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8 July 2020

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Mike Tucker – 1964 – 2020

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Mike Tucker, our friend and former President and CEO of Mickey Truck Bodies. Mike, 56, died on June 7 at his home in Greenville, NC, after a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Heidi Flanigan Tucker; daughters Emma Corinne Tucker of Washington, D.C., and Claire Johnston Tucker of Durham; father Dr. Donald H. Tucker of Greenville; brother Donald H. Tucker, Jr.; and sister Susan Tucker Weaver of Raleigh.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Mike Tucker

I competed with Mike for over 25 years while he ran Hackney. While he was always a fierce competitor, he was also an outstanding professional and a true gentleman. As the saying goes, “He was tough but fair.” I was elated when Mike agreed to join Mickey in 2018, and in 2019 it was with great pride and confidence that I named him the President and CEO of Mickey Truck Bodies, the first ever non-Mickey family member to hold that title.

From the moment Mike came on board in High Point, he began earning the respect and support of all his Mickey teammates with his thirst for business, his decisive decision-making his intellectual curiosity. He embodied the Mickey 3 D’s – desire, dedication, and determination – long before he ever joined our company. The only times he left his office early were the nights he traveled to Durham to watch his beloved Duke Blue Devils play basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mike graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1985.

Mike’s time at Mickey was cut way too short. But he left an enduring legacy of integrity, humility and sincere warmth and consideration for his colleagues.

Sincerely,

 

 

Dean Sink
Executive Chairman
Mickey Truck Bodies

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Unsung heroes help keep front line heroes rolling along

From left: Mickey’s Kevin Grayson and Mark Milam and AEV’s Michelle Kirk.

HIGH POINT and JEFFERSON, NC — JUNE 2020 –  Under normal circumstances, it’s essential for most people to get up every day and go to work to provide for their families – to pay the mortgage, put food on the table, heat and cool their homes, and pay the bills in general. But these are anything but normal circumstances. Many of these same people who go to jobs every day are not only essential to their families, but also to the safety and well-being of the entire country. They have a different sense of purpose.

“We are supporting the medical field, so our work is always important,” says Kevin Grayson, Beverage/EV Production Manager for Mickey Truck Bodies, which supplies Jefferson, NC-based American Emergency Vehicles (AEV)/REV Group with the aluminum bodies that are upfitted into full-service ambulances. “But we’re putting a little more heart into these days. We make sure we hit our schedule and put out a high quality body so that when AEV gets it, they can turn it into an ambulance and get it to the front lines. Our manufacturing goal is to always ‘get it right the first time’ to avoid rework. That’s more important than ever.”

“People want to serve a greater purpose,” says Michelle Kirk, Delivery Coordinator for AEV. “We know what we are coming in here to do. Patients need to get to the hospitals, and we want to help. It’s human nature. We take pride in the work we are doing.”

“I still come to work today like I did 6 months ago, only now it’s not just about feeding my family,” says Mark Milam, a Mickey welder and 25-year company veteran. “We’re in a pandemic, we are working to save lives. I’ve always been proud of what I do. Now, when my kids see an ambulance on the road, and ask, ‘Daddy, did you help build that ambulance?’, I feel even better when I tell them I did. I can always tell a Mickey body.”

In a long, long line, American Emergency Vehicles, part of REV Ambulance Group, make their way to New York City from North Carolina as part of an 81-vehicle emergency order.

Both AEV and Mickey have always taken an “employee first” approach to their businesses, and they are taking all steps necessary to keep their teammates safe during the Covid-19 medical crisis by complying with federal, national and local safety guidelines.

To help mitigate against the spread of coronavirus in the workplace, Mickey has reduced its hours by giving plant employees 3 days off per week. At the same time, the company has trained additional employees to work on ambulance bodies in order to keep pace with AEV’s production. “A smart move,” says Kevin. “It boosts morale by giving us more time at home with our families and allows us to come back to work rested and able to focus on doing quality work. While we’re here we’re very conscientious about keeping ourselves and our teammates safe. We’re taking all the precautions because we want to come to work to do our part to heal the country.” Production of ambulance bodies has not slipped a bit under the revised work week.

