Sometimes, a leap of faith and patience are all someone needs to succeed.
Such is the case for Central Diesel Services, LLC., owner Taft Ealy, who has been the owner of Central Diesel for four years.
He recently acquired Commercial Fleet On-Site Services, Inc., in Little Rock after working there 16 years ago.
“I graduated high school in 1998,” Ealy said. “A guy came to the school, asking if we wanted to make $80,000 a year. My ears perked up. Long story short, I took his offer up and went to this national auto diesel trade school.
“I graduated from there and went to work for a friend of mine and got some training. I kind of jumped around to get some experience here and there. I then went to work in the oil field. The oil field had its ups and downs. We lost our contract and got laid off. That’s where I decided to start my own business. That was 2013.”
Ealy’s wife Shaneil Ealy said the timing for going on his own was not great.
“When he said he was going out on his own, the timing was horrible,” she said. “We just had a new baby and just bought a new house. He said he was going out in faith. I asked him what he was talking about.
“The timing was not the best for me, but he took a leap of faith and here we are four years later. He has two full-time employees and just acquired another shop in Little Rock.”
Taft said it wasn’t always his plan to own a diesel services business, let alone, two businesses.
“As a kid, I had a different goal,” he said. “I didn’t plan for this, but it worked out.”
Before working the oil fields, Taft worked for Commercial Fleet and was promised the company one day.
“Back in 2004, I was working for Commercial Fleet, which was a start-up company,” Taft said. “I was the owner’s first guy. I worked for him for four years and left to go work at the oil fields. The whole four years, I was promised the business would always be mine.
“You always hear people say that, and it’s hardly brought to reality. Just last year, he was ready to retire at 68 years old and we were fortunate to buy his business from him. Now, we’re running two companies.”
Taft said there are now nine people on payroll, with five in Conway and four in Little Rock.
Taft said he is planning to expand to the Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville area soon.
“We’re shooting for a year to go up there,” he said. “We’re going to try to do something the first of 2019.”
Taft said the company does a variety of repairs.
“We do diesel repair, and we do roadside service repair,” he said. “If a truck breaks down on the highway, we’ll go out and fix it on the side of the road. We have service trucks. We do a mixture of stuff.”
Shaniel, who has been by Taft’s side through all of this has been encouraged by Taft’s hard work.
“Coming from a wife’s standpoint, seeing someone come from high school like Taft – someone who knew they weren’t going to college – knowing they wanted to get a trade and make a career,” she said. “He went to diesel tech school for a year, and now, is an owner of two great businesses. He started as a diesel tech and now owns two businesses; we hope that can inspire someone.”