LIMERICK PA – A group of about 600 people, including truck drivers and their families from as far away as Indiana and West Virginia, will descend today (Saturday, May 6, 2017) on the Limerick Township headquarters of Venezia Bulk Transport Inc. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding.
What began as family owned-and-operated business remains mostly unchanged in management over five decades, media spokesman and Assistant Director Of Maintenance J.P. Venezia (pronounced van-et-zee-ah) acknowledges. Two generations of the Venezia name occupy many of the firm’s executive-level positions. The company itself, though, has powered far past its humble beginnings.
Back in 1967, J.P.’s (short for John Paul) predecessors began driving a couple of dump trucks to haul sand and bottles for their first and then only customer, the former Diamond Glass works in Royersford. Today the firm employs hundreds of people in a wide range of positions, and uses more than 500 tractors and 1,200 trailers to haul dry bulk materials like sand and cement; food-grade products including flour, sugar, salt, and malt; and liquid petroleum goods such as motor oil, propane and asphalt.
Its truck runs are no longer relegated to the former country roads that once ringed the borough, either. Venezia trucks routinely cross the lower 48 states and Canada, he said, and have positioned the firm as the largest motor oil carrier (by volume) in the Northeast. In addition to the Limerick corporate headquarters on Airport Road, the firm also maintains terminals elsewhere in Pennsylvania, as well as in Florida, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Just as importantly, though, J.P. claims, Venezia has demonstrated its willingness to keep meeting the needs of new customers. Its Specialty Products Division, according to its website, was created specifically to haul almost any product “with vans, flatbeds and large aggregate storage units.” It also boasts of the logistical capability to transfer materials from trucks to rail cars for transportation efficiency.
“There’s a lot of organized growth in our business,” J.P. says, “but we keep growing different segments by word of mouth.”
As with others, Venezia’s operations have been transformed over time by technology. Satellite tracking systems (think of your car’s GPS on steroids) constantly track and monitor the movements of vehicles and cargo. Accident mitigation technology that’s come onto the automotive market only recently has been an accident-prevention staple for several years. Those and other enhancements “make things so much safer for our drivers,” J.P. reports.
The drivers themselves make a difference too. Those who are interviewed for positions at Venezia, according to J.P., are evaluated not only by their driving records and skills, but for their ‘roadside manner.’ “Our drivers are actually the first, and sometimes the only, company representatives our customers see,” he explains. “They’re making our impressions for us,” so courtesy and professionalism rank high among desired driver traits.
Venezia drivers earn from between $40,000 to $70,000 annually, depending on their skills, safety records, and tenure, J.P. says, and most drivers have weekends off. They also qualify for a safety rewards program, in which winners receive a company ring encrusted with a diamond for every year of safe service. “That ring,” he claims, “is something our drivers are really proud to get.”
J.P. and other family members in management have been working hard in recent weeks to ensure, as much as possible, that those who wanted to attend today’s party could. Limerick Township and Royersford Borough police and fire first-responders will be there as well, as company guests. Parking may be a little tight and traffic busy, he suggests – Airport Road is no thoroughfare – “but there will be lots of food” and entertainment.
“Just like we treat our customers as family,” J.P. notes, “we want to treat our employees like family too. We make sure they’re taken care of.”
Photos from Venezia Bulk Transport Inc.