2014 Route Driver Of The Year Quarterly Winner, Billy Thornblom, Drapalla Vending, San Antonio, TX

Sept. 9, 2014

Billy Thornblom is as close as it gets to a perfect employee. The 2014 third quarter route driver winner of Drapalla Vending in San Antonio, TX, Thornblom respects his locations, his equipment and his vehicle. He adapts to changes in the business, especially in technology, and he believes in supporting his customers. But most importantly, he does all of the above because he knows it will improve the company for which he works.

Loyalty matters

Thornblom began his career as a route driver for Drapalla Vending in 1985 and has been with the company ever since. “Billy has been going in and out of some of the same buildings for the past 29 years,” said TJGossett, president of Drapalla Vending. “His customers are loyal to him and know him on a first name basis,” said Gossett. In 29 years, Thornblom has missed only a handful of work days due to illness or vacation, but if he is going to miss work, he prioritizes his route himself in order to guarantee that no customer is left unattended.

Not only is he loyal to his customers, but he also shows the utmost respect for his equipment and his vehicle. He maintains clean and error-free machines and corrects issues on any equipment, which saves the company a service call. “He knows his equipment and his accounts very well and has a well-trained eye to notice the smaller details of his equipment,” said Gossett. Thornblom additionally keeps his van extremely organized in order to work faster at servicing his machines. “The maintenance on his van is very minimal due to his driving habits and him caring for his vehicle,” said Gossett. “He keeps his van clean, inside and out, making a great impression to our customers.”

Accept change to improve

In 29 years as a route driver, Thornblom was bound to encounter some changes. What no one expected, however, was how quickly he would adapt to those changes, such as technology. “He is a man that is dedicated to learning new tasks to improve our business as a whole,” said Gossett. “Over the past couple of years we implemented inventory management software and Billy embraced this challenge better than any other driver we have on staff. He was used to doing the same thing day in and day out for over 25 years and to throw this change onto him was a great deal to ask.” After a year the company moved the route drivers to handheld computers. “Again, Billy accepted the change and has done better than any other driver with his hand held device,” said Gossett.

Company-wide role model

Thornblom’s loyalty to his customers and his ability to accept and embrace changes has led him to be a company-wide role model, for newcomers and vending veterans alike.

“Our other drivers here on staff look up to him,” said Gossett. “He is an excellent role model for our younger drivers. He is an excellent face in the field and I am proud to have him as a member of our team.”