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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 6, 2015 4 years ago

Global reach

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You don't need to be close to a big port or cargo airport to manage logistics. Just ask Allen Trevett, the CEO of Allyn International in Fort Myers.
by: Jean Gruss Contributing Writer

Fort Myers doesn't have a deepwater port like Tampa or a cargo freight airport like Miami's. And flying overseas often means connecting through a larger U.S. hub like Atlanta.

But Allyn International proves that you can successfully manage an international logistics business from just about anywhere. The privately held firm in Fort Myers has 230 employees scattered in offices around the world, from Prague to Shanghai and Moscow, who manage logistics for companies ranging from small to Fortune 500 conglomerates (for privacy reasons, Allyn doesn't disclose the names of its customers). That employee count includes about 80 people at its headquarters in Fort Myers, in an unassuming office complex behind a bagel shop on McGregor Boulevard.

But the operation promises to grow further: Allyn recently acquired the former Northern Trust building on College Parkway in Fort Myers for future expansion. Annualized sales grew from $11.7 million in 2013 to $17.1 million last year, a 46% increase.

At the helm of this global enterprise is Allen Trevett, a former executive with General Electric who launched the business by shipping cars out of the Port of Tampa from a tiny office in nearby Ybor City in 1992 with business partner Julie Willard. “It was never a great money maker,” Trevett chuckles about the car business.

The company's headquarters moved to Fort Myers in 1995 and has since grown to include services such as tax management, supply chain consulting, global logistics sourcing and transportation management. For many of its customers, Allyn is the shipping department. “We move freight on behalf of customers all over the world,” Trevett says.

Trevett moved to Fort Myers in 1986 from his native Upstate New York when General Electric established a back-office operation here. At the time, Trevett managed taxes for four different General Electric businesses, including many issues related to international trade. Willard, who died in March 2008, also worked at General Electric in Fort Myers before forming Allyn with Trevett.

The two longtime General Electric employees had developed a wide network of contacts over the years with the corporate giant that helped them land new clients. Trevett estimates that 70% of sales now are logistics with the remainder evenly split between trade compliance and tax management.

Allyn has created its own software to manage the complexities of shipping everything from 100-foot wind-turbine blades to Holland to supplying oil rigs in the North Sea and delivering emergency supplies in Bangladesh. Customers are involved in industries ranging from energy to health care, plastics and trucking. “The diversity on a global basis has helped us,” says Trevett. “It smoothed out the bumps.”

Trevett says the firm has been fortunate to find qualified employees in Fort Myers, either training them here or attracting them from other areas of the country. “We've had phenomenal growth,” he says.

Follow Jean Gruss on Twitter @JeanGruss

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