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Truck Equipment Inc. celebrates 65 years in business

President Matt Schroeder said family atmosphere is what keeps staff around

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February 6, 2024

GREEN BAY ñTruck Equipment Inc. has come a long way since 1959 when it was originally located on Potts Avenue.

Now located at 855 Glory Road in Green Bay — parallel to Highway 41, it’s hard to miss.

Relocating to this location in the beginning of 2015, Matt Schroeder — president and co-owner — said was an integral move to centralize all operations into one building.

Reflecting on the business’s more than six decades of operations, Schroeder said it’s the people who work at Truck Equipment that are the mainstay behind its success.

“It’s not because of the product on the shelf, it’s because of the relationships that continue to be cultivated,” he said. “Our team does a great job of doing that.”

Who is Truck Equipment Inc.?
Truck Equipment Inc.’s motto is: “Everything for the Trucker” — which Schroeder said is of the utmost importance as the company promotes itself as a one-stop shop.

The company is a parts store, upfitting installation center, sales and heavy and medium duty equipment service provider and parts distributor — and to top it off, Truck Equipment has a graphics department complete with on-site application.

Mandy King, marketing coordinator and co-owner, said one of the company’s specialties is emergency vehicle upfitting — something no one else in the area does, with the other closest being near Milwaukee.

Building a team
Schroeder said the company’s foundation is built on its 65 years of family ownership.

“It’s been a family-owned business (since the beginning),” he said.

Truck Equipment Inc. was founded in 1959 by Isadore “Ise” Kwaterski and Cletus Pierquet.

Schroeder said his father Lynn joined the company in 1978 in the parts department and moved his way through the ranks over the years — eventually becoming the owner in 2005.

Many of the company’s employees, Schroeder said, have also been with the company for several decades.

Siblings Mandy King, left, Matt Schroeder, center, and Mike Schroeder co-own Truck Equipment Inc. — purchasing it from their father, Lynn, last summer. Chris Rugowski Photo

The parts manager at the Green Bay location, he said, has been with the company for 40 years, while another parts employee retired after 44 years.

Schroeder said the Green Bay location’s service manager is nearing 30 years with the company as well.

The branch manager in Appleton, he said, has also been with the company for nearly 30 years.

Schroeder said the staff’s longevity, knowledge and tenure have helped get Truck Equipment to where it is today.

“It’s our people — that’s what it boils down to,” he said. “A dedicated team, dedicated to each other, and the success of Truck Equipment.”

A combination of promoting from within, treating people the way they want to be treated and encouraging a team atmosphere, Schroeder said is why he believes employees stick with Truck Equipment Inc.

“There’s never a time where anybody would say ‘that’s not my job,’ because that’s not how we do it around here,” he said. “If something needs to be done, whoever is there and is capable of doing it steps in.”

Treating people like family, Schroeder said, gives a true sense of community and pride.

“I believe it’s the culture that drives people to stick around,” he said. “People are empowered to make decisions and own their role. A lot of it has to do with the culture that’s been built here as a family dynamic.”

King said she echoes Schroeder’s sentiments.

“We get to know our employees, not just on a work level, but on a personal level,” she said. “We want them to feel appreciated and feel like a part of something.”

From Potts to Glory
Truck Equipment, Inc.’s original location on Potts Avenue, Schroeder said, had separate buildings for sales, hydraulics and warehouse, as well as a detached parts department.

Schroeder said the setup taught the company how to compartmentalize well, but it wasn’t organized well.

When operations to Glory Road and everything was under one roof, Schroeder said the whole dynamic changed.

“When we moved and were able to put the counters all together, it made this nice showroom you see when you walk in,” she said. “It flows nicely — it was a big improvement.”

Schroeder said the Glory Road location also helped with customer traffic and name recognition.

“If you knew our name, you knew we were on Potts Avenue,” he said. “But Potts was that road you only went down if you were going to a (Green Bay) Packers game, or you had some reason to be down there.”

