› Job: U.S. Xpress Enterprises chief executive officer
› 2018 distinction: Fuller took the formerly privately held Chattanooga trucking company public, raising more than $250 million in equity along with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
When Eric Fuller was elevated from president to chief executive officer of trucker U.S. Xpress Enterprises nearly a year and a half ago, he said he was hopeful the nation's gross domestic product would rise closer to 3 percent growth, which increases demand for trucking services.
The CEO of the Chattanooga-based got his wish with the nation's growth rate accelerating, and the company's latest quarterly operating income nearly doubled from the same period a year ago and could set the stage for record profits in 2018.
"Based on the strong freight volumes, rate environment and the capacity currently being requested from our customers for the upcoming peak season during the fourth quarter, we feel well positioned to make 2018 the most profitable year in our history," he says.
In June, Fuller took the privately held company public. About 18 million shares were sold and the company raised some $250 million in equity to pay down debt and buy out some of the founding family members who wanted to sell their stake in the company.
U.S. Xpress expects to continue to grow organically but over time, Fuller says, as a publicly traded company with less debt it will be positioned to make strategic acquisitions, as warranted.
At the same time, the company's stock price has stumbled as the year has worn on. In the third quarter, the company said its performance was held back somewhat by lower utilization rates due to a driver squeeze.
U.S. Xpress employs about 10,000 workers nationwide, including about 7,500 drivers and some 1,200 employees in the Chattanooga area.