Jason Murphy says he owes his life to a high school English teacher who let him retake a failed test — a decision that ultimately allowed him to attend college and play football.
It’s primarily for that reason Murphy believes in second chances and saving lives, which is what his Baltimore-based Delivery 101 trucking franchise is all about.
Armed with 40 trucks and more than 80 employees, Murphy’s company boasts among its staffers formerly incarcerated workers whose records he has helped expunge. In doing so, the Baltimore native and Reisterstown, Maryland, resident is a catalyst toward allowing them to return to the workforce “because stable employment is a big part of breaking the cycle of poverty.”
Murphy, 39, was given a second chance as a senior in 2001 at Baltimore’s Edmondson High School, where he twice earned All-Metro honors as a football defensive end, was The Baltimore Sun’s 2000 All-Metro Defensive Player of The Year, and was a member of the late coach Pete Pompey’s state runner-up football team.
But were it not for an English teacher who allowed him to retake a failed test, Murphy may not have gone on to be a star offensive lineman at Virginia Tech, and, later, professionally with the San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and, ultimately, the Baltimore Ravens.
And he most certainly would not be the man whose employees are given gift cards as incentives for their “safety and good standard of work,” said Murphy, whose wife of nearly 13 years, Robyn, is his business partner. They have two children, Jason Jr., 21, and Jessica, 10.
Murphy discussed his venture with Zenger.
Zenger: What is the origin of your altruistic endeavor, Delivery 101?
Jason Murphy: My daughter, Jessica, gave Delivery 101 its name. We just asked her to pick, and because she was about 8 years old at the time, that was her thought. It turned out to be clever and catchy. We’re proud of the community impact we are able to have.
Our parent company is Murphy Enterprise, and it holds Elite 360 Contracting & Construction, JRM Consultancy and Delivery 101. We’ve also held a Murphy Enterprise pre-Preakness networking event for our businesses.
Zenger: What are some perks of being a Delivery 101 employee?
Murphy: We currently have about 80 full-time and contractual employees and about 90 percent of them work for Delivery 101. We incentivize our drivers. We give away lunch gift cards for going over and beyond the scope of their duties.
Those duties include helping others by rescuing or helping to deliver other drivers’ packages or otherwise supporting their dispatch teams. During peak season, we give away big-screen TVs on a weekly basis to the top drivers that do well on driving safety.
Giveaways include [for] things like not having any call-outs or being late for work, and for generally going over and beyond the scope of their responsibilities. The goal is that everyone strives to do their best work, especially during the peak season when package count is high and work hours rise.
Zenger: Do you have any examples of high achievers?
Murphy: Mr. James Copeland had been demonstrating the ability to help so many other drivers and exemplified all of the qualities of a great driver. As a result, James received so many incentives that he soon rose to one of our more prestigious roles, being that of the dispatch position, which calls for training other drivers to do their jobs.
Zenger: How often are you a worker among the workers?
Murphy: I love working with my hands sometimes, so there may be days when I jump off the computer and out of meetings and I go change tires, tow a stuck driver or even deliver packages.
With my construction company, I enjoy estimating and measuring and wearing my hard hat. There’s something satisfying about that kind of work.
Zenger: Can you discuss your courtship with Robyn and how your marriage works as business partners?
Murphy: We were always in the periphery of each other’s lives. In fact, our mothers went to Edmondson together and my mom and her uncle worked together for over 30 years. But we ultimately connected at a Carmelo Anthony charity event and started dating.
We dated for a long time before actually getting married. It was worth the wait, and I couldn’t have picked a better life partner if I had searched the world over. People ask how we can run a business together. But it’s really been easy even when we disagree because our values are so aligned.
Robyn is the smartest woman I know, and I think she would say the same about me because we plug in the gaps of each other’s strengths and weaknesses in a profound way.
Zenger: Who are your children and how critical was your foundational emphasis on education and spirituality?
Murphy: Jason is 21 and makes us proud. He’s a redshirt sophomore on a Division 1 basketball scholarship and on the dean’s list at the New Jersey Institute of Technology — one of the most competitive academic universities in the country. Being a student-athlete myself, I know how much dedication and fortitude those achievements can take.
Jason graduated at the top of his class at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore where he was senior class president and in the National Honor Society. Jason was also the starting center on a nationally ranked team that won the Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships.
Jessica is 10 and in the fifth grade at a Baltimore private school where she is an equestrian and a social butterfly. She’s brilliant and she’s already 5-foot-10, so she’s currently experimenting with different team sports, but there’s no pressure. She played on the middle school field hockey team last fall despite not yet being in middle school.
Both of our children are the beneficiaries of our hard work and sacrifices. We grew up with really humble beginnings, so we want them to remain cognizant of their privilege and to carry it with grace. We have tried to lead our children to their own destiny by being supportive and keeping them grounded in strong spiritual values.
Zenger: What principles were emphasized by your parents as they raised you in Baltimore City?
Murphy: I am the youngest of six children. I had four brothers, but I lost two to gun violence. I have two brothers still living, and I also have one sister, Ericka. I was raised in a stable, hardworking family in the Uplands community in southwest Baltimore. My sister mothered me and still does. My family is very close.
Becoming a father was life-changing for me because it gave me a different purpose. To this day, my mom, Anna, lives in the same house I was born in, and my parents were married until my father’s passing. My parents were blue collar Southerners who moved to Baltimore for a better life.
My aunt is a pastor and my father played the drums in the church. As far as athletics, it’s not so much that I came from a thoroughly athletic family, but that my parents believed that No. 1, you don’t waste God-given talent, and, No. 2, you put your all into anything you do.
Zenger: How was life and football for you at Virginia Tech?
Murphy: First of all, Virginia Tech is a premier football program, so having the opportunity to be a part of that and to be coached by Frank Beamer was significantly influential on my life. I almost chose the University of Maryland, but I needed to get away to be sure I would focus.
I am the first member of my immediate family to go to college, and to leave Baltimore to do so was a big deal. I also really enjoyed giving my family an outlet away from Baltimore, and they traveled to nearly every home game.
I majored in real estate property management and minored in sociology, but college was also a lot of fun.
Zenger: Are there plans to give back to your Edmondson High or Baltimore in general?
Murphy: We have started to raise funds for the building of the Pete Pompey Stadium at Edmondson High School with the goal of giving the school and the community a better field — a turf field to play on — and a facility in which to hold meaningful events.
Zenger: How rewarding is your work at the end of the day?
Murphy: I always enjoyed giving back, and business ownership is an extension of that because you have the ability to shape your company around your values.
If you value economic equity and building up your community, you can build that into your mission. We want to be change agents for a more just community in everything we do.
Edited by Kristen Butler and Judith Isacoff
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