MARSHFIELD, WI— Roehl Transport driver Gerald Steinbach catapulted from being the top professional truck driver in Wisconsin to being ranked as one of the best in the nation at the 70th annual National Truck Driving Rodeo held last month in Minneapolis, Minn.
Steinbach, who qualified for the national driving skills competition when he won the five-axle van division at the Wisconsin state rodeo in June, placed 9th in his division at nationals and ended just a few total points out of third. A 19-year over-the-road driver for Roehl Transport and a member of the Marshfield, WI based company’s elite rodeo team, Steinbach dominated the state competition winning several awards, including the top pre-trip award, first in his division and the state overall award.
“Gerry’s division is basically the typical semi-truck you see on the road everyday so there is a direct correlation between the skill he demonstrates in rodeo competition and his skill and safety on the highway,” said John Spiros, Roehl’s Vice President of Safety and Claims Management. Steinbach agrees and credits his performance to the company’s strong emphasis on skills and safety. One of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, Roehl is also regularly cited in both government and industry statistics as one of the nation’s safest trucking companies. “At Roehl, safety is number one. We train continually on safe driving skills and our entire fleet is pretty remarkable; the company’s safety record proves it,” Spiros noted. “To stand out in this crowd of professional drivers, you really have to do things right,” Steinbach added.
According to Spiros, Steinbach’s performance reflects tremendous personal effort and commitment and added that the company culture helps drivers like him develop their skills and rise to the top. “This is the second year in a row we’ve qualified a driver for nationals – that's the Pro-Bowl of this profession and that says something about our organization,” he said. In fact, Roehl’s exclusive safe driving program, The Roehl WayTM, which goes way beyond the defensive-driving system used by most companies, is based on the concept of personal responsibility and commitment. “Our drivers are taught what we call ‘protective driving,’” Spiros explained. “It’s not enough just to drive defensively and avoid being caught-up in an accident; we proactively drive to prevent accidents.
Growing up in Granton, WI Steinbach was taught to “do a job right or don’t do it at all.” He is now a resident of Hixton, WI, where he logs over 130,000 miles a year behind the wheel for Roehl. His 29 years of safe driving (over 3 million safe miles) includes teaching (as an instructor at the Roehl Driver Training Center), numerous company and industry awards and a sense of honor for a job well done. “I live for the competition at the state and national level, but it’s out on the road where my value of safety protects others, and that’s what really matters,” Steinbach said.