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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. 

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.

JA Frate's terminal in Crystal Lake, IL, circa 1988

: 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

: First Memorial Trailer Dedicated

The first Memorial Trailer is dedicated to LCPL Jonathan W. Collins, a resident of Crystal Lake who was killed by enemy action in Iraq.

The First JA Memorial Trailer for LCPL Jonathan Collins

: JA Fleet Services was created

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

JA Fleet Maintenance Division

: JA Frate customers kept asking us to deliver

Our customers requested our high level of customer support and quality service nationally to support our local Chicagoland offerings. Our JA Nationwide division began partnering with vetted carriers to extend our reach throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This division offers standard freight shipping alongside oversize loads, drayage, transload, specialty flatbed and more.

JA Nationwide Freight Broker

: 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

: McHenry County Memorial Trailer Dedicated

A second Memorial Trailer is dedicated to all McHenry County KIA service personnel over the past 10 years. The trailer received a new heat-treated wrap in 2019 that should keep its vibrant colors for several years.

The Second JA Memorial Trailer for all McHenry County KIA Personnel

: Jill Jennings-Dinsmore named President

Having worked alongside her father Doug for over 15 years, Jill took over after previous president Joe Alger retired. Jill's background in Risk & Compliance ensures our promise of the highest levels of safety remain true well into the future.

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.

1202-Rt-31-Building

: Crystal Lake Terminal Expansion

We built a new section for our terminal that connected the main cross-dock to a heated warehouse and maintenance shop, allowing us to separate and transfer freight between buildings more easily. This also added 1,200 sq ft of additional dock space, 8 dock doors and streamlined our repair bays.

JA Frate expands Pyott Rd Terminal

: JA Receives Two American Legion Awards

We received the Illinois State Employer of the Year Award and the National Certificate of Appreciation for medium-sized companies from the American Legion on Sept. 7, 2018. Read more about it.

JA Frate received two American Legion awards

: Warehouse Expansion at McHenry Headquarters

Our headquarters received a new 46,000 sq ft expansion that officially opened in March 2019, bringing the building to 96,000 total sq ft. Check out the space.

Distribution center and warehouse expanded in 2019

: Lake County Memorial Trailer Dedicated

A third Memorial Trailer is dedicated to the Lake County KIA service personnel over the past 20 years.

JA Frate's Third Memorial Trailer

: JA Receives Uline’s 2019 Carrier of the Year Award

In May 2020 we received the 2019 Carrier of the Year award from Uline for outstanding performance and dedication to Uline and their customers. Read more here.

Jill and Doug Jennings with the 2020 Uline Award

Our Story

From our founder, Doug Jennings:

"In the early 1970s, I worked for a computer tape company in Huntley, Illinois, and could not find a transportation service to accommodate our need for dependable, same day freight shipping in and out of O’Hare Airport. So, when a shipment required next day delivery, I loaded it into my 1967 Saab station wagon and drove it to the airport after work myself.

"I knew that other local companies had the same challenges, so I took a chance 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. A year later, I added a van and bought my first straight truck for my growing business.

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

We outgrew our home-based offices by 1979 and built our first terminal in Crystal Lake, Ill.

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 in-house fleet maintenance department.

In late 2014, we doubled our office space and consolidated several divisions under one roof at our new headquarters in McHenry, Ill. We expanded that building in 2019 with an additional 46,000 sq ft for our warehousing and distribution division.

Our Team Our Community

Doug Jennings JA Frate Founder

Doug Jennings, Founder