Kuhnle Brothers Trucking in Newbury, OH, recently celebrated their 55th anniversary in business, and on August 12, 2021, a driver named Roger Kral (77) celebrated not just 50 years of employment with Kuhnle Brothers, but also an accumulated 5 million miles of safe driving. With Roger’s achievements, along with everyone else who helps run the family-owned company and works there, Kuhnle and their well-known dark green trucks have seen much success in their over five decades of service.
Kuhnle Brothers was started in 1966 just outside of Cleveland, OH as a flatbed and bulk hauler. The company eventually migrated to mostly liquid and dry bulk hauling. Since then, they have grown the fleet to over 150 power units and over 600 trailers. Still owned by the Kuhnle family, the company now covers 49 states and Canada. There are over 200 employees that operate out of three terminals. Newbury, OH is the headquarters, while locations in Mansfield, OH and Lakeville, NY can be accessed by their drivers for small repairs and parking.
Getting his chauffeur’s license when he turned 18, Roger drove a propane truck for a bit then went to work for a contractor. Several years later this contractor decided to sell his trucks and get out of the business, so Roger started looking for a new job. At the time, the contractor was brokering loads through Kuhnle, hauling gravel out of the local quarries. Knowing he was the type of person that takes care of what he drives, Kuhnle Brothers Trucking contacted Roger and asked if he wanted to drive for them. Roger said yes, and his tenure at Kuhnle began on August 12, 1971 – 50 years ago!
Having driven dump trucks, straight trucks, and tractor-trailer dumps for most of his career, about ten years ago Roger made the switch to pull tankers for Kuhnle. Roger learned early on that if he wanted something, he would have to go out and work for it (imagine that). Roger hates changing jobs, too! Kuhnle has gotten away from the dump truck business and now their fleet consists mostly of Pneumatic, Dry Vacuum, Coded Stainless, Rubber Lined, Composite, and Food Grade trailers. The fleet started as an all-Mack fleet but is currently all Kenworths and Peterbilts. The company is a no DEF fleet that runs all Cat motors, but later this year they will be getting new Cummins-powered Kenworth W990s and Peterbilt 389 trucks.
Roger and his beautiful wife Cindy make their home in Newbury, OH, but also have a winter home in Florida. Roger enjoys getting on his motorcycles and riding but hasn’t been doing it as much lately because people just don’t pay attention when they are driving anymore, and he doesn’t feel very safe. He also enjoys rock music from the 60s and the 70s, along with some older country music, as well. Roger is a driver for Kuhnle who gets preloads for the OTR drivers and also makes local deliveries. Over his 50 years of employment at Kuhnle, Roger has worn out over a dozen trucks, but he has no plans as of yet to retire anytime soon.
On August 12, 2021, Roger started his day like any other day. He went out to make a delivery and then came back to the yard just before lunch hour, where he was surprised with a party being held in his honor. Roger’s truck – a Peterbilt 379 with a turned up 550 Cat and an 18-speed transmission – was washed and then parked by the garage. Kuhnle provided a steak lunch for everyone at the shop, catered by Blazin Bills of Hiram, OH. After lunch was served, a special ceremony was conducted to recognize Roger Kral for his commitment of 50 years of employment and safe driving.
The current CEO, Kim Thomas Kuhnle, along with the former CEO Kim Taylor Kuhnle, Bob Russell (CFO), Tom Kuhnle, and Casey McNicholas from the Safety Department, were all on hand to present Roger with a special trophy with a bronze eagle and a huge check for $50,000! Roger was caught off guard and totally shocked. His reaction to the big check was priceless. After the trophy and check were given to Roger, special door stickers were placed on each side of his truck acknowledging his accomplishment of 50 years of safe driving.
Accompanied by his wife Cindy during this celebration, Roger is definitely a character. It was my great pleasure to cover this awesome event for such a great company and consistent driver. Roger, all of us at 10-4 Magazine want to congratulate you on your amazing achievements of 5 million safe driving miles and 50 years of employment with Kuhnle Brothers Trucking. You just don’t see this level of commitment much anymore these days, and for this, we are glad you were recognized (and awarded) for your efforts. Keep up the good work!