On Saturday, June 19th, more than 500 members of the TanTara Transportation family of drivers, mechanics, clients, family and friends gathered for a 40th anniversary celebration at the company’s headquarters in Muscatine, Iowa. Guests enjoyed a catered dinner by Overlook Ballroom, followed by music and dancing to the band, Big Time Grain CO.
The evening also marked a very special personal occasion for the Riggans: June 19, 2021, was Mike and Diane Riggan’s 45th wedding anniversary.
“Diane has allowed me to do what it takes to transform TanTara into the company it is today,” said Mike Riggan. “She did a lot of the home front work so I could do what was needed to make this business a success.”
The couple married in 1976, five years before Mike started trucking. At the time, Mike had been in the feed business for several years after completing his U.S. Army service in 1973. After realizing that his interest was more in delivering the feed than the other aspects of the business, Mike bought a truck in 1981, starting what would become TanTara Transportation a few years later — named after the couple’s two daughters, Tanya and Tara.
Milestones Upon Milestones
There’s a lot more to the story of TanTara’s 40-year history of growing from one trucker to 115 employees. According to Mike, much of the company’s success centers on the great employees who have become like family and client relationships that have stood the test of time.
“We’ve been very fortunate over the years to have great employees,” said Mike, noting that the company has celebrated the 20-year anniversaries of several drivers. Several other longtime employees have retired from the company in recent years. He says that has been possible due to their investment in quality equipment and excellent maintenance.
“TanTara trucks have all the bells and whistles — stereos, fridges, air conditioning, air ride cabs— so drivers can be comfortable,” Mike said, admitting he likes chrome and flash on his own trucks. “It’s quite a difference from back when I started, when trucks didn’t have AC or any kind of suspension for a comfortable ride.”
Mike notes several company milestones over the years, including his start with and management of R.L. Garrett, an agent agreement with Slay Transportation since 1989, and the acquisition of KKD Enterprises in 2001.TanTara’s customer base still includes many customers who have stuck with them over the years, including Musco Lighting, Monsanto/Bayer, Hon Industries, Alcoa/Arconic, and Central Steel & Wire, among many others.
A Bright Future
TanTara is set for expansion, with a rebuilt office space and work beginning on major additions and upgrades to the maintenance facility and its equipment. In addition, Mike said the company continues to look at further diversification and business development to add trucks and go beyond flatbed, refrigerated and van freight.
“But we never lose sight that we are truckers, picking up and delivering freight. When we tell customers we can do something, we do it. Customers appreciate that,” he said.
And speaking of appreciation, Mike is grateful to his wife and family for their support throughout the years, but he doesn’t hesitate to express gratitude for the employees and the customers.
“We’ve had so many loyal employees over the years, and some of our customers have stuck with us through thick and thin, too.”
In recognizing his family, Mike gives special thanks to Jeff Riggan in Facilities and Equipment, David Riggan in Human and Community Relations and Matt Hubbs in Business Development. General Manager Randy Van Zee has also been key as a mentor to his sons and Matt, who will one day take over TanTara and carry on the company’s quality transportation services and family atmosphere.
TanTara has been growing since 2009, and the current team has what it takes to keep up with the rapid changes of the economy and freight trucking industry.