Perdue Partners Wed, 15 May 2013 12:10:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Atlanta Business Chronicle: Sonny Perdue’s company buying trucker Benton Express Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:54:46 +0000

Atlanta Business Chronicle

by Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor
Date: Friday, December 7, 2012, 6:00am EST

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s new company has locked up its first acquisition, a 78-year-old Atlanta trucking company with a big footprint across the Southeast.

Perdue Partners LLC, launched in the spring of 2011, is acquiring Benton Express Inc., a midsized logistics company with annual revenues exceeding $50 million, more than 500 employees and a fleet of 300 trucks.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The deal injects fresh capital into Benton Express, whose revenues fell after the recession and remained down amid the slow recovery. The acquisition also reflects Perdue Partners’ bet that Georgia’s small businesses are set to play a much larger role in global commerce as the economy strengthens.

“When you distill all of this down to the basics, this is about logistics,” Perdue said. “This is a logistics company first and foremost that is dealing with small businesses, and we think they are where the growth is going to be for international exports.”

The deal also reflects the belief in a rebounding Southeast economy, where access to East Coast ports, including the Port of Savannah, leaves it well-positioned to benefit from the expansion of global consumerism, especially in countries such as China and India.

Perdue Partners will take a lead role in the trucking company’s day-to-day operations. Benton Express was struggling to find new capital amid the difficult lending environment, and its challenges reflected broader stress within the trucking industry. It was hit by a wave of bankruptcy and consolidations between 2009 and 2011. The primary reasons were surging fuel prices, declining consumer demand and excess capacity. The industry’s fundamentals, however, have started to accelerate. Consumer demand picked up in the latter half of the year. Some of the weaker players have worked their way out of the business. And drayage activity, or the transport of goods, continues to pick up between Atlanta and Savannah, site of one of the busiest ports in the United States, said Bob Robers, an Atlanta-based supply chain and logistics consultant.

“Capacity is getting tighter, rates are going up, and that’s where there’s money to be made,” Robers said.

Another positive is manufacturing growth across the Southeast. “When I look at the infrastructure around the aerospace, electronics and other industries, that creates logistics opportunities for small trucking companies,” co-founder David Perdue said. Many of those products may be destined for overseas. “This gives us a bigger entrée into the global supply chain,” David Perdue said.

Trey Childress, who served as the state’s chief operating officer for Gov. Perdue and Gov. Nathan Deal, will serve as the new president of Benton Express. First priorities include refreshing the fleet, optimizing routes and looking for new pricing opportunities. Benton Express has been a successful trucking company dating back to the 1930s. But, the economic slowdown and the difficulty accessing capital were challenges.

“They have been through a very difficult recession. They have done everything they can to survive it,” said Heidi Green, a founding partner of Perdue Partners and former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.


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Perdue Partners Acquires Benton Express, Inc Fri, 07 Dec 2012 09:00:42 +0000 Family-owned logistics company serves customers around the Southeast

 ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Perdue Partners today announced its acquisition of Atlanta-based logistics company Benton Express, Inc (

Benton has a 78-year heritage as a family-owned and operated Less-Than-a-Truckload (LTL) carrier that built a strong reputation under the leadership of Herb Matthews, Sr. and his son, Chip Matthews. With annual revenues exceeding $50 million, Benton has a leading market position in the Southeast with over 6,000 points serviced by more than 20 terminals.  The company has a diversified base of over 600 customers.  Benton is recognized for its industry-leading customer service operations.

“With the acquisition of Benton, Perdue Partners intends to build on the company’s strong legacy and quality LTL service that is well known throughout the Southeast,” said former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, one of the founders of Perdue Partners. “We will invest energy and infrastructure in Benton to support the logistics needs of current and future customers, and we look forward to being directly involved in the company’s day-to-day operations as we seek to exceed customer expectations.”

Under Perdue Partners leadership, Benton will continue existing service offerings and operations supported by more than 500 team members and 300 trucks.  Perdue Partners will lend its extensive managerial and logistics experience to build upon the solid foundation for growth the company has built over three-quarters of a century.

