Our community lost a great leader with the recent passing of Duane Acklie. Although Duane is best known as the founder of Crete Carrier Corporation, he was also well known for many other achievements including service to our community and involvement on many boards. I remember him most for his kindness when we met.

I was nervous during that first conversation with Duane, but he quickly put me at ease. It was a time fuel prices were peaking and I asked Duane how the high fuel costs were impacting his trucking business. Duane patiently explained the cost Crete Carrier spent per week on diesel fuel and that amount is still astounding. It was obvious Duane Acklie was a giant in the trucking business world.

It was also obvious Duane valued the feelings of others. He could have quickly answered my question and moved on to more important people, but Duane kindly spent the time to share his vast knowledge. I was honored, to say the least, and the many lessons from that conversation still linger.

Duane Acklie was an outstanding businessman, but in addition, he was a nice guy with a heartwarming smile. Maybe that was because of his family roots and motto, “Always be a country boy”.

Duane led by example as he provided a needed service that served others in so many ways. He was naturally one of my heroes for bringing dignity to a profession and providing quality service. It’s somehow a common thread that we shared.

After that first meeting with Duane Acklie, I started watching Crete Carrier closely. It’s good to learn from the best. The trucking industry has to be a tough moving target to manage, but it was obvious through the years how well Crete Carrier exceeds their numerous challenges.

Crete Carrier semi-truck drivers typically seem courteous and obey the speed limits better than most. The quality of the Crete Carrier semi-trucks appears to be top-notch. Duane Acklie brought a special dignity to the trucking world and raised the bar. He was a difference-maker. Hopefully, others continue to follow his lead and improve.

Quality personal and well-maintained trucks are an important investment for Crete Carrier. Duane surrounded himself with dedicated people that naturally were responsible for taking great care of their fleet. It’s an important lesson that can improve our lives.

I’ve traveled the highways a lot through the years and have never seen a Crete Carrier truck stranded alongside the road except during a nasty snow storm. That’s probably because Crete Carrier’s consistent maintenance program helps protect them. Crete Carrier would never consider just putting fuel in their semi-trucks and then hoping for the best. Their well-planned maintenance program sets the tone to prevent breakdowns and provide consistent operation.

We can apply these same theories to our heating and air conditioning equipment needs. Successful service and operation start with hiring a quality team that cares and is well trained. Their attitudes and knowledge make a difference. They will provide the best preventative maintenance for your HVAC equipment.

We can compare our HVAC equipment to vehicles that need maintenance. Our HVAC equipment “travels” approximately 90,000 miles each year! It’s difficult to imagine not servicing that HVAC equipment at least twice each year. Maintenance reduces risks and makes a big difference in overall efficiency. It also improves the equipment life.

Understanding the need for a good maintenance program is the basic reason John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical has developed Service Maintenance Agreements that protect your HVAC equipment. Since there are many different needs for HVAC equipment by a variety of customers, John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical developed specific service plans that provide good, better and best maintenance. I’ve never seen better maintenance plans available that meet a variety of needs at a more reasonable cost.

Although we’ve had a warmer than usual year so far, there undoubtedly will be another cold Nebraska winter facing us soon. Do you have a Service Maintenance Agreement that will improve the odds of consistent HVAC equipment operation? If so, it’s not too early to schedule that service. If not, today is a great time to start a maintenance program by calling or emailing John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical.

All things come to pass and time will eventually run out for all of us. Hopefully, we will be remembered too for positive things like reaching out to others and setting the example. Thanks to my readers that appreciate the difference-makers like Duane Acklie. You are appreciated!

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