Red Cap Transport & Distribution Center is a third generation steel storage and transportation company located in Metro Detroit and Cleveland. The environmentally aware company is partners with Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV), a non-profit that promotes environmentally conscious decisions in an industrial environment. Although the second generation still runs the company, Patrick Cusmano and his two brothers and cousin are working hard to learn everything there is to know about the business.
“We’ve done everything from loading trucks, to dispatching, to working cranes, to running a high-low [forklift],” said Patrick. “I have never driven a truck on the road, but my little brother has his CDL, so every once in a while, he’ll get out there.”
Patrick also prepared for his role at Red Cap Transport & Distribution Center by going to school. He did his undergraduate work at Michigan State, then earned his MBA at Wayne State University. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about what it’s like working in the family business.
DTE Energy covered 50 percent of the energy-efficient
light installation cost and our bill has
decreased $800 per month.
Tell us about Red Cap Transport & Distribution Center? What kind of business is it?
“Back in the ’50s, my grandfather and his partner started this business with just two trucks. Over the years, we have grown to be a company that encompasses a little over 100 trucks. Red Cap does heavy haul transportation and warehousing. Primarily, it’s steel products, a lot of which are automotive. Basically, you have large steel companies all over the Metro Detroit area that make steel, and we are one of the links in the supply chain that will move the steel back and forth. If they overrun a product and they need to store it for a time before they can run it into a part, that’s another aspect of what we do.”
Can you share with us a major challenge your business faces? How do you overcome it?
“Anytime you’re dealing with trucking, one of the major concerns is the logistics. There might be a problem at drop-off; you never know. We have over 100 units running around picking up 80 to 150 shipments every single day. It can get complicated. We have GPS tracking on all of our trucks and we have a very communicative staff — we’re always in constant contact with our drivers. The guys and the girls in the office are our greatest asset; they are incredibly good at what they do. They are the ones who do all the coordinating and all the communicating, and that’s quite a task.”
Red Cap is an energy-conscious company that has worked with DTE Energy to reduce its footprint. In what ways has DTE Energy helped you?
“We had all of our office lights replaced with the new energy-efficient LEDs. When we had the work done, DTE Energy offered a rebate on them, so it cut down on our costs significantly. DTE Energy covered 50 percent of the energy-efficient light installation cost and our bill has decreased $800 per month. I’ve even had them come out to do that for a house of mine before. They come and give you a bunch of light bulbs, and check all your windows and doors and show you ways you can cut down on your energy bill. They’re a good company.”
What do you love most about your business Red Cap? Why do you have such a passion for it?
“I love the challenge of working in a dynamic industry that not only rewards efficiency and technological innovation, but is the backbone to the national economy. I enjoy working with a diverse group of drivers who are all from different backgrounds and take a great deal of pride in what they do. And I love being involved in a family business that works hard to do things the right way with integrity.”
Support a local Detroit business and your fellow business owner:
Red Cap Transport & Distribution Center
Address: 1725 Miller Road, Dearborn, MI 48120
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visit CBS Small Business Pulse Detroit.