For 5 decades a Wausau woman has been trucking along as a customer service representative at a national trucking company. But now, that journey is about to end. 71-year-old Joan Walters says it's time to shift gears and retire.
After 53 years in the trucking industry, Joan Walters has it down.
Walters is one of 42 employees at Holland Trucking Company in Mosinee. That's a nationwide company that hauls freight across the U.S. and Canada.
Walters started at Holland in 1997, after the trucking company she joined as a teenager shut it's doors.
"I saw an advertisement in the paper for Holland," said Walters.
And just a few days later she was hired as a customer service representative.
"Everything was new to me. I did a lot of phone work, you know it's just learning all things over again," said Walters.
She loved her job and her co-workers. Especially one co-worker whose desk is just a few feet away.
"Well I've known Joannie for 14 years now," said Holland Account Executive, Tom Bagby.
"She was part of the reason why I came to Holland," said Bagby. "When I walked in the door, her smiling face attracted me to the company when I came in for an interview," he said.
"He's my closest friend here," said Walters.
Over the years, their friendship grew.
"Everyone loves Joannie here, I'm going to miss her so much," said Bagby.
"Well I'm not a computer person and there are a lot of changes coming on the computers and I thought you know what I'm too old to have to learn all this new stuff, so to be honest with you that's one of the big reasons why I decided to retire," said Walters.
Walters is known for going above and beyond at work. Earning her an award in 2011.
"People at each terminal recommend who they think deserves that award, I was shocked to death when I was told that I was a winner of that," said Walters.
"She's known throughout our industry because she's been around for so long as the person that our customers go to when they have a question," said Bagby.
Something Walters says she will miss.
"I love working with the customers, I love working with the people at Holland," said Walters.
How do you feel today being your last day?
"Sad, but I think that eventually I will get used to not coming to work, but it's just been fun," said Walters.
As her time winds down, Walters makes her round of goodbyes.
But for her friendship with Bagby, who affectionately calls her the terminal mom, it's not goodbye, just see you later.
"I'm going to miss her," said Bagby.
And they'll be sure to keep in touch, as she calls it a career.
Bagby plans on throwing a retirement party for Walters on the 31st. She says she's going to Florida next month with her husband. Walters says there will be more traveling and spending time with her grandchildren. If you or someone you know is looking to call it a career let Nancy Yousef know.