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With more than 300 refrigerated trailers, Giltner Inc. specializes in produce trucking

Giltner Inc. in Jerome, ID, started hauling perishable products 33 years ago on a modest scale and has grown to where the company now has around 250 trucks and 320 refrigerated trailers.

Initially, the company handled mainly cheese, but soon found a stronger niche in hauling potatoes out of Idaho, mainly into Texas. As more and more potatoes began moving to market by rail, Giltner diversified into other produce items as well, and today does a significant business with lettuce, berries and other products out of California, according to Greg Paulson, owner and chief financial officer.Greg-PaulsonGreg Paulson, owner and chief financial officer of Giltner Inc.

The company also does a lot of hauling from the Northwest, Paulson said. “We have developed some great relationships out of Arkansas, and as we grow, we have picked up a handful of good customers in the Midwest. However, the bulk of our trade is based around California,” he said.

“We also have a freight brokerage operation,” Giltner Logistics, Paulson continued. “It is much larger, and we do a broad array of freight. But our trucks really specialize in produce.” But generally, with produce customers, “we don’t broker their freight just because there is a certain level of quality that we can only get with our own trucks.”

Paulson, a certified public accountant, grew up on a farm in Buhl, ID. He attended the College of Idaho and then went to work for an accounting firm in the Twin Falls area. He was there for five years and then, 18 years ago, was invited by Giltner Chief Executive Officer Douglas Blevins to work for the company, which had been a client of the accounting firm. Blevins and Paulson eventually became partners.

“My partner passed away April this year,” Paulson said. “We had worked together very well for many years.”

Giltner is “really big into safety and quality,” he said. “Our people set us apart. We have a very strong team of dispatchers and operations and safety staff that have all been with us for a very long time.”

Because the company has been specifically built around produce, “our teams are specifically trained for produce” and the equipment has been “strategically purchased” for produce, he said. “We have people on site every day of the week and all night long watching the produce as the trailers communicate the temperature of the loads,” he continued.

The firm builds its relationships with new customers slowly but continues building “to where we do a lot of volume with a limited number of customers,” Paulson said. “It is our people,” combined with the company’s focus on produce, that have enabled Giltner to build “some great relationships.”