2019 Nominee Three: Peoples Services, Inc.

High above the New York City streets, a young man sat in a conference room at one of the worlds largest public utilities. His starched white shirt and sedate tie blended perfectly with the other high-powered executives working on a sophisticated new trucking system. He was only a short time removed from being a truck driver, himself.

Doug Sibila is a truck driver at heart with a head for business. So was his father and his grandfather before him. The Sibila’s are a family of workers who feel as comfortable behind the wheel of a truck as sitting in the offices of bank presidents. It all began with a tow truck.

Doug’s grandfather started in Massillon with a tow truck and AAA emergency service contract. During the Great Depression he lost everything but a salvaged dump truck. Under the name Sibila Trucking he built a new business hauling coal in winter, sand and gravel in summer. In 1946 he bought Peoples Cartage, a local Mayflower Movers agent. The garage was behind the family home, so Doug’s grandmother fed truck drivers in her kitchen … after they took their shoes off.

They built a terminal on Navarre Road. When it filled, corporate offices moved to Canton, along the railroad tracks south of downtown. There, succeeding generations of Sibila’s climbed on their father’s broad shoulders and reached ever higher.

Doug’s father, Ron, and uncle, Don, ran the company together until Ron bought out his brother’s shares. More precisely, Ron and his employees bought the shares. In an innovative ESOP Ron provided his workforce with ownership interest and a stake in the company’s future success.

Ron knew anyone with a truck was competition, but few companies could match Peoples warehousing capabilities. As the logistics revolution swept through American industry, manufacturers began having vendors ship parts to a Peoples warehouse where they were stored until needed for production. Then Peoples trucks delivered them to the plant precisely when needed.

Meanwhile, young Doug was sweeping floors and driving trucks before graduating from Notre Dame University and joining Arthur Anderson Consulting (now Accenture), first in Cleveland, then New York City. There he became a vital cog in Anderson’s emerging logistics consulting business. The trucker’s son was traveling in loftier circles.

In 1990 Doug Sibila had to make a decision. If he stayed at Anderson he’d soon be in a position it would be hard to walk away from, and his father would sell the company. If he returned to Canton he had to leave a job he loved.

Canton won. Big time. Returning home Doug brought a wealth of knowledge from his time as a logistics consultant. Slowly the company moved from a trucking company with warehouses to a warehousing company with trucking and logistical support. Along the way business lessons passed from grandfather to father to son, guided the company’s growth: Cash flow was critical. Treating employees like family was key to success. Do everything the right way. Invest in innovation and look for profitable business opportunities requiring knowledge and resources.

Over the last decade Peoples Services, Inc. has grown five fold. On his best business day ever Doug closed the acquisition of a friendly competitor, doubling the company’s size overnight. The company that started in a garage on old Rt. 21 now has 45 warehouses in 7 states and over 800 employees. Key acquisitions have helped them build a strong professional management team and an equally strong future.

It’s amazing what a family of truck drivers can accomplish when their head for business matches their capacity for work.