J&M Tank Lines
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J&M celebrates 75 years in business

Feb. 13, 2023
Jimmie McClinton started the family-owned and -operated tank truck carrier in 1948 in Alabama with a $125 loan

J&M Tank Lines this year is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a family-owned and -operated trucking company.

J&M, now headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, was founded in 1948 by Jimmie McClinton with a loan of $125 from the Peoples Bank in Selma, Alabama. McClinton began with one truck, hauling primarily baled cotton and peanuts across the Southeastern United States.

In the early 1960s, Harold Sumerford, Sr., joined J&M as a bookkeeper/assistant manager at J&M’s terminal in Americus, Georgia, and quickly became a strong partner for McClinton. Following McClinton’s death in the early 1980s, Sumerford became sole owner of the company with more than 500 tractors and a variety of flatbed, van, and tank trailers.

Sumerford, Sr.’s sons, Harold Sumerford, Jr., and Peter Sumerford, later followed in their father’s footsteps in joining the business. Sumerford, Jr., started in the late 1970s and Peter began in the late 1980s, both working from the bottom up with stories of sweeping shop floors, washing trailers, and pulling nails out of flatbed tires.

“I am proud to be a part of such a massive accomplishment, for any company, but especially one my family has been a part of for so long,” said Peter, J&M’s president. “The work our drivers do every day to deliver on J&M’s promises to our customers is remarkable.”

Sumerford, Jr., and Peter assumed leadership of J&M following Sumerford, Sr.’s retirement in 2002. The brothers transitioned J&M to specializing in tanks, focusing on building a superior dry bulk company with customized services.

Today, J&M operates 450 tractors and 800 trailers at 11 terminal operations throughout Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas. Sister companies such as TransChem USA, Specialized Delivery Systems, and Sumerford Logistics also allow for a strong reach and quality service for customers and drivers alike.

“I often tell people, I feel like I have never been to work a day in my life, even after 40 years of service to this industry and J&M,” said Sumerford, Jr., J&M’s CEO. “I love what I do and take great pride in the success of our company.

“We have built our reputation on being first class and plan to uphold that image as we grow.”

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BT staff