Jackson County Times

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Andreasen Is Keeping Things Rolling In Texas

Randal Andreasen is earning recognition in trucking industry.

By Bo McMullian

One of Randal Andreasen’s first jobs out of Marianna High School in 1981 was assistant diesel mechanic at the old Union 76 Truck Stop, now T&A Travel Center, at the Interstate 10-S.R. 71 interchange. He’s now an executive, managing trucking by the fleet, Texas-style, including a fleet that distributes Anheuser-Bush products to thirsty customers along the great gulf coast from Beaumont to Galveston to Victoria.

Randal, the son of Elton and Sybil Andreasen of Marianna, is Vice-President of Fleet Operations for a Texas company called T&S Fleet Services, a position he has held for the last decade. His hands-on management style is being recognized nationwide by both the trucking and beverage industries. His distributing firm, the Del Papa Company, was recognized recently by Beverage World magazine as the “Fleet of the Month.”

“According to Randal,” the magazine said, “there are three important keys to success in effective fleet maintenance. One is working with a great dealer. Another is having great employees and third is communication with drivers.”

Another trade magazine, called “Fleet Equipment,” wrote recently about Andreasen’s management skills: “If you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen,” Randal said. “You need to show people who work for you that they have ownership in their job by implementing their ideas. At least bring their ideas to the table and review them. If you don’t follow through on their ideas, you will not be successful.”

In addition to his open-door policy with employees, Andreasen has also been recognized for his preventative maintenance innovations that keep Del Papa’s 60 trucks and 240 pieces of equipment running.

“Andreasen is in the process of implementing preventative maintenance as the company’s No. 1 priority,” the magazine said. “He plans to achieve this by bringing in all the technicians after normal working hours for PM training.”

Some of Andreasen’s valuable advice, the magazine noted: “If you don’t have a good PM program, your whole system will fail. Maybe not this year, but eventually it will snowball on you.”

Also notable is T&S’s preference for International trucks. Randal says International’s “techs” are tops and so is its program of keeping track of maintenance and parts.

Randal has come a long way since “bagging groceries for IGA” in Marianna, the job he held before going to Union 76. He left the low end of the grocery business to become a protégé of sorts to Vic Hopkins, the original manager of the Union 76 Truck Stop, a great man who died just a few years ago. “Vic was a friend of the family,” Randal told the TIMES on Monday while driving across Texas. “I knew him since I was 12 years old. I worked for him for several years in Marianna, then left to attend Diesel College in Nashville. When I finished school, I followed Vic to Beaumont, Texas, to work for him there.” Randal went to work for Del Papa in 1989, entered service management soon after, and was made VP of Fleet Operations in 2000. Now the service managers and mechanics report to him.

Randal says that beer sales are keeping the trucks rolling despite the recession. “The beer business is not recession-proof but it is recession-resistant. Business is good.”

Randal lives in Santa Fe, Texas, near Galveston, with wife Tandi whom he married in 1999. His plans are to stay in Texas and stay with the company: “I’ll stay with this good family-owned business which is wonderful to work for. They treat you with respect.”

In spite of all the above, Randall says his real priority is his family. “My interest in my family is the most important thing in my life.” He raised three girls and has four step children with Tandi. “I care deeply about their interests, their future. I have a granddaughter now, and one on the way.”

Andreasen said he is still a Baptist but attends Catholic Mass with Tandi, a local Texan raised near where they live. “I like the Mass,” he said. “I can say my prayers and get my exercise done, all at the same time!”

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