In the Driver’s Seat: Meet Rick, Company Driver at Go-To Transport

BAY CITY, MICHIGAN – March 12, 2019. For this month’s article, I sat down with Rick who is one of our company drivers here at Go-To Transport. Not only did Rick visit me in our Bay City office, his wife, Hilda, joined him. It was a treat to speak with them both! The couple has been together for over 43 years and live in Buena Vista Township. They have two sons, Richard and Christopher, and have added a daughter-in-law, Angela, as well as two granddaughters, Alyssa and Samantha. They also have two cats, Chiquitita (named after the song by the Swedish pop group, ABBA) and Rico.

Company Driver, Rick H.

“How did you two meet?” I asked Rick.

“Hilda and I met in high school,” he said. The two attended the former Saints Peter and Paul High School in Saginaw, now known as Nouvel Catholic Central. 

“We were together in band,” chimed in Hilda, “I played the flute and he played the trumpet. We were band geeks!” 

“I used to toss spit wads at her in class,” said Rick with a laugh.

 

(L-R) Rick’s wife, Hilda, and Chiquitita and Rico at their campsite.

It worked out great for you both. 43 years is amazing! Congratulations. Let’s talk about your career a bit. What was your first job?

“My first job was a janitor at one of the area schools,” said Rick, “After class I would head over to the school and help clean up. I would take out the trash, clean the toilets, mop the floors, that sort of thing. I also had a job working at a gas station. After I graduated from high school, I joined the Air Force.”

What did you do in the Air Force?

“I was a crew chief in the Air Force for 19 years,” Rick began, “That job took me all over the world. I was stationed in Grissom, Indiana and Omaha, Nebraska. I flew in KC-131’s.” 

A KC-131, the aircraft that Rick flew in the Air Force.

How did you go from the Air Force to trucking? 

“During President Clinton’s administration, those who were enlisted in the military were offered early retirement packages if they had put in 15 years or more,” said Rick, “I was one of many who took that deal. Once I was out, I still had to support a family.” He continued, “I started working for a carpet and upholstery cleaning business and that didn’t work out well for me. Then I was approached by a family friend in Linwood, Michigan who was starting a trucking company. I figured that if I could back-up a plane, I could back-up a trailer. During the day we would drive pick-ups and step-vans, and at night we would practice reversing a tractor with a trailer.”

How long were you at the carrier in Linwood?

“I was there for about two years,” he said, “Then I signed on with an owner operator who hauled for Go-To Transport.” 

So that’s how you found us!

“Yup, I started work here as a driver for that owner operator in May 1996. I talked with some company drivers here they told me how much they liked it. The equipment was well-maintained and reliable, something that the owner operator I worked for struggled with, and the office staff here at Go-To from the top on down was friendly and easy going. A few months later in October 1996 I left that carrier and signed on with Go-To and have been here ever since.”

For Rick, working at Go-To is also a family affair. His brother-in-law, Tony, is a company driver for us as well. 

Rick with his brother-in-law and fellow Go-To Transport company driver, Tony, enjoying a beautiful summer day in Michigan.

Why do you like working at Go-To?

“Go-To has really been there for me when I needed it,” replied Rick, “I was out sick for about nine months due to some complications with a surgery that I had. When I was well enough to drive again, I still had a place here. I also like that when I call into dispatch, I don’t have to give them my driver identification number. They know my name.”

Rick paused for a moment, “It’s important to communicate with this job. I feel like I can talk to anyone here from Gary Short, Jr. to my driver manager to another driver,” he remarked, “It’s also important to help each other. If I get a call from dispatch and they are in a bind and have a load that needs to be run, I’ll do it. This job isn’t Monday through Friday. There is a lot of good freight that needs to be run on the weekend.” 

One of the trucks Rick has driven at a truck stop in New Mexico.

Speaking of weekends, that segues well into my next set of questions. What do you like to do in your free time?

“We are members of a camping and vacation rental service and have a travel-trailer that we spend a lot of time in. We drive it to one of their parks, open it up, and keep it there for a few weeks every summer,” he said. 

Rick and Hilda have taken their travel-trailer all over Michigan. “We spend a lot of time on beaches or tubing along the Rifle River. We like to stay in Standish, West Branch, and Sterling. Last year we stayed at a newer park in Mount Pleasant. That was nice, and we plan on doing it again this year.”

Gosh, that sounds amazing right now, especially with all the snow, ice, and cold temperature we have had this winter! Let’s switch gears again. What is your daily motivation?

Rick thought for a moment, “I really enjoy my job. I have been everywhere, but like the regional work we do here the most. I figure I wouldn’t have been doing it this long if I didn’t like it! Oh, also retirement! I have been working a long time so I’m looking forward to slowing down a little bit.”

  

Rick speaking to his niece’s pre-school class about trucking and giving a tour of the cab.

Who is your hero?

“My dad is my hero,” said Rick with a smile, “He lived to be 87 years old. He was a millwright at Malleable Iron in Saginaw. ‘Work hard for what you want,’ he would say. He gave me my strong work ethic.”

What is the best advice that you have received?

“The best advice I have received would also be from my dad,” he recalled fondly. “Behave. If you can’t behave, be careful. If you can’t be careful, be good.” 

Great advice, and a perfect ending to our interview. Thanks for stopping in and taking some time out of your morning to chat!