Frank Parker, Jr.
President / CEO
As you drive down the road, have you ever looked at your dashboard and wondered how all its parts came together? Have you ever noticed a cargo container of Mission Wonderful Citrus orange juice trucking on down the road and wondered where in the world it was going? (Check toward the end for the answer.) Have you ever gotten in a convoy with a line of trucks and wondered who figured out how all this stuff was getting moved from point A to point B?
One company that has been in the transportation business for 36 years is Parker & Company led by its President/CEO, Frank Parker, Jr.
“I’m a third generation Brownsville, Texas, resident,” Parker said. “My dad worked in the ship loading and unloading business at the port. I grew up around the port and understood the international trade early.”
After obtaining his finance degree in Austin, Parker started his career in oil and gas in Houston. Moving into his future company’s industry in Laredo, the oil crash and peso devaluation of 1982 found him and his family back home in Brownsville. He took the time to study for his broker’s exam while job hunting then rejoined the business selling truck freight for the whole Valley, getting to know the local companies in need of transport.
By 1985, he was ready and opened Parker & Company in Brownsville. Due to popular demand, he later added McAllen/Pharr, Laredo, Corpus Christi, and Monterrey locations. Each site has its own story.
With its factories in Mexico, AT&T was a major client for the Brownsville location. When AT&T opened in Reynosa, company officials asked for a McAllen area site for transport. Starting out in the McAllen Trade Zone with an office and warehousing, Parker built his own building when the Pharr/Reynosa Bridge opened. Laredo grew so fast back in the ‘90s the company had to stop taking new business until they caught up.
Today Parker has a business able to handle international trade of any sort. With all the types of products they ship, Parker & Company certainly demands respect for this complicated industry.
Parker’s favorite part of the intriguing business is the project cargo, unique shipping transactions that sometimes happen. One example was the time his company relocated booths for the Nissan painting line at the Aguascalientes plant in Mexico.
“There were 550 truckloads,” Parker began. “My trucker in Matamoros designed custom trailers to haul the big, bulky booths the cars rolled through to get painted. We brought them in on barges all the way from Tennessee, which is also how today’s fuel is getting in the Valley on barges from Houston and Corpus.”
Another time the company moved a Taiwanese bolt factory into Matamoros where it operated for about eight years and then sold. Moving it in and out took many big, heavy trucks since the pieces of machinery weighed 100,000 pounds.
Parker’s company continues to grow as the industry grows and is completely CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) and ISO9000-certified. With approximately 55 employees including four Licensed Customs Brokers all NCBFAA Certified Customs Specialists, Parker & Company moves products by truck, air, ship, and rail around the world.
Moving orange juice to Japan is no easy task when you think how the containers are cooled while in transit by ethyl and loaded on a ship to be plugged in. Copper windings for power plants are shipped to and from different countries, sometimes by air, sometimes by ocean. Those dashboard parts come from Reynosa.
Major challenges for Parker & Company are new businesses that do not know the importing/exporting business.
“We don’t own the goods since we’re simply agents, so we need to train our customers,” he said. “We spend quite a bit of time training them on their responsibilities.”
Having close to 300,000 square feet of warehousing space, in 2020 the business added a plastic packaging company to its repertoire and currently offers plastic packaging for a major plastic supplier for the whole Valley.
Selling insurance for cargo is also part of what Parker & Company offers. Arranging for trucks going to the interior of Mexico for contract trucks to go only across the border, Parker & Company has the means to handle almost anything.
Parker also is one of the owners for World Net Associates with up to 80 companies who are agents for them around the world.
“We meet once a year around the world,” Parker said. “I am working on a deal with agents in Finland whom I see every year. Because of World Net Associates I end up doing business with people I have met. I have been to all these countries around the world. It is not a big profit maker but what it does do is let us know we have a good group of agents where everyone is friends. It’s good to know the people and know we can trust their companies.”
Family comes into play with one of his sons working in the Laredo office and his wife overseeing Human Resources.
Outside of work you might find Parker playing bass or piano in his band, Avalon, which he’s been part of since ‘92. It was a source of income during college and now is a source of fun. The band has performed in South Padre Island and, more recently, in clubs and venues around the Valley, until COVID, of course. He is hoping to get back in the swing of things soon.
An active volunteer with the Chamber, he has also helped the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, worked with the Rio Grande Valley Metro Planning Organization, and is Chairman of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority and the South Texas Manufacturing Association as well as other national organizations.
Still servicing his customers from the 90s and always adding new customers, Parker has built a transport empire that stands on integrity, experience, and knowledge.