Since Joe Rumsey took helm of the cold storage company his grandfather founded, he has added an asset-based trucking company and a non-asset based brokerage company.
“This streamlines the process so our customers have just one company to go to,” Rumsey said. “Their product stays under the Zero Mountain umbrella, and we can ensure its safety.” Customers are largely regional poultry producers.
The company has 375 employees in five facilities and ships almost 3 billion pounds of food annually, with 33 million cubic feet of storage, including a limestone cave in Johnson that was converted for subzero storage.
The family business was dinner table conversation during Rumsey’s youth. He liked to work. At age 8, he started mowing lawns, and by age 14 he was throwing boxes in the warehouses.
After earning a business management degree at the University of Denver in 2007, Rumsey was an assistant general manager for an international pallet company, IFCO. As the recession kicked in, he would call home and ask his dad how things were going. Increasingly he disliked the answers.
“I knew working for the company was always open to me,” he said. “I was nervous but ready.”
The recession was in full swing when Rumsey returned and became operations manager. He quickly had to initiate layoffs. “It was the good people we’d known a long time. It was tough. I had to prove myself quickly.”
In 2011, Rumsey took over as CEO. Mark Rumsey, his father, remains chairman.
“My role is to be the conscious capitalist, taking care of buildings, people and customers so our employees can live happy lives, provide for their families and help care for the community,” Rumsey said.