Scott Fowler is a foreman with Blackwell Trucking Co., which was started up by Mike DeSimone after his sale of Cross Creek Trucking ended with the purchaser closing the operation. The new firm operates 30 trucks and employs about 50 people, including 35 drivers. - Jamie Lusch

On the road again

CENTRAL POINT — The terrain is familiar and so is much of the work.

The feel, however, is much different.

A year after selling a trucking business he had built into a $28 million firm, Mike DeSimone finds himself sifting through the ruins left by Sarasota, Fla.-based Integrated Freight.

The Florida company shuttered Cross Creek Trucking months ago, losing its equipment to creditors and leaving drivers and terminal employees in a lurch.

When DeSimone sold Cross Creek, its spread sheet showed 115 late-model tractors, 170 refrigerated trailers, 30 dry trailers and more than 100 employees.

That's gone, but DeSimone is back in the business with Blackwell Trucking Co., reconnecting with former clients who had been dropped by the new owners.

It's business somewhat the way it used to be for DeSimone, who is running a much smaller regional operation rather than sending rigs across the continent these days. The new firm operates 30 trucks and employs about 50 people, including 35 drivers.

Cross Creek hauled virtually anything but hazardous materials as a mainstream carrier with national accounts. Blackwell Trucking will keep a more regional approach.

"Our niche is more intricate, detailed trucking with more stops and starts," DeSimone said. "We don't — and never intend to — go back into coast-to-coast routes. We're mostly staying on the West Coast."

DeSimone still owns the 32-acre truck yard and terminal that had been leased to Integrated Freight as well as a newly built railroad dock, where Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad delivers industrial glue headed for Timber Products, Sierra Pine and Jeld-Wen plants. He expects expanded use of the dock once anticipated upgrades are completed on rail lines in Douglas County.

While Integrated Freight's woes have caused headaches of 18-wheeler proportions, it also derailed DeSimone's next project on the south side of Medford.

DeSimone acquired the former Southern Oregon Sales packing shed wedged between the railroad tracks and Stewart Avenue.

"I wanted to turn that corner into something modeled after the Pike Street Market (in Seattle)," he said. "With fresh fish, fresh produce, meat, flour and fresh produce and a coffee roaster. We had to put it all on hold."

When Integrated Freight defaulted on its payment, the project hit the skids.

"The whole thing definitely put a kink in my life," DeSimone said.

In the interim, neighboring Naumes Inc. has used the packing facility to feed its expanded operations.

As Integrated Freight's largest creditor, DeSimone is hopeful that the company's other two trucking units will keep it afloat and help him recoup some of his losses.

Integrated Freight Chief Executive Officer Paul Henley resigned and a couple of board members departed last month as major shareholders moved in to bolster the struggling company's finances.

"Some of the people that caused a lot of the problems are gone, and some of investors have stepped up and taken larger roles to make wrongs right," DeSimone said. "I don't think they will resurrect anything out of the ashes here in Oregon, but they are trying to make things work and square-up everybody.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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