In 1920, John R. Slay, a highly decorated World War I veteran, returned to his South St. Louis home and founded Slay Motor Freight. The company began through a partnership between two St. Louis businessmen and close friends, John R. Slay and Edgar Queeny, the founder of the Monsanto Co. Later, John R. Slay renamed the trucking operation to Bee Line Trucking Co., Inc. A long and prosperous business relationship began.

The company continued to grow and take on other customers. In addition to Monsanto, Bee Line Trucking Co., Inc. hauled beer cans and bottles for Anheuser-Busch Inc.

Upon John R. Slay’s passing in 1965, the company’s leadership passed to his son, Eugene P. “Gene” Slay. Gene Slay began Slay Transportation Co., Inc. in 1952, to service the bulk transportation needs of Monsanto Co. Under Gene Slay’s energetic, hands-on leadership, the company grew exponentially in other areas, including warehousing, packaging, bulk storage, river terminals and fleeting and harbor services.

Enduring regulation from the Interstate Commerce Commission, and then surviving deregulation in an ever tightening, competitive market, Gene Slay steadily expanded the company. In 1982, Gene’s son, Gary E. Slay was named Executive Vice President. Through Gary E. Slay’s efforts and steady guidance, Slay Industries experienced years of rapid, double digit growth, and expanded into new areas, servicing the needs of dozens of new customers. Upon Gene Slay’s passing in 2011, Gary E. Slay assumed the leadership of Slay Industries.

Today, the company continues to grow and develop, with over 20 locations in cities across the country. Slay Industries features one of the safest bulk truck carriers in the industry, state-of-the-art warehousing and packaging facilities, and fleeting and harbor services. The tradition begun by John R. Slay in 1920 continues today, as the fourth generation of Slay leadership takes Slay Industries into the future.


With special thanks from Westrich Photography