When Truck Equipment moved to its Glory Road location, Schroeder said some people thought they were a new business.

Matt Schroeder said the company’s location at 855 Glory Road in Green Bay provides customers with an easy-to-navigate parts showroom. Chris Rugowski Photo

“It not only helped drive new traffic, but it helped our current customers understand the scope of everything we do,” he said. “If you only came in now and then for parts or service, (you) may not have known we had a graphics department, or we did emergency vehicle upfitting.”

The new location, Schroeder said, also provided space for a parts showroom — noting the one at the Potts Avenue location was no bigger than a medium-sized conference room.

“We had a small space to showcase all the products we offer,” he said. “Now, people can shop and see things on the shelf. Before, visibility wasn’t there. This new building increased visibility for a lot of different aspects of our business.”

Schroeder said the Green Bay location is Truck Equipment Inc.’s corporate headquarters, with additional locations in Appleton, Wausau and Escanaba, Michigan.

Innovation in trucking
Schroeder said the trucking industry is about 10-20 years behind in technology implementation — which he chalks up to the industry’s lack of younger professionals.

“I was recently down in Texas for Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week and most of the people there were well into their 50s and 60s, with no signs of stopping,” he said. “They’re committed to this industry because it’s been part of them for so long.”

Recognizing the likely upcoming gap when the current pool of truckers retire, Schroeder said Truck Equipment Inc. has tried to get more on the front end of it.

This is being accomplished by implementing a cloud-based ERP system, connecting with a heavy-duty marketing buying group and building an e-commerce solution, which is set to launch in March.

“There’s not a lot of people in our industry who are doing it,” he said. “We want to provide a service to our customers that makes it easy to do business with us. It helps increase the efficiency for access to parts and access to information.”

King said the e-commerce option will make it easier for customers to shop at any time or in any avenue — noting many of the drivers who need parts are driving during the day and working on their stuff at night.

“This will give them that option to find out if we have a part when we’re closed,” she said. “Then they can come right away in the morning, get their part and be on the road from there.”

Schroeder said these new options will help Truck Equipment Inc. remain relevant in the future.

“We’re hoping to provide for our current customers and be prepared for the long-term,” he said. “We want to be ready for business for the next 25 years.”

Turning 65, under new ownership
Truck Equipment, which celebrates its 65th anniversary in March, saw a change in ownership last summer — with Lynn’s children (Matt and Mike Schroeder and Mandy King) taking the reins.

As the next generation takes the company into the future, both Mandy and Matt said the best part about TE is the people who come in, and the people they employ.

“This place doesn’t exist without the people forward facing the customers,” he said.

Referencing the company’s five core values — Relationships, Collaboration, Responsibility, Efficiency and Safety — Mandy said Truck Equipment’s employees “care about our customers.”

“They go above and beyond for their customers,” she said.

Though all three siblings own and operate the family business now, they all said they didn’t necessarily plan to work in the business, much less own the business.

President Matt Schroeder said Truck Equipment Inc. is a one-stop shop for all things truck-related. Chris Rugowski Photo

But, Matt said, as it’s often said, life happens — and they all found themselves on respective paths as time went along.

Matt, who serves as company president, said he originally worked as a special education teacher but eventually found himself selling trailers.

“I had no idea that 10 years from that point I would be president and part owner with my siblings,” he said.

Mandy, who serves as marketing coordinator, has been working at the Green Bay location for about two years.

Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom and went to school for graphic design.

What started as a helping hand to her brothers turned into a full-time position with the company facilitating all the marketing, graphic design and safety aspects.

Mike, who serves as assistant shop manager, has been at the shop the longest, going on 18 years.

He said the best thing about his job is that it’s not the same thing every day.

“It’s always different,” he said.

The siblings said they are proud to carry on the legacy their father grew when he took over the business.

“Our dad put a lot of hard work into building it to what it’s become,” she said.

For more on Truck Equipment, visit truckequipinc.com.

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