The four dozen men and one woman who take our safe, quality and legal products where they need to go, received some well-deserved recognition Friday night. Sargento Transportation, LLC held its annual Truck Driver’s Safety Banquet at Amore in Plymouth. Most of our dedicated fleet drivers attended, and most of those who could not make it, were preparing for their weekend hauls.
“When it comes to safety, you can’t get much better than this,” said Transportation General Manager John Josephs. “If you look at our CSA score (Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration) 85% of all the drivers out there are rated below us. Why? Because out of the 50 drivers we have, 22 were incident-free in 2014. That’s outstanding!” said Josephs.
Last year was a transition year for the LLC. In the summer they welcomed a new fleet of trucks with better mileage and more amenities for our drivers. In October, they welcomed the first woman to ever drive a truck for Sargento.
“My husband started at Sargento about three months before I did. They were hiring and I saw how much he liked it,” said Colleen Reuter. “I’ve been driving trucks since 2008 and I love it. In our previous careers we worked at Kohler, but got hit with the layoffs in the early 2000s,” she said. “I always knew that Sargento was a great place to work. They offer way more than other places.”
Lonn Bogenschneider is also new to the Sargento family. He works in the office handling all the inbound materials brought in by the over-the-road drivers. He knew Sargento was special well before he started working here last May.
“I worked at Kreilkamp in Allenton and we did business with Sargento,” said Bogenschneider. “The people at Sargento were so nice. Sharon Hassinger would call me on my birthday while I was at Kreilkamp, and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ while making Harley sounds because she knew I liked to ride,” he remembered fondly. “It was hard losing her. It still is. When she started losing her hair last Fall, I gave her one of my Harley bandannas.”
Sharon Hassinger was just one of several people Lonn Bogenschneider knew from Sargento. After he was laid off in 2008, he bounced around until his connections and experience paid off.
“He’s a lot happier!” said his wife Linda Bogenschneider. “Working at Sargento has taken off a lot of stress even though he’s doing the same thing he was doing before.”
Part of what Sargento consistently offers is appreciation and gratitude for jobs well done. Those gathered at the banquet had their choice of family style steak, Tilapia, green beans, baked potato and salad. John Josephs led the celebration, calling on those who had reached major milestones.
“Two drivers broke the million-mile mark in 2014: Carlos Castillo with 1,024,886 miles and Ron Rosenbaum with 1,093,674 miles.”
Rosenbaum, who was in attendance, thanked his colleagues for making his accomplishment possible. Just for perspective, the distance from the earth to the moon is 238,855 miles.
“Kurt Fritz has done something that most drivers don’t accomplish in their entire careers,” said Josephs. “In his 32 years with Sargento, he broke the 3,000,000 mile mark last year with 3,012,573 miles!”
“I knew I was close,” said Fritz. “This award means a lot to me because driving is the only thing I’ve ever done. I left Sargento for about 5 months thinking the grass was greener. I was lucky enough to get my job back. I’m only 53, so who knows, I might make it to 4 even 5 million miles!” he smiled.
Fritz drives South and West for Sargento over-the-road. He enjoys the freedom of the open road and the respect he receives from his supervisors. For him, safety is a way of life and a gift from God.
“I pray every day that I don’t get into a wreck or cause one. There is so much that can happen,” said Fritz. “I just use common sense and stay away from places that just don’t look right.”
The evening closed with a final show of appreciation from John Josephs.
“Keep up the good work. You do a wonderful job and we appreciate every mile you drive!”