Mister ‘P’ on the success of Mister ‘P’ Express
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - This is the time of year when many of us pause to give thanks. That is something the founder of Mister “P” Express says he does every day.
Allan Parnell, more famously known as Mister “P,” started his trucking company, Mister “P” Express, in Jeffersonville 35 years ago. He calls his life a Cinderella story.
At 87 years old, Mister “P” still comes to the office every day. As the Chairman of the Board, he always wears one of his custom suits.
“I always said if I become successful, I am going to have nice things,” Parnell said.
He said that stems from where he started, growing up in Central Kentucky.
“When I left home, we didn’t have electricity or running water,” Parnell said.
He went to the University of Louisville while working the assembly line at GE. He eventually became president for two trucking companies.
Then at 52 years old with $50,000, he went out on his own.
“I said to my wife, I’m getting too old to do this,” Parnell said. “I’ll start my own company. We started in a house with a couple of trucks sitting outside and three trailers.”
He had to take a side job as a licensed auctioneer.
“There for a time it didn’t look like we would make it,” Parnell said.
He made the decision to stick with the trucking company.
“73% of everything moved in the United States is moved on a truck,” Parnell said.
His daughter, Cindy Collier, went to work with him at the start. She’s now the President and CEO. Collier’s daughter now works for the company too.
“Payroll at that time might be $8,000 a week, now it’s half a million,” Collier said. “So, it’s quite a difference.”
Going from two trucks to 250 trucks, Mister “P” Express hauls products all over the country, for UPS, GE, and Kentucky Bourbon.
“I come in here a lot on weekends, Saturdays, Sundays,” Parnell said. “I just come in drive around and I see all these trucks.”
All have the word “Eternity” on the back of the trailer for other drivers to read, and he hopes, think about.
When he couldn’t find truck drivers, he started a driving school. The Department of Transportation certified them to give Commercial Driver’s Licenses.
“I have enough drivers to fill all my trucks, and it’s the result of the school,” Parnell said.
Anyone who wants a CDL can go to this school, which has a simulator. He said the best part of the success is giving to others.
In 2022, he says Mister “P” Express will have donated nearly a million dollars.
The Lindsey Wilson College named their stadium after the Parnell Family.
“From rags to riches, that’s what we are,” Collier said.
Parnell also provided a piece of advice for other entrepreneurs.
“Today is the day to start to do something,” Parnell said. “You can’t do anything about yesterday. Go for it. And have faith.”
Parnell charges $4,500 for someone to get their CDL at his school, but not up front. He said he asks for a $500 deposit, and if someone can’t pay that, he will let them wash trucks to get the money to pay for it.
When they get their first job, they pay him back over time. He said he wants to give everyone a chance to make it.
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