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Robert "Bobby" N. Harris is an award winning, serial entrepreneur based out of Tampa, Florida. Bobby is the Founder, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, third-party logistics company which is a two-time Inc. 5000 award recipient (2012, 2014),[1] experiencing over 7,000% revenue growth from 2009-2011; he is also the president of e-commerce retail store, Fighter Warehouse. Bobby Harris started BlueGrace in 2007, but officially opened it's doors as a full service third-party logistics provider in 2009 in Apollo Beach, Florida. In January 2010, he moved his office to Riverview, Florida opening 50 positions in the Tampa Bay area.[2] By 2011, he led the company to $80 million in sales; from $1,000 earned in its year of inception. Later that year, he made the decision to franchise the BlueGrace brand, and now has more than 50 franchises across the United States. Bobby Harris is an award-winning entrepreneur and well-known philanthropist.[3] He currently sits on the Advisory Council for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay[4] and in 2012 started the "Giving Grace" program at BlueGrace, which allows employees paid time off for time volunteered at non-profit organizations like the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

Career

Summary

Bobby was 18 years old (1992) when he began his career in the transportation industry as a dockworker for freight carrier Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL).[3] During his tenure with Southeastern Freight Lines, he worked his way up through operations management and into sales. At 20 years-old, he was running an outbound facility and by 22 he was working in sales. Bobby began working for Yellow Transportation (YRC Worldwide, Inc.) in his mid-20's and by 28 he was the specialized sales divisions in Florida and Puerto Rico.[3]

At the age of 30, Bobby changed career paths by becoming a DHL Franchise Owner. Within two years, he owned 23 franchise units. In 2008, Bobby wanted to buy the franchisor but was unable to when DHL moved operations outside the United States. Immediately following DHL's move outside the country, Bobby created BlueGrace Logistics in 2007, choosing the middle names of his daughters to create the company name.

In 2008, Bobby officially opened BlueGrace Logistics' doors as a 3PL (Third Party Logistics) company, focusing on technology as a primary resource for customer freight processing. After creating the initial version of BlueGrace's technology product (BlueShip TMS, 2009), Bobby created the industry's first mobile app for freight shipment processing (2010). In the same year, Bobby created an open social media policy for the employees of BlueGrace as part of his initiative to create an engaging company culture and overall customer experience. The success and recognition of his efforts for successfully launching a social media policy in representation has gained him nationwide recognition on MSNBC's Your Business (Aired: Sunday, January 5, 2014) as a B2B Social Media Expert[5] and at the 2012 SMC3 Conference for the "Social and Mobile Media For Transportation" presentation as the KeyNote Speaker[6]

In 2011, Bobby made the decision to franchise BlueGrace Logistics and since then the company has awarded 51 franchises across the United States.[7]

Management Style

Harris is known and consistently published for his efforts to create a modern, engaging work environment. Bobby has a dedicated culture and community department at BlueGrace which is responsible for employee engagement events, programs and other opportunities to promote happiness in the workplace.

Harris' contributions have led to the following BlueGrace accolades: 2011 Tampa Bay Business Journal, Best Places to Work Finalist 2012 Tampa Bay Business Journal, Best Places to Work Finalist 2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal, Best Places to Work Finalist 2014 Tampa Bay Business Journal, Best Places to Work Finalist 2014 Tampa Bay Times, Top Workplaces

Hyper-Growth

Harris began to experience hyper-growth almost immediately after starting BlueGrace Logistics in 2009. In 2012, BlueGrace was listed on the Inc. 5000 List, ranking at #20 overall and #1 in it's industry (Transportation & Logistics) with reported 7,348% revenue growth. Bobby's aggressive strategy on franchise sales led to the on-board of 17 new franchises in 2013. At the same time, he looked for additional growth opportunities which led to the acquisition of USTC Live in Baltimore, Maryland. Following the acquisition, Bobby expanded the BlueGrace Chicago office by moving to Oak Brook, Illinois; centering the office in one of the nation's hub cities for transportation and logistics.

Awards

Bobby Harris has won the following awards with regard to his work with BlueGrace Logistics as the President and CEO: 2011 Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year, Florida State Finalist, Emerging Category 2012 Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year, Florida State Finalist, Emerging Category 2013 Gulf Coast Business Review, Entrepreneur of the Year, Large Category 2013 Gulf Coast Business Review, 40 Under 40 2014 Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year, Florida Award Recipient, Emerging Category

References

  1. BlueGrace Inc. 5000 Profile. Inc. Magazine. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  2. Riverview Firm Expands, Announces 50 job openings. Tampa Bay Online. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 40 Under 40. Gulf Coast Business Review. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  4. Humane Society Advisory Council. Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  5. "Highly Effective Social Media Strategies in a B2B World". MSNBC Your Business. January 5, 2014. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/videos/highly-effective-social-media-strategies-in-a-b2b-world/. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  6. SMC3 JumpStart 2012. SMC3. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  7. IFA BlueGrace Logistics Profile. International Franchise Association. Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  • Inc. Magazine Online
  • Tampa Bay Online, TBO.com
  • MSNBC's Your Business
  • Business Observer, 40 under 40, businessobserver4040.com
  • SMC3, Jump Start 2012, smc3.com
  • International Franchise Association, BlueGrace Profile, www.franchise.org
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