J&R Schugel wraps Kenworth T680s to support driver causes

J&R Schugel wraps Kenworth T680s to support driver causes

After a driver beat breast cancer, the company wrapped her truck in pink and white to support her goal of raising awareness.

Now in its 50th year of business, J&R Schugel Trucking operates more than 700 trucks and 1,500 trailers that provide service in states primarily east of the Mississippi River. The company primarily uses Kenworth T680 trucks, and one of the company’s latest T680s it recently put into operation is a Breast Cancer Awareness-themed truck. It’s the second T680 the company has dedicated to raise awareness for breast cancer since 2017. For the new specially wrapped T680, J&R Schugel teamed up with a non-profit B the Light—an organization that supports women battling breast cancer, their caregivers and families in New Ulm and neighboring communities in Southern Minnesota.

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Breast cancer survivor and J&R Schugel truck driver Robin Maisel, sitting in the driver’s seat of her custom wrapped truck.

Behind the wheel of the Breast Cancer Awareness truck is Robin Maisel, who was diagnosed in 2016 and is now cancer free. She was nominated by a fellow driver and selected by a J&R Schugel committee as the best representative for the truck.

“I have so many feelings and emotions when I think back to when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Maisel. “Your whole world is put on hold while you fight to move forward. I was blessed to have a wonderful support system during my journey. I drive my truck with pride, knowing my company is in support of those battling the disease.”

In the two months Maisel has been on the road with the Breast Cancer Awareness truck, she said it’s received a lot of positive attention. “I hope this white and pink truck helps to serve as reminder for women to get their mammograms and that there are a lot of support groups, like B the Light, as well as educational resources that can help those in their battle,” she said.

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In addition to the Breast Cancer Awareness truck, J&R Schugel has two other specially wrapped Kenworth T680s that raise awareness for mental health and autism. According to Courtney Antonsen, J&R Schugel’s human resource director, many employees had a connection to autism, which inspired the company to dedicate one of its trucks to raise awareness for the condition. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when mental health-related challenges spiked, especially among commercial truck drivers, J&R Schugel realized the need to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health.

“We have a special culture here at J&R Schugel and we take a lot of pride in supporting various causes to support our drivers and the community,” said Antonsen. “Our trucks give us a unique opportunity to spread awareness of these causes across the country.”

The culture (and trucks) at J&R Schugel

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J&R Schugel says serving customers, employees and the local community is a key value the company lives by. Since its founding in 1974 by Jerry and Rich Schugel and their father Harold, the New Ulm, Minnesota-based carrier developed a driver-centric culture. In 2014, the company changed to a 100% employee-owned business model.

According to Antonsen, approximately 90% of its fleet is comprised of Kenworth T680 models, purchased through Wisconsin Kenworth, a CSM truck company. The company is on a three-year trade-in cycle with its Kenworth dealer to keep equipment new for its drivers and to reduce downtime.

In the past few years, J&R Schugel’s fleet has been transitioning to Kenworth’s latest T680 model, which was introduced in 2021. The majority of its trucks are specified with 76-in. sleepers, a mix of PACCAR MX and Cummins X15 engines, and 12-speed automated transmissions.

“Our trucks are currently 2020 models or newer,” said Antonsen. “In the past few years, we’ve been cycling into the new T680 model, which our drivers are finding to be a nice upgrade. The new interior features and technology, such as the digital display and sharper exterior design of the truck, are what stand out to our drivers. They spend most of their day in their trucks, and we believe providing them with new, premium equipment helps with overall job satisfaction.”

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