A Puyallup trucking company has been named the state’s Family-owned Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Denis Gray Trucking, a second-generation transportation company, specializes in transporting oversize and overweight loads through the Western United States and Canada.
Founded in 1977 by Denis Gray, DGT is now managed by his son and Chief Operating Officer Michael Gray.
"I felt really honored. It was cool,” said the younger Gray. “Everybody in this company has been working hard. It’s cool to have something like this.”
Gray continued, “We were a struggling business, and the SBA helped turn us around.”
Gray said Wednesday that he wasn’t sure of the criteria used in the selection, but he suspects that organizers of the award noted “one of the major things we’ve come up with is a unique pay scale for truck drivers."
The program guarantees a weekly minimum wage for drivers, and Gray said he thinks the DGT iteration is unique. Beyond any recognition, he said, the company has been able to hire and retain drivers in an industry known for its high employee turnover.
“I had the pleasure of getting to know Mike from Denis Gray Trucking through the SBA Emerging Leaders program,” said Nancy Porzio, SBA Seattle district director, in a statement Wednesday.“Seeing the immense progress and growth of his company during the past year has been a delight to watch. His innovative approach to trucker pay is getting much-deserved attention within the trucking industry; he is a true family man and passionate business leader.”
The company scored high in the four judging criteria areas including (1) showed evidence of success as measured by sales and profits; (2) increased employment opportunities for family members and non-family members in the business; (3) demonstrated potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth; and (4) assisted with voluntary efforts to strengthen family-owned businesses within the community.
Gray will be honored at a local awards ceremony event May 8 in conjunction with National Small Business Week, May 12-16.
“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact small business has on our country,” said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings. “It’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated, hard-working small business owners who are making a difference in their communities.”