Traffic Supervisor, Roadway Services, Inc.
A would-be agronomist comes home from college with a new pursuit: joining the “family business.”
When Rob Myers began his first summer job at Gerken in 1985, the Myers household joined countless other families with multiple generations employed at the company at various points. Rob’s father worked in Gerken’s accounting department for 32 years. So when Rob was old enough to work on summer breaks from school, his dad made sure he considered Gerken an option.
After high school, Rob studied agronomy at Ohio State University. During his junior year at OSU, Rob and his classmates experienced mock job interviews with various agricultural companies. While participating in those interviews, Rob made a career-plan-altering discovery: The starting annual salary for an agronomist was less than what he made at Gerken in a single summer.
Rob didn’t require his dad’s accounting skills to perform that financial analysis, so he jumped at Brent Gerken’s job offer in one of the company’s labs. Not keen on working all day indoors, he transferred to Traffic Control a year later. Today, he is the Traffic Supervisor for Gerken’s Roadway Services, Inc.
“Traffic control touches every one of our paving jobs, and the rules are constantly changing,” explains Rob. “Keeping employees safe is a top priority, but so is protecting the traveling public.”
According to Rob, highway work zones became much more dangerous with the introduction of 70-mile-per-hour speed limits. Higher speeds demand that drivers pay closer attention to lane closures, barricades, and message boards. Furthermore, Traffic Control’s work does not end once the vehicle pattern is determined and signs and barriers are in place.
“We are always tweaking according to how traffic behaves,” says Rob. “That might mean increasing sign sizes, distancing, or colors or rethinking traffic patterns altogether.”
Rob credits his father, who he describes as a logical and analytical accountant, for instilling the ability to adjust as needed.
“He was the greatest influence in my life,” recalls Rob. “He encouraged me to leave my comfort zone, try new things, and—in that way—learn what I enjoyed and could be successful doing.”
Rob thinks friends would describe him as someone with a good sense of humor who doesn’t take things too seriously. He suspects most people would be surprised that he rarely wastes time looking backward, preferring to focus on tomorrow instead. And that—he says—is a trait he shares with The Gerken Companies.
As a thirty-three-year veteran of Gerken, Rob has enjoyed a front-row view for much of its expansion. He says the company has always been interested in getting bigger and better and that its success motivated workers to grow, too.
“It’s neat being part of it,” he says about the company’s growth. “It’s challenging, yes. But it’s good having opportunities to tackle those challenges.”
Rob asserts that Gerken’s great employees made its growth possible. He feels blessed to work with such wonderful people.
Born and raised in Liberty Center, Ohio, Rob imagined relocating to a bigger city after college. Instead, he returned to his hometown following graduation, where he would marry and raise three daughters and a son.
“Growing up, I always claimed I would move away, but I came back,” recalls Rob. “I love that, even as a small town, Liberty Center is always evolving.”
Rob likes spending time with his family, golfing, and coaching the Liberty Center High School track team. He also enjoys talking to area youth as part of Gerken’s outreach and recruiting efforts. He tells prospective employees about multiple generations of the same families working for the company.
“I always ask them, ‘Why would you want to work someplace where people didn‘t do that?’”
By the way, Rob’s son, Alec, has recently joined Roadway Services, making it three generations of Myers to work at The Gerken Companies.
“Keeping employees safe is a top priority, but so is protecting the traveling public.”