The founder of a high-profile logistics company in the state has died. New York native Steve Russell launched Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc. (NYSE: CGI) in 1985. The company began as a van carrier transporting automotive components to Mexico and has since grown to employ more than 4,000, operating some 5,000 tractors and 12,000 trailers throughout North America. Russell was 76.

He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Celadon from its inception through December 2012. Current CEO and Board Chairman Paul Will says "we are deeply saddened by Steve’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and many friends at this time."

In recent years, Russell dialed back many of his responsibilities, stepping down last year as board chairman. Will says "we instituted a succession plan several years ago to begin to plan for this date. Over the past year, we have promoted Eric Meek to President and COO and made other changes to our executive team as Steve stepped away from the business."

Russell, a member of the executive committee of the American Trucking Associations, also served on several boards, including the Cornell University Graduate School of Management (from where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees), the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

His career also includes positions with Ford Motor Co., RCA Corp. and Hertz Truck and Equipment Corp. He earned a BA in mathematics and an MBA in finance and marketing from Cornell University.

Former Governor Mitch Daniels honored Russell with a Sagamore of the Wabash Award for lobbying efforts related to the eventual statewide adoption of Daylight Saving Time. He’s a member of the Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame.

Celadon Group has a presence in the United States, Canada and Mexico and owns Celadon Logistics Services.

During a 2012 interview with Inside INdiana Business Radio, Russell talked about starting the business from the ground up.

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