Entrepreneur always seemed like a funny word. Just say it in your head.

People
often claim to be an entrepreneur. Many like to tell other people that
they are entrepreneurs – "you seem like one heck of an entrepreneur!"
one might say at a fancy dinner, a softball game or at the local
lemonade stand.

By and large though, we all tend to forget to
recognize what these business people who operate as their own business
do for our financial system.  Entrepreneurs
are the foundation of any small business. In turn, small businesses are
the strength of the economy at the state and local levels. Here’s an
opportunity to mention a select group of Californians who were
recognized by FedEx as "Entrepreneurs of the Year."

Bruce Eucce Transportation, Ventura

When
Bruce Eucce Transportation began contracting with FedEx Ground in 1988,
the company’s goal was to invest in one or two work areas. Twenty-one
years later, the business, which is owned by Bruce Eucce, consists of
seven work areas and multiple vehicles and drivers to service them. In
addition, the business includes a driving school.

Bruce Eucce Transportation prides itself on securing new business and fostering a sense of teamwork among its employees.

Richard Kasaine, Santa Rosa

Entrepreneur
Richard Kasaine owns a business that includes six PSAs, seven vehicles
and seven drivers who offer excellent customer service and who strive
to operate accident free in Santa Rosa, California.

In the
station, Richard is known for the close relationships he has developed
with FedEx Ground managers, sales representatives and customers.
Carrying a business shirt and tie, Richard arrives at the station,
meets and dispatches his drivers, then changes his clothes so that he
can accompany FedEx sales team members to customer sites.

Gary Martin Trucking, Sacramento

As
a child, Gary Martin of Gary Martin Trucking, wanted to own his own
trucking company. At the age of 18, Gary began working in the industry
on the dock. Several years later, he entered into a lease agreement
with a trucking company. In 2001, Gary Martin Trucking became a FedEx
Ground contractor. Today, the business includes four tractors and six
drivers who operate three assigned runs.

Gary believes that
great employees make a business thrive. "I’ve always done whatever I
can do to not only hire, but also retain the best drivers possible," he
states. "I have a modern fleet of trucks, which I upgrade regularly. I
buy top-of the- line equipment and pay well, which makes the job for my
drivers rewarding. In return, I get a lot of loyalty from them."

Ed’s Transportation, Oakland

Edwin
Zhao, of Ed’s Transportation, ensures his nine employee drivers can
answer any question a customer has about the FedEx Ground and FedEx
Home Delivery service offerings.

He believes that first
impressions are long lasting, so he maintains an immaculate fleet of
six vehicles and makes sure his drivers are well groomed and wearing a
clean uniform each day. Most importantly, Edwin places a high value on
common courtesy and asks his drivers to extend it to everyone.

James Spencer can be reached at jspencer@publicceo.com