Watkins Driver Fred Elmhorst Puts Health First
Fred Elmhorst is not the typical professional driver. His colleagues in the Watkins Refrigerated division of the Watkins Family of Companies know him for his business savvy, strong faith, dedication to his family and passion for running. At 74 years old, Elmhorst has nearly 40 years of experience as an OTR driver – almost half of which have been with Watkins.
Elmhorst, also known as “Fritz” to the running community, took up running five years ago when his daughter-in-law suggested he try recreational running as a way to spend some of his free time. He became addicted to the sport after competing in his first 5k race. Today, Elmhorst participates in about 22 races a year, including multiple 5ks, 10ks, stair climb races in Chicago and Tampa, and a handful of half and full marathons.
“I realized I had gotten so out of shape that I couldn’t even run the distance between two utility poles without getting out of breath,” explains Elmhorst. “Since then, I’ve gotten my weight down from 183 to 158 pounds by exercising and tweaking my nutrition. In the last three years, I’ve run four full marathons and am planning on running another one in February.”
Elmhorst credits much of his health success to his wife of 54 years, Margo. She plans out all of his meals for as long as he’s out on the road at a time. The meals are separated into individual portions and either refrigerated or frozen, depending on the ingredients. As an owner operator, Elmhorst was able to spec out his new truck and have a factory-installed converter system with household plug-ins, refrigerator and freezer. This way, he can use household appliances, such as a microwave, right inside his truck.
“The irregular hours, being away from home and not being able to consistently get good nutrition are some of the hardest things professional drivers face today,” says Elmhorst, who spends as much time as he can in his Lakeland, Fla., home with his wife, four children and their spouses, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “As much as I’m on the road, keeping my health is a priority and I’m able to do that with my driving schedule – not just when I’m home.”
Driving for the Watkins Refrigerated team allows Elmhorst to have more consistent freight lanes and get home on a regular basis while making more of his own business decisions about his work. He says he especially likes the fact that he has the ability to maximize his profits while working with a company full of hard-working, “really good people.” The company is now hiring for fleets in Lakeland, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Sayreville, N.J.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, TX.; and Fontana, CA.
For more information about the driving opportunities at Watkins Family of Companies please visit www.driveforwatkins.com or call 1-800-695-9643.