AAGEX Freight Group and Hazel Partners Insurance Join Forces to Reach Transportation and Logistics Markets with RSQ Practice Group

Jacksonville Beach, FL – AAGEX Freight Group, LLC and Hazel Partners, LLC have joined forces to provide comprehensive risk management advisory services to the transportation and logistics industry through a joint venture they’ve named “RSQ Practice Group.” With the continuing growth trends in the logistics industry, many companies are facing new, and ever demanding, finance, technology, and risk management challenges. AAGEX, a specialist in technology systems, risk assessment and loss control management services, including cargo claims administration and transportation contract preparation, currently serving a network of transportation and logistics professionals, identified an opportunity to partner with an experienced insurance and risk firm to help meet the needs of many small to medium sized transportation and logistics companies.

“Our Hazel Partners team is thrilled to work with AAGEX to bring real value to the heart and soul of the transportation and logistics industry, namely the small to medium sized businesses, typically family or privately owned, incredible entrepreneurs arranging and transporting freight in the United States,” said Curtis Hazel, President and CEO at Hazel Partners. Mike Williams, President at AAGEX echoed Hazel’s passion for the entrepreneur. “Our industry is dominated by the smaller sized companies, but they’re under pressure to keep pace with a trend of consolidation. Back office administration concerns such as finance, technology, and risk management must have the benefit of subject matter expertise to keep up.”

RSQ Practice Group offers a proactive approach to reducing costs associated with loss prevention and loss control. Every business has exposure to hazards in its operations driven by industry regulations, competitive landscape and the imperfections of human behavior. The RSQ team has expertise representing motor carriers, shippers, freight brokers, and forwarders.

AAGEX FREIGHT GROUP, LLC is a non-asset transportation services platform company offering freight transportation and logistics solutions through a network of independent branch locations expanding across North America. With our promise of service excellence and professionalism, we provide or arrange freight transportation services, and other value-plus supply chain execution services, to manufacturers, distributors and retailers.


People on the Move: Bill Sandberg

Jacksonville Business Journal

Bill Sandberg, Vice President of Technology

Education: University of North Florida

Bill’s primary objective is to ensure that the infrastructure and technology platforms utilized and provided by AAGEX are second-to-none. Some of his accomplishments include creating cloud infrastructure, and performing key consulting that helped companies grow up to 50% in average annual growth.



Executive Moves: AAGEX Freight Group

AAGEX Freight Group appoints VPs

American Shipper

AAGEX Freight Group has appointed Jon Bramlett vice president of operations. Prior to joining AAGEX, he held management positions at Stonier Transportation Group, NYK Logistics and Crowley.

AAGEX also named Bill Sandberg vice president of technology. He held similar positions with Rising Sun Systems and NYK Logistics.

In addition, the Jacksonville Beach, Fla.-based third-party logistics services provider hired Kim Watson as director of business services and human resources. She has more than 10 years of experience in the freight transportation and logistics industry.

This new Jacksonville logistics company is already making acquisitions

Jacksonville Business Journal

Just weeks after launching itself as a company, AAGEX Freight group has acquired two other companies.

AAGEX will act as the holding company to AGX Freight Carriers and AGX Freight Logistics, formerly Apex Carriers and Apex Transportation Solutions out of Rome, Georgia.

Mike Williams, CEO of AAGEX and former CEO of Sunteck, said that acquiring companies early on was always part of his plan to quickly grow his company. It’s now gone from less than 10 employees to 100, including 85 truck drivers.

“Acquisitions are a great way to jumpstart the business,” Williams said. “We made two relatively small but meaningful acquisitions.”

The company’s back office and administrative staff roles will be centralized in Jacksonville, while the drivers and equipment will stay in near where most of the freight is in Rome, just 50 miles outside Atlanta.

These acquisition will be the trucking company and broker company entities that AAGEX’s agents will represent.

“Agents will work with owner-operators leased onto our trucking motor carrier group,” Williams said. “On the broker side, agents will have broker authority under AGX freight logistics to offer those services.”

Williams declined to disclose deal terms, but said that the companies acquired had a combined annual revenue between $10 million and $15 million. Some executives will stay on with the company, while the owner will help during the transition phase.

Williams said that the acquisitions were key in order to have what was needed to support his business model right away.

