It goes without saying that trucks – no matter how sharp they look – don’t amount to a hill of beans without people; factory workers to build them, drivers to operate them, and technicians to maintain them.
That goes for those blessed folk who chronicle the long history of trucks and trucking, too.
One in particular, unfortunately, will be leaving his particular historical beat at the end of this year: Don Schumaker, the curator for the Mack Trucks Historical Museum, located at the company’s former research center and proving grounds outside Allentown, PA.
[The OEM revamped that facility several years ago to create what is now dubbed the “Mack Customer Center,” which serves in a variety of different capacities today; especially as the staging point for ride and drive events.]
Schumaker joined Mack as a test lab mechanic way back in December 1957, earning his engineering degree from Lafayette College while taking night classes while working full time.
After advancing through a number of positions within the test lab, Mack tapped Schumaker to be manager of vehicle performance, a position he held until his retirement in 1995.
Though he’d put in 38 years of work, Schumaker couldn’t get trucks out of his blood so, six months after “retiring” he joined the Mack Trucks Historical Museum staff, eventually becoming co-curator of the museum in 1997 and solo curator in 2008.
For all of his efforts in not only helping preserve trucking history but to show it off to the countless visitors passing through Mack’s museum annually (and I’ve been one of them a time or two), Schumaker received the “Historian of the Industry” award from the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) earlier this year – a fitting send off for someone who does an awful lot of public speaking about trucks and trucking’s past.
And though he’s retiring at the end of 2015, the museum isn’t going to lack a full-time curator, for Michael Kitsock is stepping into Schumaker's shoes. Already working at the museum, Kitsock – a Pennsylvania native – is a former Latin and English instructor with a “passion” for antique and historic trucks.
Good to know that the historical torch for trucking will remain lit and shining brightly up there in the Keystone state.