“We are so pleased to find partners with substantial managerial and logistics experience to continue to build upon the respected Benton Express reputation that our family worked so hard to build over 78 years,” said Benton Express President Chip Matthews, who will continue to serve as a strategic advisor during the management transition period. “We are confident that the new leadership will result in a thriving and successful company that serves our great customers and employs hundreds of hard-working associates.”

“Transportation logistics is a key component in the global supply chain and our investment in Benton is a direct result of our belief that the Southeastern U.S. is strategically well positioned to participate in the rising consumerism around the world,” said Perdue Partners co-founder David Perdue and former CEO of Dollar General, Reebok and Pillowtex.

In addition, financial advisory firm EVE Partners, LLC assisted in the transaction. EVE Partners, headquartered in Atlanta with offices in Hong Kong, London and New York, is one of the largest dedicated transportation and logistics practices in the world.

Perdue Partners, LLC ( is an Atlanta-based global trading company that facilitates U.S. commerce through trading, partnerships, consulting services, and strategic acquisitions. Joining David and Sonny Perdue as co-founders of Perdue Partners are Trey Childress, who served as Chief Operating Officer of the state of Georgia for Governor Perdue and Governor Nathan Deal, and Heidi Green, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Childress will serve as President of Benton.

For more information on Perdue Partners, visit

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Former Governor Sonny Perdue joins the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council Wed, 19 Sep 2012 16:33:10 +0000 Sept. 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) announced today that former Governor Sonny Perdue has joined its Governors’ Council. He will work with a group of bipartisan former governors at BPC to bring pragmatic state-based perspectives to national issues.

Governor Perdue served as Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Prior to his term, he served as a state senator for eleven years and was recognized as a leading authority on numerous issues, including agriculture, transportation, emerging technologies and economic development.  He currently serves as a founding partner of Perdue Partners LLC, an Atlanta-based global trading company.

“Governor Perdue’s legacy as a leader and manager will serve as a central addition to the council. His successful work on state budget reforms and economic development initiatives in Georgia offer insights to practical policy solutions that are critical to resolving our nation’s challenges,” said Michele Nellenbach, Director of BPC’s Governors’ Council. “His work as governor demonstrates how states and the federal government can marry the strengths of varying perspectives, capabilities, and resources to work more effectively for Americans.”

Perdue joins a roster of five Governors’ Council members, including:

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Perdue Partners hosts Canadian Premiers in Atlanta Wed, 08 Feb 2012 22:13:47 +0000 Perdue Partners and King & Spalding hosted a delegation of Canadian Premiers in Atlanta, welcoming them as they grow their business relationships with the Southeast United States on February 8, 2012. Governor Perdue, Premier Alward of New Brunswick, Premier Dunderdale of Newfoundland & Labrador, Premier Dexter of Nova Scotia, Premier Ghiz of Prince Edward Island, the Canadian Consul General Brereton, and Mike Egan of King & Spalding joined over a dozen Canadian businesses to discuss continued cooperation and future business opportunities between our regions.

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CNBC: Governor Perdue featured on CNBC Squawkbox Mon, 23 Jan 2012 21:58:37 +0000 Governor Sonny Perdue was feature on CNBC’s Squawkbox discussing U.S. Economic Competitiveness and “Aligning Jobs with Worker Skills.”

Click here for video…

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BusinessWire: Inaugural National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board Convenes in Washington Mon, 23 Jan 2012 15:55:56 +0000 WASHINGTON, Jan 23, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Today in the nation’s capital, a group of leaders from economic development, education, industry, nonprofit, public policy and workforce development assembled to discuss the state of the U.S. workforce and solutions for economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st Century.

