For more than 30 years the Allen Lund Company has been a part of the transportation industry, and a good neighbor in La Cañada. Allen Lund, founder and president of the company, began his company in downtown Los Angeles but soon found that the area was not the most inviting of locations.
"It was a rough area," Lund said. "It was difficult to get people to come down to the office."
Lund moved his office to a building in Glendale on San Fernando Road, but didn't stay there long. He heard of some office space in a building in La Cañada just off the freeway at the Angeles Crest exit. He moved his new business to the foothills and has remained here ever since.
The Allen Lund Company is a third party transportation broker, the bulk of its business is in the agricultural industry. Lund began his career in Utah, where he drove trucks on weekends and worked in sales of heavy equipment during the week. His dad was also a trucker, so he knew this industry well. He worked for a Utah trucking company that transferred him to California. He soon found that he, his wife and five children could not make ends meet on the salary he was offered, so he decided to strike out on his own.
The risk and hard work paid off: Lund's company has just announced another record-setting year of $300 million, which is an increase of $40 million in revenue from the previous year. Lund has guided his company into a well-known, well-respected international business that employs 280 people nationwide. His family owned business (Lund's three sons and son-in-law all work for the company) has grown quickly as just eight years ago it was a $100 million company with 100 employees.
The success, according to Lund, should be credited to his dedicated employees.
"It's the [employees] that have helped this company grow," Lund said.
During an interview with the Valley Sun, Lund made it clear that the strength of his business is not from his leadership but from those he is leading. It is evident the respect is mutual. The office complex in La Cañada has a family feel to it.
The company has grown from its original single office space in the Angeles Crest building. Lund now owns the entire building and his firm occupies much of the floorspace.
The business has always had its challenges, Lund said. But customers appreciate its distribution system in the United States.
"Our interstate system allows us to [transport] produce 3000 miles," Lund said.
He added that many people in the United States don't know where their produce comes from, just that they can go to any grocery store for their supply. The fact that produce from South America to California is trucked across the country is proof that distribution system works well, Lund said.
It is not always easy.
"There are always challenges," he said, from fuel prices to emission regulations and, not surprisingly, the weather. The recent freeze in California will affect the produce distribution, he said.
"California will hurt for awhile," Lund said. However, he believes Florida and other areas will pick up the slack.
And then there is the fact that he is based out of a town called La Cañada.
"La Cañada drives our dispatchers crazy," Lund said. He added that his company is good advertisement for the city because everyone wants to know how to pronounce the city's name and where it is.
"We are always explaining where La Cañada is," he said. "We love La Cañada."
The company believes in being a good neighbor. It works with many non-profit organizations such as the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, the LCF Tournament of Roses Association and St. Francis High School (Lund is chairman of the board at St. Francis); the company also supports nationwide organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Lund and his employees helped out when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The company matched dollar for dollar employee donations to organizations assisting in the relief efforts and to date that effort exceeds $50,000. The company's Florida office arranged and paid for a truck to move donated food from New Jersey to the American Red Cross facility in Alabama. The La Cañada office provided a truck to deliver clothing, toys, books and toiletries to the area that had been donated by employees.
It is this type of employee and family focus that Lund emphasizes is the reason behind the success of his company. He remains silent when asked about his own leadership and talents that raised his company from that small office in Los Angeles to enjoy its successful international standing. He chooses instead to turn the spotlight on his employees who not only support his company but each other and those in need.