The Tampa, Florida, branch of the Kloeckner Metals Heavy Carbon Group recently recognized driver Hank Rogacki for his excellent record. Hank marked 25.6 years of citation-free and accident-free driving with a Career Achievement Safety Award.
“To me, it is nice to be appreciated like that. It was a nice gesture,” says Hank. “I’m proud to get it.”
Hank makes it a point to practice safe driving in his personal as well as professional life. He never tries to drive too fast, and always maintains discipline and focus. He also keeps in mind what he is driving; a fully loaded truck in the morning drives differently than an unloaded truck at the end of the day, and they are both much different from a pickup truck or a car. He also makes it a point to always drive the appropriate speed.
“I had a Corvette a couple years back and my wife would gripe at me because I wasn’t blowing past the speed limit all that much,” Hank says with a chuckle.
Over the years, Hank has seen some crazy things on the road, things that reinforce the importance of defensive, alert driving. He thinks back to one instance a few weeks ago where he was driving in the early morning hours around 4:30 am.
“There was no traffic, and I passed where two Interstates intersected,” Hank recalls. “A guy cut from the very far lane behind me, right in front of me, no blinker, no nothing. If I hadn’t slowed down, I would have hit him and spun him right around. That’s one of the things that you encounter on an almost daily basis.”
Times like that reinforce Hank’s belief that the most important part of driving is to always stay alert. In order to maintain a clear mind, he makes it a point to sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night. He also tries to wind down a half hour to an hour before going to sleep. This helps him get quality sleep, even during nights where he doesn’t sleep as long as he would like. This, in turn, helps him stay alert during the long and sometimes hectic work day.
The most challenging part of driving according to Hank is something everyone can relate to, rush hour traffic. Hank and the driving crew in Tampa primarily do city driving, so those traffic filled hours in the morning and afternoon are particularly bad.
“In a lot of places that we go to, the rush hour is devastating,” Hank says. “Sometimes there is a nice quiet hour between 8:30 and around 11:30 where a lot of people are at work or busy. Sometimes it is easier to do a lot of maneuvering then.”
Hank is very happy working at Kloeckner all these years. He enjoys his job and is impressed by the benefits that Kloeckner offers. Above all, he enjoys the people he works with.
“The people here are really good,” Hank says. “The whole time they always back us as drivers.”