Home ♃ Recent Stories ☄ Jason Burroughs Rebuilt His Trucking Firm from Nearly Broke to Business with...

Jason Burroughs Rebuilt His Trucking Firm from Nearly Broke to Business with Billion-Dollar Companies

6657
0
Jason Burroughs, owner of C & B Transportation Systems, a flatbed trucking company that he started in 2020. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)

By Je’Don Holloway-Talley | For The Birmingham Times

Jason Burroughs remembers a time when he was not only carrying loads for his trucking business but also the weight of the world on his shoulders.

He started his first company, Able Body Moving and Delivery LLC, in 2010, at the age of 26. Eight years later, the life and business he had worked hard to build was crumbling before his eyes.

“I felt defeated in so many ways,” said Burroughs. “I had been beaten up and robbed by entrepreneurship. I had a business contract go south, and I lost [more than] 10 box trucks and the majority of my labor force. … My marriage of five years was failing, and we had two small children.

“My marriage had become so contentious that I moved out of the house into an unfinished garage that was fully furnished with spiders, roaches, and centipedes. … I was suicidal and didn’t want to wake up to life on a daily basis,” he said.

His saving grace was his faith and daily inspirational videos, including one from motivational speaker Eric Thomas, who said, “When you want to succeed as much as you want your next breath, you will succeed.”

Fueled by grit, faith, and determination, Burroughs got back to business and rebuilt his first company brick by brick. Then, in 2020, the 39-year-old Fairfield, Alabama, native started what he believes is his most successful venture yet: Carrier and Brokered (C&B) Transportation Systems, a flatbed trucking company.

C&B has since secured Tier 1 contracts with billion-dollar companies and become the single supplier for diversity, equity, and inclusion for pipe-and-valve-manufacturing company Consolidated Pipe and Supply Inc. (CPS Inc.). When a company secures a Tier 1 contract, it becomes the prime contractor and direct supplier and distributes the work to subcontractors.

Burroughs also set up a sister company to C&B: Sky Blue Logistics, which serves as a freight brokerage firm. In total, he has five businesses under his belt, including 3 Levels of Game, a digital marketing company founded in 2019, and Coach Jason Cultivates, a business coaching endeavor established in October 2023. He was recently selected as one of the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2024 Small Business Award winners.

Thanks to his numerous business ventures, Burroughs has become a regional leader in the trucking industry, and he has used his experience and business acumen to form the Magic City Joint Venture (MCJV), a cohort that helps other Black- and minority-owned trucking companies secure multifigure contracts with large corporations.

Jason Burroughs, owner of C & B Transportation Systems. C&B has since secured Tier 1 contracts with billion-dollar companies and become the single supplier for diversity, equity, and inclusion for pipe-and-valve-manufacturing company Consolidated Pipe and Supply Inc. (CPS Inc.). (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)

Game Changer

The Birmingham resident said he’s done nearly everything in trucking “from residential and commercial moving to delivery and installation contracts, all the way to 3PL, [or third-party logistics],” said Burroughs. “I’ve run everything from box trucks to heavy haul commercial vehicles. C&B Transportation Systems transports PVC pipe, coal, brick, and other commercial construction equipment on a regional scale.”

The real game changer came when Burroughs sought larger contracts with multimillion- and billion-dollar companies like Amazon, and became the sole in-house transportation concierge service for CPS Inc.

“When [the COVID-19 pandemic] hit, I started using commercial trucks and hauling freight throughout the Southeast, while acquiring dedicated contract work. We’ve transported freight for Amazon, and in 2021 we got a contract with [CPS Inc.], delivering freight to Southern Company and Alabama Power. We make all of their deliveries to over 50 locations across 20 different states,” he said.

“The partnership with CPS Inc. developed into a mentorship where they began to invest in us,” Burroughs added. “We are the first minority-owned trucking company they’ve partnered with, and we serve as their single supplier for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Team Building

The divorced father of two has an 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, and he has a great deal of empathy for businessmen and businesswomen who aspire to make a living and meet their family’s needs.

