Paul Butler-Turner has made his own path. And he’s proud of it.

He’s the creator and owner of Macher Logistics, a third-party freight logistics provider.

“We analyze the freight needs of companies, and then we approach the carriers with shipping histories and negotiate a rate,” Butler-Turner explains. “Once the rate is accepted by the customer, we manage the freight from pickup to delivery to invoice.”

He reflects on how his company began.

“I always received a lot of heat from carriers and the trucking companies because of my status,” he says. “I’m not really the most masculine-sounding on the phone. So I decided I would start Macher Logistics to show everybody, look, we’re here, and it doesn’t matter what industry we’re in -- we’re going to take it. I felt our people needed that friend in the freight industry.”

Macher Logistics (macherlogistics.com) is certified by both the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Butler-Turner proudly says that his firm primarily serves LGBT-owned companies. Macher Logistics has also recently started working with Hallmark Cards Inc., its largest customer to date.

Butler-Turner credits the NGLCC and the MAGLCC for expanding his visibility, and by extension, his business.

“It definitely makes people listen! They both open doors,” he says. He’s also a strong proponent of the type of camaraderie that such groups offer LGBT business owners.

“When I was 23, I stepped out of our community. … the only thing I really knew was the club scene. [But] there was always this need for my community in the back of my head. So when I joined the MAGLCC, I was completely thrilled. Here was the other community I didn’t know about. … I wish they would have been around when I was 23!” Butler-Turner says.

Butler-Turner spent many years in the freight brokerage industry before starting Macher Logistics. His company offers differentiating factors such as eliminating freight bill adjustments (a secondary billing process that Butler-Turner calls “the poison of the industry”) and handling the freight claims themselves (a responsibility usually passed on to the customer).

The company name is a differentiating factor as well, with a fun story behind it. Macher is pronounced like the German word (MAH-ker) for doer or creator, but the inspiration for the name came from pop culture.

“In our community, we can’t decide who the bigger diva is, Madonna or Cher. So I put them both together. But notice I still put Madonna first,” he says with a mischievous smile.

When Butler-Turner isn’t running his company, he’s spending time with his husband and two dogs, or working in his vegetable and herb gardens. He says they often end up with such an abundance of produce that they donate it to the Salvation Army or senior living centers. Eventually, he says, he wants to own a home for LGBT youth who have been rejected by their families.

When asked what he would say to those who might want to follow in his footsteps, he recommends finding groups like the MAGLCC.

“Join your local chamber. I know I wasn’t the only one at 23 that felt the way I felt about the community, but I had nowhere to go. So I’d strongly urge them to find their local chamber, because they’re inspirational. It’s something to do besides the club community and you meet good people,” he says.

The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at MAGLCC.org.

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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