“I’m a germaphobe to begin with,” says Mark. “I keep my time card in my wallet now instead of at the clock. I wipe down my computer [keyboard] before and after I use it. I don’t drink from water coolers. My head is in a welding helmet 80% of the day. I know I’m safe when I’m at work, so my focus is on the job. Coming to work doesn’t bother me. Not coming to work, especially in these times, is what would really bother me.”

“I am very proud of the work that the team at American Emergency Vehicles (AEV) does every day, particularly as we all manage through the complexities of the Covid-19 crisis,” said Randy Hanson, Vice President & General Manager of AEV/REV Group. “We recently fulfilled an order for 43 ambulances for New York City, and our strong relationship with Mickey Truck Bodies was part of the reason we could respond quickly and confidently to support those on the front lines.”

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Mickey names GM for NJ Fleet Services Center

Rob Piotrowski

JUNE 2020 – Rob Piotrowski has joined Mickey Truck Bodies as General Manager of its Northeast Fleet Services Center in Freehold, NJ, reporting to Tom Arland, Mickey President. He succeeds Steve McLaughlin, a pioneer in the trailer and body reconditioning field who retired from Mickey after a 32-year career.

Most recently Rob was Service Manager at Penske, North Bergen, NJ, where he was responsible for all fleet maintenance of 1,300 units across 4 locations and a team of 50 employees. He joined Penske in 2014 and before that was Fleet Manager & Operations Analyst at GAF in Bridgewater, NJ. GAF is one of North America’s leading roofing manufacturers. Rob also spent 13 years with Village Farms International, one of the largest vertically integrated greenhouse growers in North America, where he served as Transportation Manager.

From 1997 to 2001, Rob was Logistics Operation Control Manager with the United States Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. During that time he support several high profile military organizations and civilian agencies, obtaining a U.S. government Department of Defense secret security clearance.

“Steve was instrumental in the start up of Mickey’s reconditioning business,” says Dean Sink, Executive Chairman. “He saw the value to fleet owners in extending the life of their vehicles by offering quality reconditioning and repair services. To this day we are the only body and trailer manufacturer to operate a network of company-owned and operated Fleet Services Centers. We are fortunate to have someone with Rob Piotrowski’s experience and expertise take over for Steve in the Northeast.”

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8 celebrate major milestones

Clockwise from top left: Anselmo Huizar, Mark Milam, Steve Martin, Michael Rabon, Carroll French, Jeffas Lloyd, Billy Burton, John Loftis

JUNE 2020 – Anselmo Huizar, a wiring technician on the beverage line, will mark his 30-year anniversary with Mickey Truck Bodies on June 18. He joined the company in 1990.

Mark Milam, a welder on the Emergency Vehicles team, will celebrate his 25-year Mickey milestone on June 19.

Two Mickey teammates hit their 20-year Mickey marks recently – Steve Martin, an Engineer, on May 8; and Michael Rabon, Parts Team, on June 12.

Commemorating their 15-year Mickey anniversaries are John Loftis, a welder on the MidAtlantic Fleet Services Team, May 5; Billy Burton, Machine Operator, May 31; Jeffas Lloyd, Beverage, May 24; and Carroll French, Quality, June 13.

Eighteen percent of Mickey’s full-time teammates have been with the company for at least 20 years. Thirty percent of the entire Mickey team has been with the company for 10 years or more.

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Call him ‘super impressed’

After 10 years on Canadian roads, condition of Mickey Interstate body is “amazing.”

JUNE 2020 – Kelly Leechee, owner of Moffett & Flatbed Delivery Services, Inc. in Manitoba, Canada, recently purchased a 2010 Interstate Battery truck with a 10-year-old Mickey sideload body. Before he repurposed the unit for his particular business needs, Kelly, a seasoned trucker, commented on its condition.

