Ascend LLC (Ascend) today announced its launch as a dry van, full truckload carrier that brings high-performance service and reliability to the rapidly expanding middle-mile market. Ascend and its affiliates will focus on the customers’ needs in the retail, fast-moving consumer goods, packaging, and industrial supply sectors with exacting service requirements. These businesses typically require products to be shipped regionally and quickly.
Ascend also announced the appointment of Michael McLary, a 30-year industry veteran of UPS and Amazon, as CEO. McLary will lead the management team supported by a board of directors comprised of senior industry executives with over 150 years of combined experience from Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.
Formed by the merger and integration of Milan Supply Chain Solutions, based in Jackson, Tennessee, and J&B Services, based in Pontotoc, Mississippi, Ascend is supported by key leaders to the combined management team. Ascend is backed by Wellspring Capital Management Group LLC (“Wellspring”), a leading middle-market private equity firm committed to investing in the company’s strategy and growth plans.
“Shippers are placing large warehouses close to urban locations, which increases the need for regional service to connect supply-chain nodes, which is our focus,” said McLary. “The company has built a robust and reliable network with the density to support planned and unplanned customer needs in the South, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions. Our goal is to transform the regional truckload sector by leveraging technology, building density and offering driver-friendly routes and policies. We have created a company that will be the carrier of choice to customers by providing the most reliable and predictable service and will be the trusted partner in the transportation sector.”
Naishadh Lalwani, a partner at Wellspring, added: “We are thrilled to partner with Michael and the rest of the Ascend team to offer differentiated solutions to our customer base who place their trust in us. We look forward to supporting the company as it executes its aggressive organic and acquisitive growth plan to be a leading regional truckload carrier. Ascend’s leaders have designed the business with today’s market realities in mind, including a nationwide driver shortage and growing supply chain complexity as shippers seek to satisfy the ever-heightening consumer expectations. Ascend addresses these needs with innovative planning and dispatch methodologies that provide the flexibility required.”
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Finding drivers is also a key aspect of the Ascend set of solutions. Designing its planning and dispatch operations around the lifestyle desires of drivers enables Ascend to become the employer of choice for drivers seeking a better work-life balance. This is accomplished by designing routes that make it possible for drivers to sleep at home whenever possible. Ascend has adopted several progressive, driver-friendly policies to ensure it can attract and retain the very best personnel in the business, including guaranteed, top-quartile pay.
McLary continued, “With a nationwide trend of unfilled driver positions, Ascend offers progressive employee policies that help us retain a sufficient number of high-quality drivers who provide the high standard of service shippers should expect of their carrier.”
In addition to its large and growing asset-based operation, Ascend has established substantial truckload brokerage services. The brokerage offering complements the company’s asset operations by providing expanded capacity, broader coverage, and specialized options such as temperature-controlled and flatbed vehicles while ensuring premium service levels. Pairing this flexible network capacity with Ascend’s large and broadly staged trailer fleet and its power-only options results in distinctive array of services well-matched to our customers’ needs.
Ascend provides customers with logistics services in coordination with its affiliates Ascend LLC, Ascend Transportation LLC, Ascend Trucking LLC, and Ascend Distribution LLC. The company has operations in the South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, with density and capacity in important regional areas where there is high demand for high-performance short-haul shipping, serving the truckload shipping needs of customers in the retail, fast-moving consumer goods, packaging, and industrial supply sectors. For further information, visit ascend.net.
About Wellspring Capital
Wellspring Capital Management is a leading private equity firm headquartered in New York. Since its founding in 1995, Wellspring has raised over $4.5 billion of initial capital commitments through six private equity funds. In total, Wellspring’s current portfolio companies employ nearly 60,000 people around the world and generated aggregate revenues in excess of approximately $4.5 billion in the last 12 months.¹ Over the past 25 years, Wellspring has invested in over 45 platform investments across various segments of the U.S. and global economies. Wellspring’s objective is to bring partnership, experience, and value creation to each investment. By teaming up with strong management, Wellspring seeks to unlock underlying value and pursue new growth opportunities through strategic initiatives, operating improvements, and add-on acquisitions. The firm functions as a strategic partner, providing management teams with top-line support, M&A experience, financial expertise, and access to resources. For additional information, please visit WellspringCapital.com.
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