Two chemicals transports belonging to Sprint Transport LLC run westbound on I-10 headed toward San Antonio, Texas on an unseasonably warm day in late January. It's another busy day for the Houston-based operator, a relatively new addition to the tank truck carrier ranks.

Established in 2010, the carrier runs 65 tractors and 160 tank trailers, serving customers within a 600-mile radius of Houston, Texas. Liquid bulk cargoes include chemicals, acids, and crude oil. The fleet even hauls some refuse and liquid wastes for sister companies.

“While we are primarily a tank truck carrier, our objective is to keep each tractor busy every day,” says Dave Dillard, president of Sprint Transport. “This company has grown rapidly, and we see more growth coming. We've made good progress in the short time this company has been in business, and we are very optimistic going forward. Our trucks are busy right now, and our customers seem very optimistic about 2013 and beyond.

“One reason for the optimism is the massive chemical sector expansion now underway along the Gulf Coast. Billions of dollars are being spent on chemical plant expansions to take advantage of the abundant natural gas coming out of the shale plays. These plants will produce methanol and other petrochemical feedstocks when they come on line, and that should translate to a significant increase in tank trailer shipments.”

Sprint Transport is one the newest additions to the Sprint family of companies. Operating for more than 30 years and employing over 450 personnel, The Sprint Companies own, operate, and invest in a variety of basic and niche businesses throughout the Houston area. While each company operates independently, every effort is made to cross-sell services where it makes sense.

Sprint image B “We've built about 30 businesses over the years, all of them service businesses where we can differentiate ourselves from the competition by working harder,” says Joe Swinbank, a co-founder of The Sprint Companies. We've concentrated our efforts on waste handling, trucking, and construction materials.

“We promise our customers on-time pick-up and delivery, and we carry through on that promise. We have a strong background in equipment leasing, and that helped us become very adept at developing services that solve problems for our customers.”

In discussing his keys to success as an entrepreneur, Swinbank cites a number of guiding principles: leadership starts at the top; be passionate — live and breathe your goals; find and exploit the best in your people; empowerment — men in the field know more than the office; let people fail — the first mistake is on the house; set measurable goals — open books, budget, bonus system; look for the opportunity in bad news; when in doubt, tell the truth; know your critical numbers; the numbers do the talking; and never forget the power of praise.

One of the oldest operations in the Sprint Companies portfolio is Sprint Sand & clay, which was launched in 1982 and has 15 active mining operations in the Houston area that provides quality sand, topsoil, fill dirt, mulch, and other construction and landscape materials.