Historical society honors firms & people for service to trucking

Photo of Richard B. Rudy, Inc. truck from the past.

Several trucking companies and a number of individuals were honored during the American Truck Historical Society convention last week in York, Pa.

Tim Ridley from the Dave Nemo Show on SiriusXM emceed the awards program. Ice Road Truckers star Alex Debogorski was the guest speaker.

Awards were presented by ATHS Chairman John Vannatta and Awards Committee Chair Steve Rosemond.

50 Year Company Awards

Marten Transport, Ltd. of Mondovi, Wisc. was nominated by Tim Ridley. Marten Transport, Ltd., has grown from a small, regional carrier in Mondovi, Wisc,, to one of the country’s leading temperature-controlled trucking companies. The company traces its roots to 1946, when 17-year-old Roger Marten began delivering milk and dairy products. Marten’s company grew through acquisitions of routes, equipment, and other trucking companies. Temperature-sensitive transportation has been the company’s focus since 1989. When Roger died in 1993, son Randy Marten became president and CEO. Marten Transport today employs more than 2,700 people, and has terminals in 12 states.

Peter Brothers Trucking of Lenhartsville, Pa. was nominated by Richard Gingerich. Brothers George and William Peters of Lenhartsville, Pa., began hauling livestock in 1950, and livestock remained the focus of Peter Bros. Trucking for the next three decades. In the early 1980s the company added refrigerated foodstuffs and general freight, coast-to-coast, and by 1996 had stopped hauling livestock altogether. Under the leadership of Gerald Peters (George’s son), Peter Bros. today operates more than 40 tractors pulling 53-foot refrigerated trailers, offering full truckload and LTL shipments as well as bulk heading for frozen/dry combination loads from Lenhartsville and Jefferson, Wis.

75 Year Company Award

Richard B. Rudy, Inc. Frederick, Md was nominated by Melvin Fair Jr. In 1938, Richard Baxter Rudy and his wife Helen started a milk hauling operation with van body straight trucks, picking up 10-gallon cans from farms and delivering to dairies in Washington, D.C. By the 1950s, Richard B. Rudy, Inc., was using tractor and trailer tankers. Other foodstuffs were added over the years, including ice cream and dairy products, liquid sugar, vinegar, produce, and Thomas English muffins. A new facility opened in Frederick, Md., in the mid-1980s. Three of the Rudys’ sons joined the business, which celebrates its 77th year in trucking this year.

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Golden Achievement Awards

Frank H. “Bud” McLean III Cobalt, Ct. was nominated by Rebecca McLean. McLean began driving trucks when he was a teenager in the late 1950s and, except for serving a couple of years in the Navy, made that his life’s work. Over the years, Bud drove for a variety of Connecticut-based trucking companies, but his longest tenure was with Baileys Express. What started as a temporary job with Baileys, based in Haddam Neck and Middletown, Ct., in 1971 ended up lasting 38 years. Bud officially retired in 2009, but still drives trucks occasionally for a tree service in Andover and hauls his own stock from his farm in Cobalt.

Dave Read, Whiting, N.J. was  nominated by William Wagner. Read has been driving trucks or buses since 1954. Read’s nomination form for this award lists a total of 23 employers in over six decades in the motor transportation industry. In that time, Read has driven a variety of trucks and buses and has hauled a wide variety of freight, including people. Read may be better known to some as a truck historian; in addition to writing for the ATHS Metro Jersey Chapter newsletter, Read has had articles published in Wheels of Time and other magazines, and is a frequent speaker on trucking history.

Kenneth Walter Rudy of Frederick, Md. was nominated by Melvin Fair Jr. Rudy began working for his father in 1958, driving a milk truck for the Richard B. Rudy company. He was 16 years old. Today he is 75 years old and  president and chief executive officer of the trucking company that his father started in 1938. Rudy has held a variety of jobs in his 57 years with the company, including driver, mechanic, and dispatcher and still prefers to spec and purchase equipment.

Robert J. “Jim” Sercombe of Jackson, Mich. was nominated by Dave Schroyer. Sercombe was just 12 years old when he began working on the docks at B&J Distributing in Jackson, Mich.; four years later, after turning 16 in 1959, Jim began driving trucks for that company. Sercombe also spent five years as an over-the-road truck driver for a Michigan-based produce company. Jim bought his first truck in 1969, and has been an owner-operator ever since. “We deliver service” is the motto of Sercombe Trucking Co., based in Jackson, Mich.

John C. Taylor of Cross Junction, Va. was nominated by Jim Moore. Taylor was 17 years old in 1951 when he began his career in the trucking industry. Taylor drove trucks for several companies his first 14 years then struck out on his own in 1965, becoming an owner-operator. Today, at age 80, John continues to drive trucks as an owner-operator. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association recognized Taylor last September with its Safe Driving Award, “in recognition of 64 years of safe and professional operation of a commercial vehicle.”

Historian of the Industry Awards

Ronald G. Adams of Lenhartsville, Pa. was nominated by Robert Daumer. Adams’ love affair with trucks began in 1957 when, at age 11, he began taking photographs of trucks and writing to trucking companies for photos and literature. A well-known trucking historian and collector, Ron has published several books about semi-trucks including “Semi- Trucks of the 1950s” and “Peterbilt Trucks of the 1960s,” and has written articles for Wheels of Time and other publications. Adams also has a collection of toy trucks and memorabilia estimated at over 500,000 pieces.

John B. Montville of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. was nominated by Donald Arnauckas. Montville wrote his first book about trucks, titled  Macks, in 1973. Detailing the history of Mack Trucks from 1890 to 1973, Montville’s book has become a reference source, with information about various Mack models and production numbers. His second book, Bulldog, published in 1979, recounts the history of Mack’s AC models from 1912 to 1938. Montville’s most recent book, Refuse Truck Photo Archive, a history of refuse collection trucks, was published in 2001.

Don Schumaker of Allentown, Pa. was  nominated by Tom Amaducci. After 38 years with Mack Trucks, Inc., Allentown, Pa., (most of these years as a mechanic or engineer), Schumaker retired in December 1995. He then spent the next 20 years as a Mack historian. Schumaker joined the Mack Museum in June 1996. A little over a year later, upon the passing of Collin Chisholm, Don became co-curator of the museum with Snowy Doe. When Snowy died in 2008, Don took over all duties as curator of the Mack Museum and today, at age 79, continues in that role.