Paul Strodtbeck was 18 years old when he went to work in a meat cutting apprenticeship program for the Michigan-based Meijer retail chain. But 10 years later he was ready for a change so got his CDL and joined the company’s fleet.
Since then, Strodtbeck has logged more than 5 million miles primarily hauling meat and produce daily from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Lansing to Petoskey and back.
The driving milestone – combined with his safety record, work ethic and friendly demeanor – earned Strodtbeck recognition as one of the top 12 drivers by the Michigan Trucking Association. The statewide trade organization recognizes one driver a month each year.
“I certainly didn’t go into driving with anything like that in mind,” he said. “I appreciate the recognition but it’s my job. I enjoy driving. I grew up knowing that anything is possible and if you try hard enough, you can do anything.”
Strodtbeck’s outlook is also recognized by his employer.
“He leads by always putting the customer first and making safety his top priority,” said Tom McCall, Meijer logistics vice president. “We couldn’t ask for more from a team member over the years than what Paul has done for all of us.”
Strodtbeck grew up on a farm, driving tractors and working hard around the clock. He said he’s seen a lot on the road in the past 45 years, and has stopped to help out other drivers at numerous car accidents along his route. Based on his experience, he’s considered a mentor among the retailer’s team of 350 drivers.
When he’s not driving a truck for Meijer,Strodtbeck enjoys the outdoors with his family, and operating his snowmobile repair shop.