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American West Re-Purchased By Founder

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Sandy Dant & Susan Harris

American West, a transportation company that is well-known to West Coast furniture manufacturers and retailers, has been re-purchased by its founder, Josh Brown.

In recruiting the executive team, Brown, who has assumed the role of chief executive officer, looked close to home. His wife, Cathie Brown, has been named president. Son Noah Brown is Western regional vice president, while son-in-law Reed Cullum, based in Dallas, is Eastern regional vice president. Daughter Michelle Crow is vice president of administration for the organization, and son Matt Brown is supervisor of supply chain management and the company’s 285,000-square-foot, Los-Angeles-based warehouse. Daughter Deva Winchester is focused on customer retention.

“We’re very excited about building American West as a family business,” Brown says.  “Three of my eldest children worked for the company previously and had gone on to different careers within the transportation industry. When the opportunity to re-acquire American West was presented, I visited with each of them to share my vision for the company as one we could pass on trans-generationally. All agreed to re-join the company.”

Himself a former furniture manufacturer, the family-owned concern is committed to serving the furniture industry. “I understand first-hand how disappointing it is when a carrier is late or damages a product that it took a month to produce, as well as what that means to the retailer or the designer who ordered it.”

His first-hand experiences are driving Brown’s vision for American West. For one thing, the firm--experienced in delivering extremely high-end furnishings on the level of $100,000 antiques--still offers blanket-wrapping among its services. For another, Brown says, “We’ re simply going to fulfill our promises to the customer, whatever that means in terms of communication, transit times or support. We believe this is more important than ever given the difficult environment in which the furniture industry is currently operating.”

The transportation industry has had its share of challenges as well. “We believe we will continue to see more consolidation on the transportation side,” Brown says. “That said, we re-purchased American West for cash, so we are debt-free with all equipment paid for free and clear. For this reason, we are stable and well positioned to take advantage of those consolidations.”

To support customers who are looking for a carrier due to the recent demise of Furniture Transport Group (FTG), Brown has engaged industry veteran Sandy Dant-Leibold, CHR, as an account executive. She has extensive experience representing both manufacturers and furniture transportation carriers, including most recently, FTG. Well-known throughout the industry, Dant-Leibold currently serves on the IHFRA executive board of directors and on the board of the Southern California chapter. She also serves on the National Home Furnishings board of directors for City of Hope, and as co-chair of the West Coast committee.

“We are particularly pleased to have Sandy Dant-Leibold join our ranks,” Brown says. “She is a trusted executive in this business and her experience and reputation in both the transportation and furniture industries will be an asset as we move forward. She understands both sides of the equation and we are very proud to be associated with her. ”  

Dant-Leibold, who will meet with customers at the High Point Market later this month, relates, “American West is a company that understands the needs of manufacturers, retailers, importers and distributors in the furniture business, and its commitment to quality and service is unequaled. This is vitally important to me in maintaining my close relationships with clients across the country and throughout our industry.”

Susan Harris and Rosemary Medina have also joined the company in key positions. Harris will serve as an account executive, and Medina is senior customer representative. Both have extensive experience working for furniture carriers.

For additional information regarding American West, call (800)788-4534 or email regional vice presidents, Reed.Collum@awest.com or Noah.Brown@awest.com.   

ABOUT AMERICAN WEST:  American West is a West-Coast based transportation company serving the continental U.S. and Canada and specializing in furniture transport. With more than two decades of experience, the company provides customized shipping solutions while offering a level of personalized service that is unparalleled in the industry.

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