EFS chat recap: Manufacturing and commercial building keeps flatbeds busy

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Enterprise Fleet Summit on Wednesday.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Flatbed demand is a leading economic indicator.

DETAILS: The flatbed market is heating up in 2021 and that’s good news for the entire economy. Russ Elliott explains how Melton Truck Lines adapted and thrived over the past 12 months and why everyone should be encouraged by how demand is shaping up for the next 12 months.

BIO: Elliott, who has more than 30 years of truck transportation experience, joined Melton in 1991 as a customer service representative. He has since served within the operations department as manager, director, vice president and senior vice president. He also previously served as vice president of safety, loss prevention and human resources. In his current role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Elliott assists the operations, safety, human resources, recruiting and sales departments on a daily basis.


“The start to ’21 has just been incredible. As you saw yesterday, the ISM was the highest it’s been in 38 years. That tracks very close to our business.”

“I think going forward you are going to see the commercial building industry [do well], which has been very strong as well [and] as schools come back online … there is usually a large amount of HVAC work done in schools during the summer time. … You will see a lot of that work as well.”

“The driver pool has shrunk considerably. … It has always been hard on us … because of the physical aspect and nature of our job. We are limited in who we can hire because of that. As a result, we did not grow our fleet.”

“Millennials have been the real stars through this entire pandemic situation. It did not bother them the least bit to work off-site, at home. They have been productive and have risen to the occasion. I really feel like the millennials were the ones that came of age with this pandemic.”