Where we started: Exploring Tallgrass Freight’s roots

Where we started: Exploring Tallgrass Freight’s roots

With the right people, who treat each other the right way, we’re building the best freight brokerage in the country. Join us as we take a look back at Tallgrass Freight’s roots, and how those first days in our Kansas farmhouse headquarters laid groundwork for the company we are today.

Our Founder and CEO, Damon Anderson, built on his vast freight industry expertise as he sought to establish the kind of company that he always wanted to work for, starting in 2012. “Everything about this company is organic,” Damon reflects. “I slowly started to build a team of  people who had the same drive and determination as I do,” Damon says as he remembers Tallgrass Freight’s beginnings.

As Tallgrass continued to grow, Anderson gradually added to the team, first with his friend Mike Clemmons (now TGF’s VP of Operations) and then a small agent team. As the number of agents increased, so did the need to build company infrastructure, such as partnering with a local professor to create TGF’s first client database.

Tallgrass Freight's roots

“My favorite part about this company — beyond the numbers, beyond the growth — is our quality people and the quality stories that make up their lives.”

— Damon Anderson, Founder & CEO

“We started with Excel spreadsheets, and soon, we noticed a need to streamline our process. So I partnered with a local college professor and she was fabulous,” Damon notes of one of Tallgrass’ early strides. “Keep in mind, our farmhouse didn’t even have air conditioning — but we had a server room!” he laughs.

Continuing to see forward movement in his company, Damon connected with business consultant David Barnes, TGF’s current COO and Co-Owner. What started as monthly consulting meetings soon grew into an opportunity for partnership.

“We met at Hereford House,” Damon remembers — and the partnership was a classic back-of-the-napkin exchange. Damon agreed and knew he’d found his ideal partner in David Barnes. “He and I are the perfect yin and yang.”

After officially launching their partnership in October of 2015, Damon and David have continued to grow the company and worked to get more agents, now expanding from the Kansas City area to all over the country as well as increasing revenue by over 3000% in less than five years.

Damon and David created the TGF agent program, previously unprecedented in the freight industry. At Tallgrass Freight, independent agents find both the freedom and support they need to thrive. At its inception, TGF built its agent program on these principles and the foundation hasn’t changed.

“We give our agents a culture that’s a stark contrast to any other company or program, even offering our agents a team member whose sole job it is to help them grow their books of business,” Damon says, noting what a resource agents have in Trent Flanary, VP of Growth and Development. This agent program that Tallgrass prides itself on is now used as an industry-wide standard, though none pull it off quite like Tallgrass.

While Damon is proud of the company’s exponential growth, he’s prouder still of the agents who make up the company. As a result of agents’ steadfast efforts, Tallgrass Freight repeatedly sweeps the awards, most recently ranking #34 in Inc. 5000’s inaugural Midwest’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies series.

Damon Anderson David Barnes

“No matter what, I want Tallgrass to always be the place where people wish they could work.”

— Damon Anderson, Founder & CEO

Ultimately, Damon says, you won’t find this anywhere else — “because of the culture we cultivate and the sense of belonging we have here.” Since day one, Tallgrass has remained steadfast to this company culture that Damon was striving for at the company’s outset: building an organization of the right people who treat each other the right way.

“I never want to lose sight of this company being a community,” says Damon. But corporate culture is more than a grill behind the office; Damon and his team are proud to know the people of Tallgrass well, and staying grounded by knowing their stories. “My favorite part about this company — beyond the numbers, beyond the growth — is our quality people and the quality stories that make up their lives.”

The drive for this family feel comes from Damon’s roots in Kansas City, Kansas, growing up with an entrepreneurial and community-minded grandfather. “His work friends were my family; I called them my uncles,” reflects Damon. “They would get together to hang out, play cards, have picnics.”

These Tallgrass Freight’s roots have grown into a robust company culture. “No matter what, I want Tallgrass to always be the place where people wish they could work at,” Damon says. Damon looks toward the future with enthusiasm and a persistent drive to be the best freight brokerage in the country. We treat people the right way and we’re just getting started.

Tallgrass is where the best of the best come to thrive. Interested in joining our team? Contact our recruiting team today.