In today’s business world, working in the same profession for 40 years is an outstanding achievement. That’s certainly the case for Butch Sonnenburg, who recently celebrated his 40th anniversary hauling milk across Wisconsin and Illinois.
He also recently celebrated another important milestone – the one-year anniversary of the purchase of his first Western Star truck, a brand new 4900 FA. Sonnenburg has owned his own vehicle for 38 of those 40 years, so he knows trucks – so much so that prior to his Western Star, he owned models built by four other manufacturers.
“My friend is an owner-operator and a fan of Western Star,” Sonnenburg explained. “He always has been after me to try one, so I decided to give it a look. I just love it. It has more than 100,000 miles and still rides and handles nicely. I’m amazed at how quiet it is.”
Those are important attributes to anyone buying a vehicle, but they are especially critical to Sonnenburg. As the operator of a milk tanker truck, he is responsible for stopping at 13 farms each day to pick up milk. From there he takes it to a production plant where it is used to make cheese. He does all but four miles of his 320-mile daily trip on two lane roads.
A Well-Built Truck
Sonnenburg admits he wasn’t immediately sold on Western Star when he first started shopping for his truck. He had never owned one and knew they were built differently than the competition. In particular, he was curious about Western Star’s steel cab construction.
“I was kind of scared because I have always bought aluminum cabs in the past,” Sonnenburg said. “I wash my truck everyday and I was afraid it would rust, but the salespeople showed me the truck and how it’s different than the others. They really paint these things well.”
Sonnenburg’s concerns were erased when he learned that Western Star uses double sided galvanealed steel, which undergoes a 17-stage e-coat process to provide corrosion resistance. He also has confidence in the sturdy steel cab construction.
Easy to Maintain
For Sonnenburg, time is important because he does a lot of his own maintenance work. He needs to be able to get the job done quickly and easily.
“The Western Star is easy to work on because everything is where it should be,” Sonnenburg continued. “The grease fittings are all in the right place, and I can reach everything from above.”
The Most Sincere Form of Flattery
Sonnenburg likes his Western Star so much, he already has started referring his friends to his Western Star dealership, Badger Truck Center in Madison.
“I really like the dealership, so I just referred another milk hauler that way,” Sonnenburg said. “He’s a young guy, so I should get him going in the right direction now.”
Western Star Trucks, headquartered in Redford, Mich., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a member of the Freightliner group of companies. Freightliner is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.