Patrick E. Quinn, co-founder of one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. and an advocate not just for his own industry but for multimodal transportation and greater infrastructure investment, died Tuesday of brain cancer. He was 65.
Quinn, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress Enterprises, which he founded with Max Fuller in 1985, was a major spokesman for the trucking industry, serving as chairman of the American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association.
In 2006, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., appointed Quinn to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Review Study Commission, one of two commissions chartered by Congress to address infrastructure funding issues.
Quinn, along with the majority of that committee, recommended an increase in the federal fuels tax as part of a broader series of proposals to help fund the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, an issue that still perplexes Congress today.
A native of Nebraska, Quinn began his career in trucking as an attorney. He and Fuller founded U.S. Xpress as a 48-truck start-up operation. Today, the nearly $1.6 billion carrier has about 8,500 trucks and more than 10,000 employees.
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based U.S. Xpress Enterprises is the fourth-largest truckload carrier ranked by revenue, after Swift Transportation, Schneider National and Werner Enterprises, and the 10th largest trucking enterprise, according to data from SJ Consulting Group.
Fuller and Quinn tested and deployed ground-breaking technology to drive their company, advancing not only their own enterprise but the trucking industry. They also looked beyond trucking’s traditional boundaries to multimodal opportunities.
As an initial member of the ATA’s Image and Communications Committee, Quinn helped develop the plan for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, now an annual event celebrating the work of truck drivers throughout the country.
Quinn handed most of his responsibilities at U.S. Xpress to Fuller after he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. “Pat left an indelible mark on U.S. Xpress and our industry,” Fuller said. “He will be missed.”
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc