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: Jennings Air Frate was born

Jennings Air Frate was created when Doug Jennings, a Wabash Magnetics employee, needed same day air shipping service from Huntley, Illinois to O’Hare airport. At that time, there was no Fed Ex, UPS did not handle air shipments, and USPS handled air but not same day. Doug began providing this service for his company and soon realized other companies must need the same service. Doug left Wabash Magnetics to pursue this opportunity.

JA Frate Is Born

: Jennings Air Frate was incorporated

JA Frate was incorporated and the name was shortened from Jennings Air Frate. Services were expanded from air freight to include ocean freight and LTL with same day and next day delivery.

JA Frate Is Incorporated

: Broke ground to build the first terminal

Groundbreaking for construction of the first terminal on Factory Road in Crystal Lake, Illinois, happened in 1979. Drivers, mechanics, friends and family all pitched in to make room for the additional equipment and “modern” offices.

JA Frate Breaks Ground to Build the First Terminal on Teckler Blvd in Crystal Lake.

: Broke ground on our second terminal

In the Fall of 1988 we broke ground on our second terminal on Pyott Rd. in Crystal Lake, expanding JA Frate from 4 dock doors to 30 and 2 truck repair bays to 6. The new terminal was completed in April 1989.

: Second building was built on the Pyott Rd

A second building was constructed on the Pyott Rd property as the demand for long and short-term warehousing grew in the late 1990s. Later modifications increased the number of cross-dock doors as well as doubled maintenance bays.

Second Terminal at Pyott Rd. for JA Frate

: Joe Alger named President

Joe’s natural energy and enthusiasm for the customer shined in his role as JA Frate Sales Manager for many years, and in 1996 Doug named Joe to lead the team. Joe's answer of “Yes” continued to open new opportunities for the future.

Joe Alger Is Named President of JA Frate in 1996

: JA Logistics was born

The demand for warehousing continued to increase. Doug and Joe purchased a second warehouse in McHenry, Illinois and formally incorporated the JA Logistics division in August 2001.

JA Logistics Division Began in 2001

: JA Frate customers kept asking us to deliver

Build terminals or build collaborative partnerships? JA Nationwide was created as JA Frate customers continued to request the level of customer service nationally as they had come to rely on locally. JA Nationwide qualified and partnered with quality carriers to extend the JA reach throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. JA Nationwide’s negotiated volume discounting, commitment to managing the load from beginning to final mile created value that was passed along to our customers in both rate and time savings.

JA Keeps Growing with New Division JA Nationwide in 2006

: JA Fleet Services was created

JA Fleet Services was created when a JA customer with a small fleet of owned tractors asked if the JA Frate maintenance department mechanics could do a repair for them. After completing that repair, the customer eventually asked JA to handle all of their small fleet’s preventive maintenance and repairs.

JA Fleet Maintenance Division

: JA Frate named “Top Small Workplaces Winner”

JA Frate named “Top Small Workplaces Winner” by The Wall Street Journal. View the Winning Workplaces Report.

JA Frate 2008 Winner

: JA Logistics begins offering international freight forwarding service

Doug’s dream of servicing the world was finally a reality as JA Logistics expanded to include international freight forwarding to fulfill the growing need for import/export transportation to McHenry County and beyond.

JA Logistics International Shipping

: Jill Jennings Dinsmore named President of JA Frate

Jill Densmore Named President of JA Frate

: JA Corporate Headquarters

In late 2014, we expanded to double our office space and to consolidate several divisions under one roof as well as increase warehousing capabilities in McHenry, Illinois while retaining the main truck terminal in Crystal Lake.


: JA Celebrates 45 Years in Business

Doug Jennings JA Frate Founder

The story of JA by our founder, Doug Jennings…

In the early 70’s, as the Manufacturing Manager for a computer tape company in Huntley, Illinois, I could not find a transportation service to accommodate our need for dependable, same day freight shipping in and out of O’Hare Airport. As a result, when a shipment required next day delivery, I loaded it into my 1967 Saab station wagon and drove the shipment to the airport after work myself.

I knew that other local companies needed reliable freight shipping to and from the airport. Because I had already started a delivery service, I took a chance and left the security of my full time job in 1971 to start my own company, Jennings Air Freight. Operating out of my home, I began regular delivery service to and from O’Hare Airport for Wabash Tape and other companies. A year later with a growing business, I added a van and bought my first straight truck.

Jennings Air Freight operated initially under the authority of another carrier as I worked to secure our Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) license. After three years, three full days of hearings in front of the ICC in Chicago, and the testimony of our satisfied customers, Jennings Air Freight was granted its ICC license.;

In 1976, I added our first full-time employee and by 1977 our services had expanded from same day and next day delivery to include ocean freight and less than truckload (LTL) services. That same year, I incorporated the company and shortened our name to JA Frate.

JA Frate outgrew its home-based offices by 1979, and with the support of friends, family and employees, we built our first terminal on Teckler Blvd/Factory Road in Crystal Lake, Illinois. To meet the demands of our continued growth, we built a larger terminal in 1989, and in 1993 we added a warehouse and expanded our fleet maintenance department. In late 2014, we expanded to double our office space and to consolidate several divisions under one roof as well as increase warehousing capabilities in McHenry, Illinois while retaining the main truck terminal in Crystal Lake.