Steve Berman cheerfully marches to the beat of his own drum.
From wearing a specified color on each day of the week, to making time for a range of hobbies such as stargazing, novel writing and eclectic interior design, the customer advocate and senior program manager for the U-Haul Customer Service and Roadside Assistance teams lives life to the fullest.
However, what some may not know is that many of the programs U-Haul utilizes daily were brought to life by Berman’s hard work and ingenuity. These range from the hand-controls program that allows customers with disabilities to operate U-Haul trucks, to the remote U-Haul Contact Center that enables Team Members across North America to take customer phone calls from home.
“I’ve had the privilege of helping to develop various U-Haul programs and it’s been fantastic to see each of them in action,” Berman said. “Anytime I’m able to make it easier for members of Team U-Haul to serve customers, that’s how I know that I’m doing my job.”
In 1982, Berman applied for a job with the U-Haul Hotline team (now Roadside Assistance), which was managed by U-Haul pioneer Jean Riddle.
“When I applied, Jean and her colleagues decided that I would be a ‘floater’ and work as an agent on both the Hotline team, and the Sales and Reservations team,” Berman recalled. “I was excited to learn the ins and outs of both departments, and to do my very best in my new role.”
As Berman progressed in his U-Haul career, more responsibilities came his way. After a few years of serving on the Hotline team as a lead operator and shift supervisor, he transitioned to the Customer Service department. There he simultaneously managed a Hotline and Customer Service team, and served as Customer Service operations manager, director and program manager before assuming his current roles in 2021.
“I’ve been lucky to witness firsthand many of the amazing technological improvements that U-Haul has made over the years,” Berman said.
“In these past 40 years, we’ve gone from print maps and pagers to high-tech cellphones, cutting-edge software and other electronic tools that make it easier for everyone to fulfill their roles. We’re becoming more and more technologically literate and skilled. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Berman speaks highly of the mentors who guided and inspired him through his U-Haul career.
“Without a doubt my list would include U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen, UHI Phoenix Operations President John ‘J.T.’ Taylor, and U-Haul Pioneers Tom Dudley, and Elaine and Patti DeShong,” Berman said.
“These individuals, along with countless others, have dedicated themselves to U-Haul in a way that goes beyond it being ‘just a job.’ They taught me what an absolute commitment to excellence looks like. They made that level of commitment look like second nature. To them, being part of U-Haul was and is a calling. They inspired me to possess that same level of passion for what I do.”
Service with a Smile
“Steve is an extraordinary individual, with a wide knowledge of various subjects,” noted Christian Rivera, Roadside Assistance director. “He patiently and actively listens to people and remembers that small things often make the biggest difference in other’s lives. He strives to ensure that everyone has positive U-Haul experiences.”
Added U-Haul Customer Service Director Michelle Sullivan: “Out of the many great traits that Steve possesses, the ones that stand out to me the most are the patience and kindness that he shows to absolutely everyone, whether they’re our customers or not. He doesn’t reserve his ‘white-glove’ treatment for the people who are sharing U-Haul trucks or renting self-storage rooms. Instead, he provides thorough support to anyone who needs it.”
Elena Hatchell, who currently serves as the executive assistant for U-Haul Company of San Francisco (Co. 708), has been close friends with Berman for decades.
“Fun fact about Steve: he is the king of graphs,” Hatchell said. “Often, when I’ve gone to him for advice about a specific issue, he’s made me a graph listing all of the pros and cons of whatever actions I’m thinking of taking. That just shows what kind of a thoughtful person he is. He will always go above and beyond.”
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