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The Schaefer Family

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The Schaefer Family

One Century Strong

The Schaefer Family Story

Pierce is all about family. And family is about sticking together. It’s why Jerry told his boys they had to work at Pierce. That, and because he knew they were hard workers – he trained them himself.

Back when the company had a utility division, Jerry was a mechanic. And he was a master under pressure. He remembers the day when he was “Top Gun,” having fixed four trucks that were on schedule for delivery in 15 minutes flat. He didn’t even sweat the time when a customer was stuck in the mountains in Edison, California with a leaking heater. It was as if he called bush pilots and UPS every day to deliver parts to remote mountain ranges.

Jerry Schaefer

Retired Service & Warranty Manager
27 years of service (1962-1989)

By the time Jerry was a Service & Warranty Manager, his boys were a part of Pierce. Suppertime discussions revolved around the company, firefighters and memories – like the time Jerry was invited to Doug Ogilvie’s house to partake in a goat roast, or back when he was a fire chief himself, hosting dances and even a circus to raise money to build a fire department in the Town of Buchanan.

Jerry has a vigor even retirement can’t soften. When asked about the future of Pierce, he’ll tell you it’s going to grow and grow – so long as his sons are there. And when you bring up the fact that together, he and his boys have over 100 years of experience at the company, he stands a little taller, and speaks from the heart. “I’m very proud of my sons still working at Pierce. I told them about all the possibilities, about how they could move along in this world, and they’ve done all right.”

Don Schaefer

Senior Scheduler
42 years of service

“I tell people I didn’t want to work at Pierce. I had to work at Pierce.” Don jokes about his unorthodox start with the company, but in all truth, he’s grateful to his dad. From his first day on, he felt valued – a feeling that didn’t exactly prevail when he worked night shifts at the local diner. So he stuck with Pierce.

His career began on a humble note – doing custodial work and odd jobs. And one night, while cleaning up, Doug Ogilvie stopped by to ask how everything was going. Don (ever his father’s son) didn’t waste any time, and said he didn’t exactly see a future in sweeping floors. Doug smiled, and moved him to checkout the next week.

From there, Don took over managing supplies in the stock room, applied for and accepted a Planner position and worked to progress to where he is today – Senior Scheduler. Don is living proof that the best things in life come when you work your way from the bottom up. Things like the pride in proving yourself, the thrill of a solid support system, and yes, even things like love. Because it was back in those early days sweeping floors when Don met the love of his life. (It’s okay, Don. Your wife will let the “no future in sweeping” comment slide.) The most important people in Don’s world – including his son and daughter – have been a part of Pierce. And that’s why he says the company does more than build fire trucks – it builds people.

David Schaefer

Planner, Scheduling Department
35 years of service

When your father talks up his coworkers, and your mother asks after their wives, and your (hero) big brother gushes about how good his new job makes him feel, it’d be a miracle if you didn’t join the Pierce family.

David began his career in the stock room at the old city plant downtown, bringing in five bucks an hour and loving every minute of it. From there, he progressed to a team leader, took on a cycle count position and then progressed to Planning in the Scheduling Department – the very same department as his big brother. He thanks his Dad for his success – for setting up that interview way back when, for pushing him to go further in life, for still calling him every single day to “make sure he’s working,” and for giving him the capacity to value what truly sets Pierce apart.

Like the loyalty of the employees who devoted their weekends to picking up chassis from Illinois, for free, because times were tough. And the heart of Doug Ogilvie’s leadership when he took money out of his own pocket to get his employees Christmas gifts.

Take the hard work, the solid support and all the memories, and add in the ultimate motivator – helping firefighters – and it’s no wonder David and his family have built legacy careers with Pierce. So how does he feel, after a 100th company anniversary, and after 104 years of combined service with his father and brother? Like family.

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Pierce is all about family. And family is about sticking together. 
It's why Jerry told his boys they had to work at Pierce.

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