Meet Vince Santiago of the Transportation Club of Tacoma. He’s a great representation of family, business, and our community. Vince loves fishing and grandchildren and that is a great combination for him.
Since 1926, the Transportation Club of Tacoma centers on building bridges within the transportation industry while at the same time serving Tacoma and Pierce County communities through our charitable work. The TCT is made up of hundreds of professionals in the transportation industry, those who regularly use transportation services for their livelihood, as well as people who have an interest in local and global transportation and logistics. Membership includes diverse companies large and small including: railroads; steamship lines; trucking companies; warehousing and distribution; cold storage; terminal managers; coffee roasters; paper manufacturers; confectioners; freight forwarders; commercial real estate; banking; consulting; and education.
Vince and his business VETRANS joined the Transportation Club of Tacoma in 2009. He served on the Board Of Directors as Treasurer in 2011 and 2012; 2nd VP in 2013, 1st VP in 2014, President in 2015, and Immediate Past President in 2016. VETRANS was named the Transportation Club of Tacoma’s 2016 Company of the Year. Vince was named the Transportation Club of Tacoma’s 2018 Person of the Year.
I met Vince as a member of the Transportation Club of Tacoma. He and his wife, Celine, joined my wife, Peg and I for dinner some time ago. We talked about trips to Tuscany and food. It was a very relaxing evening with plenty of laughter and camaraderie.
Vince was born in Vallejo, California in 1960. His parents still live there. Vince’s big moment of change came in 1979. He married his sweetheart Celine, they had their first child (Dominic), and Vince joined the Marine Corps. Their second child arrived in 1981 (Adrianna).
In the marines Vince gave five years of service (1979-1983) as a as Data Systems Analyst (Highest rank = Sergeant) and six years of service (1983-1989) in the United States Marine Corps as a Logistics Officer (Highest rank = Captain).
In and out of the service, Vince kept learning. He has a BA, Business Administration-University of Washington (December, 1985); graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He didn’t stop there, but continued on with an MBA, Strategic Management-Peter F. Drucker Management Center, Claremont Graduate School (January, 1995); graduated with honors, Beta Gamma Sigma.
I like Vince’s sense of humor. He told me about having lunch in a restaurant. Nearby there was a table with five women all speaking Spanish . . . complete with comments about Vince. When he finished his lunch he walked by their table . . . nodded and smiled . . . and wished them all well in Spanish.
Vince believes in volunteering and is active in many roles, from the Catholic Church (Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lector, and Catechism teacher), coaching and board service to youth sports (baseball, basketball) and maintains a relationship with the military (Boots to Shoes-Mentor: 2008 – 2018, United States Marine Corps Support Group-2008-present; Board Of Directors (2017-2019)), as well as political involvement (Chair Of The Board Of Directors-Washington Economic Development Finance Administration (WEDFA) – Appointed to WEDFA’s Board of Directors by Governor Christine Gregoire in December, 2011. He assumed the responsibilities of Vice Chairperson in September, 2015. In October, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Vince as WEDFA’s Chair).
There is a plaque on the wall in Vince’s office reminding him of his Marine Corps service. His office is open to the rest of his staff. VETRANS is a family run business. Although, it thrives and hard work, there is a very friendly atmosphere. Here is what Vince has to say about VETRANS:
“In 2005, I wrote a business plan to start a brokerage and trucking company from scratch. I reviewed it with a number of contacts I had in the transportation industry. Everyone thought it was a good plan.
In 2006, I left the corporate world to start the brokerage (VETRANS LLC). Celine and I truly started it from scratch. We had no customers or revenue for our first two months. I still remember the first load we sold. It was a load of soil from Superior, MT to Gig Harbor. It paid $525. We paid a bee hauler named Sean $500. When we got the check, I wanted to frame it. Celine said, ‘Heck no. You can take a copy of it. We need that money!’
We were blessed with growth. In 2011, we started our trucking company (VETRANS Logistics Services, Inc.) because we needed some captive capacity to support our brokerage customers. We started with two trucks and currently have eight trucks.
Both the LLC and the Inc are focused on the full truckload flatbed sector of transportation.
Our companies’ values reflect our Christian values. We never do anything that is unsafe, illegal, or immoral. We believe in giving back and support educational, law enforcement, and veterans’ causes, in particular. VETRANS founded and sponsors the Marine Corps Support Group’s Richard L. Bianchino MECEP Book Scholarship.”
VETRANS loves to hire honorably-discharged veterans as drivers.
Vince and Celine love landing new clients . . . almost as much as they do landing a big fish.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.