TravelCenters of America launched Citizen Driver in 2013 to show support and respect for the exceptional members of a largely underappreciated industry. Citizen Drivers represent the industry through values of citizenship, community involvement, health and wellness, leadership and safety, and this year we’re delighted to welcome Steen Gronlund to the group.
Steen’s exceptional work ethic was instilled in him early on in life. After moving from his birthplace of Copenhagen, Denmark to a small farming community in Saskatchewan, Canada, Steen did his fair share to help out. At a young age, he was hauling grain from the combine to the grain bins with the farm truck and would ride alongside the cattle hauler in his semi. It was on this small Canadian farm that Steen’s love for trucking began.
At 23, Steen started his trucking career when the drilling rig company he worked for moved to Wyoming. Just 10 years later he hit the road as an owner-operator, though this portion of his career unfortunately didn’t last long. Only two years after he bought his truck, Steen was devastated to find out it was stolen. This might have been the end of the road for some, but this of course did not stop Steen from following his passion. He later went on to work for Leprino Transportation for 20 years and from there, moved on to work for Mile Hi Foods, where he remains today.
Steen’s work ethic makes him stand out wherever he goes, especially at Mile Hi Foods where he’s considered one of their best drivers. You may even overhear phrases like “get ‘er done” or “it better be done right” while Steen is getting his work done, and getting it done right, of course.
With over five million accident free miles under his belt, it’s easy to understand Steen’s great pride in his longstanding safety record. In addition to receiving OOIDA’s 2017 Safe Driving Award, he’s gone his entire 49-year career without an accident, and his wife confirms his commitment to safety on the road.
“I truly believe there is no safer place on the road than in Steen’s truck,” said Linda Gronlund.
In 2007, Steen was recognized by the Colorado Motor Carriers Association (CMCA) as Driver of Year and received CMCA Driver of the Month awards in 1988, 2001, 2007 and 2011. Steen is also actively involved in Mile Hi’s Safety Committee and their Driver Accident Review Board, but his contributions to the conversation around safety don’t stop there. Through his role as a driver trainer, he passes along his knowledge to other drivers, emphasizing the importance of having patience on the road and representing the industry with the utmost professionalism.
Steen’s passion for the trucking industry is also evident through his participation in the Trucker Buddy program. In 2017, he received an Outstanding Trucker Buddy award and consistently goes above and beyond for his students. Steen sends his students weekly updates on his travels and has previously taken them on field trips to tour Mile Hi, where he treats them to lunch and lets them check out his truck. Steen leaves a lasting impact on his students, some of whom are now adults and still get excited to bump into him around town.
“Steen Gronlund is the epitome of a professional truck driver,” said Gregory D. Fulton, President of CMCA, and we can proudly say that we agree.
It was our honor to dedicate the Laramie, Wyoming Petro Stopping Center in Steen's name on May 25, 2019.
Do Steen’s accomplishments remind you of a professional driver you know? Nominate them for the 2020 group of Citizen Drivers on the official Citizen Driver website after June 1, 2019.