This leadership group, called the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board, is sponsored by ACT, Inc. The Board is charged with leading a national effort to build a common framework for workforce development that links education and workforce development, aligns workforce development with industry needs, and matches individual skills with employer requirements. Specific goals include building partnerships where:

– Business and industry can identify the foundational skills they need for a productive workforce and can easily communicate their needs

– Individuals understand what skills are required by employers and what they need to do to prepare themselves for success

– Policy makers can consistently measure the skills gap at the national, state and local levels

– Educators have the tools to close the skills gap, and their tools are integrated into career pathways with stackable industry-recognized credentials

– Economic developers have an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of their workforce

“The time is right to create this independent Advisory Board,” said Martin Scaglione, president of ACT’s Workforce Development Division. “Decades of research by ACT and others reinforce the need to improve and validate the skills of our current and prospective workforce. It’s time to take definitive action to begin closing the gap between skill demand and supply. The Advisory Board will do just that, in part by providing essential guidance and oversight to the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.”

The ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative is a workforce development framework designed to assist states with a community-based approach in developing their workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers.

The Honorable Sonny Perdue, Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, will serve as the Advisory Board’s inaugural chairman. His vision to link education and workforce development together at the state and community level led to the creation of Georgia Work Ready, which included Georgia’s innovative Certified Work Ready Communities model. As chairman, Governor Perdue will moderate a series of discussions and presentations focusing on the question: How do we take the national need for a common platform and maximize the use of the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative to address this challenge?

“Throughout my eight years as Governor, business leaders consistently identified a skilled workforce as their most critical need. The facts facing us today are clear–the U.S. has a significant and pressing need to improve workplace skills to meet current and future job demands. We see this initiative as a way to move past restating the obvious problem and move toward implementing proven solutions for America’s workforce,” said Governor Perdue.

Additional board members include:

Alex Belous Dr. Joseph May, Chancellor
Education and Health Strategy Manager, Cisco Louisiana Technical College System
———————————————- ————————————————-
Ronald Bullock Laurie Moran
Chairman, Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. Chair, National Association of Workforce Boards
President, Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber
Lesa J. Francis Cheryl Oldham
CEO, President and Director, Staffmark Vice President, Institute for a Competitive
Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Mike Garrett Hartley Powell
Retired CEO, Georgia Power National Practice Leader for Site Selection, KPMG
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Jim Gibbons Martin L. Scaglione
CEO, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. President, Workforce Development Division, ACT
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Major General Ronald L. Johnson (retired) Tom Snyder
Senior Vice President, Referee Operations, NBA President, Ivy Tech Community College
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Susan S. Lanigan Neal Wade
Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Senior Vice President of Economic Development,
Dollar General The St. Joe Company
———————————————- ————————————————-

This month ACT is also announcing the selection of four states –Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and South Carolina–to participate in the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities Academy, a twelve-month executive training program designed to guide state leadership teams through successful start-up and deployment of a statewide Certified Work Ready Communities initiative. The Academy consists of four three-day, on-site meetings with monthly conference calls between meetings. The Academy kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia, in February. As states ramp up their involvement in 2012, individual communities will have the opportunity to earn Certified Work Ready Community status by implementing these key components:

* Encouraging individuals to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate

* Improving or maintaining high school graduation rates, and

* Building business recognition and support in the initiative.

About ACT

Founded in 1959, ACT is a not-for-profit public trust headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, and dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. ACT provides a broad array of assessment, research, information and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development. Each year, ACT serves millions of people–nationally and internationally–in middle and high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. Find out more at .

For more information on the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, please visit

For more information on all of ACT’s workforce solutions, please visit .

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WSB News: New trade agreement could mean new jobs in Atlanta metro Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:56:51 +0000 WSB Evening news interviews global trade opportunities with Heidi Green.

Watch the video at

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AJC: Peach State’s products go worldwide Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:52:12 +0000 By Sonny Perdue
Atlanta Journal Constitution

As the son of a row-crop farmer in Middle Georgia, I could have never dreamed of all the opportunities possible in today’s Georgia. Our hardworking citizens are making cars, farm equipment, fishing lures and, yes, even chopsticks. These products are sent around the world to growing consumer markets.

