An ACT News Executive Interview with Vic LaRosa, President and CEO of Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), Los Angeles, California
When he is not running the day to day operations of one of the largest drayage industry trucking firms on the West Coast, Vic LaRosa finds time to enjoy a favorite hobby, fly fishing. His passion for the environment stems from peaceful days spent in pristine locations, casting his fly rod. He follows catch-and-release ethics, and is dedicated to preserving all fishing waters.
As the President and CEO of TTSI, Vic brings that sense of environmental responsibility to the workplace, with a company commitment to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. TTSI takes being a good corporate citizen to heart, reducing truck emissions in the communities they work in, as well as creating a healthy workplace for staff.
Vic founded TTSI in 1986, to provide a wide range of national and international freighting services, based on customer relationships and wanting to make a difference in the drayage and trucking industry. He enjoys the success of TTSI, measured by how much he continues to enjoy what he is doing.
TTSI has a reputation of being one of the more forward-looking and adaptable trucking companies in Southern California. ACT News caught up with Vic LaRosa to learn more about how TTSI continues to innovate by remaining on the cutting edge of transportation technologies.
ACT News: How do you foster innovation at TTSI?
Vic LaRosa: When we committed to the zero-emission transportation pathway, all the technology companies who are manufacturing in the alternative fuels sector sought us out. At TTSI, we’ve all learned about alternative fuel technologies, sustainability, and why reducing emissions from diesel matters. We are committed to the environment. We have a Director of Compliance and Sustainability, which has been very fruitful for TTSI, as they’ve been able to focus on what new technologies are emerging that we should incorporate.
We talk to everybody in the company. Customers, drivers, and everybody in between. TTSI has developed internal programs based on communicating with all our people.
We’ve made a very large commitment to the new natural gas engines from Cummins Westport, and renewable natural gas (RNG). All the trucks we’re spec’ing have the Cummins 11.9 liter near-zero engine. Natural gas is a quiet, comfortable ride for the drivers. And it’s so much better for the environment.
That said, we’re agnostic to technology. We’ll try any of the new emission-reducing technologies. We’re testing battery and fuel cell technologies. TTSI is heavily committed as a company to embrace any new technology, anything that will make the trucks run cleaner. We have to run the company with the most cost effective and practical solutions there are.
ACT News: What are three words to describe TTSI?
Vic LaRosa: Sustainability, customer service, California compliant.
ACT News: How would you describe your workplace culture?
Vic LaRosa: We are proud of our family culture, we have a very loyal work family at TTSI. In the port drayage trucking industry there can be a lot of turnover. When people leave I ask them why, so we can learn from their experience at TTSI. I always tell them they are welcome to come back. We’ve seen a large percentage of the people who leave return to TTSI. This includes customer service staff, dispatchers, and drivers.
ACT News: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
Vic LaRosa: I really enjoy meeting with our customers, both current and new customers. I like learning about their business, sharing ideas and best practices, and determining how best TTSI can help them grow their business.
Customers are the reason we are in business; their satisfaction is our work. Every customer is treated as if he or she were our only customer. From the initial contact to final freight disposition, our desire to please is paramount. We earnestly aspire to this goal every moment of every day.
ACT News: What do you find the most challenging at TTSI?
Vic LaRosa: Driver retention, something the entire trucking industry finds challenging. Our drivers are at the heart of our operations, and we are dedicated to treating them as such. We are 100% California Compliant and our drivers enjoy benefits, hourly and piecemeal wages, digital logs, and an exciting driver training program that takes a driver from zero experience to ready to hit the road with confidence.
ACT News: Before TTSI, what was the most unusual or interesting job you ever had?
Vic LaRosa: Back in the mid-seventies, I worked in Seattle for a company that was instrumental in the construction of the Alaska pipeline. We built all the pumping stations. We managed the procurement of goods, and assembled products that were dispatched from Seattle up to Alaska. We used every type of transportation mode in existence, including over the road trucking, marine – lots of roll on roll off, rail, and air. It was a fascinating project.
ACT News: What advice would you offer to young professionals interested in pursuing a similar career path?
Vic LaRosa: You will always work in this industry. People have to move goods, moving freight is a key part of the supply chain, we see continued growth in the industry. People tend to stay in the industry their entire careers. Becoming a trainee in a management program is a good place to start. Be creative and go after the opportunities that are out there.
Vic La Rosa, President of TTSI, discusses newest-zero trucks in this ACT News article
“TTSI has now been testing the new CWI natural gas engines since last year and have found that they work terrifically,” said Vic LaRosa, President of TTSI, in May 2018. “We have run the trucks hard – in and out of the ports for long hours in all kinds of conditions – and have had no issues. TTSI is committed to going above and beyond what we can towards a more sustainable future and transitioning to renewable natural gas has made it easy.”
TTSI sister companies Heavy Load Transfer, LLC and West Group Logistics, LLC set up a booth at the California Trucking show to meet new drivers and see the latest and greatest in trucking!
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – May 8, 2018 – Six trucking firms operating in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are deploying trucks powered by Cummins Westport (CWI) near-zero ISX12N engines, and fueled with Clean Energy Fuel Corp.’s (Nasdaq: CLNE) Redeem™ brand renewable natural gas (RNG) in an effort to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the ports and surrounding communities.
The project’s goal is to introduce this ultra clean technology, which is 90 percent to 99 percent cleaner than existing port trucks, to the port drayage industry. This project aims to inspire greater interest in near-zero RNG trucks, particularly with the incentive funding that California is providing to help truckers transition to this clean technology. Near-zero trucks are also one of the strategies for reducing emissions from trucks under the ports’ recent update to their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).
