Our latest installment of Faces of Alkota is a special one. Today, we’re introducing you to Roger Walz, the 2018 recipient of the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) Lifetime Achievement Award.
Roger celebrates 44 years with us this year, having joined the Alkota family in 1974. During his time with the company, he’s worn several hats, and we’re proud to call him one of our longest-tenured employees.
Meet RogeR Walz
Born on a dairy farm in Vermillion, Roger is one of nine children, including triplet sisters. Following high school, he joined the army, where he served for one tour. When he returned home from tour, Roger married his wife, Avis, and joined the cleaning business with Electronics (which later became Electro-Magic).
Avis and Roger have three children—Tim, Jeff, and Mark—and five grandchildren.
Roger spent about a decade with Electro-Magic before they sold and relocated. He didn’t intend to move with them, so he went back to his roots as a dairy farmer for several years.
But soon enough, an old contact from Electro-Magic got in touch and Roger began working for Alkota as the plant superintendent. Nearly a decade later in 1983, he transitioned into a role as engineering manager.
Though he didn’t have an engineering background, Roger says he was lucky to be working with former University of South Dakota (USD) professor of engineering, Lloyd Zabel. Professor Zabel moved to a role at Alkota after USD’s program closed, and offered Roger plenty of on-the-job training.
Roger remained in that role until just last year, when he made the transition to part-time work.
“I’m 79 years old,” he said. “So, I’m working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday now.”
Before the transition, he spent a lot of time traveling to put on service schools.
“I’ve been all over the country, as well as South America and Mexico,” he said.
Now, with decades of experience in his toolkit, Roger is our expert in custom quotes.
“I’ve been in the business since I was 18 or 19, so I know the equipment pretty well,” he says. “Originally, we did very few models, but now we can do almost anything a client’s looking for.”
The CETA Lifetime Achievement Award
This year’s CETA Awards were held in Orlando, and Roger wasn’t particularly keen on making the trip. To be fair, he wasn’t aware that he was the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient quite yet!
“I was told I had to go though,” he said. “That was the extent I knew about it.”
Roger says he was quite surprised to receive the award, but from our perspective, his 44 years of experience say it all.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Our greatest strength here at Alkota is our people. We’re very grateful to have people like Roger on our team, who have been with the company for decades and continue to contribute exceptional results.
Interested in joining our team? Read more below!