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BarOle Trucking to move corporate HQ to Hudson

BarOle president Ray Olson, left, and sales manager Kevin Day at the company’s security-gated warehouse and storage hub just off Vandalia Street and Interstate 94 in St. Paul. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Chuck Nowlen)1 / 2
One of BarOle’s environmentally friendly, “clean idle” Mack tractors is shown at the St. Paul warehouse. The company specializes in intermodal transport, in which freight is packed in modular units that can be transferred among trucks, trains and ships without re-handling the units’ contents. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

BarOle Trucking, the largest intermodal freight carrier in the Twin Cities Metro area, will be moving its corporate office to Hudson’s St. Croix Business Park this summer.

A maintenance and warehouse facility will also be part of BarOle’s new 34,000-square-foot Hudson digs, company president Ray Olson confirmed in an interview last week at the firm’s storage hub off Vandalia Street and Interstate 94 in St. Paul.

The company’s current corporate headquarters in Hugo, Minn., where BarOle Trucking was founded in 1989, will be leased out after the Hudson move, Olson said.

The new Hudson headquarters could be completed as early as mid-June, ”depending on the weather.”

“We wanted our corporate headquarters to be down the I94 corridor,” Olson explained. “That’s our logistics line, so Hudson makes good sense for us.”

About 15 employees will move from Hugo to Hudson immediately, followed by five-10 more “eventually,” Olson said.

BarOle (pronounced BAR-Olee) currently employs about 48 and boasts a fleet of 60-80 trucks, including a contingent of contract carriers that varies throughout the year.

The St. Paul facility will remain in service after the move, as will BarOle’s 40,000-square-foot storage warehouse in Centerville, Minn.

The Hudson location was approved by the City Council in November after deliberations that Olson called “the best I’ve ever dealt with as far as no-nonsense is concerned.” The firm also considered locating its new corporate headquarters in at least two other cities in Minnesota.

“By far, Hudson’s been the easiest to work with,” Olson said. “It was very painless for us, which typically doesn’t happen.”

The new facility will be located at 2310 O’Neil Road.

No major issues were identified as part of the City Council’s approval process, Olson noted, other than a requirement that access be limited on O’Neil Road due to the weight of some of the company’s loaded trucks.

“So we’ll just be using Tower Road for the most part,” Olson said.

Industry pioneer

BarOle is a regional pioneer in intermodal transport, in which freight is packed in modular units that can be transferred among trucks, trains and ships without re-handling the units’ contents.

In addition to cutting cargo handling and allowing freight to be transported faster, the method improves security and reduces damage and loss, according to Wikipedia, which adds that intermodal transport is less costly than road trucking and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The BarOle name is a combination of the first name and nickname, respectively, of Ray Olson’s mother, Barbara, and father, Ray, who started the company in Hugo with one truck and “a brother-in-law who drove.”

The younger Ray Olson later joined the company after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps and about four years at another Twin-Cities-area trucking company.

BarOle Trucking now operates in six states –- Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Michigan.

Asked what fueled BarOle Trucking’s growth over that last 25 years, Olson emphasized its stable and highly experienced workforce. The company website –- www.baroletrucking.com –- notes that the company’s drivers have an average of 15 years’ experience with intermodal transport.

One BarOle owner-operator, Dave Solberg, a 17-year contractor, was recently named November’s safe driver of the month by the Minnesota Trucking Association and is in the running for driver of the year.

“We look for good, solid people who have been around this business. … It’s been a lot of hard work and lots of hours. The main thing is keeping things professional at all times and keeping the company’s good name.”

The BarOle website also lists the firm’s state-of-the-art technology, which includes everything from GPS tracking to electronic real-time load access. Other services allow customers to tender loads, get status updates and send payments electronically.

The website also highlights the company’s environmental consciousness:

“We continually look for ways to update our fleet to improve fuel efficiency and reduce any negative environmental impact. Our fleet of 2014 Mack tractors, for example, is equipped with clean-idle technology.”

Chuck Nowlen

Chuck Nowlen joined the Star-Observer team as a business, township and general-assignment reporter in April, 2014 after a three-decade career in newspapers and magazines, and as a newsroom-management/business-planning consultant.

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