Employee letter asks community of Paso Robles for help

With the push of a button, an email was sent to vendors of Michael Dusi Trucking (AKA Michael Dusi Logistics) describing the end of an era and egregious mismanagement by the “investors” who took over 18 months ago.

Paso Robles Magazine has used MDL for the better part of two years, and was treated with personal and professional service by Tommy Shults and others at the company before the closure. Michael Dusi, the namesake of the company, sold the controlling part of the company in 2018.

The shuttering of the trucking company came as a complete surprise to vendors, including Paso Robles Magazine — which now needs to quickly make arrangements for delivering the March 2020 issues to the readers of Paso Robles — but the text of the letter to vendors communicates a worse fate for those Paso Robles residents who now lost a host of head-of-household jobs and are forced to quickly find a new employer.

Following a morning of business as usual, the afternoon served a blow to the employees.

“We just found out this afternoon. We are devastated,” came one email response.

The failure of the company did not come as a complete surprise to all, including former employees who received less-than-stellar treatment with abrupt exits from the company.

“My dad worked for [the company] for 10+ years and had the ‘day off’ today and all he received was a text message letting him know the company closed. The truck drivers didn’t even get a one day notice,” posted another.

“I was part of the team up until this last June … they gave many promises of new horizons … investors promised from the very beginning that they were only here to help and that no employees would be sacrificed in this transaction, as our team was a dynamic group of individuals who worked their asses off every single day, including weekends and after hours, to ensure that every customer was taken care of in the most efficient and effective way possible,” wrote yet another.

*Editor’s note: those affected have asked for some anonymity in the process as they are all reeling from the sudden end of employment, and we are not yet releasing names of everyone involved who have been on record describing the turmoil.

The shuttering of services at MDL opens up opportunity for remaining trucking companies to step in and cover the miles and keep California moving. The CEO of local company Pacific Coast Transport, TJ O’Doan,

“MDL was a very worthy rival of Pacific Coast Transportation, Inc.. We were differentiated in the fact that their trucks work mostly on the production, storage, and truckload side of the wine industry while we perform the majority of our work in the distribution and direct to consumer temp controlled side of the supply chain. That being said we definitely cross-pollinated as top tier carriers competing in the industry. We’ve all learned a lot from each other as we rivaled for the top spot in the hearts of Californians serving the wine industry. Our mission remains the same; We will continue to bring the very best work and dedication to folks that support us and never stop giving back value to our clientele. In order to achieve our just cause of serving, we are interested in accumulating great talent that was just released into the marketplace and also serving more industry customers on the production and truckload side of wine transport. In order to help facilitate the unwind of MDL Transportation Services, We are committed to putting 10 to 20 trucks online immediately which will open our doors to 10 to 20 more jobs that may have been lost. The local customers will thereby have another option to keep their logistics programs in order and we will use their support to facilitate ‘calm’ in the marketplace. Anyone involved should go to our website WWW.PCTONLINE.NET right away and place employment applications and new customer set up forms because we will be processing them quickly in a first come first serve method. In closing, our hearts go out to folks involved in the blow up. Just know that there is learning, growth, and change during times like this, all of which are healthy. You’ll come out of the fog shining!”

-TJ O’Doan // CEO 
Pacific Coast Transportation, Inc.

The story below is a heart-wrenching narrative about the former employees, and we at Paso Robles Press hope that the community can rise to assist those who are immediately without work.

The following letter was authored by an employee at the company, and not reflective of all the employees that were noted as signatories to the letter when it was first released.*

From MDL’s email communication:

To Whom It May Concern:

We regret to inform you that Michael Dusi Trucking and Michael Dusi Logistics Warehouse, collectively known as MDL, will be shutting our doors effective immediately.

The saga of Michael Dusi Trucking and Warehouse companies is a long one and like all great sagas, whether good or bad, there must be an end. This one has been a very bad end. Many of the employees started with the company at the beginning or grew up seeing the big shiny Michael Dusi Trucks driving down the 101 or the 46 freeway. In the past year and a half, we’ve recruited new team members that uprooted their families to take an active role in transforming this company.  Every one of us took immense pride in being part of a company that has been a part of the fabric of Paso Robles, the Central Coast, and the entire wine community.

Unfortunately, the investors who came in to save the company were not the business-savvy personas they projected to all of the loyal employees. We were given the choice to ‘keep on trucking’ and pay our rent, mortgage, daycare, etc. to continue to live and work in this beautiful place, or leave. The employees that remained until today have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into trying to make this company work, and we were gaining significant momentum. As we were beginning to see the fruits of our long nights and lost weekends come to fruition, the investors and company leadership summarily departed to the East Coast without warning. Effectively, we have been left to close down the company with no guidance and no warning from our leadership team. We are very sorry this must end this way.

You are our community, you are our neighbors, and you are our friends. Our kids go to school together, we hit the same bars on Saturday, and ask for forgiveness for it in the same places of worship on Sunday. The last thing we want to do is end our 20+ years of service with you with a bad taste in your mouth. You deserve better and we deserve better.  We will be doing whatever we can to make this dissolution as painless as possible for you, our customers, our vendors, and our friends.

We will start by asking a favor. When our investors and current leadership threw in the towel, they left highly qualified talent with deep industry experience holding nothing but sand.  As the last remaining employees attempt to close down the doors our primary concern is for our team, our work family, and that they land on their feet. We will be providing a list of our staff, their skillsets, and their contact information to any customer who wants it to keep this community strong. If you have an opportunity available or know of opportunities, please help support us, your neighbors. We are still here, in this community trying to sort out our situation. We’ve set up a temporary email address where you can reach out with opportunities mdlogistics.talent@gmail.com. Former staff members will continue to distribute this information long after we receive our final pay checks.

Next, we ask that you bear with us during this short wind down and dissolution. We know you have questions. For more than a few of you, the practices of this company have negatively impacted you. We have had our sleepless nights with these practices too. We will be functioning with an incredibly small skeleton staff moving forward. Today will be the last day for the majority of the under signers but we will do our best to limit the negative impact on our customers as much as possible.

Finally, we want to apologize again for the abruptness and pain this will cause. We did our best to make this thing work for you and for us and we would have achieved it if not for the failure of our leadership.

Thank you for your support and business over the years.

*UPDATED to reflect that the signers attached to the original post were not necessarily party to the letter or the intent of the letter.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles