Schneider National’s Longest-Tenured Driver Retires
Gary Lautenslager recalls memories, friendships and company growth
throughout his 44-year journey
GREEN BAY, Wis. — (July 11, 2012) — Gary Lautenslager has seen a lot in his lifetime. A great deal of the memories, friendships and adventures he has experienced throughout his life come from the 44 years he spent behind the wheel as a driver for Schneider National, one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers. In July Lautenslager, Schneider’s longest-tenured driver, is pulling the brakes on a career that has helped define the person he is today.
Of all the things Lautenslager says he has loved about his career, the best part is the freedom: “You're out on your own. You get to see a lot and I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. I always tell others my office is the open road,” he said. “Though it feels like the right time to hang up the truck keys, I’ll always consider myself a Schneider driver.”
Lautenslager first came to Schneider in 1964. While unsure of his next steps, Lautenslager left the company for four years. It was during that time, he says, that he realized he was meant to be on the road. There was only one company he had in mind: He returned to Schneider National in 1968 and called the company home for more than four decades. In hindsight, he says he never imagined he’d work for a company that would grow into one of the largest multimodal carriers in the country.
“It’s pretty rare to hear of workers sticking by one company for 44 years,” said Mike Hinz, vice president at Schneider. “Gary’s loyalty is inspiring to all of us here at Schneider. For that, he will forever be a member of the Schneider National family.” In May the company hosted a reception for Lautenslager to celebrate his upcoming retirement and thank him for his steadfast dedication.
In addition to his career on the road, Lautenslager also spent several years as a Driver Trainer in Green Bay, Wis., and West Memphis, Ark., sharing with others what he knew about the world of truck driving. He says he has probably taught hundreds of new drivers throughout his career and did it because he enjoyed teaching others the skills he had learned in order to help them build a better future for themselves.
Eventually, his love for driving rubbed off on someone else close to him: his wife, Patricia. In 1990, she decided she too wanted to hit the open road and together, the two have worked side by side as Team Drivers ever since.
Patricia says it takes a special kind of personality to be able to help people. “As both an instructor and a friend, there have been many times when we've been on the road and seen people in very perilous situations. And Gary has taken it upon himself to walk over and say ‘Hey, you know, I'm a Schneider driver, is there something I can do to help you?’”
When Lautenslager reflects back on his first experiences as a driver, he contends that it was a much scarier time back then. Training programs were practically nonexistent and drivers were expected to learn on the fly. But thanks to advances in technology, and carriers like Schneider that offer ongoing driver training programs, today’s drivers face a very different - but healthier – work life.
Technology and knowledge aside, Lautenslager says there’s one core component that makes a good company great: its people. He attributes his long career with Schneider to its down-to-earth and hard-working people as well as the company’s respect for a job well done.
During his retirement reception, Lautenslager shared a few of his memories and insights with his Schneider National family. Among them:
Favorite Place to Drive Through: Madawaska, Maine, for its beautiful wildlife and laid-back people
Most Amazing Sights: Watching a plane land on Interstate 10 outside of Amarillo and a hot-air balloon land on an entrance ramp in Iowa
Best Day Ever: To be one of six drivers personally invited by company founder Al Schneider to attend his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame
Total Miles Driven: 3.8 million
Reasons for Staying Loyal to One Company for 44 Years: Schneider offered freedom on the road, friendly people who were easy to work with and an overall tremendous work environment
Key to a Long, Happy and Successful Truck Driving Career: Having patience, great listening skills and a positive relationship with your leader
When asked what he plans to do once he’s done behind the wheel, Lautenslager says he’s most looking forward to just relaxing and admits he will probably have to fight the itch to drive again.
Drivers interested in forging a long, successful career like Lautenslager’s are encouraged to visit www.schneiderjobs.com or call 1-800-44-PRIDE (1-800-447-7433).
About Schneider National, Inc.
Schneider National has exceptional career paths for professional drivers and truck school graduates. Solo and team opportunities exist for company drivers and owner-operators in Schneider’s Regional, Over the Road, Dedicated, Tanker, Oil Field Transportation and Expedited lines of business. Local and regional solo opportunities also exist for company drivers in Schneider’s Intermodal division.
A $3.4 billion company and one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, Schneider has been a top choice for drivers for more than 75 years. Schneider provides drivers great weekly miles, steady freight and the comfort of knowing that “safety first and always” is the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy. Schneider is ranked a top-paying carrier by the National Transportation Institute and has been nationally recognized for its support of veterans, Reservists and National Guard members. For more information about Schneider National career opportunities, visit www.schneiderjobs.com. You can also connect with Schneider on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jobsatschneider and Twitter at www.twitter.com/schneiderjobs.