Since 1967, M&R Ready Mix has offered high-quality concrete products to their customers in Pettisville, McClure, and Stony Ridge, Ohio. The Gerken Companies acquired M&R Redi Mix Trucking, Inc. in 2019, updating the name to M&R Ready Mix. Operating with four plants from Toledo all the way to the state line, M&R Ready Mix provides high-quality ready mix products and excellent service to their customers in residential, commercial, and industrial construction.
Delivering excellent customer service isn’t possible without service representatives that genuinely care about their customers and strive to meet their needs. Darrell Stark, Ready Mix Driver at M&R Ready Mix, took some time to speak with us about his expertise and commitment to the people that he serves.
Can you describe a typical day for a ready mix truck driver?
I typically wake up each morning between 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock, get loaded some time between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock, and then spend pretty much the entire day hauling concrete. I wrap up anytime between 6 o’clock to 8 o’clock at night.
What attracted you to this line of work?
My dad was in construction, and I started off in construction while I was in school. A buddy of mine was working at Pahl’s Ready Mix, and he told me that they were in the market for new drivers. They had front discharge trucks, which was something you didn’t see everywhere in 1977, so that was a big attraction for me. I worked there for almost 15 years when I first started out.
How does your job impact your organization as a whole?
I deliver the product to the customer, but most importantly, I have to make sure the customer is happy. If the customer isn’t happy, they aren’t going to continue ordering materials from us. I’m a firm believer that the customer is always number one.
Tell me about the most fun that you’ve had while you have been on the job?
I remember around the time that I started, I usually poured late at the end of the day. One of the contractors that I was working for at the time had a big cooler with two big watermelons on ice. After we finished pouring, we broke the watermelon open, and it was some of the best watermelon you could eat.
What kind of challenges do you experience on the job?
I’ve been in the business for so long, that I don’t experience many challenges that I haven’t faced and conquered in the past. Occasionally, I’ll have to navigate through muddy conditions from the weather, but that’s about the extent. I always try to be as prepared as I can be and know exactly what I’m getting myself into.
How does the use of technology help you perform your job well?
I’ve been in the industry since 1977 – I’ve seen the rise of technology first-hand. When I first started, we had Nextel, and the push to talk was a game changer because company radios were getting to the point where they weren’t reliable. Now, we’re able to communicate through a phone or tablet, so ease of communication has increasingly improved over the years. GPS is a big deal as well, but I’ve been with M&R Ready Mix for 22 years, so I know my area very well and do not have to rely on it as much as a new driver.
What sort of goals do you set for yourself to help you perform your job well?
My goal is just to get up, do my job, and at the end of the week, paycheck, not be noticed, to be honest.
What is your greatest achievement inside of work and outside of work?
I’m very proud of the truck I’m running. Everyone knows it’s me when I’m coming down the road because my rims are so shiny and my truck looks new, although it’s four years old. We have some new trucks and my truck will shine right beside the new ones and sometimes looks better than them. I’ve always said “a good truck can make a bad driver look better; a bad truck can make a good driver look awful.” Outside of work, my greatest achievement is probably still work. I love what I do and I’m very proud of it.
What character trait would your friends use to describe you?
I would say helpful. I try to be as helpful as I can to everybody. I’ve been on the other end of the chute when I first started, and I know how hard the work is and I try to make it as easy as I can on them, and they are always appreciative of that.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love country music, and I love going to concerts. I also love to travel! We have a 40-foot fifth wheel camper. I unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to travel much with it just yet, but I’ll probably put in another year or so before I retire, kick back, and take some time to enjoy life.
Without the dedication of Ready Mix Drivers, construction would not be possible. Their work ethic and unwavering commitment is truly what makes this industry successful. Thank you to Darrell for giving us a glimpse into the day to day of a construction hero!