60 Years In the Business and Still Counting!

By: Bubbajunk.com

FRANCONIA — While working for Bergey's Truck Center, Curt Halteman has seen some progressive changes in his town.

Halteman said, "This area was mostly residential, there was Longacre Poultry across the street, and that was the only two businesses here in town at the time. Gradually, the residential houses went down and commercial took over."

When Halteman said "gradually" he meant over six decades of continuous change. Now 76 years old, Halteman has been with Bergey's Truck Center for more than six decades.

He was honored Monday with a commemoratory cake and luncheon for his 60 long years of employment with the company, placing Halteman as the second-longest non-family member to work for the company.

Halteman recalls, "When we put this shop up here it was a 24-hour shop, and was open 24 hours a day six days a week, except on Saturday we closed at noon."

"For the trucking industry, it was a big help. If they had a problem, they could call in during the night, and we had people who were capable of taking care of them, and so the trucking business naturally grew," he said.

Confirmation of that growth was visible when Halteman was congratulated by dozens of nearly 90 Truck Center employees who came and celebrated this special day with him.

Among the people who came to congratulate Halteman were former President Henry Bergey, current President Mark Bergey, and Halteman's son Jeff, who himself has been an employee of the company for three decades already.

"What have I learned from my dad? Everything, from hard work and everything I know mechanically to some of our favorite hobbies, like hunting and fishing," Jeff said.

Another person, important to Halteman, who graced his special day is his daughter Gina Formica. She said the memories of her dad calling late-nights to tell them he and his tow truck is needed somewhere will be forever in her memory.

"It seemed like those phone calls always came after midnight, but I learned to love the smell of motor oil, because that always meant my dad was home," she said.

"Well, when you work in it for as long as I did, of course you're going to smell like it," Halteman retorted.

Halteman recalls, he was still 15 years old back then when he started working for Bergey's in September 1950. He did little more than sweeping floors. He made sure to learn how to drive and remember all the mechanical related tips he got, and that made him rise through the company's ranks rapidly.

He even became the company's very first service manager, in 1965, who was not a relative of the Bergeys. He stayed as a service manager until 2008. He's helping manage the company's shift from just vehicle maintenance to car and truck sales, too.

Now, he works as a service adviser. Working as early as 5 a.m., taking calls, helping customers, and teaching the younger employees.

"I came in as a kid, and always liked their organization, their belief system, and the way they treated customers and employees. I always figured it was no use looking around for another job, I was happy with what I had," Halteman said.

The biggest change Halteman has noticed over the past 60 years in the business is the way electronics sprouted like mushrooms everywhere, especially in the fleet of wreckers and other repair vehicles the company maintains.

"Before, it was mostly all manual engines, but now everything is running under electronics. That's the biggest change that's been made over the years, but the equipment that's built anymore is lasting for longer periods of time, especially in the heavy-duty trucking industry," he said.

Halteman said that Good health is the key to last that long in one company, and long bike rides (like a 40-mile local adventure this past weekend) have been a big help.

"I've always been blessed with good health, but I enjoy my job as much today as the first day when I was hired. That's rare, but if you feel good, it's a big plus, and I've always had that in my favor," he said.

Halteman is blessed with three children and 11 grandchildren. Probably another reason why he's still in the business enjoying what he does.