It is the late 1950’s, Dwight Eisenhower was president, the war was finally over, the music still had meaning and the opportunities for bright, ambitious, enterprising young men and woman were abundant. Jack Conahan Sr. was one of those young ambitious men. After reading a magazine article about a very new form of transportation called airfreight, Jack saw his future, not only for himself, but also for his future generations. With the love and support of his wife Mary, they began a small business.
Equipped with only a station wagon, a dream for his future and a lot of ambition, Jack began a company called Central Airport Taxi. It was not a sophisticated business but one of dedication. Jack would pick up packages from the Hazleton Municipal Airport and then deliver them to the businesses and residents around the area.
By 1971 Jack’s vision had grown. The company was now known as Central Air Freight and he had a fleet of six trucks. Today the growing company employs 52 people and the fleet has grown to 30 trucks, anything from cargo vans or straight trucks to tractor-trailers all air-ride equipped. The equipment doesn’t stop there, it has also grown to include lift-gates, pallet-jacks and many other special services that are needed to insure the quality service that their customers have learned to depend on. Quite the journey for a man with a dream.
Over the years, Jack patiently cultivated the business, overcoming many milestones along the way. He obtained the authority to serve the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Now the company not only serves that facility but also airports in Allentown (ABE), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), Wilkes-Barre / Scranton (AVP) and Williamsport (IPT). In 1979, Central Air Freight became incorporated.
Though Jack passed away in 1980, his dream still lives on through his children. Jack and Mary had five sons: John, Bob, Pat, Thomas, and Dan. They also had a daughter Mary Ann. These children work long and hard to ensure that the long-sighted dream of this humble man continues, not only to endure the times but also to thrive and grow. Through the sweat there is dedication and love that bonds this family to strive for the long running success and continued growth of the company.
Pat reflects fondly on thoughts of his father seeing a future in airfreight that at the time no one else saw. All of Jack’s children speak with a pride in their hearts about the dream and determination, not to mention the courage that their father showed in starting this dedicated family business.
Indeed, Central Air Freight is more than a family business; it is the family. “We have all worked in the business for as long as we can remember,” recalls Bob. “I can remember being nine years old and working with my father and brothers.” Danny remembers that his father wanted the business not only for him, but also for his children, and he involved them daily.
In 1983, the Conahan’s moved to a larger office located on Peace Street in Hazle Township. The company has since grown beyond its humble roots of Hazleton. In 1996, Central Air Freight established an additional office in Allentown Area in order to more effectively reach some of the metropolitan areas where the firm does business.
The fact that Central Air Freight has grown so dramatically does not mean that the Conahan’s have forgotten about their roots. They stress that no job is too big or too small. Central Air Freight is often called upon to transport some of the Hazleton Area staples around the country. Whether it is a few dozen boxes of Senapes pizza, Third Base hoagies, Tastykakes, auto parts, exercise equipment or even a swimming pool. Central Air Freight is up for the job.
The Conahan’s work diligently each and every day to make this business flourish through dedication and satisfaction to their customers and their community. Whether it is a major piece of heavy equipment going overseas, comfort food to a child in college or involvement in community activities.
Employing a business forged by family ties, dedication and built on the timeless ambition of their father. This dedication has proven itself recently when Central Air Freight became recognized and accepted as a preferred carrier providing top-rate service within their local service area.
In 2007, CAF built a new facility off of the Arthur Gardner Parkway on the outskirts of Hazleton, PA. This state of the art cross dock facility is located one mile from Route 81 & 80. The terminal has over 20 dock doors, 35 internal/external cameras, and keyless entry.
After the construction of the Hazleton facility, management consolidated the Allentown operation into Hazleton. This gave CAF tremendous competitive advantage over our competitors.
Due to the strategic location of the facility, many of over the road trucking companies drop freight and have CAF provide final mile delivery to their customers.
In addition, the single model terminal gives us the opportunity to handle freight less, resulting in lower claims and damages. Most importantly, the single terminal operation has increased driver and dock productivity, operational efficiency and dramatically reduces operating costs.
The Conahan’s would also like to recognize not only the family’s dedication, but also the dedication of all past and present employees who have all helped to make Central Air Freight grow and flourish. They will continue to provide all customers with the dedication and professional service that they have grown accustomed to.
With Central Air Freight, it’s not just business; it’s a family tradition.