After traveling to more than 25 countries selling this state as a leading location for international companies, I can say without a doubt that the new frontier for trade and commerce for Georgia manufacturers lies beyond our nation’s borders.

The recent recession only exacerbated a problem that has been looming for years — U.S. consumers are over-leveraged in spending and debt which, for the past half-century, have driven our nation’s economy.

I am confident our economy will recover, but a full recovery will not be driven solely by domestic consumer spending. So where do we find a new demand to fill the gap?

Look abroad.

Consumer spending in emerging market economies is anticipated to grow by an annual average rate of 10.4 percent between 2010 and 2020. China, India, Brazil and Russia are to lead the way. The purchasing power of these emerging economies is expected to outpace developed countries within the next three years.

Today, there is a rail container of pecans being loaded in Middle Georgia, destined for a ship docked at a Georgia port, and eventually headed to India. The consumer market there is estimated to quadruple during the next two decades. That kind of growth offers incredible opportunities, not only for Georgia pecan farmers, but industries up and down our supply chain.

International manufacturers such as Kia Motors are thriving, using our state’s work force.

And home-grown companies, such as PARTS Inc. of Stockbridge, provide an incredible example of the opportunities that abound here.

Exporting demands a new mindset for most small-cap companies. It requires additional capital, currency hedging, asset management, a higher level of risk tolerance from company leadership and much more.

With the world’s busiest passenger airport, the fastest-growing port in the nation, and more than 70 international consulates and bi-national chambers, we have a strong foundation to help our companies reach a world hungry to consume. With vision from public-sector leaders and commitment from private-sector innovators, we can go global and lay the foundation for Georgia’s economic growth for the next half-century.

Sonny Perdue is the former governor of Georgia and a founding partner of Perdue Partners, a trading company with an emphasis on the export of U.S. goods and services.

Full Article:

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Former Governor Perdue Touts Trade Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:45:57 +0000 by Phil Bolton
Global Atlanta – 10.09.11

“Think big; go global,” was the message that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue brought to his speech sponsored by Kennesaw University’s Coles College of Business on Oct. 4.

But from the very start of the evening at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, it was clear that Mr. Perdue’s audience composed of 250 guests was already converted.

Kathy Schwaig, the college’s interim dean, even said that Mr. Perdue was “an obvious choice” as the speaker for this year’s “Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture” because of the institution’s current efforts to promote international business education.

“The future economy is going to be an export economy,” she said before introducing Daniel Papp, Kennesaw State’s president, who outlined the commitment to the internationalization of the university’s entire curriculum.

The very next day, he said, Kennesaw State would officially launch “The Year of Peru,” its 28th annual country year-long study that would feature on its campus more than two dozen scholars from across the United States and Peru, some of Peru’s leading literary, performing and visual artists as well as the country’s cuisine.

Dr. Papp further pointed to Coles College’s partnership with ASEBUSS, a top-ranked business school in Romania with which it has student exchanges and promotes electronically-enabled distance learning.

He also referred to the college’s partnership with the India China America Institute, a think-tank focused on economic and geopolitical issues involving the U.S. and the world’s largest emerging economies.

Before inviting Stella Xu, who is the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s manager of the state’s commerce with China, to introduce Mr. Perdue, Dr. Papp also mentioned other Kennesaw programs including its Institute for Global Initiatives.

Additionally, Kennesaw offers a Global Engagement Certification and has a Global Learning Coordinating Council of administrators, faculty and students who help shape policy and guide the expansion of global learning opportunities.

Ms. Xu, an alumna of Kennesaw Sate, served as an intern during Mr. Perdue tenure as governor and helped prepare for the state’s first trade mission to China and for the opening of the state’s first office in China.

“Gov. Perdue created a new page in the history that linked Georgia and China,” she said before he took over the podium and recounted his life story from a boyhood on a farm in Middle Georgia to his student days in veterinary school at the University of Georgia and onto a business and political career.

“My world was very narrow and very focused,” he said, adding that it wasn’t until later in his career as a Georgia senator and then as governor that he expanded his worldview.

