Falcon Motor Xpress spreads its wings

by Sonia Straface

Like many trucking companies across the country, Falcon Motor Xpress’ began with a single truck. The difference is Andy Grewal, the current president and co-founder, turned that single truck he was driving not into a fleet of a handful of trucks, but rather, he turned it into a fleet of 250 trucks, 450 trailers and to date, he employs close to 400 people.

Falcon Motor Xpress currently operates out of Caledon, Ont. and since its humble beginnings in March 2004, the business has seen tremendous growth hauling general freight, like tissue paper, food and beverage products and even auto parts. 

The success of the company, according members of its senior staff, is because of the team it has cultivated over the years, the dedication to its service quality and the infinite wisdom of Grewal, its president.

“I think our biggest strength is our team,” said the company’s safety and recruiting manager, Dave Spragge. “We’ve got a very great team and we’ve got people in the right place. Whenever there’s a problem we all come together to solve it.”

Just one example of how the team rallied was last year after the business moved into its newest office. 

“We had a DoT audit last February and we all kind of came together and worked a little bit late on the weekend to prepare for the audit because at the same time, we moved in January,” Spragge explained. “Between the move and the audit, it was quite hectic trying to pull everything together.”

“So whether you were in sales, whether you were in the garage, or whether you were insurance, it was all hands on deck,” added Dean Price, director of sales for Falcon. “We all pulled together – and with flying colours, might I add.”

Jack Morasse, the sales manager at Falcon, credits the company’s success to the customer service its drivers provide on a daily basis.

“To me, our service is our biggest strength,” he said. “If you don’t have service, it doesn’t matter who you are.

“I mean a success story is one customer we had, they were a load a month, and now we’re getting 50 loads a week. It took me a couple years to get in there, but once we got in, they saw our service and now they’re one of our major customers. I mean I could be the (best) salesman in the world, but if you don’t have service, it doesn’t matter.”

The common thread when discussing Falcon’s road to success with all three senior staff members, Spragge, Price and Morasse is the mention of president Grewal.

“Your voice doesn’t go unrecognized here,” said Price. “So Andy will…and he doesn’t even know he’s saying it, but he’ll ask, ‘What do you think?’ and he’ll ask a lot of his employees.”

“I think it’s safe to say he believes in empowerment,” said Lisa Arsenau, Falcon’s insurance broker.

“He really believes in employee empowerment and whether or not the opinion is taken and acted on, it’s still a valued opinion from anyone in the company.”

Morasse said Grewal’s hands-on management style is because of how well the president knows trucking.  

“It’s all about knowing the business and Andy can do any job in the terminal,” he explained. “And I’ll tell you, I’ve been around a long time and that’s not the case for many owners.”

Grewal, a man of few words, said his management style is to simply treat his employees the way he would want to be treated.

“I make it clear to my drivers (that) if they have a problem, even on the road at two in the morning, they can call me,” he said.

Of course, like every trucking business in Canada today, Falcon has its fair share of challenges, including the weak Canadian dollar. Its largest challenge by far, though, is the lack of quality drivers interested in the job.

Though the company isn’t affected by the shortage right now (because all of their trucks have drivers in them), it is affecting its ability to grow at a faster pace than it is used to.

“Not many companies can say they are turning down business, but we do because we don’t have enough drivers,” said Morasse.

“And we’d rather turn down business than not be able to deliver on the service. We don’t over-promise and under-deliver here.”

Fortunately, the company’s turnover rate is significantly lower than the industry standard so for now Falcon’s drivers are staying behind the wheel.

Morasse said he believes it’s a combination of running preferable routes, the new equipment they drive, great medical benefits and the open-door policy.

For now, the company says it is looking forward to continuing its steady growth in the near future.

Its employees are excited to move into Falcon’s new facility – a 5,000 sq.-ft. office built on 17 acres of land complete with a yard, wash bay, and garage – just across the street from its current office space this coming April because it has outgrown its old space that it moved into just a few years ago. Looks like Falcon has spread its wings and is ready to soar. 

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