ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the spring and summer of 1983, Con-way Freight opened its doors as the newest entrant into the recently deregulated U.S. trucking market. Employing a union-free business model that empowered employees to deliver exceptional next-day service, two regional less-than-truckload (LTL) start-up carriers were founded: Con-way Western Express, with 11 service centers and 120 employees in California, Arizona and Nevada; and Con-way Central Express, with 68 employees across 11 service centers in seven states of the Midwest. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130306/MM72405LOGO) Collectively, on their first day of business, the two carriers handled some 150 shipments. All were delivered on time the next day. "Con-way started with a concept that was revolutionary at the time — deliver every shipment every day. Nothing sat on the dock," recalled Ed Conaway, who is one of 27 employees across the country celebrating 30-year careers with Con-way. He started as a service center manager in Sacramento, Calif., and today is the company's senior vice president of sales. "Thirty years ago, our employees set the standard for fast, reliable service, and went the extra mile to deliver for our customers on that first day of business," said Greg Lehmkuhl, Con-way Freight's president. "Today, we have 21,000 employees who continue to go that extra mile and strive to uphold those exceptional service standards that their predecessors introduced three decades ago." That 30-year journey included the founding of two other regional LTL carriers, Con-way Southern Express in 1987 and Con-way Southwest Express in 1989, dozens of expansions, the creation of thousands of jobs in hundreds of communities, and a "start from scratch" LTL growth story unparalleled in the industry.