Robert “Bob” Miller says he couldn’t find a better place to live or work than coastal Georgia, where he feels blessed to toil as president and chief executive officer of Brunswick-based International Auto Processing Inc. and has been known to whack a golf ball or two.
In an interview with the American Journal of Transportation, the auto industry veteran and native Detroiter unassumingly discusses the unmatched merits of the Port of Brunswick, his company’s decades of success, its partnership with the Georgia Ports Authority and the value of empathy to customer service.
How important is being located at the Port of Brunswick to International Auto Processing Inc.?
Being at the Port of Brunswick has made all of the difference.
It’s in the right place. The port is located in the perfect place to serve one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States – the Southeast. We estimate that over 20 percent of the U.S. population is within a one-day truck drive from here in Brunswick.
Second, there’s lots of land. IAP leases and owns 256 acres of paved, fenced, lighted, island-secured property, and we’re talking to the GPA [Georgia Ports Authority] about obtaining additional property.
The Port of Brunswick has three car berths and a fourth planned. It’s being designed right now.
The Colonel’s Island Terminal, where IAP is located, 40 years ago was just an island of woods. Then they developed a small part of it for a grain terminal and, in 1986, IAP came to GPA and said, ‘Let’s put a car terminal on here.’ So we’re in our 30th year of operations.
We’ve got two Class I railroads – CSX and the Norfolk Southern – that serve the island via the [Genesee & Wyoming] short-line Golden Isles Terminal Railroad.
The longshore [International Longshoremen’s Association] workers are among if not the best in the country. They are regularly complimented for their quality handling of customer vehicles. In fact, there are times when a customer is here that the longshore workers have been known to pull off to the side of the road, get out of the car, shake their hand and thank them for their business. It’s just incredible.
And our IAP employees – we’ve just got a great, great team of employees. We’ve got upwards of 250 full-time employees, and there are 50 to 100 whom we employ on a daily basis. Some of our full-time employees have been here from Day One, almost 30 years ago.
And it’s a great community. The residents, the businesses, the chamber of commerce, the development authority, all of the organizations in Glynn County seem to be proud of the port and what it means – the jobs and dollars it brings.
This is a tourist destination for visitors from all around the world, and the community has a warm welcome for everybody, including us and our customers.
Last but not least, we like to think of our relationship with Georgia Ports Authority as a partnership. We understand that they’re the landlord and we’re the tenant, but we think it’s more of a partnership. We’re in it together, and we succeed or fail together.
I don’t think you could ask for a better place to live and work, and a car manufacturer probably could not find a better place to import and export vehicles.
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