Employee Spotlight: Traffic Control with Duane Sabers

Duane Sabers, a Truck Dispatcher in the Dubuque store, has been with Spahn & Rose for 41 years. Many in the company know him as “Springer.” Here, Sabers shares his passion for cooking, what a typical workday is like—and how he earned his nickname.

When did you start at Spahn & Rose, and what was your first position?

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Duane (pictured with John Cook) accepting the January 2016 Above & Beyond Award.

I started here shortly after graduating high school in 1977. I started out in the yard, riding in trucks when needed and helping out in the warehouse. There was this big guy with this beard, looked like a Harley-Davidson biker. When he told me to do something, I would spring up and do it. So he started calling me “Springer.” Ever since at Spahn & Rose, I’ve been called Springer. Lots of people may not even know my real name.

What has changed the most since you started working here?

Probably getting computers into the system. When I started, all orders and deliveries were handwritten on tickets. Spahn & Rose has grown tremendously—about three times the number of employees since I started. One thing, too, that’s changed is how much information we get about products. We have classes, and the sales reps come around to introduce new products. It’s really been a tremendous help to understand the products, which lets us help the contractors and customers better.

What’s your typical workday like?

As the truck dispatcher, I’ll start at 6:30 in the morning dispatching the trucks. The day before, I already figured out where the first loads are going, on what trucks. Then I’ll start rounding up the second load and organizing what drivers are going to get what loads. A big part of my job is planning so there’s no downtime in the yard or for drivers. We have 10 trucks, and they may take two or more loads a day. It’s common to dispatch out 40 to 50 loads a day.

What’s been your most memorable day at Spahn & Rose?

When we moved to our new Dubuque facility about four years ago. At the previous facility, we had to do a lot of running around from building to building. Now, everything is within hand’s reach.

What’s one rewarding aspect of your job?

Dispatching trucks and being able to quickly get a load out to a contractor when he’s in a pinch and needs something fast. Sometimes I’ll see the contractor a day or two later and he’ll thank me for making the fast delivery. That’s really rewarding.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My son and three sons-in-law made a smoker for cooking ribs and chicken wings. A farmer had an old fuel barrel, and we converted it to a smoker and now go to cooking competitions about four or five times during the summer, along with cooking at family functions. Our cooking team is called Meat Sweats, and we’ve taken a few blue ribbons here and there. At last year’s Jones County Fair, we took first place in pork butts.

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