What made this Erb employee stay with us for 38 years

If you’ve worked at The Erb Group of Companies, you may be familiar with the name Radford Radke. This week, Radford will be retiring after spending 47 years in the industry, 38 of which were held at The Erb Group. He moved through various positions, starting as a US long-haul driver for the first 10 years. The opportunity arose to become an in-cab trainer, and since then, his role  evolved to become Corporate Driver Trainer/Auditor.

Radford was responsible for supporting the Entry-Level Driver Training Program, general driver training, orientation, in-cab assessments, and auditing. We see many multi-generational trucking families work with us, and the Radke’s are one of them. Radford’s late-father worked in transportation, and his brother works in the industry. We’ve also been fortunate to have Marilyn, Radford’s wife working in our Credit Department at Head Office the last 22 years whose father was also involved in trucking.

The journey

Radford explains, “My brother originally worked for Erb for a few years, and his experience sounded great. I was driving for another company but decided to stop and take a break. One day, Vernon Erb approached my brother and asked why I stopped driving and if I’d be interested in coming to work for him as a dispatcher instead. I came in and spoke with him but decided not to move forward with dispatch and join the driving workforce again with him. It was the conversation with Vernon and the rapport my brother had with Wendell Erb that made me come here.”

The value of being a specialized carrier in refrigerated goods means there is job security for our employees. Our mission is to always bring food to your family’s table and that will never change. Radford says, “It was the company’s commitment to a stable work environment that also made the switch more admirable.”

Radford’s father was in trucking and finally found a company that he was happy with. Unfortunately, his father passed away early on in his new job. Radford described what retirement means, “My father never got to see retirement himself. I turned 65 and am really looking forward to this next chapter. But I’m also glad I was able to carry out my time at Erb for so long and found my place from an early on-set.”

Fondest memories

Reflecting, Radford shared, “Back in my early days here, I remember getting to the New Hamburg yard on Christmas Eve. I walked into the driver services room and saw three other drivers decompressing from the day before heading home. It was about 10:30 PM, and Vernon walked in. He came into the office to check if everyone got home okay that night. I really appreciated that he cared so much about his drivers.”

It was also very rewarding being a Driver Trainer. “I enjoyed training because it was enriching to see someone grow. My most recent graduate from the Entry-Level Driver Training Program, Jamie Brown is a prime example. He was easy to work with, and it was so great to see someone who started as a dispatcher with us and move into a truck driving role.”

The next generation

After spending so many years in the industry, Radford can offer some helpful advice to the next generation of drivers. “If you get into this industry, there must be a desire. It’s tough sometimes, so you need to like a challenge. No job is perfect, but it’s also important not to burn bridges in our industry. It’s so common for a driver to leave and try a new company out. But after a month or so in their new job, they come back to us. Sometimes you need to remember it’s more than just money. It’s about respect, loyalty, and good work ethic. And then you will put in a rewarding 38-year career.”

Next chapter: retirement

Radford plans to keep a low profile in his next chapter by enjoying his time up north. Hopefully buying a boat for his fishing trips with the family in Bancroft. It will also be a time for him and his wife to organize the house a little bit more. He hopes to make some trips to Western Canada as well.

*Feature picture includes Jamie Brown (left) and Radford Radke (right).


12 Comments

Dan Matthews

The best of wishes on your retirement. Your attitude and sense of humor went a long way.
It was great to have worked with you.
Dan Matthews

Wayne Baechler

Congratulations Radford on your retirement. I wish you all the best and good health in your retirement years! You will be missed at Erb Transport and the trucking industry. I remember you coming to Erb Transport looking for a truck driving job at the age of 16.
Wayne

Jerry Baan

Congratulations Radford. Thank you for your dedication to the Erb Group.
Some great memories; Campbell Soup Fremont Nebraska.
Enjoy Retirement.

Don Danbrook

Congratulations Radford on a long and successful career at Erb. We hope you enjoy every minute of your next chapter.
Cheers

Kerry Stead

Congrats Radford i guess those 6 days of seniority you had on me turned into an extra year!! All the best in the future.

Brenda Alderson

Congratulations on your retirement, Radford. It was always a pleasure talking to you and working with you. I wish you and Marilyn a wonderful retirement.

David Klynstra

It was 22 years ago, when we first met, and went on our first test drive. I’m surprised, you never retired then!!! Thankyou for taking a chance on me, and helping me become the confident driver that I am today. Happy Retirement to you Radford, and all the best. You will be greatly missed.

Gary Foster

Congratulations Radford on your retirement. It was a pleasure getting to know you while you were training the Toronto yard staff for license upgrades. You had mentioned that the northern ice roads were on your bucket list, is now that time? Whatever you choose to do, its the journey that brings the satisfaction. I wish you all the best!
Cheers,
Gary Foster

David Klynstra

It was 23 years ago, that you took me on your first test drive. I’m surprised you didn’t retire then after that.😉 Thank you Radford for taking a chance on me, and molding me into the confident driver that I am today. Happy Retirement and best wishes to you. You will be missed.

Liz Genrick

Congratulations on your retirement Radford! Or is that semi-retirement? 38 years certainly is an achievement, moving up the ladder from US truck driver (spending much time away from family) to driver trainer. May you & Marilyn enjoy many happy, healthy years of retirement. xo Herb & Liz

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