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WHEN THE BALKAN ROOTS UNITE: A Bosnian and a Serb in Chicago run one of the biggest trucking companies together!

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Far, far away somewhere in the ‘’Balkan’s powder keg’’ countries, where Serbs and Bosnians, although closely knit that they can’t be any closer, still eye each other with weary and contempt, arguing over the smallest nonsense, and are continuously fueled with memories of the past war by the politicians who have been profiting from human discord for decades.

However, here in Chicago, two capable and successful guys, Nermin Bedak and Nikola Parlić, jointly run one of the largest transport companies in the Midwest, Kavkaz Express, whose fleet of over 600 trucks and vans drive daily in 49 of the US states.

Nermin is from Tešanj, Bosnia and is the is the chief operative of the company.  He is in charge of the business, insurance, security and company expansion. Nikola who is from Niš, Serbia, is the assistant general director for brokerage and extraordinary affairs as well as the company’s head of direct negotiations with clients.

Together, the two form a fantastic team that ambitious owners, originally from Russian Dagestan, Caucasus region, have quickly recognized benefits of this duo and have prompted them to take the next step towards building a transport empire.

And they were not wrong …

When there is a system in place, there are no worries

Today, “Kavkaz Express” is one of the largest and most promising companies in this part of America, with offices in Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, Denver and San Francisco; the annual turnover of capital is measured in tens of millions of dollars, and thousands of tons of goods that are transported daily.

AMERICAN DREAM: Nermin was born in Bosnia, he became successful in USA

The Balkan people, here in America, are hardworking and ambitious, probably because there is a value system that respects individual’s work and quality of it, which sadly is not the case in the countries we come from

-Nikola and I have been in this business for some time, we have gained the necessary experience and now we use it to the maximum of our ability in order to help our company achieve better results. The advantage is that we understand each other well, not only because of the common language but also because of the same mentality. The Balkan people, here in America, are hardworking and ambitious, probably because there is a value system that respects individual’s work and quality of it, which sadly is not the case in the countries we come from, Nermin points out.

Nikola shares the opinion and adds that the people from the former Yugoslavia get along very well and cooperate in a country where everyone is allowed to have and work towards their own dream.

– Nermin and I are just a case that confirms the above said … There are a lot of examples of people from former Yugoslavia who work together, establish companies in partnership, there are even cases where the partners fell in love and got married. Here, what divides us in the Balkans is quickly forgotten, those common traits come to the forefront; here in America you quickly realize that you have no one closer or better to identify with than with each other, Nikola states.

FROM NIŠ TO CHICAGO: Nikola found himself in the transportation business

There are a lot of examples of people from former Yugoslavia who work together, establish companies in partnership, there are even cases where the partners fell in love and got married. Here, what divides us in the Balkans is quickly forgotten, those common traits come to the forefront; here in America you quickly realize that you have no one closer or better to identify with than with each other

There are people from all backgrounds that work for “Kavkaz Express“, so they often jokingly say that they are like the United Nations. The international team consists mostly of people from the Caucasus and Russia, followed by those from the former Yugoslavia.

– People from the Balkans and the Caucasians are quite similar in mentality. We are both quite diligent, dedicated when it comes to work, and we are also very sociable, therefore the company functions in perfect harmony and the positive energy is evident.  This company is an example of how by starting from ground zero and working really hard you can reach the top.  Eight years ago, Ruslan Ross Shamanov set off with a single truck. He worked so hard that in the next 24 months the company grew to a fleet of 45 trucks. In 2015, he was joined by Eldar Edi Itliashev, they combined their abilities and the result is a fleet that today numbers over 600 trucks of all kinds, Nermin points out.

What connects Caucasians and the people from the Balkans

Like Nikola and Nermin, Ruslan and Eldar arrived in America in search of a better life, ready to take their destiny into their own hands.

– Most likely this is the reason why we Caucasians and us from the Balkans understand each other and function well in business. There are few chances for newly arrived immigrants to make it in America, but when the opportunity arises it should be acted upon without hesitation. Ruslan and I started as truck drivers, we didn’t know what was waiting for us but we braced ourselves for everything that would come our way, even failure. We made sure that we learned something from every situation we were in and we worked hard to perfect it, Eldar Itliashev, co-owner of “Kavkaz“, remembers his beginnings.

