Description: Unishippers has grown into the largest reseller of complete shipping services in the country, with a long history of helping entrepreneurs build their dreams in an industry that never goes out of style. Opportunities: Franchises available throughout the United States. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Cash Required: $75,000. Training Provided: Yes. Home-based: Yes. SBA-Approved: Yes.
Interview with Chip Baranowski of Unishippers
Janine Ahlstedt's Unishippers Franchise is Strengthened by her Education, Experience and Drive
Janine Ahlstedt knows logistics. This go-getter franchisee lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she manages operations for Fort Lauderdale and Miami Unishippers; and Washington, D.C. Unishippers franchises including Bethesda, Maryland. But Janine’s industry experience didn’t start with Unishippers. For Janine, the logistics bug started biting in college.
A Missouri native, Janine attended the University of Missouri, Columbia where she studied marketing and logistics. That’s right - logistics. In college Janine was vice president of the American Marketing Association. The advisor for the group was a professor of marketing and logistics. He took Janine under his wing, gave her credit for working as his teaching assistant and encouraged her in pursuing logistics as her course of study.
Janine not only studied logistics, she worked in logistics at Consolidated Freightways in the billing department. “It was the best job during school,” Janine recalls. “I got paid teamster rates, which was a lot of money for a college student. I only had to work one shift a week to earn what took my peers a week to earn.”
After completing an MBA at Rockhurst College, Janine didn’t miss a beat. The same college professor that put her on the logistics path helped her secure a position with a food wholesaler that eventually was bought out by Super Value Foods. Janine coordinated the truckload transportation from the vendors to six New England divisions. “It was my job to get the product delivered to our warehouses at a cheaper rate than the vendors offered,” says Janine. “I was able to save the company several hundred dollars per shipment.”
Before jumping into Unishippers, Janine had a successful run at Airborne. For two months she worked as a telemarketer, then moved to an outside sales position. After a year and a half, she was promoted to district sales manager in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eighteen months later, Janine decided it was time for a change of scenery. She moved to San Diego in 1997 where she worked six years for Dan Lockwood as a shipping consultant.
“Working for Dan was great,” says Janine. “I started as a sales rep and then was promoted to sales manager as he acquired more franchises. By the end, I was managing sales for 5 franchise territories and 10 sales reps.” Janine helped her franchise win the Top Gun award for three consecutive years.
Bethesda, Maryland was the first franchise Janine purchased in 2002, which achieved top DHL growth for that year. She employed an office manager, a shipping consultant and a part-time billing associate. In March 2004, she purchased Manassas, Virginia and hired two more shipping consultants and another office employee.
In April 2005, Janine combined efforts with Jerry Solomon and David Gaines. She moved to Ft. Lauderdale that September to manage sales for the pair in Florida. Most recently Janine purchased the D.C. West franchise, which includes Fairfax and Loudon Counties.
“Owning my own business was something I always wanted to do,” remarks Janine. “My dad owned his own business, and I knew I would follow the same path.”
Janine’s energy and drive extends into her personal life as well. She loves to run and goes on daily morning runs with her dog before work. She has run several half marathons and has finished a full marathon as well.
“There is nothing like setting a personal goal and accomplishing it, in business or your personal life,” says Janine. “Just to know that your blood, sweat and tears go into your own pursuits makes it all worth it.”
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