In 2022, Burroughs set out to collaborate with other minority trucking companies to help them reach their highest earning potential through the MCJV. The collective operates with a dozen Black- and minority-owned trucking companies and collaborates to secure Tier 1 contracts. Burroughs considers this one of his most significant business endeavors.

“I noticed that some small-business owners have individualistic perspectives and feel the need to try to do everything on their own. I think that methodology is incorrect [as it pertains to] success and how to obtain it.

“I learned the value of team building and collaborating, and I wanted to instill that perspective and enrich [the cohort] with my resources, experiences, and failures [to] help other Black- and minority-owned companies reach their full potential,” said Burroughs, who organizes and recruits on behalf of the MCJV.

He also serves as the group’s lead representative, making pitches before major companies and corporations to secure contracts: “I speak on behalf of everyone who’s part of the joint venture. … I’ve spoken before Shipt, [a logistics company owned by Target Corp.], and a host of other companies,” Burroughs said.

Freedom and Redemption

The trucking industry represents freedom and redemption in many ways for Burroughs.

“I established C&B Transportation because I wanted to create pathways to financial independence for impoverished individuals and myself. [Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)] opportunities are some of the highest paying jobs, [and people] can earn $70,000 or more a year. Those opportunities are the same for everybody, no matter who you are or where you come from,” he said.

“People transitioning from incarceration and disadvantaged circumstances can obtain CDL certification after a six-week program, and the opportunity can’t be diminished by blemishes on their background.”

Burroughs has always wanted to be a businessman.

“I remember collecting cans with my grandad [in Brighton, Alabama], and taking them to get recycled. I remember being 10 years old selling video games and basketball cards to my friends,” he said.

Nonetheless, Burroughs remembered “self-inflicted challenges” and not applying himself during his years at Oak Mountain High School.

“I was popular and had a lot of friends, but I was actually a horrible student,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in detention and being suspended. … Most of the time, I felt like school was mundane and boring from an academic standpoint. I usually did only enough to get by.”

In 2002, at the start of his senior year, Burroughs found himself enrolled in an alternative school, a necessary detour in order to graduate on time.

“Even then, I was highly intelligent. I just wasn’t scholarly,” he said. “I knew back then that I wanted to own a business and be impactful one day, although my current situation saw me as an at-risk youth headed nowhere fast.”

From there, he cleaned up his act. Burroughs attended Jefferson State Community College, at the Shelby-Hoover Campus in northern Shelby County, Alabama, and Shelton State Community College, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before landing at the University of Alabama, also in Tuscaloosa.

“After a few semesters, I realized I really didn’t need a degree to be successful and that I was learning more about the business world from part-time jobs at moving companies and [the United Parcel Service (UPS)],” he said.

Jason Burroughs, owner of C & B Transportation Systems. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)

Family Life

Being the oldest of three sons allowed Burroughs to witness his parents, Darryl and Angela, rise to the upper middle class. His father attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and has had a long career as a computer programmer, and his mother is a graduate of Birmingham’s Samford University and a registered nurse.

“I got to see my parents work and build together,” he said. “Seeing them start out in a two-bedroom house in Brighton to moving us to an upper-middle-class subdivision off [U.S. Highway 280] showed me what hard work and planning could do.

“I have a lot of strong successful men in my family, and their success was a constant reminder that I had to make something of myself. My uncle Mark [always said], ‘Tomorrow’s successes are sown in the frustration of today’—and that stuck.”

Burroughs has two younger brothers, Jamile and Jeremy, and he recalled that growing up was “all sports, video games, and a lot of wrestling. I had a good upbringing, [wonderful] grandparents on both sides, good uncles, cousins. … I’m grateful.”

As for fatherhood, Burroughs said it’s given him a heightened sense of purpose. “I think on a transgenerational level now. How can I improve the lives of my children’s children? What type of values can I instill in them that will serve them throughout their life? That’s what motivates me to continue evolving and building,” he said.