Sperry Hutchinson is a U-Haul spokesperson. Here, in his own words, he talks about how a love of anything with an engine grew into a career with U-Haul.
By Sperry Hutchinson
When you think of a spokesperson, you probably think of a paid endorser shilling away for a product they likely know little to nothing about—people like Alex Trebek selling life insurance, Wilford Brimley hawking test strips, or a local DJ encouraging you to visit their “friends” at their favorite car dealership (even though a few months ago they swore another dealership across town was the best.) These people are paid to say all sorts of nice things that someone else wrote.
My official job title is U-Haul spokesperson, and while I am paid by U-Haul, that’s where the similarities with celebrity endorsers end. Everything I say is my own; it isn’t written by someone else, it’s all true, and it comes from my own experiences.
How did I end up here? Well, I suppose it started late one night when I was four, laying under a Chevy truck with my dad in our driveway, using my own yellow crayon to highlight the timing marks on the crank pulley. We had to fix some urgent issue that night so we could tow our boat down to Mexico early the next morning. When we weren’t heading to the water, we were towing our old dune buggy and dirt bikes to have some fun in the desert or the pines of northern Arizona. It seemed that almost every weekend we’d be hooking up a trailer and heading out on some new adventure … but not before I had the wheel bearings packed and adjusted!
After moving away for college, I spent eight years living and working in southern California. I got my degree in Humanities and promptly went to work building concept cars at Metalcrafters. There, I was able to hone my design and fabricating abilities, but as is typical in that industry, I was laid off after one build season. I quickly found work in a back-alley hot rod shop in Venice Beach, which for me was nearly heaven—a heaven full of crazy people, but heaven nonetheless. I was living the dream, or so I thought.
Change is the one constant in life, and due to some family complications I found myself moving home to Phoenix in July of 2006. I applied for a job at the Tech Center and was hired by Dean Cerimeli and Don Cichon to work as a Truck Development specialist. It was glorious work, testing and approving new truck repair parts in a sweltering work bay in the absolute zenith of our summer heat, but I loved the fast pace, the challenging, ever-changing environment and the great people that I was working alongside.
I was soon picked by Bob Dudley to work with him in our Trailer Development group. There, I learned from one of the masters about the history of our Company and the various ways we’d built and repaired our fleets through the years, and I absorbed as much technical knowledge and wisdom as I could. No sooner was I comfortable working with our trailer fleet than I was chosen to work toward creating the portable storage products we all know today as U-Box. It was a great opportunity to work closely with everyone in our Product and Program groups, as well as directly with Joe Shoen to make sure that we were always meeting his vision of what this new product and service should be—no less than the future of this wonderful Company, helping our customers move with greater ease and versatility than ever before.
All of that work amounted to nearly eight years spent creating and improving U-Haul products at our Tech Center, and as grateful as I was to have done the work, I was beginning to feel restless. One of the greatest traits of our Company is the ability to find rewarding work without leaving its ranks, and so in January of 2014 I moved my office to the Towers to start this new role as spokesperson. Now I get to help educate people about the many things that U-Haul does so well—from how to safely tow a trailer, down to the details of packing a moving box, or even spreading the word about some of our newer services like Moving Help, Collegeboxes, and yes, even the good old U-Box Program. I’m proud of the work I do, and can’t wait to tell more people about how we continue to evolve and better serve our customers with our truly helpful products and services.