“After 10 years of harsh Canadian winters, with minus 40-degree temperatures and all the salt, this body is in incredible condition,” he said. “It has some usual wear and tear, but I’m super impressed with the doors, the alignment, and the overall condition. Man, what a well-built tool.”

Kelly purchased the truck from the Interstate Battery dealer in Manitoba and noted that the excellent shape of the body “speaks volumes about the dedication and pride they take in their fleet. After 10 years, it’s amazing.”

“[Mickey] is also a proud company and it shows,” Kelly said. “You make a superior product.”

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In-Sink 2.0: Hero’s welcome

Matt Sink

By Matt Sink, CEO
JUNE 2020 – As our nation begins to reopen, the stories of our front line heroes continue to dominate the headlines and newscasts, and rightfully so. Doctors, nurses, medical emergency workers, first responders have risked their lives for the past few months, just as they have for their entire careers. But the Covid-19 pandemic has put an exclamation point on their courageous service.

Throughout the Covid crisis, the entire Mickey team has been working full force to manufacture and repair vehicles that deliver essential products to consumers – like food and water – and ambulance and emergency bodies that get people to the appropriate medical facilities. As Mickey welder Mark Milam put it: “I still come to work today like I did 6 months ago, only now it’s not just about feeding my family … we are working to save lives.” See the AEV/Mickey story in this issue of The Spirit.

At Mickey, we have great teammates who bring the 3-D’s to work everyday – desire, dedication and determination. Eighteen percent of Mickey’s full-time employees have been with the company for at least 20 years, and 30% have been here for 10 years or more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for employee tenure has been stuck at 4.2 years for the past few years. We feature 8 of our 15-year-plus heroes in the “Milestones” story.

Then there’s Steve McLaughlin, who retired this month after 32 years with Mickey. While I was still in grade school, Steve was busy launching the company’s reconditioning business and, in fact, pioneering an entire industry.

Finally, and sadly, the body and trailer manufacturing industry lost one of its true stars this month with the passing of Mike Tucker, the former President & CEO of Mickey Truck Bodies. Mike joined Mickey in 2018 after 26 years with V.T. Hackney, our biggest competitor. He was the first non-Mickey family member to serve as President of our company, and in his short time here, Mike earned the respect and admiration of every employee because of his expertise, energy, and sincerity. He fought a heroic battle with cancer, and will be dearly missed by everybody who was fortunate enough to know him.

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Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night top ‘tenacity, determination, cooperation’

Alternative fuel trucks to deliver the mail

The McAbee, ROUSH CleanTech, Rush Enterprises and Mickey Truck Bodies team at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

HIGH POINT, NC — APRIL 13, 2020 – McAbee Trucking, a freight shipping and trucking company in Blacksburg, SC, has purchased eight Ford F-750 delivery trucks fueled by propane Autogas. They will be the first emission-reducing propane Autogas trucks used for contracted parcel delivery between United States Postal Service locations in North and South Carolina.

The trucks, unveiled at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis last month, feature 26-foot van bodies manufactured by Mickey Truck Bodies, upfitted with the ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system, which is 90-percent cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s most stringent heavy-duty emission standard. “We had great traffic at the NTEA booth,” says Dylan Kyle, ROUSH CleanTech’s Commercial Sales Manager. “Being involved with a family name like McAbee, which has been a decades long contractor of the mission-critical USPS application, showed very well.”

“As a business owner, I continually look for ways to add safety, improve day-to-day operations, advocate for environmental preservation and save money,” said Lisa McAbee, owner of McAbee Trucking. “Our new propane fleet vehicles accomplish all these goals.”

In January, Lisa’s “dream” was to have her company’s first-of-a-kind mail delivery truck on display at the NTEA show. “I thought, ‘how can we get this done in only three months?’ ROUSH had the chassis, now Mickey had to build the body from scratch. We all spent three weeks going over the specs for a mail delivery truck, something Mickey had never made before, and we made several changes along the way. I inspected that body from top to bottom and was so proud of it. We got it perfect. I want a Mickey body on every truck I own from now on. I’m sincere when I say that. It’s a great truck, rides great, and is cleaner than diesels. It’s a winner.”

