Ashley Ritteman, CEO
Meghan Marsden, COO
Valor Victoria, LTD.
Ashley Ritteman and Meghan Marsden
MEET ASHLEY RITTEMAN AND MEGHAN MARSDEN
Ashley Ritteman, CEO, and Meghan Marsden, COO, are co-founders of the intermodal rail services company, Valor Victoria, LTD, an aptly chosen name that literally translates to “courageous victory.” Dubbed the “Midwest Express” by shipping clients they’ve served, it is an appropriate moniker considering they move freight at speeds that humble traditional methods. In an industry saturated with long-established global titans, these two women had the bravery to not only enter the arena, but to challenge—and advance—the traditional ways of logistics.
ABOUT VALOR VICTORIA, LTD.
Founded in 2016, the company was developed to provide importers and exporters with access to the U.S. rail infrastructure apart from traditional supply chain methods. The principle is centered on using the rail system to get freight closer to its destination. By establishing private terminals in underserved markets, Valor Victoria not only cuts trucking miles out of the logistics equation, but reduces costs as well as CO2 emissions in the process. Since 2020, they’ve handled over 10,000 shipments and as a result of successfully navigating the supply chain crisis of that same year, the market started looking to Valor Victoria as a solution to all rail inland services. Subsequently, their service landscape quickly expanded to both a public and private terminal model. Working with Class One and short-line railroads, ocean carriers, and trucking companies, Valor Victoria serves some of the top BCO’s (beneficial cargo owners) and NVOCC’s (non-vessel-owning common carriers) in the country, having private terminal routings in Iowa and Ohio with more poised to open across the country in 2023. In August of 2022, ahead of the forthcoming peak season, they will unveil a Wisconsin terminal, which will handle more freight across Midwest.
A contributing factor to Valor Victoria’s progress has been their relationships with trucking companies and rail terminals. By rapidly moving containers away from the ports and into the market, they reduce congestion and enable truckers to move quickly in an organized way. And since Valor Victoria gets containers closer to their distribution centers, multiple turns can be made each day, thereby increasing their vendor-partners’ revenues. “We’ve created a very unique method in how our supply chain flows,” Ashley shares. “One key difference is our customers only book freight on a port-to-port basis. On ocean liners, you are often locked into an inland strategy at the time freight departs it’s import origin (i.e. Shanghai). Our method monitors containers as they depart origin and move across the water, prior to hitting the U.S. We can look 9-10 days in advance and advise the shipper on the best inland strategy upon port arrival. This is where our private and public rail terminals come into play. When we see hubs congested, we advise customers to use a different route so their freight doesn’t side idle for weeks on end, incurring daily storage rates.”
Ashley co-founded Valor Victoria after gaining a wide range of experience at a private intermodal terminal and leading the start-up of the Minot, North Dakota, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, offices for BNSF Logistics. Her role as general manager at BNSFL was to lead the Minot intermodal initiative as well as develop agricultural sales nationwide. Within various organizations, she has contributed to the development of export strategies, acquired expertise in agriculture trade, and assisted the expansion of American and European businesses into Asian markets while based in Singapore. Ashley earned a master’s degree in agribusiness and applied economics, specializing in logistics, strategy, and market risk, from North Dakota State University. In graduate school, she was known as “The Container Queen,” a label that is quite fitting for her still. Ashley and her husband, Thomas, live in Minneapolis, and enjoy being outdoors in the great north with their son, Titus, and will be welcoming a baby girl in July 2022.
Meghan co-founded Valor Victoria with a wide breadth of experience in supply chain, sales and operations, entrepreneurship, and M&A activities. She has successfully launched and led varying organizations from their conception to operational stages. She gained invaluable industry experience by managing executive customer relationships for the Fortune 500 logistics company Owens & Minor, where she and her team managed the supply chains of health care networks from the macro and micro levels, assessing varying aspects of the supply chain, from financial implications to inventory management. Meghan earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from the University of Nebraska. She enjoys riding horse and spending time in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, Aaron, while skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking with their dog, Greta.
Both Ashley and Meghan recognize the importance of the roles of their husbands. “Our husbands were our financial and moral support throughout the five years of our start-up and now they’ve entered as official partners of the business,” Meghan shares. “We’re a true family-owned company. The strong men behind us, our husbands, also made this possible,” Ashley adds.
Valor Victoria, LTD.
Instagram: city.nd.field (Ashley Ritteman)