Trucking Company's New Oasis Headquartersby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/12/2013
Tulsa-based Melton Truck Lines Inc. broke ground Monday on their new corporate headquarters expected to be finished in about 14 months. The 77,000-square-foot facility will function as an office for more than 250 employees and somewhat of a high-end rest stop for more than 900 drivers based throughout the country. With a cafeteria, gym and a medical clinic to go along with mechanics and administrators, Melton President Bob Peterson said it will be a one-stop shop for the weary drivers.
The project is a major milestone for the 24-year-old company, which has been using the same 23,000-square-foot building for more than two decades. Melton, a flatbed carrier with nearly 1,200 employees, also has terminals in Laredo, El Paso and Dallas, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; and Masury, Ohio, owning their entire fleet of about 1,000 trucks.
In January Melton was approved for up to $2.38 million in rebates under the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program, if it followed through with plans to hire as many as 105 people in the state over the next decade. The program gives a 5 percent payroll tax rebate to companies that bring new jobs to the state and meet certain wage and benefit
While the expansion move could add as many as 120 jobs annually over the next 10 years, Peterson said that although many of those positions will be drivers spread around the country, new drivers will also mean new mechanics, safety inspectors, support staff and administrators at the Tulsa headquarters as well. He said Melton's growth comes with a rebound in the nation's transportation industry. "We had a terrific 2012 following a good 2011," he said. "Business certainly is cyclical, and it slowed a little bit toward the end of last year, but we think this year is building some steam." The recovering manufacturing sector, especially automotive companies, has been a major customer for Melton in the past three years and provided much of the growth since the recession began in 2007. Last year the company also saw more business from residential and commercial construction companies after a long period of struggle in those industries.
The building will have an open design, with offices on the top level above an atrium.
Outside the building, a landscaped campus will include a walking trail and exercise stations for office staff and drivers. “We're trying to make it a comfortable and collaborative atmosphere," Peterson said. "There will be laundry there so that they can wash their clothes and a place for them to get a bite."
The growth is part of a 10-year project that Peterson said will increase employment by an average of 10 percent annually. Melton is keeping the old building to bring its total facilities up to 100,000 square feet, though Peterson said it is not yet determined which departments and offices will shift. "We actually have about 70 acres here, and we've been thinking about an expansion for a long time," Peterson said. "You don't want to build every few years, so we're building this for long-term growth," Peterson added.