How we started 

DeGreve Oil change
2125 53 St
Moline, IL 61265

DeGreve Oil Change
1618 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

DeGreve Oil change
3560 N Brady St
Davenport, IA

1305 5 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Pratt's Antiques
125 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Main St Antiques
114 E Main St
Aledo, IL 61231

Conner Co
PO Box 888
East Moline, IL 61244

Kimball Cleaners
308 SW 5th Ave
Aledo, IL 61231

Williams Studio
New Windsor, IL 61465

Andalusia, IL 61232

Hideaway Plastics
1801 17 St
PO Box 379
Viola, IL 61486

Deer & Co Credit Union
3950 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2018 4 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Walcott Trust & Savings Bank
101 W Bryant St
PO Box 108
Walcott, IA 52773

Mississippi Laser
7700 47 St
Milan, IL 61264

Gless Brothers haul liquids cross country
Blue Grass trucking firm also includes tank wash

After World War II, W.W. "Bill" Gless revived Gless Bros. Trucking with one truck, hauling livestock, rock and salt. Today the company has about 85 tractors and 130 trailers and specializes in hauling liquid products out of three terminals. In addition, Gless Bros. maintains a 23-acre site outside of bluegrass where they have established a thriving tank-cleaning business.

BLUE GRASS -- Today, almost anywhere you go on the road in the United States, and even many places in Canada, you can see the familiar white-on-red trucks of the Gless Brothers Trucking fleet. The Blue Grass-based hauler's tractor-trailers travel about 7 million miles throughout North America every year, though its beginnings in Blue Grass seven decades ago were humble.

When the town of Blue Grass was founded in 1853, the main modes of transportation were stagecoaches, buggies and wagons. As more and more people settled in the Mississippi Valley and Scott County, the muddy roads were joined by railroads as movers of people and goods. But when the railroads stopped serving Blue Grass in 1934, trucks gained a new importance.

W.W. ``Bill'' Gless founded Gless Bros. Trucking with his brothers in the mid- '30s, but he had to begin again after his service in World War II interrupted the company's growth.

After the war, Mr. Gless started over with one truck, hauling livestock and rock, salt and other loads for companies, such as Cargill.

Gless Bros. incorporated in 1972 with Mr. Gless taking on his nephew Steve Berger, and Rich Powell as partners.

At the time, the company had three tractors and nine trailers, and it hauled a bit of everything.

After Mr. Gless died in 1977, Mr. Berger and Mr. Powell gradually bought the stock from his widow. Eventually, Mr. Berger's stepson Casey Colvin became a third partner in the firm.

``We've grown to have 85 tractors and 130 trailers,'' said Mr. Berger. Today, the company, which grosses between $11 million and $12 million annually, has more than 100 employees. Its trucks do strictly liquid tank hauling of products from corn sweeteners to alcohol, liquid chemicals, acids and caustics.

``We specialize in hauling hazardous materials,'' said Mr. Berger. In 1996, Gless Bros. began the move from its original location within Blue Grass to a spanking new facility just west of town. The 35,000-square-foot, 23-acre site houses corporate headquarters and offices, maintenance and the Blue Grass tank wash.

``We waited long enough to build the new facility so we could do it right,''

Mr. Berger said.

The new and much larger tank wash is an important facet of Gless Bros. The company established its public tank wash in 1982, cleaning thousands of tank trailers -- many from outside haulers who bring their equipment for cleaning, allowing them to transport a wider variety of substances.

The new facility is designed for maximum efficiency and future expansion of both food-grade and chemical commercial tank cleaning. Gless Bros. has two satellite terminals, one in Ottumwa, Iowa, and the other in Chicago. A third terminal soon will be operational in Washington, Ind., but Blue Grass will remain the focal point of the operation.

-- By Catherine Guy

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.