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MSA

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MSA is a well-regarded transportation provider that specializes in over-dimensional and heavy haul services. Whatever a customer’s needs may be, MSA is equipped to deliver reliable, world-class service, offering its customers the assurance that their freight will arrive safely and on time.
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MSA boasts a local and international reach, and throughout the area it serves, has developed a reputation for quality, dependability, and integrity. It is devoted to its customers and maintains this level of service despite its extensive growth.

The company was acquired in 1992 by Marion and Jerry Rozum and remains a family-owned and operated entity to this day. It is proudly Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified. Jerry and Marion’s son J and daughter Lisa graduated from the University of Michigan (U of M) in 1998 and 1999, respectively, and joined their parents in the family business.

J Rozum serves as operations manager, and in speaking with him, one quickly gets a sense of his commitment to service delivery and ensuring customer satisfaction. As a family-run business, there is a lot at stake. “My mom and dad basically risked everything, and upon graduating from U of M, my sister and I came on board and helped the company grow,” he said.

“MSA began with five tractors and trailers, and we’ve grown considerably through the years, servicing the United States, Canada and Mexico,” Rozum explained. “We started with automotive because – obviously – Detroit is the motor city, and that’s kept us growing strong.”

MSA is a bonded carrier that complies with all industry regulations. In fact, J is the chairman of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) transportation group and works tirelessly to advance the interests of the company and its customers, as well as the industry as a whole.

Headquartered in Canton, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, MSA now has branches in Nashville, Tennessee, Augusta, Georgia, Dallas, Texas and Laredo, Texas, strategically positioned to address its customers’ diverse needs across North America and internationally.

In a testament to the company’s capabilities, Ford Motor Company approached MSA to serve as a project carrier when it made the transition from the steel body F-150 to an aluminum body. Rozum said the project planning lasted close to a year and was completed on time, without any complications.

“We loaded over 1,100 trailers and organized the install of the new machinery into the plants here at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, in Kansas City, and in Louisville. The various suppliers loaded our trailers, and MSA staged them until it was time to deliver to the plant. The trailers were pre-loaded, so when it came time for install, it was like a big puzzle, just putting the trailers in the right order to unload and install,” said Rozum.

In addition to serving the automotive sector, its trucking, rigging, customs documentation capacities and round the clock support are used by the military, power generation, and energy sectors as well as any others with specialty transportation needs.

“MSA bends over backward to do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers. You know, customers have unusual and unique needs, and MSA operates 24/7. There is not a day that goes by that we aren’t doing something special to make sure that the job is being done right and to the customer’s satisfaction,” Rozum said.

MSA customizes trailers if its existing equipment falls short of satisfying the requirements of a specialty project. “We have adapted to our customers’ needs by building and customizing different equipment,” Rozum explained. “MSA often goes above and beyond in a way that will mutually benefit both the customer and MSA in terms of service.”

MSA’s fleet is extensive and includes multiple configurations. It has hauled everything from oversized components such as wind turbines, locomotive engines, stamping dies, various equipment, parts and machinery, robots, and even live animals. The potential is truly endless.

The company has over 120 curtain-sided flatbed trailers, making it the largest carrier in the Midwest. “Most of our customers haul $500,000 to a million dollars plus machinery. The curtain-sided trailer allows us to load the freight on the trailer, secure it, and roll the tarping system alongside the trailer, which minimizes damage caused by tarps touching the load,” Rozum stated.

MSA’s fleet also includes step-deck, double-drop, stretch deck, split and tri-axle equipment, as well as the recently added mini-deck and multi-axle heavy haul trailers. All equipment is air ride equipped.

“MSA meets with our customers before they undertake their project,” Rozum said. “For example, if they were building an assembly line, MSA will look at the job and see what they want us to do. MSA will give them input and our knowledge related to how best to transport the equipment.”

“We will give our professional opinion, and if we need to, go out and build a specialized trailer to accommodate their needs or provide them with different options. We have storage options here and other resources to support the customer,” he added.

“We do a lot of overseas shipping, so our customers can containerize loads, and MSA will ship it to the ports. With yards across the country, MSA can store a lot of equipment all over the country for our customers where most carriers do not have the capacity to store one hundred loads worth of freight.”

International shipping requires detailed precision, planning, coordination, and the operational and logistical ability to meet timelines while relying on various shipping channels. MSA is currently working on an account that involves shipping freight from Tennessee to Jacksonville, Florida and eventually to France. MSA can get the job done, even when it is a last-minute situation for the customer.

“We have an extensive fleet of trucks as well as people that really care about them,” said Rozum. “Our drivers are more like family than they are employees.” Many employees have been with the company for over five years, with some for nearly fifteen.

Tractors and trailers are regularly maintained and upgraded by in-house mechanics. Keeping the process in-house further contributes to efficiency and the ability to support safety and reliability in the operation of the equipment.

Another big part of MSA’s success is the stringent hiring practices that help it to uphold safety standards. Rozum has great confidence in his safety team and the company’s hiring policies. “My team only hires qualified drivers. We do extensive background checks; insurance requires them to have a certain number of years driving along with a clean MVR,” he said.

“Hiring qualified drivers is important because our drivers are basically our face out on the road. We don’t have a lot of salespeople so our drivers are the first face that the customer sees. There’s a lot of respect between MSA drivers and our customers.”

Employees become part of the family and are treated as such, so it is in the best interest of the company and its customers to attract and retain top talent that fits the corporate culture and who will proudly carry the MSA name each day.

Rozum believes in cooperative relationships and treating others as one wishes to be treated, which extends to the company’s relationships with employees and its customers. “We’ve always been an honest, hardworking, good company, and our customers realize that,” he said. “They trust us, and they want us to work with them; they know MSA will get the job done to their satisfaction.”

MSA also supports many local and national charitable causes including providing trucks for Toys for Tots collections in the local community, as well as delivering generators and other vital supplies following emergencies to areas affected by natural disasters.

Rozum’s goal is simple: “I don’t want to be the biggest; I just want to be the best. As a family business, I not only want the needs of my customers met, I want to make sure my drivers are safe and happy. In a sense, MSA is responsible for all their families; employees need to pay their bills and put food on their table. It all works like a solid circle, and when it does, the wheel rolls right.”

MSA continues to reinvest in the company to ensure the very best equipment and technology for its employees and its customers. “It is important to give our drivers a better sense of security with brand new equipment. We try to stay on the leading edge of technology with electronic logs, GPS units in all the trucks and comfort in the tractors to reduce the day to day stress of the drivers,” said Rozum.

With a continuously increasing capability to serve a growing customer base through this reinvestment, MSA will continue to achieve success and growth for generations to come.

June 28, 2017, 10:09 AM EDT

Safety at Work, at Home, and on the Road

The National Safety Council (NSC) has an invaluable mission: to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road. The membership-based organization accomplishes its goals through leadership, research, education and advocacy. After profiling the Council in June 2015, Business in Focus sat down with President and CEO Deborah Hersman this month to hear the latest developments.