JACKSON CENTER — Every year, Airstream celebrates its long-tenured associates.
Recognition begins with those employees who have worked at Airstream for 20 years and moves upward through the years in five year increments.
“This event honors the associates who have made Airstream more than just their job,” said Airstream Senior Vice President of Operations Mark Wahl. “These folks have made Airstream their life’s work.”
The 2018 banquet was April 13 at Greatstone Castle in Sidney, with a dinner and awards ceremony. Twenty-four associates were honored for their combined 835 years of service.
“I have always said Airstream is a family, and this group really exemplifies that,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “Every year this is a humbling event. We recognize the contribution of these individuals, but you cannot deny there is a camaraderie that links them all together as a group.”
Two of this year’s group — Gene Evans and Bob Sanford — were recognized for 50 years of service.
“It’s obvious,” said Sanford. “You would not stay this long if it wasn’t a fantastic company to work for. They treat their people fairly, and they reward that. It’s nice to see the company grow.”
Russ Armstrong, recognized for 45 years of service, agreed.
“It’s been a privilege to have worked with a first-class company for all these years,” Armstrong said. “The leadership at Airstream has a vision that reaches into the future.”
Working together for multiple decades, Sanford and many of his colleagues have grown together in their adulthood and watched many of their friends retire along the way.
“You grow into a family,” he said. “We’ve watched each other’s kids grow up, graduate, get married. You really evolve together.”
Less than a decade ago, Airstream’s average employment tenure was around 20 years. While recent growth to meet demand has brought that average down, the average tenure is still above five years.
The following associates also were recognized: Gary Shaner, Bob Thomas and Nick York, 45 years; Mike Brown, Doug Burch, Deb Gates, Joni Leininger, Roger Markley, Judy Powers and Matt Ragland, 35 years; Tim Burch, Dan Froehlich, Randy Goings, Rick March Sr., Tim Maxwell, Kathy McVety, Bill Schmidt, Lee Scott and Ed Wilkins, 30 years; Steve Shortridge and Mark Wahl, 20 years.