College students help company find success


TAMPA - When Vernon Oswald was contemplating a move from Tampa to Port St. Lucie, he wanted to use a local moving company rather than a national carrier to transport his household belongings.

He searched the Internet and found Strong College Students, tagged the "Movers with Knowledge."

When he investigated further, he learned its workhorses are University of South Florida students, whose employees, Oswald surmised, would be physically and mentally up to the rigorous task of loading, transporting and unloading his furnishings the same day.

And when he contracted the company, he said it did not prove him wrong.

"It was an exhausting move, but because they are 20-year-olds in very good shape they did a great job," Oswald said. "They were professional, their attitudes were great and the price even came in under what I thought it might be."

The company was founded in 2005 by Shaun Robinson and Scott Bedell, USF roommates who had difficulty trying to help a friend find someone to unload a truckload of items they'd packed in the woman's vehicle prior to her cross-country move.

While Bedell is no longer with the company, Robinson, 28, a USF graduate, serves as its chief executive officer and oversees 24 part-time workers. Last year, the company booked close to 700 moves and so far this year, it has averaged about 75 clients per month.

July topped the chart with close to 90 customers. "Our biggest marketing tool is the Internet, and referrals are also huge for us," Robinson said. "Our brightly colored trucks also help. We usually get a call a day from someone who's seen the truck driving down the street." In 2009, Robinson was awarded USF's Outstanding Young Alumnus award. Joyce McKenzie

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