. They went to Virginia to woo chief financial officers. “What it forced us to do was to perfect every other aspect of our business,” Burt says. A Transportation Impact analysis of Reynolds Food Packaging LLC in Richmond, Va., caught a billing error that saved the maker of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil $119,000. Its savings eventually ranged from 12% to 15% per shipment, says Allen Thornton, Reynolds’ manager of carrier sourcing at the time. But the biggest selling point was the fee structure. Transportation Impact and First Flight Solutions are paid a 50% commission over a three-year-period but only on money saved. “When I can go to a vice president and say, ‘They’re projecting cost savings of $500,000 to $1 million, and it won’t cost anything up front,’ it’s an easy sell,” Thornton says.

Briefs

KINSTON — Associated Materials will expand its plant here, investing $5 million and adding 252 to its statewide workforce of 540 within five years. The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based company makes products for building exteriors.

LUMBERTON —
Due Process Stable Trading will open a factory here, investing almost $1.4 million and creating 45 jobs. The Edison, N.J.-based maker of custom home products such as rugs, needlepoint pillows and reproductions of antique furniture will pay an average annual wage of $41,941, higher than Robeson County’s average of $28,360.

GREENVILLE —
East Carolina University will begin expanding its telepsychiatry program, which uses real-time audio and video to treat patients remotely, from 14 hospitals in the region to 60 to 80 across the state in January. The program will be overseen by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health and Community Care and receive $4 million from the state.

CASTLE HAYNE —
The N.C. Division of Air Quality extended by 18 months the expiration date of a permit to begin construction of a controversial cement plant here. It was slated to expire in August. In accordance with new Environmental Protection Agency standards, the revised permit for Carolinas Cement, a subsidiary of Norfolk, Va.-based Titan America, also increases the amount of some air pollutants the plant can produce.

WASHINGTON —
idX Impressions will expand its plant here, investing $3 million and adding 159 to its local workforce of 84 within three years. The Earth City, Mo.-based company makes store fixtures for clients such as retailers and banks.