The history of Gullickson Trucking started with Irving Gullickson. He built his business from a used ton-and-a-half truck in 1945 to a corporation that had contracts for hauling milk as far as Mississippi and Florida. Irv served 25 dairy farmers on his first route and developed a fleet of 12 trucks before converting to bulk trucks in 1954. In a circa 1979 interview with Skelly Now magazine Irv stated, “You could only get 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of milk in cans on a truck, but now it only depends on the capacity of the bulk trucks because we don’t have to haul those cans around.” During the early years, Irv was hauling two routes himself, working full time at the creamery in Deerfield and farming with his father. He was the first in the state to switch from hauling canned milk to bulk trucks. It was very controversial at the time, mixing all the milk together that came off of every farm on the route.
Mr. Gullickson built a Skelly gas station in Deerfield in 1954. The building served a two-fold purpose, it provided a filling station to the community for gas and car repairs and also a building to service his bulk trucks.
In the early 60’s Irv bought his first semi-tractor and tanker in order to haul milk out of the Deerfield Creamery to the Chicago market. He needed a place to service the larger vehicle and built a steel building behind his Skelly Station. Little did he know how important that building would become.
Dean Foods bought the Deerfield Creamery in the early 1970’s and closed its doors. Irv took the initiative to convert his steel maintenance shop into a pump-over facility in Deerfield. Had he not done that, all of the farm bulk trucks in the area would have had to take their milk to Elkhorn Wisconsin, a distance of 45 miles, or two hours round trip. Along with the miles, plus unloading and wait time he felt this just wasn’t feasible. He paired up with Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative out of Reedsburg Wisconsin and began the process of convincing the local farmers their milk would still be classified Grade A when being pumped from the farm bulk trucks into the semi tankers. Eventually the farmers all became believers. By the time it closed its doors in the early 2000’s, Gullickson trucks were hauling 12 semi tankers of milk out of the pump-over every day.
In 1984 one of the dairies Gullickson worked with, needed to have butter hauled to Minneapolis, convincing the Gullicksons to get into the refrigerated trailer business. Irv’s son Tom stepped forward to make his mark on the trucking industry. Tom started Deerfield Transport and in 1986 bought the tanker company, and merged the two companies into Tom Gullickson, Inc.
At this time, all of the maintenance work was being done in a separate location at the old Ford garage in downtown Deerfield. That worked fine for the tractors and tankers, but the refrigerated trailers didn’t fit. Another problem was that the accounting department was located there also. Tom felt it was time to get everything under one roof. In 1995 Tom built the current facility located on State Highway 73 just south of the village of Deerfield. The facility includes an 80-by-90 foot maintenance building and a 35-by-90 foot office area. The property has plenty of room for parking the big rigs along with room for expansion.
After Michael graduated college, he immediately came to work for his dad, first learning how the office was run, then moving into dispatch. His goal has always been to take over the company, which he did in 2013. Mike has the personality and work ethic to run this company and be the third generation to carry on the family business. Under Michael’s guidance the company continues to flourish and grow.