CRST was founded in 1955 by Herald and Miriam Smith. They bought a chicken coop for $125 and with no trucks or customers, started their company. Herald Smith saw his opportunity when he noticed truck drivers hauling livestock to Chicago and returning empty. He convinced Chicago firms he could save them money, and he loaded those empty trucks with steel on their return to Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids Steel Transport, as it was then known, was born. Herald Smith did eventually purchase his own trucks, and also expanded beyond the Chicago to Cedar Rapids route. By 1963, CRST had reached its first milestone of $1 million in revenue.
Hitting many more milestones along the way, Herald's son, John, eventually took over as President in 1983. John received his Masters of Business from Cornell University and worked his way up the ranks of CRST for a decade.
Under John's leadership, CRST began acquiring niche carriers. The most significant purchase was Malone Freight Lines, Inc. out of Trussville, Alabama, which allowed CRST to expand its territory into the Southeast of the United States.
In 1997, with revenues topping $300 million, John Smith purchased CRST from his family.
In 2010, David Rusch moved into the position of President and CEO, and John moved on to become Chairman of the Board.
CRST entered a phase of mergers and acquisitions in the 2010s. CRST acquired Specialized Transportation Inc. out of Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2011. It went on to purchase the Special Products Division of Allied Van Lines in 2013. That same year, CRST acquired BESL Transport of Cincinnati, Ohio, which specializes in short haul flatbed. In 2015, CRST purchased Pegasus Transportation which is a high security, temperature controlled freight company out of Louisville, KY.
In 2014, CRST began building a new office building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It will be the first office building of size built in downtown Cedar Rapids since the late 1990s.
Founder Herald Smith died in 2015.
CRST began a program in 2014 called "Gold Rules". Its purpose was to shift the corporate culture to focus on the drivers needs.
In 2011, the company lost a sexual harassment lawsuit in California's San Bernardino County Superior Court and was ordered to pay $1.5 million to the defendant, who stated she was sexually harassed by her managing driver. An appeal by the company was denied in 2015.
Another lawsuit, involving 67 plaintiffs who sued the company over sexual abuse and harassment beginning in 1999, began in 2007 and was lost for failing to meet pre-suit obligations. The lawsuit was re-filed with three plaintiffs in 2015. It is assigned to Judge Percy Anderson in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
CRST will head to the US Supreme Court to claim reimbursement of legal fees by the EEOC due to their failure to investigate many of the cases brought against CRST. The EEOC claims they do not owe CRST these fees since the merit of the lawsuit never received a ruling.[needs update]
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- Rodengen, Jeffrey (2005). In It for the Long Haul: The Story of CRST. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Write Stuff Enterprises, Inc. p. 77. ISBN 1-932022-09-0.
- "CRST takes steps for downtown | The Gazette". The Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- "CRST founder Herald Smith dies | The Gazette". The Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- "CRST implements second pay increase as part of "culture change"". fleetowner.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- "Female driver wins $1.5 million harassment judgment against CRST Expedited". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- "Shank v. CRST Van Expedited CA" (PDF). Retrieved 21 August 2015.
In August 2006, plaintiff filed this action, alleging causes of action for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unlawful sex discrimination, failure to maintain an environment free from harassment against all defendants, wrongful termination against CRST, and assault and battery against Wilson.
- "Unhappy Trails: Female Truckers Say They Faced Rape and Abuse in Troubled Training Program". Jezebel. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- "CRST driver harassment claims resurface". Corridor Business Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- Cathy Sellars et al. v. CRST Expedited, Inc. (Docket Report), No. 5:15-cv-00969, C.D.C.A., 18 May 2015, retrieved 21 August 2015 – via Recap (PACER current view)
- "Gender Discrimination In Silicon Valley Is Bad. Gender Discrimination In Trucking Is Way Worse". Fast Company. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- "Justices Agree To Hear Trucking Co.'s EEOC $5M Fee Fight - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01.