|Type of driver||Van Dedicated Driver|
|With Schneider||18 years|
|Miles on the road||2.2 million|
|Can't live without||XM Radio to listen to Milwaukee Brewers|
If you had asked Schneider Van Dedicated driver Rod Ehrhardt 20 years ago if he ever saw himself driving truck, you would have heard a decisive “no.” Rod’s first and forever loves are agriculture and farming. He grew up on a dairy farm and worked with his father in the family business for 14 years.
When farming got tough, Rod knew he needed to take action to support his family and his passion. He tried other jobs, but when he saw a Schneider ad in the paper, Rod called for an application. Yet when it arrived, the usually ambitious Rod dragged his feet before taking the next step. “It was a hard decision to make,” he said. “It stayed on the coffee table until one day my wife finally told me to either fill it out or throw it out.”
He sent in the application. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, 18 years later, Rod has driven more than 2 million miles – an accomplishment he is proud of. “When I first started driving, I thought it was impossible to become a million-mile driver, but I’ve never been one to settle for average,” he commented. “When I’m on the road, my goal is to deliver the loads safely so I can get back home.”
Rod was even recognized by the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association – twice. In 2012, he was inducted to the President’s Safe Driver Club. The Club recognizes safe professional truck drivers in the state of Wisconsin, all of whom must be nominated for consideration. The driver must have no accidents and a clean motor vehicle record, indicating no traffic citations either on or off duty. Rod was also honored as Driver of the Month in January 2014 based on his safe and courteous driving record.
“I have 16 consecutive safe driving years, but I’m shooting for 20,” he said. “It’s not a given. You’ve gotta go out there every day and make smart decisions.”
The aspect of his career that Rod likes most, though, is the fact that it allows him plenty of time to pursue his passion: working on his farmette. There, he raises beef cattle and sheep and tends to a huge garden – time- and labor-intensive hobbies, to be sure.
“I have around four weeks of vacation each year,” he remarked. “I rely on those extra days to spend time on the farm bailing hay, planting crops – whatever needs to be done.”
Although being a Dedicated driver offers consistent home time that is conducive to Rod’s passion for farming, his account and supplemental freight sometimes take him out of the state. Even then he’s able to associate his experience with farming. One of the things Rod loves the most about traveling cross-country is seeing other people work the land and checking out the crop growth.
“Seasons occur at different times in the country outside of Wisconsin,” Rod noted. “I get to experience spring and summer earlier than I would if I didn’t travel out of state and see the different types of crops and fields. I can keep an eye on what’s going on in agriculture.”
When Rod feels homesick, he turns on his XM radio to tune into a Milwaukee Brewers home game.
“There’s something comforting about hearing Bob Uecker on the radio no matter where I am. You get to listen to people from home talking about home things.”
Rod may miss his home state, farm and family when he’s out on the road, but he has found a home away from home at Schneider.
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