Schneider National celebrates 75 years

| June 11, 2010
Julius Borley drove the company's first interstate load in 1958. (Photo Todd Dills)

Schneider National, one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers with more than 11,000 trucks, celebrated its 75th anniversary June 10 at corporate headquarters in Green Bay, Wis.

CEO Chris Lofgren honored the company’s history and legacy in addressing employees and guests on the front steps of Schneider’s Corporate Business Center. He was flanked by historic company images and two trucks – a 1949 vintage International restored by former Schneider associates in 1991 and a 2010 Freightliner adorned with the company’s 75-year anniversary logo.

Lofgren took the helm of the carrier in 2002, following Don Schneider, son of the company’s founder. The company was founded in 1935 when Al Schneider sold the family car to buy his first truck.

Lofgren recapped the company’s history and reflected on the company’s founders and employees. “The fact that we can stand here today and celebrate our 75th anniversary, is a tremendous testament to Al, to Don, and three generations of the Schneider family,” he said. “Along with the tens of thousands of associates committed to the ideals that we have held dear for 75 years: safety, respect, integrity and excellence. Those values bond our company as strongly today as they did back in 1935.”  

“All of our associates are remarkable,” said Schneider Executive Vice President and Chief Administration Officer Steve Matheys, “but our driver associates, past and present, literally keep the wheels of commerce rolling. They deliver the products that we need — safely and on-time.”

Since launching the company’s million-mile club in 1985 to recognize drivers with impeccable safety records, more than 2,200 Schneider National drivers have reached that milestone. Among those on hand was Bob Wyatt, the company’s sole 4-million-mile driver.

“Together these gentlemen have logged 23 million miles of safe driving,” said Matheys, in recognizing several of the drivers. “They epitomize our core value of safety, first and always, and we are grateful that they continue to come to work for Schneider each and every day.”

Also recognized were five retired Schneider drivers – among them Bernie Watzka, Duane Livermore, Vern Johnson and, the most senior among them, 85-year-old Julius Borley, a World War II infrantryman who started with the company in 1948 when Schneider was still a small intrastate hauler. Borley drove the company’s first interstate load in 1958 to Cheboygan, Mich., for Procter & Gamble, and continued to haul until he retired in 1990.

Today, these men serve part-time as tour guides at the company’s business center, said Matheys.  

Guests included representatives from Schneider business partners, competitors and industry associations. “[Today] is about employees and employees’ families – both present and certainly past who have contributed to the tremendous success of this company,” said Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, whose family started an eventually unsuccessful trucking business the same year as Al Schneider. “We can appreciate how difficult it is in this day and age for anything to last 75 years. There is something very special about the commitment that you all have made, and I have no doubt that your collective commitment is going to see this company through for 75 more.”

Crete Carrier Corp. Chairman Duane Acklie said, “Schneider is the premier motor carrier and logistics provider still privately owned. On behalf of our industry, I salute all of your management, the Schneider family and your associates. I know that you’ll never look back but the future is yours.” 

Chris Sultemeier, of Wal-Mart Stores, a Schneider customer and business partner, underscored the staying power of the truckload carrier, via its commitment to safety and efficient trucking. “This really is a company that is built to last,” he said, “and we appreciate the partnership. We appreciate the support today. We certainly appreciate the support in the past few years. And we’re looking forward to the future support we will receive from Schneider.”