-When we were forming the management team of “Kavkaz Express”, we put emphasis on diversity by incorporating new voices, opinions, and approaches of people from different origins. -When we were forming the management team of “Kavkaz Express”, we put emphasis on diversity by incorporating new voices, opinions, and approaches of people from different origins

Driving across America, Eldar and Ruslan met people from all parts of the world which in turn helped them expend their views.

-When we were forming the management team of “Kavkaz Express”, we put emphasis on diversity by incorporating new voices, opinions and approaches of people from different origins. In such an environment, Nermin and Nikola managed to apply their experiences, education and skills, therefore the management positions were extended to them as a reward for their hard work and for what they brought to the company. We are trying to create an environment where a team player has an opportunity to prove himself and get a leadership position that is followed by an appropriate salary increase, Ruslan Shamanov points out.

Both co-owners, Ruslan and Eldar, loudly praise the two man from the Balkans, and consider them as the key people in their management team:

-Nermin is in charge of all company operations, decisions and leadership. He revised the company’s structure, operating costs and applied new incentives to all employees, increasing efficiency and profitability. Nikola on the other hand is in charge of the logistics side of the business, as well as obtaining new accounts and forming strong partnerships. He also created a new marketing and operational strategy and found clients across the country who know how to appreciate the advantages and quality of our services.

People come first, then everything else

“Kavkaz Express” is a company that offers transport, brokerage, storage, truck and trailer repairs, parking lots, tire sales and much more. With them you can drive anything you can think of (Dry Vans, Reefer, Open Deck, Hook & Drop, Auto Hauling, Sprinter Van, Straight Box Team), and as their biggest advantage is the fact that they emphasize priority access to all brokerage loads that come directly from clients.

YOUNG AND EXPERIENCED: International team of “Kavkaz Express”

We have successfully secured the company’s position simply with honest business practice. We have a different approach and strategy compared to other companies

They also transport goods for some of the largest global corporations, such as Amazon, UPS, Fedex, that in turn is a guarantee that there is always enough of work available, both for those who want to drive local and regional routes and get the chance to spend more time at home, as well as for those who prefer ‘’over the road’’ routes  and want to earn more.

-We have successfully secured the company’s position simply with honest business practice. We have a different approach and strategy compared to other companies, which is a matter of approach rooted in our Balkan mentality. We are truthful with our clients and do not promise what we cannot fulfill.  Furthermore, we are absolutely transparent towards our drivers and owner operators. The biggest problem that drivers face in this business is that they do not know how much they will be paid for the tours they drive.  We solved this dilemma so that our drivers receive the original confirmation by email as soon as the tour arrangements are made. Not only that, but they know all the costs and prices at all times, and all our drivers can count on a discount for maintenance and repair of trucks and trailers (Terminal stretched across 12 acres in Gary, Indiana), tire purchase and parking, Nikola Parlić points out.

He adds that “Kavkaz Express” adheres to the golden rule in its business – “Treat others the way you want them to treat you.”

GOOD ATMPOSPHERE KEY TO SUCCESS: At “Kavkaz Express” they have employees from all over the world

We offer company drivers 70 cents per mile and guarantee between 3,500-4,500 miles a week. Job security and the best prices are the reason why a large number of new drivers want to join us every day, and the already employed drivers stay with us because they are satisfied

-We place emphasis on having new equipment, trucks and trailers, in order to ensure safety and timely delivery of cargo. We offer company drivers 70 cents per mile and guarantee between 3,500-4,500 miles a week. Job security and the best prices are the reason why a large number of new drivers want to join us every day, and the already employed drivers stay with us because they are satisfied. Although six very turbulent years in the transport industry are behind us, thanks to our strategy we have managed to ensure constant growth without compromising ourselves on any grounds, points out Nermin Bedak, who at the end of this story invites all compatriots from the former Yugoslavia to call if they are looking for a job as a driver, dispatcher, safety manager …

-Our door is always open to all those who are hardworking and ready to learn and be part of the team. Contact us at (312) 219-9976, we are waiting for you!

You can find more information about “Kavkaz Express” at  https://www.kavkazexpress.com/

Written by: Antonije Kovačević

Foto: Kavkaz Express

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