Hall of  

Charles Grier Beam (Jan. 15, 1906 - March 20, 1992)
Inducted 1992
   Born January 15, 1906, in Lincoln County, NC, Charles Grier Beam was the son of farmer and small agricultural businessman, Charles and Nancy Carpenter Beam. He built a one-truck firm into a national trucking leader.


 Junior Achievement
   In 1923, C. Grier Beam bought a used Model T Ford with money he had saved from raising cotton on a small patch designated by his father.
   After high school, Grier worked on the farm and at a cotton gin. He worked while going to Weaver Junior College (now Brevard College), graduating in 1929. He enrolled in North Carolina State University and graduated in 1931 with a degree in animal husbandry and poultry science.
   Grier found work with a pultry producer in Hillard, Florida. But with the Depression continuing, he soon found himself out of work and returned to Lincolnton. Grier found a used truck for $500 and bought it with his father's help. In winter 1933, Grier and part-time drivers began hauling anything that would pay — rocks, furniture, agricultural products, coal for the Lincoln County School System, etc.
   In spring 1934, Grier took a government job helping unemployed textile workers earn a living by planting crops. James Homesley was driving their truck, while Beam was working at his job. When Beam lost his government job later than year, he bought out Homesley's share of the business.
   Grier set up his office for Beam Trucking Company at his brother Guy's Shell Service Station in Cherryville. He got his first major contract with Cross Cotton Mills of Marion, NC, to haul cotton yarn to New England, with return loads of roofing, beer, candy and canned goods.
   In 1937, Beam Trucking Company was reorganized with other investors into Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation, merging Beam Trucking, Mauney Transfer and another Cherryville trucking firm. 
   Grier's brother Dewey became an investment partner in the new corporation in 1938 after Grier had bought out his previous partners.
   In 1940, the Interstate Commerce Commission ruled the transportation rights of Mauney Transfer to New England routes were not valid. Carolina Frieght appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court and won.
   In 1963, Carolina Freight made its first public offering of stock. That began three decades of expansion by the firm into the Midwest (1966) and  western New York. Company revenues exceeded $50 million in 1969. 
   C. Grier Beam relinquished the firm's president role in 1970 with company annual revenues of more than $60 million — one of America's top 20 general freight carriers. Grier remained chairman of the board.
   In 1971, Carolina Freight was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Revenues hit $100 million in 1975, but the company reported its first operating loss. 
   The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 enacted by the U. S. Congress changed the highly regulated trucking business, and Carolina Freight expanded across the Sun Belt to the West Coast with acquisitions and new routes.
   After Beam's death in 1992, the company was acquired in 1994 and headquarter operations moved from Cherryville.



  Industries    Laureates    Contact Us    Home    Support   
2004 Copyright. CommunicationSolutions/ISI for web site and content.
Junior Achievement of the Carolinas, Inc.
is the sole owner of the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame