JBK Inc knows importance of power unit specifications
Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
The drivers at Jack B Kelley Inc (JBK), Amarillo, Texas, spend a lot of time in their tractors, so when the carrier orders a power unit, driver preferences claim a high priority.
JBK drivers travel throughout the continental United States and parts of Alaska and Canada, hauling primarily compressed liquids, liquid carbon dioxide, and cryogenic gases. The carrier also handles other products such as acetylene, compressed air, argon, bromine, calcium bromide, carbon monoxide, ethylene, helium, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, methane, natural gas, nitrogen, nitrogen trifluoride, nitrous oxide, oxygen, and zinc bromide.
For this logistic mix, JBK specifies International 9000i tractors with engine power that will give drivers the edge they need to haul the heavy payloads that JBK specializes in. The Internationals are equipped with Caterpillar C13 engines rated at 430 horsepower. Eaton Fuller supplies UltraShift 14-speed automated transmissions. Running gear includes International air ride suspensions and MeritorWabco antilock braking.
“Our drivers deserve responsive trucks,” says Mark Davis, JBK president. “They are on the road with responsibility for expensive equipment and products — and they have the stress of meeting just-in-time commitments. Providing top-of-the-line power units enhances our driver satisfaction and retention and is a good recruitment tool.”
JBK drivers also have the luxury of high-end tractor interiors with noise-prevention insulation. In addition to the International Blend-Air HVAC system for climate control in the cab and sleeper, drivers can access air-conditioning, heating, and the Internet via Idle Air Technologies Corp equipment located at certain truck stops.
Running top-quality equipment has been a historical factor in the success of the company that was created in 1946 by the late Jack B Kelley and his wife, Hazel. Kelley was an innovator in the transportation of helium and the development of tube trailers. He acquired his first cryogenic trailers in the 1960s. Throughout the next three decades the company grew as more products were added to the service, but cryogenic gases continue to dominate the operation.
When the senior Kelley died in 1980, Hazel, and their son, Ken, continued at the helm as chairman of the board and chief executive officer, respectively. Today, the corporation with over $73 million in annual revenue is moving its headquarters into new offices in downtown Amarillo from a suburban site. Ken Kelley points out that the move into the new building contrasts with the company's early beginnings when his parents managed operations from their kitchen table.
“That kitchen table remains a part of our corporate offices,” he notes. “Even the clock from that kitchen is there.”
With Kelley and his mother directing the company, the carrier has continued to expand through various acquisitions, as well as enlarging its niche. Today, there are terminals in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
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