“It was a critical step to instantly have the back end stuff in place to support our agent network,” he said.


Longtime Sunteck exec starts own freight brokerage after brief retirement

Jacksonville Business Journal

A longtime Jacksonville logistics leader is starting his own company, after his brief retirement.

Mike Williams, former CEO, COO and general counsel for Sunteck, is now the leader of Aagex
Feight Group, a Jacksonville Beach agent-based third party logistics provider. 

The company will have motor carrier authority and will operate commercial vehicles, as well have broker authority to broker freight and serve as a non-asset logistics company. Williams has been in the logistics business since he came to Jacksonville in 1995 with his law degree.

After working at Sunteck for more than eight years, he retired for just over a year. “It was a pretty intense eight-and-a-half years,” Williams said in an exclusive interview with the Business Journal. “When I started the company was headquartered in Boca Raton. I commuted back and forth many years. Over the course of time the company migrated its more corporate functions
to Jacksonville.”

The company was sold to a private equity firm in 2013, and Williams stayed on for just over a year-and-a-half, serving as CEO. “When you run hard and fast for eight-and-a-half years, and you sell the company to new investors with new ideas, there’s opportunities to go in different directions,” he said. “So I took time to take a breather and have more of a relaxed lifestyle than
the fast-paced world.” 

That meant creating his Jacksonville Beach law practice, which he will continue doing pro-bono work out of representing children in dependency court, and running his charity, which protects children from sexual abuse. But after a year Williams said he was ready to get back into the transportation & logistics business.

“I have a real passion for the business, driven by my passion for working with entrepreneurs and small business owners,” he said. Aagex, which stands for American Freight Agent Exchange, will be an agent-only network. Rather than having employees, all of the sales team will be independent contractors, who earn a variable commission based on how successful they are in pricing, getting customers, etc. “Our agency model is clear-cut,” Williams said.

“The benefit shows up in your paycheck that week. It’s easier to motivate sales. Agents are entrepreneurs, they take risk in their own performance. I love to work with those that take risk and love to support them.” 

The company will have between 10 to 15 employees, with about seven to nine in Jacksonville and the remainder in Georgia. Those employees will be back-office and clerical support. Williams said he is now hiring agents. While other companies, such as Landstar or Sunteck, use the agent-based model, Williams said his expertise and customer service will help set the company apart.

“A lot of these T&L companies are commoditized in the type of service they offer:  they say ‘we keep up with tech advancements or regulatory advancements.’ Ultimately, it’s up to the competency of the team. Our basic services are in line with our competitors,” Williams said. 

“But I think I make a difference in the mix. I know what success looks like. It’s important in an agent model to find the balance in commission, what you have after is for your platform to have top notch infrastructure. You have to have someone experience at the helm I think to have that value.”

Logistics specialist establishes AAGEX Freight Group

American Shipper

AAGEX Freight Group President and CEO Mike Williams said the new company is inspired by his vision to advance a business model for logistics entrepreneurs to keep pace in a fast evolving market.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based transportation and logistics firm AAGEX Freight Group, LLC has recently been established, AAGEX Freight Group President and CEO Mike Williams announced. 

The new company will provide full-truckload, flat bed, heavy haul, less-than-truckload, intermodal and expedited transportation services across the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

In addition, AAGEX Freight Group will use the McLeod Software platform including LoadMaster, PowerBroker and DocumentPower. 

According to Williams, the new company is inspired by his vision to advance a business model for logistics entrepreneurs to keep pace in a fast evolving market. 

“For many years, industry analysts predicted a move to consolidation of an otherwise fragmented domestic market of asset based trucking, freight brokers, and third party logistics companies,” Williams said. “Now we are seeing it (consolidation) as some try to capture greater market share with a ‘mega-company’ approach, when in-fact, some of the most talented professionals can deliver excellent service from high performing small and mid-size platforms." "AAGEX (pronounced a-jex) will enable the owners of private trucking and logistics companies to remain competitive with the industry’s largest players, while igniting their entrepreneurialism that makes all the difference," Williams added. 

With nearly 20 years of experience in the logistics industry, Williams has held previous roles including chief operating officer, general council, president and chief executive officer at several logistics and trucking companies with revenues ranging from $30 million to $400 million, according to the company's website.