Besides encouraging Kennesaw students to “get out of their comfort zones” and seek out international opportunities to develop themselves, he praised Georgia as a platform for international initiatives.

Because of its geographic location, Georgia was destined to be “a trading center,” he said, citing its assets including the Georgia ports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, its roads and rails and its universities.

“Location, location, location, is what we were selling globally,” he added of his tenure as governor from 2003-10.

Mr. Perdue founded Perdue Partners LLC, a global trading company, earlier this year.

Full Article:

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Former governor challenges businesses to think global in KSU address Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:43:40 +0000 SONNY PERDUE TALKS GLOBAL

Former governor challenges businesses to think global in KSU address

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue challenged the business community to think global and look for business opportunities in emerging countries with a growing middle class during a talk to a Coles College of Business audience on Oct. 4.

“It is a race out there, a competitive global race,” Perdue told an audience of about 250 Coles College of Business faculty, administrators, alumni, graduate students and business partners gathered at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta. “There is a growing competitive world out there in places [whose names] we can’t even pronounce.”

Perdue, who is responsible for raising Georgia’s global profile during his tenure as governor from 2003 to January 2011, was the guest speaker at the Coles College of Business’ “20th Annual Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series.” Earlier this year, Perdue founded Perdue Partners, LLC, a logistics and trading firm that helps small- and medium-sized businesses go global.

“We’ve got some great opportunities out there,” said Perdue, who hailed trade as the ultimate peacemaker. “Think big. Go global.”

Kathy Schwaig, interim dean of the Coles College of Business, said that choosing Perdue as speaker was “an obvious choice” because the business school is putting more energy and effort into revitalizing international business education. “The future economy is going to be an export economy,” she told the crowd.

Kennesaw State University president Daniel S. Papp touted the university’s commitment to internationalization. “The Coles College has been deeply involved in things international for a number of years,” he said. “We at Kennesaw State University are very proud of the things we do internationally. This is our ‘Year of Peru.’ ”

The Coles College of Business has had a long-standing partnership with ASEBUSS, one of the top business schools in Romania. In February, the Coles College launched a partnership with the India China America Institute, a well-respected thought leader on economic and geopolitical issues involving the United States and the world’s largest emerging economies.

Perdue admitted that he did not always embrace a global view. Growing up in a farm in middle Georgia “my world was very narrow and very focused,” he said. It wasn’t until late in his career as a Georgia senator and later as governor that he expanded his worldview.

“You realize how minuscule we are and how big the world is out there,” he said. “There’s a better wide world out there and a bigger world than I was exposed to.”

Perdue, who went to veterinary school and practiced as a vet for three years before going back home to launch an agribusiness, challenged audience members to do what they love.

“You gotta do what you love in life,” Perdue said. “Be courageous enough to do what you love.”

Perdue said that Georgia should focus on its strengths to become globally competitive: its status as a coastal state with the fourth largest container port in the U.S., the busiest airport in the world and a highly educated work force. Because of its geography, Georgia, the ninth largest state, was destined to be “a trading center.” During his years as governor, Georgia pursued ties and sold itself all over the world.

“Location, location, location is what we were selling globally,” Perdue said.

Perdue encouraged Georgia businesses to seek out endless opportunities in emerging countries, which are seeing the emergence of an affluent middle class “that wants quality stuff.”

Perdue also challenged the audience members to build on their strengths. “Build on your strengths and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. You must get out of your comfort zone,” he said. “Be willing to stand alone if necessary. There’s nothing that compares to a clear conscience.”

KSU alum and professor Stella Xu, who currently serves as manager for China global commerce for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, was an intern in the governor’s office during Perdue’s tenure. Xu said that soon after she met her new boss she realized he would open doors between the state and China. Perdue ended up leading the state’s first mission to China and opened the first Georgia office in China. Georgia now hosts more than 40 Chinese companies, she said.

“Governor Perdue created a new page in the history that linked Georgia and China,” Xu said.

Full Article:

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