When clothes donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army are too torn and frayed to be sold, they're recycled in bulk.
That's where Les Quillet comes in.
The 59-year-old Pasadena man and two partners founded Evan Transportation Inc. in 2004. The Baltimore-based trucking company's top cargos include shipping containers filled with the clothing and other recyclables.
The firm's 45 drivers pick up the giant bales of clothes — as well as steel, cardboard and other materials — and deposit them at a processing center to be compacted, then haul them to the port to be shipped to recycling centers abroad, Quillet said.
Evan Transportation, which also offers van transportation and other services for clients such as Domino Sugars and Safeway, has felt the recent increase in the port's container business from the larger container ships now traversing the expanded Panama Canal. Contrainer traffic swelled nine percent in the second half of 2016 and eight percent in the first quarter of 2017
"Ten years ago, our port business was 5 percent of our business," Quillet said. "Today, it's probably 45 percent of our business."
Quillet, the son of a trucker and a moving company manager, has worked in transportation for 40 years at an array of companies, all of them in Baltimore. After graduating from Northeast High School and Anne Arundel Community College, he took a job as a warehouse manager at Global Van Lines, an international moving company, in the mid-1970s. There, he oversaw shipments of military service members' household items to and from their deployments.
Quillet's subsequent jobs involved heavy machinery and farm equipment shipments through the port, as well as truck, container and trailer leasing, he said. When his last employer was bought out by an investment banker, he and his partners saw a chance to start their own company.
Being entrepreneurs gave them the ability "to control it and work with local customer base here in Baltimore," he said.
Decades of experience and contacts in the industry served him well, Quillet said.
"We've made a lot of connections here through the years," he said.
The port has struggled to keep up with the growth in containers, and turnaround times for truckers hauling freight in and out have exceeded the one-hour goal, officials acknowledge. To accommodate the growth in container traffic, the state spent $55 million on 70 acres of land at Point Breeze Business Center on Broening Highway for the Seagirt Marine Terminal — the port's first expansion in 30 years.
"Obviously, it's huge, because there's so many more containers coming," Quillet said. "All those additional containers — it's companies like myself that have the opportunity to handle those."
"As the port grows and the super-ships continue to come," he added, "I only see Baltimore continue to grow."
co-founder and vice president, Evan Transportation Inc.
Education: Anne Arundel Community, Northeast High School
Family: Married with three children
Hobbies/interests: Playing golf, fishing, rooting for the Ravens and Orioles