A Niche for Success, Upstate native strikes gold with automotive-focused transportation companyNov 10, 2021 10:21AM ● By John C. Stevenson
It’s fair to say that Justin Jenkins is driven to success.
Jenkins, 34, is the owner and president of Greenville-based Paveway Express LTD Co., a transportation company with an emphasis on the automotive industry. The company Jenkins founded in 2017 with one truck and one driver currently boasts a payroll of 42 employees and an impressive list of customers including BMW, Volvo and Volkswagen.
Among recent accolades, Paveway Express was honored in September by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce with its 2020 Minority Business of the Year Award.
Jenkins, a Greenville native, said in a recent interview that a number of factors influenced him to consider the transportation industry as a career. One of those influencing factors was that a close friend was already in the trucking industry. Jenkins was also influenced by an observation available to anyone who drives along Interstate 85.
“I always was inquisitive about the ins and outs of trucking,” Jenkins recalled. “And you know, as I was riding down the highway, I’d see trucks, trucks, trucks, trucks, trucks – I wanted to be in a business that was in (that much) demand.”
Jenkins said he did his due diligence, talking not only with his friend in the business, but seeking out the counsel of others in the industry.
He came up with the “Paveway” name, he said, because he wanted to build a company to “pave my way to the future.”
Paveway has benefited from its close proximity to BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, the automaker’s only U.S. production site, which is only a few miles down the interstate from Paveway’s Greenville home office. But BMW isn’t the only auto manufacturer to benefit from Paveway’s services.
“Ninety percent of our freight is automotive-related,” Jenkins explained. “We deal with Tier 1, Tier 2 BMW suppliers, Volkswagen suppliers and Volvo suppliers – a lot of automotive-manufacturing suppliers. We transport parts such as hoods, seats, headliners.”
In addition, Paveway Express also operates around-the-clock shuttles between BMW, various warehouses and a third-party logistics firm in Duncan, a service Jenkins said requires the dedicated service of six trucks and one switcher.
Jenkins credits Paveway’s growth in part to business assistance the entrepreneur received through the Minority Business Accelerator, a part of the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. He said he was able to receive mentoring and coaching in a number of areas that have helped his business thrive.
“That program actually let me take my company and scale it to another level,” Jenkins said. “Before I took that program, we didn’t have a complete infrastructure. Now we have a complete infrastructure: We have processes and systems; we’ve implemented policies and procedures. And we grew this company times two after taking that program.”
Jenkins is one of more than 100 people who have participated in the minority accelerator since its creation in 2012, according to Nika White, senior advisor to the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.
White said Jenkins was anxious to take full advantage of all the MBA program’s offerings.
“He was one of those participants – and each person is different – but he really did subscribe to all of the tools, all of the resources that were made available to the cohort members,” White said. “He held himself accountable for all the assignments, and he was very communicative and very contributory to the conversations. He really leveraged the full essence of the program. And when people have that mindset, those are the ones we see who get the most out of the program.”
White said the yearlong program annually hosts 20 participants and includes a feeder program to ensure that there is always a full slate of participants in the pipeline. She said the MBA program generated more than $26 million in new revenue and created some 250 jobs in the area.
Jenkins praised the program, which started in Greenville and, through a grant from Bank of America, will be launched across the Palmetto State beginning in 2022.
“It’s hard work, but it’s all there: the opportunity is there, the resources are there,” Jenkins said. “There are a lot of opportunities right here in Greenville and there are so many connections and relationships to build that will help you scale and build to take your company to the next level.”