Penner International is celebrating 100 years in Steinbach.
When Penner was originally built in 1923, they were right on the edge of town, and 100 years later as the town has grown, they are now right in the heart of Steinbach.
The new General Manager Tom Van Dam says it is truly a family-run business.
“I've had coffee with Allan Penner before I took over this job, and one of Allan’s primary concerns was that we continue to take care of the drivers and the staff that make up Penner,” he says. “And I assured him that we would continue his legacy and he would be proud of the way we run the business, and so far, I think we've been able to do that.”
Van Dam says it’s incredible seeing the longevity of the people who work at Penner. They have over 75 drivers, owner-operators, and staff who have been with Penner for more than 20 years.
“You have so many people who've been there their entire life, and it's a family-run business through and through. There are so many key people that I would have been lost without.”
He highlights some of the people who have worked there for a long time.
“Terry Penner, and he's not related to Allan Penner, but he's our controller and he does an amazing job at the financials. Probably one of the smartest people that I know.”
He says their IT department is also filled with impressive people.
“Ken Bartell, who's been at Penner for 45 years, and Trevor Young, who's been there 20 years. These guys are exceptional,” he says. “I've been in the business a long time, but I'm learning from them because they have been so vertically integrated with Penner International.”
Van Dam says Bartell’s brother Gerald Bartell has been driving with them for 40 years.
He also mentions Kevin Neufeld and his various family members who have worked for Penner.
“He works in our operations. He's been here 30 years, his brother works in our shop, his daughter works for us, his father drove for Penner, his grandfather drove for Penner.”
To celebrate the 100th anniversary, they will be holding a celebration on Thursday, June 8th for the staff.
Van Dam says various people will be in attendance, from local business leaders and government officials to some executives from C.A.T. Inc.
“And most importantly, we have up to 20 members of the Penner family coming to join us, and we are looking forward to getting to talk with them because without them this wouldn't be possible.”
With files from Corny Rempel