Crain’s Cleveland Business, November 21, 2011 | Jeremy Rayl started his career beneath some of the trucks he now manages, but he’s clearly on top of things today. The first job for Mr. Rayl, 33, now CEO of J.Rayl Transport, in Akron, was sweeping floors, changing the oil and greasing the fittings on the trucks at the company his father, Tim, along with partner Jim St. John, founded in 1985. “I worked there from age 12 until college and then took a couple of years off and came back,” Jeremy Rayl said. When he got back, he had a degree in business and some know-how from working in finance at KeyBank — enough that his father made him company controller when he joined in 2002. “I was going to be a stockbroker. I swore I would never get into” trucking, Mr. Rayl said. Today, in an age where stockbrokers have all but disappeared and there are more trucks on the road than ever, Mr. Rayl thinks he made the right choice. It was apparently the right choice for the company, as well. Mr. Rayl has led it through a string of acquisitions and growth as revenue climbed from $9 million in 2002 to what should be more than $50 million this year. It would be more, had the recession not hit trucking hard, said Mr. Rayl, who became CEO in 2008. He still credits his father and others with much of the company’s current success. “It’s not just me, it was my father, too, and it was certainly a group effort,” Mr. Rayl said. Still, the younger Mr. Rayl deserves some of the credit. “Jeremy has … transformed this company from a small family business to a thriving multimillion-dollar enterprise,” said Mr. Rayl’s college friend Matthew Selby, who is the company’s in-house counsel. “He was able to maintain corporate success during historic depressive macro-economic conditions in an industry where most were closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy protection, or making drastic employee layoffs,” Mr. Selby said. Perhaps the fight over which one deserves the least credit is better left to father and son. But, one thing even the younger Mr. Rayl says his father would not disagree with is that his son is in the right place in the company. Or, rather, he’s not in the wrong place — which would be in the cab of a truck. The younger Mr. Rayl said he can handle running the logistics for his fleet of 235 trucks, but he lacks the skills to drive one like his father did. “No one wants to see me behind the wheel,” he said.

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