Smart Business, July 1, 2012 | FINALIST: Distribution and Manufacturing

As CEO of J. Rayl Transport Inc., Jeremy Rayl has successfully transformed the third-generation, Akron, Ohio-based international transportation company from a small family business to a thriving multimillion-dollar enterprise.

Rayl was able to maintain corporate success during historic depressive macroeconomic conditions in an industry where many were closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy protection or making drastic employee layoffs. Throughout this time, Rayl did not lay off an employee or cut wages or benefits. Instead, he has grown the company at a staggering pace of nearly 20 percent each year since 2007.

It was Rayl’s foresight in ensuring their customer base remained diversified and not tied to one particular shipping industry that allowed the company to avoid following the same fate of many of its peers.

Rayl’s leadership also has allowed J. Rayl Transport to expand to offices in Dallas, Houston and Danville, Va., in the past three years. The company has about 200 trucks and 600 trailers covering more than half the country while its brokerage covers the rest of the United States and Canada. It employs more than 250 employees all while holding true to the family atmosphere that has made it one of the best places to work.

Rayl graduated from John Carroll University in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is an active member of his local Vistage group and the Young Presidents’ Organization. He is also president of the Akron Traffic Club as well as a member of the American Trucking Association and Ohio Trucking Association.

He has engaged the company in numerous charitable organizations, including the Haven of Rest, which serves the homeless in Northeast Ohio with meals, shelter, clothing, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

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