Edwin Duncan then and now as he prepares for new adventures after closing out JED Express. Courtesy Photos
SOUTH MOUNTAIN – If you are lucky you will have one or two opportunities in your life to change course and write a new chapter.
Edwin Duncan owner of JED Express has never shied away from hard work and taking chances and with that in mind he has decided to call it quits and “cash out” as he calls it.
He is currently in the process of closing JED Express down and moving on to the next chapter in his life, which, may be just as busy as the last one.
“I decided to retire,” he said.
What triggered the retirement idea was the increase in value of trucking equipment in the industry, and that made the idea of retiring attractive if you had a great deal of equipment to sell.
“A few weeks ago I was leafing through a magazine from the United States, and it said equipment prices have never been this high. I started adding things up and decided that it did not look too bad,” said Duncan.
He remembered he went to bed that night with the numbers floating around in his head and could not sleep very much.
The next morning he got up and decided to run the numbers again to see if he was right the first time, and he was. A third look at his situation later that same day resulted in the same results.
Between the price he expected to get from all his equipment and the value of his trucking yard he thought there was not going to be a better time for him to retire.
“It was a perfect time for me to get out,” he said.
JED Express has been a success throughout its 28 years.
The company was founded in 1993. It moved a great deal of what is used by the plastics’ industry called plastic chip. When JED Express started out though they delivered hay from eastern Ontario farms to horse owners all over south east USA until 2010.
He took to Facebook to announce his decision. He posted: “I have been looking at various options, and while JED Express is in a great place with 39 trucks on the road, the best way to move forward and retire now is to wrap up the operations at the end of the month, and, “cash it out” as they say in the business world.”
Duncan’s trucking company is known by all and is a landmark operation in eastern Ontario. It has been recognized by Deloitte as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for six years in a row.
JED Express has also been a two-time recipient of the United States Environment Protection Agency’s, (EPA), SmartWay Excellence Award recognizing exceptional freight performance among EPA SmartWay Partners.
Duncan has a few other small companies he has created over the years that are doing well and will keep him busy in his retirement.
In the meantime he is looking forward to a new adventure. He posted: “I turn 63 this year and want to enjoy more time down south in Florida and on some smaller business projects I have started in recent years. I am in good health. JED and our staff have been lucky to keep in good shape, especially during these challenging times.”
Duncan and his wife Francine plan to live on a property they own on Brinston road just down the road from where he is now.
He said there would not be an issue for all of his drivers finding another company to drive for.
Duncan feels a tremendous amount of satisfaction for how JED Express has enriched North Dundas, employed hundreds of people and supported its community.
Even in retirement he intends to stay connected to his community and his friends.
“I still want to be around to help out with different things in my community. That will not change.”
He has no regrets and intends to keep busy with all of his projects.
He started his journey 40 years ago in a 1973 Astro Cabover truck he had purchased from his neighbours Debbie and Glen Marriner.
He worked with his brother Donnie until he started up his own trucking company, JED Express.
Duncan said he was proud of what he has accomplished for his family and his community and expects he will still contribute his energy whenever he can.
“This will take a great weight off of my shoulders,” he said.
He has a freight brokerage in Covington Virginia that is celebrating 20 years in business and a trailer rental business that he is keeping as well.
“Over the past six years I have developed my own software program for dispatching trucks,” he said.
The program is called Eleet and can be found at eleet.ca.
“I am going to put my focus on that,” he said.
The program not only watches over the dispatching of a fleet of trucks but it also does all of your invoicing, payroll, as well as maintenance scheduling.
He has six people working on the program. Four are in Canada and two are in India.
Duncan’s definition of retirement is a little different from the average Canadian.
He explained in his version of retirement he will be only working half days. “I will be slowing down,” he said.
“It was time for a change and I am really excited about the software.”
Duncan is leaving behind a great many good memories and feelings.
The reaction from his customers about him moving on has been complementary and demonstrates how his success was in many ways a part of their own.