Honoring our Past
Investing in our Future
Service since 1958
The History of BR Williams
As told by Erin Brown Hollis / Grandaughter to Bill & Ruth Williams
It was a cold December morning. Most of the people of Oxford, Alabama rested peacefully in their homes nestled in the foothills of Mount Cheaha.
But not Bill.
Bill was already hard at work at his trucking company a few miles from downtown. In a small town, a man with a loving family and a simple life went after some big dreams. He believed that the passion God placed in his heart was a calling he just could not ignore.
Bill prided himself in creating a better life for his family by building a company from the ground up starting with only one truck and some lofty goals. His wife, Ruth, a schoolteacher, was his best friend and biggest supporter. She raised their two children while faithfully encouraging him in his quest at living the American dream.
On this particular winter morning, Bill was tidying up paperwork in his office when the shop behind him abruptly burst into flames. Terrified, he bolted out of his desk chair and hurried to the burning building. Without giving it a second thought, he rushed inside to save anyone who may have been trapped by the daunting wall of smoke. Bill never could have imagined the results of his heroic decision
When the paramedics arrived, they were stunned at Bill’s condition. His body had been burned from head to toe, but miraculously he was clinging to life. He was almost unrecognizable and his prognosis very grim.
Ruth arrived at the hospital and stayed by Bill’s side for two days as he fought with everything he had to survive. On the second day, Bill met the Lord.
Stricken with painful grief, Ruth struggled with the notion that she was destined to live life without her partner. Her best friend. The father of her children. On top of all of those things, the family business was now without a leader. She could have fallen to her knees and resigned herself to a life of bitter agony.
But not Ruth.
Ruth never blamed the Lord. She never questioned His divine plan. She stood strong in the face of tragedy and praised God for his goodness to her family.
Embattled, but not defeated, Ruth was determined to carry on the vision Bill had shared with her so many times before. She became laser-focused on honoring Bill’s memory by preserving his legacy. When he founded B.R. Williams Trucking back in 1958, his goals were not limited to simply offering goods and services to corporations. The BR mission was to serve others by sharing the love of Christ.
Ruth endured countless challenges along the way. Trained as a schoolteacher, you can imagine her expertise in the trucking world was quite lacking. She researched countless hours, invested in training and employed colleagues to assist her in her mighty quest.
It is worth mentioning that at this time (the 1960s) women were not considered appropriate leaders. However, this notion didn’t damper Ruth’s hopes one bit. She took the criticism and questioning of male colleagues in stride never batting an eye. Dressed to the nines and smarter than a whip, Ruth conquered the “man’s world” and paved the way for women to follow. (#BossLady)
Ruth struggled, sure. But at the end of the day she always found a way to thank God for His provision in her life. After years of challenges associated with raising her daughters as a single mother and running a business on her own, Ruth began to see the fruits of her labor. The company grew by leaps and bounds. In 1992 the time came for Ruth to pass the baton to an individual who had the wisdom and bravery to carry on the legacy begun so many years ago. She looked no further than her son in law, Greg Brown, and daughters Dee Brown and Kaye Perry who had grown up in the business themselves. This wise decision would take the company to heights Bill never could have imagined.
Ruth went to be with the Lord on December 17, 2011. Fatefully, the same month her precious Bill had gone so many years before. Her memorial service was full of people acknowledging her lifelong example of Christ’s love and perseverance. Precious people wept as they described the powerful impact she had made on their lives.
She made a powerful impact on my life, for sure.
Bill and Ruth were my grandparents.
Now, it was my father’s turn to take over the mighty helm of a growing empire. Faced with immediate decisions regarding expansion, my father chose to expand the company into the field of warehousing and logistics in order to diversify the opportunities available to BR Williams customers.
In 2008, the country suffered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Businesses all across the United States swiftly began laying off employees and shutting their doors.
Faced with line item sheets that would not balance, customers who were no longer able to afford services and corporate health care that was nearly unaffordable, Greg could easily have followed the norm and ended the B.R. Williams legacy.
But not Greg.
Greg stood up in the face of adversity trusting that God would see the company through yet another time of testing. It was through his leadership and faith in Christ that the company has continued to grow and serve others.
Rather than spending his free hours worrying over items outside of his control, Greg has placed a focus on community and created a camaraderie at B.R. Williams that is second to none. His concern for his staff family far exceeds any others and is the true driving force behind the company’s continued success.
Built on three simple themes: Honesty, Integrity, and Service (H.I.S.), B.R. Williams Trucking has become a leader in the transportation industry. Our company began as one man, one truck and one dream. Over the last 60 years, we have grown to a fleet of 165 satellite-equipped tractors and 625 air-ride van trailers, servicing the 48 contiguous states and Canada.
We are a freight company, LTL carrier, and long-distance over the road (OTR) trucking company headquartered in Alabama.
In addition to our trucking, we also offering warehousing opportunities. We currently have six facilities that are strategically located across the Southeast and we take pride in our clean, organized, state-of-the-art warehouses. With years of supply chain management experience, we can analyze your current supply chain and provide you with the best solution for maximizing your bottom line. We take pride in our 98% overall inventory accuracy and help our customers maximize their full potential.
To this day, we are proud to be known as a family of individuals pursuing one very distinct cause: excellence in Him.
It is our mission to provide excellent service, a welcoming environment and to leave a legacy of the hope found only in Jesus Christ.
Just as our story inspires me with the hope we have in Jesus, I pray it encourages you as well. Be strong and courageous. Be willing to lead and stand up for what is right. Never cower to those who try to undermine your divinely-inspired efforts. Fight for what matters in life and cling to the Hand that will see you through… Jesus Christ.
We are so proud to have served you for the last 61 years. It has been a privilege and an honor that we do not take lightly. With God’s guidance, we look forward to leaving a legacy that all things are possible through God’s grace. Thank you for being part of our family.