In 2012, Damon Anderson, Founder and CEO of Tallgrass Freight, had a dream to establish the kind of company that he always wanted to work for. “It’s hard to believe where we are at now,” says Damon. “We started out as a one-man brokerage with no intentions of being anything much more.” But today, Tallgrass Freight Co. is the best freight brokerage in the nation. Co-owners Damon Anderson and David Barnes reflect on the company’s history as TGF celebrates ten amazing years.
Building a Business
As Tallgrass continued to grow, Damon quickly realized he couldn’t do it alone. To create the kind of company he endeavored to build, he needed extra help. So he reached out to a friend, Mike Clemmons (now TGF’s VP of Operations), who soon became the second Tallgrass team member.
When the company continued to see exponential growth, three additional agents joined the team. “I could go on and on about the fun we had in the farmhouse!” Damon says. “It was just five friends working out of various rooms and brokering freight, but that was where we determined the importance of trust and a strong culture.”
By 2015, Tallgrass continued seeing forward momentum. Looking for expert help in scaling with excellence, Damon reached out to then-business consultant David Barnes, who would soon become TGF’s COO and Co-Owner. “There was something about him that appealed to me,” says Damon. “After six meetings together, David helped me understand that I was, in fact, running a lucrative business.”
With a previous freight background and entrepreneurial experience, David was excited to help Damon scale his business. “Damon and I just clicked,” says David. “There were many things Damon disliked doing that I enjoyed, and I really appreciated the ying and yang of that. That’s what has continued to make us such a great pair.”
After officially becoming Co-Owners of Tallgrass Freight in October of 2015, Damon and David continued to grow the company, increasing revenue by over 3000% in less than five years. “David’s steady presence was what helped me sleep at night when business operations were overwhelming,” says Damon “Looking back, I am glad I’m a Co-Owner of Tallgrass, rather than owning it completely, because there is so much Dave has brought to the table.” Damon remembers one of the best pieces of encouragement David gave him when things felt unsteady: “Boats are supposed to rock. But they aren’t made to sink.”
Cultivating Company Culture
Since day one, Tallgrass has remained steadfastly committed to the company culture that was built in the Kansas farmhouse. Damon had a vision to create a company filled with the right people who treat each other the right way — and now, a decade later, we’re proud to still carry those foundational values.
“The culture has always remained the same. From throwing horseshoes outside to throwing a baseball in our warehouse!” Damon smiles. “Culture has always been at the forefront of our mind.”
The robust “work hard, play hard” culture continued to come to life with the addition of annual company events. The Tallgrass Freight Christmas party and Bounce House Bash became a way for agents all over the country to meet and mingle and truly experience the culture first-hand.
Another way Tallgrass reminds agents how much they are appreciated is through the development of our rewards programs, an achievement Damon and David are both truly proud to offer their agents. Our company culture goes way beyond a paycheck, and the creation of Club 200, Diamond Club and the Elite Circle were established to show agents that they are valued and special.
“Our rewards programs were created to prove that we are not content with the status quo,” Damon shares. “Club 200 stands out in the industry and although other freight agent programs may have rewards, they don’t come close to what we offer.” Every year, more and more agents become part of the Tallgrass rewards programs and Damon and David love that agents have something to strive for.
Innovating Freight Technology
In 2016, after four years of utilizing spreadsheets, the Tallgrass team decided to create a CRM specifically tailored to freight agents: a first-to-market system unlike anything off-the-shelf. “Our goal was to build a centralized database. Most brokerages have limited options for CRM’s. Knowing our CRM is in-house and every dollar we spend is a return is a big deal,” Damon explains. “We quickly realized that our CRM wasn’t just a tool to make things convenient now, it was a tool for the future too.”
After years of development and over a million dollars in resources, the Tallgrass Freight CRM, named the “Cash Register,” was officially launched in the spring of 2021.
Shortly after the CRM launch, the What If? Program and the Steering Committee were formed as a way to empower agents and give them a voice. Within these programs, agents are given the opportunity to voice their questions, concerns and improvements regarding the CRM. We strongly believe that when a company stops listening, they stop growing — and Tallgrass Freight all about growth.
The Tallgrass Freight team has accomplished so much in just ten years of being in business. From winning numerous awards to offering our philanthropy, we’re proud to remain the best freight brokerage in the industry.
“I’m excited for the future because we’ve had such a great past,” says David. “The people who have helped us along the way saw what we were all about. I feel very confident that in the next ten years, the core group of people will still be there. We have a group of people we can enjoy the ride with.”
Looking to enjoy the ride with us? Let’s chat about your future at Tallgrass Freight.