Feb. 20, 2013
After 42 years, Bill Synder put away his tools in January, 2013, and said so long to his friends and coworkers at US Foods.
A native of Maryland, Bill was a self-taught 16-year-old when he began his career in automative mechanics and started working on the vehicles at Wareheim Auto Services in Baltimore, a company that also serviced the fleet at Monarch Finer Foods. When Wareheim went out of business in 1970 and needed to sell off its equipment, Bill asked the transportation manager at Monarch who he knew quite well if he'd be interested in purchasing any of Wareheim's tools.
It is said that when one door closes, another opens and that was certainly true in Bill's case. Monarch purchased some of Wareheim's equipment, opened its own vehicle maintenance shop and made an employment offer Bill couldn't refuse.
Monarch Finer Foods eventually became a division of US Foods.
Bill is proud of the fact that everything he knew about maintaining the truck fleets he learned while working on the job, except for a short training session sponsored by Caterpillar back in the 1970s. With his knowledge, experiences and skills, Bill could diagnose, fix and repair any vehicle among US Foods' fleet of straight trucks, tractor-trailers and vans.
But changes in regulations and a on-going reductions in maintenance staffing levels played a significant role in Bill's decision to retire.
"Now there are only 6 mechanics left to service 80-plus trucks. DOT requires inspections every year. We conduct preventative maintenance to make sure every thing was on the up and up, but corporate wants it done every 3 months. That's a lot of paper work," Bill said with just a hint of a grin.
When asked what his plans were for retirement, Bill said that nothing would be decided until after his wife takes her retirement in March. But with 4 grandkids, 3 on the Eastern Shore and one in Florida, he expects that travel will definitely be in their plans.
Happy trails, Bill!
Photo: On a recent visit to the Local Union office in Baltimore, Snyder received best wishes for a happy, healthy retirement from US Foods Business Agent Jim Deene.