In 1950, with six trucks, ten trailers and one customer, Jack and Irv Warren started what is now the largest motor carrier of agricultural implements and tractors in North America. Today, Warren Transport is an organization with annual revenue of $130 million, serving Fortune 500 companies. Many credit their high standards and ethical business practices for their growth and success.
The company logo, which features the name “Warren” over a forward facing arrow, symbolizes the attitude then and now. In business six months, Warren Transport faced a hard blow when Deere was hit with a strike. However, providence intervened; a railroad strike occurred causing Deere to use truck service, Deere discovered that this method of transportation provided better service at lower costs.
The brothers were totally different, yet identical in many ways. Jack was the “PR” person and Irv was the dreamer. They shared a common bond as best friends and partners. When Irv passed away in 1976, Jack was severely affected. Fortunately, those left behind continued the philosophies and dedication to carry on the Transport and its traditions – family first and appreciation of the community. Jack passed away this April.
A small list of entrepreneurial gifts and actions includes the Martin Luther King Center, Hawkeye Tech, and lots offered for a cost of $200 if the buyer built their home there. After the flood of 1961, they raised approximately $175,000 for those affected. They were common forces along with other businessmen in bringing race riots under control.
A partial list of entrepreneurial ventures includes development of WIDA and its objectives. They started a cab business in Waterloo and later in connection with the cab business invented Detect-to-Fare, which was later sold to a company in Arizona. They had First Lady Beauty Salons. A soy bean product manufacturer that included Buddy Hacket as a stockholder was developed and still operates today. A huge grain operation, Tripoli Grain & Feed was another venture. Also, they owned Mr. Steak restaurants throughout Iowa and Illinois.
A common saying used by Irv, “You have to send out small ships if you are going to get big ships back”. In a 1979 quote to the Courier, Jack said, “You don’t have to ride roughshod over people. We’ve always believed if you live in a community, you help build it. You don’t tear it down.”