“The realization by trucking companies that they need to do something to meet the upcoming and anticipated stricter emissions requirements in California is beginning to settle in,” said Greg Roche, Clean Energy’s vice president of sustainable trucking. “Fortunately, there are many ways to take advantage of grants and other resources to make the transition to the new engine technology and clean RNG virtually painless. We applaud these first-movers in being leaders in doing their part to make the air we all breathe cleaner.”
The California Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District provided funding for 20 near-zero Class 8 trucks. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach provided funding for two additional near-zero trucks. The first four near-zero trucks have been successfully operating since mid-2017 and an additional four have been operating since February 2018.
“The California Energy Commission is pleased to have supported the deployment of near-zero emissions trucks powered by Cummins Westport’s advanced engines with our partners, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Clean Energy,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “Demonstration projects, like those being carried out by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, help show there are viable cleaner, more sustainable freight technologies available today and highlight the role these technologies can play as the State transitions to zero and near zero emission technologies to help achieve federal air quality standards and the state’s greenhouse gas goals.”
Project participants include Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), 4Gen Logistics, Orange Avenue Express, CR&R, NFI Interactive Logistics and Pacific 9 Transportation.
The ultra clean CWI engines achieve the lowest emissions of any heavy-duty engine used in any truck in North America, yet deliver diesel caliber performance with reliability and durability.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified these engines in December 2017 at CARB’s optional low-NOx standard of 0.02 g-NOx/bhp-hr, 90 percent lower NOx emissions than the current EPA NOx standard. In fact, the new engines were tested as low as 0.01 g-NOx/bhp-hr, achieving virtually zero tailpipe emissions. Factory production of ISX12N engines began in February and they are soon expected to be powering many more trucks on California roads.
“TTSI has now been testing the new CWI natural gas engines since last year and have found that they work terrifically,” said Vic LaRosa, President of TTSI. “We have run the trucks hard – in and out of the ports for long hours in all kinds of conditions – and have had no issues. TTSI is committed to going above and beyond what we can towards a more sustainable future and transitioning to renewable natural gas has made it easy.”
All these trucks will be fueling at Clean Energy’s network of California stations with Redeem fuel, which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70 percent versus diesel. RNG is the cleanest fuel for trucking today, with some GHG sources even reducing GHG by over 100 percent.
Pacific 9 Transportation will soon deploy 20 other RNG-powered trucks in addition to their grant-funded ultra low-NOx trucks.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach enacted the latest version of their CAAP in November 2017, which adopts far reaching strategies to further reduce air emissions and support California’s vision for more sustainable freight movement. Part of the CAAP could dramatically change the makeup of the 16,000 heavy-duty trucks that move in and out of the ports. The CAAP envisions transitioning the current fleet of port trucks to clean trucks through a new set of provisions that will begin to be implemented this year.
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. is the leading provider of natural gas fuel and renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel for transportation in North America. We build and operate compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas stations (LNG) and deliver more CNG, LNG and RNG vehicle fuel than any other company in the U.S. Clean Energy sells Redeem RNG fuel and believes it is the cleanest transportation fuel commercially available, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%. For more information, visit www.CleanEnergyFuels.com.
Renewable Natural Gas Power at the port of Los Angeles with Cummins Near-Zero emissions engines. Vic La Rosa Jr., equipment and safety coordinator for Total Transportation Services, Inc, discusses the engines' power, impact on the environment, and the future of trucking at the Port.
GPS Your Future! A program designed to prepare and inspire high school students for college, career, and life. Partnered with ITEP (International Trade Education Programs) and California State University Dominguez Hills, our own Tony Williamson and Tonya Stanley are on it's the Board of Directors. The event was held over the weekend, where we had a booth setup for TTSI.
Real-world application of the new CWI ISX12N engine as it makes cargo deliveries in and around Southern California. Watch as it speeds up the steep grades of the Grapevine, and as it moves cargo from the ports, along the 710, out to the Inland Empire, and learn about the driver’s experience with the newest, cleanest, most powerful natural gas engine technology. TTSI currently has a fleet of over 225 of these trucks. TTSI sister company, Heavy Load Transfer, is showcased in this video.
The environment is important to us, and this is one of the many ways that TTSI is staying California Compliant.
TTSI would like to recognize AQMD for its generous help in funding the engine technology development.
Today two articles came out discussing the near-zero emission trucks technology deployed at the Port Complex (Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach). These trucks are using ultra-clean renewable fuel and provide an immediate solution to achieving clean air where it's needed most. Part of the Clean Air Action Plan formed in 2006, TTSI has been on the leading edge of green truck technology from the beginning.
The renewable natural gas the trucks are using is “an ultra-clean and ultra-low-carbon natural gas alternative made from the methane that is captured when waste from food scraps, animal manure, sewage and other organic sources is broken down, captured and refined. RNG has the lowest carbon intensity rating of key transportation fuels when comparing the well-to-wheels greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions of various fuels in heavy-duty trucking applications,” per ACT News.
"TTSI has now been testing the new CWI natural gas engines since last year and have found that they work terrifically. We have run the trucks hard — in and out of the ports for long hours in all kinds of conditions — and have had no issues. TTSI is committed to going above and beyond what we can towards a more sustainable future and transitioning to renewable natural gas has made it easy." Says TTSI president Vic La Rosa.
"The Port of Los Angeles is looking to open a container staging facility on a parcel of property right in the middle of Terminal Island, home of the nation’s busiest containerized cargo terminal...
...The project is being undertaken in concert with a consortium orchestrated by entrepreneur and investor Jonathan Rosenthal, the CEO of LA-based financial planning company Saybrook Capital and chair of board for drayage company Total Transportation Services."
- Excerpt from American Shipper. Read the full article