02 Jun Getting to Know Sam and Rob
Sam Rodgers started at AM Transport way back in 2016 as a carrier representative, and Rob McClain (who’s a bit older) started in 2002. They both have a great sense of humor and they’re a lot of fun in the office. Rob began as an outside sales rep. “Our office was in an old house, and they stuck me in the back bedroom with no heat or A/C. I think it was Avery’s way of making sure I was always out trying to get new business.”
How has your job changed and evolved over the years?
Sam: I’ll defer to Rob on this one. Tech hasn’t advanced crazily in my 5 years, but I would imagine Rob has seen a lot of change.
Rob: My role has always been customer focused–whether it’s been trying to acquire new business or expand our current business. A lot has changed since I first started:
- We used to have a large dry erase board to keep track of our loads.
- We used to fax rate confirmations to the carriers.
- We actually had phones on our desks.
- I had hair when I first started.
Do you have a favorite funny story about work?
Sam: Every day is an adventure at AMT. Trying to narrow down one good time is impossible. This group always has fun.
Rob: There’s a lot I can’t share because the statute of limitations has not yet expired. We’ve had lots of interesting characters stop by our office over the years from Santa Claus to the Easter Bunny. The most exciting day had to be when the Honkey Tonk Man stopped by to surprise John and sign autographs for us.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
Sam: I am married to Kacie, and we have two girls. Alayna is 8 and Stella is 4. Everybody always asks if we are going to try again for a boy, and I tell them “No way.” I don’t want to risk being outnumbered 4 to 1.
Rob: I am married to Lauren and we have 3 children (Nora, Grant, and Alex), 2 dogs (Mei Mei and Aspen) and a cat (Chewie). My primary role in the family is that of the pool guy.
Are you a morning or an evening guy?
Sam: I am a morning person. I grew up on a farm, and there was never any sleeping in back then.
Rob: I am a morning person, and so are Grant and Alex. We tend to get a little grouchy once the sun goes down. Lauren and Nora are just the opposite, so it really bugs them when we’re up early banging pots and pans around.
What is your favorite AMT after-hours activity?
Sam: Close call between the Halloween party and the golf outing. Both are a blast!
Rob: I really enjoy our Halloween party. We’ve had it at a few different venues over the years to keep it fresh and exciting. I’m always amazed at the variety of costumes and the work people put into them.
What’s your favorite season?
Sam: You can’t beat fall. Great weather, football, and I usually make it out to help my brother with crop harvest for a couple of days.
Rob: Fall. Cooler temps, family chowder, and football.
What’s your favorite food?
Sam: I don’t really have a favorite food, but I’ve been crushing some Mexican Gyros from El Cactus here in town pretty regularly lately!
Rob: Hop fries with spicy ketchup from Troeg’s Independent Brewing.
Tea or coffee?
Favorite childhood memory?
Rob: We used to play ragball when we were kids. We would wake up and start a phone tree to see who could play. It was nothing to put 10-15 guys together and play all afternoon. Ragball is similar to baseball, but the ball is slightly softer than a baseball.
What’s the best book or podcast you’ve read or listened to in the past 12 months?
Sam: I really enjoyed the podcast “Celtic Holocaust” by Dan Carlin. It goes through the history of the Roman Empire, particularly Julius Caesar subjugating the Celtic tribes throughout modern Europe.
Rob: I reread The Stand by Stephen King. The 1978 novel is about a super flu that wipes out most of humanity and the moral stand the survivors make afterward. Did somebody say COVID?
What’s your favorite dish to take to a potluck, and do you want to share the recipe?
Sam: I ask Kacie to surprise me, and she hasn’t let me down yet.
Rob: Buffalo Chicken Dip. It’s incredibly easy to make, highly addictive, and the perfect appetizer for your next potluck or tailgate party. This recipe combines rotisserie chicken, cream cheese, Bleu Cheese dressing, Frank’s hot sauce, and cheddar cheese for one incredible appetizer! It’s like eating buffalo chicken wings without the mess.
Dogs or cats?
Sam: Kacie and I have tried a few times, and we are just not pet people. *DISCLAIMER*–no animals were harmed in determining this statement.
Rob: More of a dog guy. We have two Golden Retrievers–Mei Mei (9) and Aspen (3months). Cats don’t tend to fare well at our house, but we have a good one now. His name is Chewie, and he kills mice which keeps Lauren happy.
What’s your favorite summer activity?
Sam: We don’t have a family vacation planned for this year yet, but we have several long weekends scheduled for Alayna and me to do triathlons.
Rob: I’ll be doing RAGBRAI again this year during the last week of July. In regards to a family vacation, we’ve got a few more National Parks to knock off before the kids get to go to Disney World.
The pandemic slowed things down. Are you looking forward to anything in particular as things open up?
Sam: I’m not a real busy body, so the pandemic didn’t really change that much for me. We’ve been back in the office for a while, and that is the majority of my socialization anyway.
Rob: Concerts. I really miss going to listen to live music.
If you could give your 12-year-old self some advice, what would it be?
Sam: To stop being a people pleaser earlier in life. It took me way too long to realize I didn’t always have to tell people, “Yes,” to every request.
Rob: “Don’t eat the big, white mint.”