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Logistics firm announces Little Rock office

Nathan Treece
Little Rock Public Radio
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. joins AEDC Executive Director Clint O'Neal and TQL staff at the ribbon cutting for the Little Rock branch of TQL on Tuesday.

A major shipping and logistics company has a new office in Central Arkansas.

Total Quality Logistics (TQL), the second-largest freight brokerage firm in the U.S., announced the opening of its Little Rock branch Tuesday morning. TQL is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has operated a branch in Fayetteville since 2014.

Morgan Hudson, TQL's Director of National Expansion, is an El Dorado native and says the company is proud to increase its investment in Arkansas.

"I've been with the company for quite a while, I've seen a lot of growth, but as someone born and raised in Arkansas, any time you get one in your backyard, it means a little bit more,” he said.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr spoke at Tuesday's press conference, noting that the city’s location and natural resources make it the perfect spot for the logistics economy.

"You have to understand that Little Rock is cemented
in the center of these United States. And one of the great things we have that has created us to be a true hallmark as it relates to distribution and logistics is river, rail, road, and runway,” Scott said.

TQL said in a press release that it recognizes the strategic value of being located near the Port of Little Rock, which is designated as a Foreign Trade Zone.

The Little Rock office is one of over 60 TQL locations nationwide and will bring 80 new jobs to Central Arkansas. It is now hiring for Entry Level Sales positions. The company says it hopes to establish and grow TQL Little Rock to the size and success of TQL Fayetteville.

On its website, TQL is listed as one of Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for in 2019, 2020, and 2023, and highlights that it was named one of "America's Best Employers" by Forbes in 2022.

However, a class action lawsuit filed in Ohio in 2010 alleged the company did not properly compensate workers for overtime hours.

According to a report from Clarissa Hawes of Freightwaves.com, the lawsuit was ongoing for just over 13 years, including delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes more than 4,500 members.

The members of the class action lawsuit worked for TQL from September 2008 to April 2016 and told FreightWaves they were expected to work more than 60 hours per week to meet sales goals.

A federal judge ruled against TQL in September 2023, and found Ken Oaks, CEO and co-founder of TQL, personally liable.

In Little Rock, TQL has leased over 5,000 square feet at 1701 Center View Drive for its office. The company was founded in 1997 and says it moves 3 million loads of freight annually. It employs over 9,000 people in the United States.

Nathan Treece is a reporter and local host of NPR's Morning Edition for Little Rock Public Radio.
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