William Woody Callan, founder of Central Freight Lines (CFL), has become the 33rd member of the Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI) Hall of Honor.
Established in 2000 by TTI, a member of the Texas A&M University system, the Hall recognizes individuals who have played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation.
Callan founded Central Freight Lines in 1925 with a Model-T truck. He grew the company until it eventually employed 4,500 and serving 1,200 Texas cities and towns as an intrastate, regular-route common carrier. 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 1987.
“If I were to describe Mr. Callan in one word, it would be ‘visionary,’” said 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.”
Callan worked with the Texas legislature to help develop regulations to protect the public from abusive rates and improve industry 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, the company said.
“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,” said Thomas. “I know that if Mr. Callan was with us today he would be very proud of the company he created almost a century ago.”
Callan served as a Lt. Col. in the Army Transportation Corps during World War II, organizing the storage and movement of supplies and equipment throughout the U.S.