Chester Rodney England was born in 1896 to a farming family who lived in Plain City, Utah. His ancestors originally came from England. Plain City was a very small town when Chester was growing up. It was the kind of town where everyone knew everyone else. Maude Knight obviously had her eye on Chester because in 1916 she became Mrs. C.R. England. One month after their marriage, Chester was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and left his new bride for two and one-half years to serve in the Southern states. Gene and Bill, Chester's sons, were both born within a few years after his return from the mission field. Two daughters were also born, Rosemary and Carol.
In 1920, Chester came to the conclusion that there had to be an easier way to make a living than farming. That is when his plan was conceived. In 1920, Chester bought his first Model T truck with the idea of providing farm to market service for the farmers in Weber County and Cache Valley.
Chester was hard working. His business began to pick up more and more customers. He was providing a service that the farmers had needed for many years. He began to haul milk for the Weber Dairy. Chester's schedule began at 4:00 a.m. hauling milk to the dairy and continued into the afternoon hauling produce to market for the farmers. Chester was a diligent man and as his sons Bill and Gene put it, "He would never say die." For anyone who knows Bill and Gene, it is obvious that they are both chips off the old block.
Gene and Bill became familiar with the trucking industry at an early age. During the summers, they used to make the week-long run with their father to Wyoming. Chester enjoyed taking his sons with him. To make the long haul seem shorter, he built a shelf out of boxes that extended out from the seat so Gene and Bill could have some extra room in case they wanted to take a nap. He also made sure that they always got a bottle of pop when they would stop. But the highlight of the whole trip was the feeling of importance that Gene and Bill felt when their father would brag about them and their family to all the customers.
As the business grew and as Gene and Bill grew, they spent all their summers putting into practice all the trucking expertise their father had taught them when they were younger. At this time, the company owned three or four one- to two-ton delivery trucks. Between C.R. and his sons and the men they hired during the school year, they kept the trucks rolling down the road and their customers happy.
While Gene and Bill were faithfully serving their country during World War II, their industrious father had been buying Mexican bananas that were coming into the country at El Paso, Texas. He hauled and distributed these throughout Utah. Shortly after Gene and Bill were released from the service, they joined their Dad and continued bringing bananas into Utah and returning to Texas with potatoes. It was at this time that the first diesel truck was purchased. It was a used 1940 Kenworth conventional. Not new by any means and a real bear to turn, this truck was not equipped with a fifth-wheel when they bought it. But after a short time, a fifth-wheel was mounted and a used thirty-five foot trailer was purchased with a mechanical refrigeration unit in it. The new mechanical reefer unit was not very reliable. It was a new invention at the time so all the other trailers were maintained with ice bunkers in them. An ice bunker consisted of two feet of ice in the front of the trailer, a small motor with a belt that connected to a fan which circulated the cool air in the trailer and kept the product cool.
As the operation grew, several trucks were added to the fleet. At the height of this era, the packing of Idaho potatoes became a vital part of the business. The England family at this time was operating two packing sheds and a storage facility to enhance the trucking operation.
As the Central American bananas became available, the Mexican fruit could not compete in quality so the banana haul was replaced with produce and the focus of the operation moved to California and Arizona. In 1957, C.R. England blazed a new trail by offering 72-hour coast-to-coast service. This was something not previously provided to American shippers. The first trip to the east coast was taken by a driver by the name of Robert Gould. He took a load of produce from California to Philadelphia. The tractor, #17, was a new 1959 Kenworth conventional. Kenworth tractors had not been seen on the east coast and the first visit of this truck became like a carnival with the tractor being the circus truck. This 72-hour service was so successful that within a year C.R. England opened an office in the Philadelphia market. Robert Gould was the first east coast terminal manager.
Within a short period of time, C.R. England opened a "real" terminal at Pennsauken, New Jersey. In 1978, C.R. England moved its east coast to Burlington, New Jersey. Finally, in 1982, with the advancements of technology and management, C.R. England obtained the ability to better handle the east coast operations from the Salt Lake terminal. We now operate terminals in California, New Jersey, Indiana and Texas.
Truly it can be said that C.R. England has become a "smarter, faster, better" type of operation over the years. The company has grown progressively into a nationwide leader in refrigerated truckload service. The current management team includes several third and fourth generation Englands who believe quality, hard work and integrity are the basis for success.