This summer Comdata Inc. will celebrate a milestone, its 50th anniversary, along with the city of Brentwood. The company was born on July 17, 1969, just a few short months after the city incorporated.
Some might say a little ahead of its time, Comdata Inc. began as a shipment interchange program for the transport industry.
This load-matching network allowed companies that were already shipping loads from point A to point B to be able to find and transport another load back to point A again. However, two short years later the Interstate Commerce Commission asked the company to cease and desist.
Around the same time, employees of Western Union Telegraph company went on strike. Comdata Inc. saw an opportunity to provide a new, innovative product and service that would allow trucking companies to be able to get money to their drivers while out on the road.
This idea led to the creation of Comcheck and became the standard in the trucking industry that is still used today.
Founded by Curt W. Harter, the company has grown in the areas of technology and automation, while also focusing on the customer.
“Mr. Harter expected his people to be passionate about the business as he was, and he never failed to tell us what the purpose was,” Lynette Valentine, Director of Client Relations, recalled of the late founder.
“We didn’t just work for the money, we worked for a purpose.”
Over the decades, Comdata Inc. continued to grow its services to be one of the largest fuel card issuers and the second largest Mastercard provider in the U.S. and Canada. Offering a full range of payment solutions, AP automation and expense management for the trucking industry, fleets and corporations spanning across all industries of business.
Comdata Inc. moved its headquarters from Green Hills to Brentwood in 1989. In 2014, the company joined the FLEETCOR family of companies, which allowed them to reach new heights in innovation and service for its customers. Currently, the company employs over 1,300 professionals across North America.
Rick Fletcher, president of corporate payments, further explained Comdata’s focus.
“What Comdata really focuses on is commercial payments,” Fletcher said.
“We help companies make payments to whoever they need to pay, whether that’s employees, drivers in the field, their accounts payable and their key suppliers.
“We’re looking to help them make payments in efficient, reliable and secure ways at a low cost with the most benefit.”
Longevity with employment is something Greg Secord, Comdata North American trucking president takes great pride in accomplishing.
“I’ve literally been in the room for a meeting with three people alone who’ve had over 30 years of service with the company,” Secord said.
“In this day and age, how many companies are like that?”
In an interview, Curt Harter gave when Comdata celebrated its 25th Anniversary, he might have summed it up best: “I’d always believed in my heart that Comdata would be a great success. There was never any doubt. How could there be a doubt when such a team as you see here was assembled with such love, such dedication, and such determination? Success was inevitable!”
And these words still ring true today as the company celebrates its 50th birthday, just like the city of Brentwood.