The roots of our company lie in the small town of Livingston, Tn. Nestled in the hills of Overton County, Livingston is the hometown of our founder, Bob West. It was here that R. E. West Transportation was founded by and named for his father in 1944; incorporation would follow in 1979. Bob joined the family business at the age of 16 when he purchased his first truck. What began as a way to spend time with his father became a life-long journey.
Bob’s early career was spent hauling an assortment of freight, but eventually settled into the livestock transportation market as the main focus of R. E. West. Never one to do anything half-way, The West cattle hauling fleet eventually numbered over a hundred trucks and drivers.
In 1986, Bob began to see the industry changing. It was getting harder to entice drivers to haul and handle livestock. The decision was quickly made to exit the livestock hauling market and move on to other opportunities. R. E. West began to focus more on automotive freight and their equipment and driver leasing operations. When the leasing division was sold to Penske in 1997, it numbered some 400 employees and seven locations across the state of Tennessee.
After the sale of its leasing division, R. E. West was refocused on its roots as a for-hire contract freight hauling operation. Our corporate headquarters was built on the banks of the Cumberland River in Ashland City, Tennessee. Additionally, the late 1990’s saw R. E. West invest in a large satellite office in Lebanon, TN that was used for both servicing the needs of customers and training future drivers.
Bob’s belief that the customer is the boss led him and our company into a market that is still one of our biggest: the water heater industry. Using specialized drop-deck dry van trailers, R. E. West became an industry leader in the transportation of water heaters. Countless hours have gone into the pursuit of the best ways to safely transport and unload what many times number as 225 units per trailer load. It has added up to between 10,000 and 15,000 water heaters transported per week and hundreds of thousands of units per year.
As R. E. West moved into its 6th decade of existence, the company again looked to shake up its status quo and adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. The company “went home” and purchased Copeland Trucking in Livingston, Tennessee. Copeland Trucking focused almost exclusively on flatbed, RGN, and over-dimensional freight. The purchase formed the basis of what is today R. E. West’s Specialized Freight division. Focusing mainly on heavy, expensive, highly specialized equipment such as tractors, rock screeners, and excavators, our specialized division features a myriad of equipment configurations scaling all the way up to eleven-axle setups for the most demanding of loads. Opening and maintaining our specialized division’s office just off the square in Livingston has helped to bring the story of Bob West and R. E. West full circle.