Central Freight Lines announced its founder, William Woody Callan, was inducted into the Texas Transportation Institute Hall of Honor. Callan becomes the 33rd member of the Hall of honor, which was established in 2000 by the TTI, a member of the Texas A&M University System, to recognize individuals who played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation.
Callan founded the company in 1925 with a Model-T truck and built it into the largest intrastate regular-route common carrier in the nation, employing more than 4,500 people and serving 1,200 Texas cities and towns. He retired as president of the company in 1952 and served as chairman of the board and was active in transportation and community affairs until his death in 1988.
He worked tirelessly to improve the freight industry, working with the Texas Legislature to develop regulations to protect the public from abusive rates and improve industry safety standards. Central Freight’s Dallas terminal housed the first under-the-floor towveyor system and, at one time, was the largest privately owned freight terminal in the world. During World War II, Callan served as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Transportation Corps, organizing the storage and movement of supplies and equipment throughout the United States.
“If I were to describe Mr. Callan in one word, it would be “visionary,” says Gary Thomas, retired vice president of safety, compliance and training for Central Freight Lines. “Over the course of its 86 years of operation, third and fourth generations of families have made their careers at Central because of the vision of Mr. Callan. We have several employees that have been with us for over 50 years that carry a certain pride and work ethic that plays a large role in training and developing our younger generation of workers. I know that if Mr. Callan was with us today, he would be very proud of the company he created almost a century ago.”