Headquartered in Northern California and established in 1988 by Murray and Carol Zwicker, Sierra Mountain Express, Inc. (SME) is now 100% owned by William Scanlon. William was originally hired in 1998 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer and has piloted the company to where it is today.
Starting with five auto transport carriers in 1988, SME had grown to 50 trucks by its first new car contract in 1993. With the purchase of the Intermodal Vehicle Transport Division from the Southern Pacific Railroad during the fall of 1993, SME expanded into the enclosed specialized transportation market of premium vehicles. William’s operational transition in 1998 allowed him to use his strong commercial banking background. SME was heavily weighted with one customer at that time but is nicely diversified among 9 customers today.
With the acquisition of new car contracts over the following years, SME has maintained its position as a leader among the independent auto transport carriers. As of today SME has expanded to a company in combination of over 275 exclusively leased owner operators and company owned drivers working out of 24 new vehicle distribution centers throughout the United States transporting over 850,000 vehicles per year.
SME’s founding operational structure of using almost all dedicated owner operators has allowed SME to provide not only a higher quality on vehicles delivered, but also greater productivity at a lower cost to our customers. In traditional auto transport companies, higher costs result from large organizations with numerous support staff. Traditional carriers have much higher fixed costs and driver pay as a result of the continual renegotiation of labor contracts. Our use of owner operators is unique. It shifts more of the costs and responsibility to the owner operator, along with a much larger share of the revenue. This allows SME to provide consistent competitive rate levels.