Guardian Fleet Services has merged Kauff’s Transportation Systems Inc. and Crockett’s Towing LLC, converting the merged firm into an employee stock ownership plan company or ESOP.
At the same time, the parent company, to be known as Guardian Fleet Services Inc. and based in West Palm Beach, bought the towing and recovery assets of RSC Corp. operating under the names Ace Wrecker Service, Russell’s Towing & Recovery, and Hughes Towing, all of Orlando.
The new company is 70 percent owned by the owners of Kauff’s Transportation and Crockett’s Towing, with the remaining 30 percent owned by employees under the ESOP plan.
“The merger allowed us to leverage our purchases of fuel and insurance, and in some cases, we’ve seen savings in excess of 50 percent,” said Russell, previously head of Kauff’s Transportation and now president of Guardian Fleet.
Plus, “employees have a stake in the success of every service we provide and will benefit on an annual basis as stockholders in the combined companies.”
Russell said Guardian Fleet may be “the only employee-owned towing and recovery company in the industry.”
Guardian Fleet Services companies have a combined 100 years of service, 210 employees, and over 250 pieces of equipment. The company is based in Florida, specifically operating out of Orlando, Tampa, and South Florida markets.
Each Guardian Fleet company will be managed independently, according to Russell.
“We believe that our long history of serving the citizens of Florida and its guests has just taken a gigantic step forward,” he said.
The geographic footprint of the affiliated Guardian companies, situated near Interstates 95, 75, 4, and 10, will provide service to 75 percent of the population of Florida. In addition, Guardian Fleet will service all 500 miles of the Florida Turnpike.
A call to a Guardian Fleet company will be answered and handled by a local service team whose members have an ownership interest in meeting and exceeding client expectations.
“Common ownership among our trusted staff should provide peace of mind to Ace, Crockett’s and Kauff’s clients, partners and vendors,” Russell commented.
He added that Guardian management plans to meet with clients in each Florida market to assure a seamless transition and continuity of service.
For questions about the transaction, contact Guardian Fleet Services President Geoff Russell, 800-432-7182.