By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 12/31/20
From a young age, James “Jim” Hartman of Harrisonburg was working on and around tractor-trailers as part of his father Dwight’s business.
“I grew up around trucks before I ever graduated from high school, and it was a great experience and I learned a lot,” Jim Hartman said Wednesday.
Over five decades later, today is Hartman’s last day at the business that became Truck Enterprises Inc. In 1961, Dwight Hartman started the company, which has grown to eight locations and was sold to Transport Equipment Co. based in Salt Lake City in September.
“We’ve grown from one small dealership to eight, so you have a very large, dedicated workforce that works together,” Jim Hartman said. “It doesn’t matter what your title or job functions is, the end result of the success of Truck Enterprises is everyone working together.”
Over his 52 years at Truck Enterprises, industrial technology has come a long way — ensuring trucks run longer and safer, he said.
“When I first started seeing trucks for Truck Enterprises, we would maybe get 300,000 miles on an engine,” he said. “Today, we see a lot of engines go a million miles.”
His first job was entry-level in the parts department in 1968. By the ‘80s, he was sales manager and then became the dealer principal until the sale in September. Hartman has held various positions in the sector, such as being a board member of the Virginia Trucking Association, the American Truck Dealers’ Association and the Kenworth Dealer Council.
“It’s no coincidence that after 60 years, [Truck Enterprises] has the respect of the community for its quality, integrity and fair dealing. Those traits are synonymous with Jim Hartman,” Kyle Treadway, dealer principal of Truck Enterprises and Kenworth Sales, said in a press release. “His example to everyone around is clear — do your best,
be fair, treat others honestly and respect their efforts.”
Hartman graduated from James Madison University with a degree in business administration after transferring to the school in 1968, then named Madison College.
He was on the board of visitors from 2004 to 2010 and was the rector for another two years. He is still on the board of the JMU Foundation. The new College of Business building, Hartman Hall, carries his namesake to acknowledge the contributions made by he and his wife Carolyn.
He said the biggest issue with his retirement is that he won’t be seeing his co-workers every day anymore, though he will remain as chair at Truck Enterprises.
“I’ve always been blessed with the fact that I’m in a business that I like so much working with people internally and customers that when I get awake in the morning, I was looking forward to go to work,” said Hartman.