The key to the success, Lisa says, was the “tenacity, determination and cooperation” of the three companies. “We came together to make something that seemed impossible only three months earlier. Mickey and ROUSH had to pull off a lot to get that truck done in time to make it to Indianapolis. Not many companies can build a truck in three weeks. Mickey Truck Bodies and ROUSH CleanTech surpassed my expectations for both the process and product.”

“At Mickey Truck Bodies we’re always proud of the work we do, but it’s especially satisfying to deliver quality equipment to forward-thinking companies that are taking a green approach toward the environment,” says Tom Arland, Mickey President. “McAbee Trucking is one of those companies. ROUSH CleanTech is also a forward-thinking company, and we’re proud to be partnered with Joe Rudolph [Vice President, Sales – Commercial Trucks] and his team. Rush Truck Center was also a great partner on this project.”

Bobby Stanley, National Account Manager at Rush Enterprises, Inc., led the team that supplied the Ford F-750s for the builds.

Propane Autogas costs about 40% less than gasoline, and 50% less than diesel. Propane fleets report savings of 30 to 50% on filters and fluids due to the clean operation of the fuel. To fuel its new fleet, McAbee will install a propane station onsite. Until then, the company has onsite “mobile fueling,” where its local propane supplier fuels the vehicles from a propane delivery truck.

“Propane is really a great fit for the size and duty cycle of the trucks we use in our business,” said Lisa.

McAbee Trucking has more than 47 years of experience serving the USPS. It has achieved an on- time dispatch rating of over 99% by the USPS.

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6 celebrate major Mickey milestones

Clockwise from top left: Brent Barricks, Rex Cook, Ron McBryde, Greg Fisher, Kevin Grayson, Tommy Moffitt

Brent Barricks, a welder in the Machine Room, and Rex Cook, Inventory Control, celebrated their 35-year anniversaries working at Mickey Truck Bodies. They both joined the company on January 31, 1985.

Ron McBryde, Driver, will mark his 30-year Mickey milestone on April 23.

Tommy Moffitt, Maintenance Supervisor; Kevin Grayson, Beverage/EV Production Manager; and Greg Fisher, President, Mickey Ventures and Composites Now, celebrated their 25 years with Mickey Truck Bodies on January 3, January 24 and February 1, respectively.

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In-Sink 2.0: Plenty to be proud of

By Matt Sink, CEO
Back on December 19 at the annual Mickey Truck Bodies’ holiday luncheon, I started my remarks to the team by announcing, “What a great year. There is so much to celebrate today, so much to be thankful for. Everyone has much to be proud of.”

Matt Sink

We picked up in 2020 right where we left off in 2019. Business was booming. The economy was strong. Nothing but blue skies ahead. Then we were abruptly introduced to the coronavirus, and everything changed.

In the face of this global health emergency, we have plenty to be proud of. We’re proud to be an integral part of a trucking industry that is hard at work making sure people have all the necessities of life, like food and water, medicine, emergency services. We have come together as a team to keep our plants fully operational during these trying times because we are an “essential” business. Through it all we continue to work safely and productively while maintaining all the social distancing and safety guidelines established by the appropriate government and medical authorities. In good times and bad, we can be proud that we adhere unconditionally to our core values of Desire, Dedication and Determination – the 3D’s. We can be proud that our business is on solid ground, we are a healthy company, and we are well positioned to weather this storm.

At the Mickey holiday luncheon in December I said that the outlook is great, that there is a lot to look forward to, and today I believe that as much as ever. When we do come out of this unprecedented health crisis, we will be a stronger company because we kept our noses to the grindstone for the good of our customers and the good of the country.

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Mickey Engineered Vehicles

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