An Intern’s Perspective: “The 45” Invests in U-Haul Families

Sitting at the hiring center on the first day of my internship at U-Haul® International in Midtown Phoenix, I thought I could hear the bouncing of a basketball. That distinct sound wasn’t a figment of my imagination.

When Jeff, my manager, came down to the entrance of what I didn’t know was the Shoen Family Conference and Fitness Center at the time, he opened a set of doors that unveiled a basketball court.

“The Playground” area of “The 45” offers U-Haul Team Members many workout options.

There were a few Team Members playing a pick-up game on the court inside U-Haul Arena. Little did I know this was just a small part of an incredible facility. Jeff pointed out the track on the upper level, the two floors filled with exercise equipment, a golf simulator, locker rooms and more. Truthfully, it was hard to think about having to sit at a desk and work at a computer after seeing all of this. That was two weeks ago.

Today, U-Haul and the Shoen Family had a grand opening ceremony for “The 45,” a facility nickname that pays homage to the Company’s 1945 origins. The fine detailing in each part of the fitness center is remarkable to see. The court has images depicting the U-Haul truck and trailer fleet, along with the warehouse where U-Haul trailers were first built in the Pacific Northwest nearly eight decades ago. Pictures of Team Members and inspiring messages complement the walls alongside the indoor track named for Bruce and Renee Royer. The Royers are another of the many prominent U-Haul families with a long history of service to the Company.

As I continued surveying “The 45,” it was hard to imagine how anyone wouldn’t want to work here and have the opportunity to use this center for free as a U-Haul Team Member.

My background is in sports journalism, so I’ve seen top-tier facilities at the collegiate and professional levels firsthand. That was the feeling “The 45” gave me in terms of quality.

However, what I learned at the grand opening is that the bells and whistles – and there are plenty – aren’t what make the Shoen Family Conference and Fitness Center so extraordinary. Not many interns of larger corporations get to hear from the CEO in-person within the first month of their employment. At the grand opening, I got to listen to Joe Shoen talk about the values of U-Haul. That’s when I really grasped how special “The 45” is to the Company.

U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen speaks at the grand opening of the Shoen Family Conference and Fitness Center on Aug. 17, 2021.

The 54,208-square-foot conference and fitness center allows the 1,800 Team Members of the U-Haul Midtown Campus the chance to exercise just steps from their work stations. I’m now among that group. U-Haul will also allow dependents of Team Members to use “The 45” as well. That was the detail that struck me throughout Shoen’s speech.

Shoen pointed out various Team Members and their families during his speech, clearly having a history with them. He knew the number of years they had worked there, and the names of spouses, children and parents. He made it an emphasis to include the word “family” in the name of the center because the people of U-Haul make up one big family.

On the track, U-Haul lists a mission: “To provide a culture of wellness that enhances the quality of life of every Team Member and their families by empowering people to take action for their health.” The company has certainly backed that up. In 2020, U-Haul was named the Healthiest Employer in the Valley and one of the 15 Healthiest Employers in the U.S.

To me, it’s not about the numbers. Instead, U-Haul is giving me a chance to fill something that I’ve been missing. Later this winter, I’ll be getting married and starting my own family. My fiancé and I have tried to take better care of ourselves. While the dieting portion has gone well, finding a home base of a gym has been tough as we bounce around North Phoenix, Gilbert and Tempe for various reasons. Now I have “The 45” readily available to me.

Watching a company want to invest in its employees is comforting, especially coming from a career field that lacks security. Now, if U-Haul and its golf simulator can fix my slice, it’ll really deserve an award.

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