In 1967, the Beatles topped the charts with “All You Need Is Love.” That same year, all Nathaniel Washington needed was a job. Fortune smiled on him when his brother-in-law encouraged him to apply for a job with U-Haul through Warrington Equipment Manufacturing.
Just like The Fab Four, Washington scored a hit, launching a career that has eclipsed 55 years.
Washington came aboard in January 1967 as a production helper. During his five-and-a-half decades with U-Haul, Washington has made his mark as an assembler, assembly lead person, production specialist, production supervisor and heavy-machine operator, including time spent at Falls Manufacturing from 1986 to 2006, which broadened his experience.
These days, Washington tests truck chassis that come in from Ford – after the van boxes have been installed and before the trucks enter U-Haul Company’s vehicle-sharing system.
“I listen for noise and look for anything that’s not quite right with our moving vans,” Washington told U-Haul News. “My team and I want to make sure that when a truck reaches a customer, that everything is perfect with it. Anything that shouldn’t be there won’t be there.”
Then and now
One big difference between 1967 and 2023 is how U-Haul trucks are made ready for customers.
“The way we build moving vans is totally different now from how we did things back in the ’60s,” Washington said. “In the old days, we had to manufacture the sides of trucks, as well as the roofs … piece by piece … completely from scratch. Now the sides and roofs come to us prefabricated, so it’s simply a matter of positioning holes and riveting components into the locations they need to go, which makes assembly more precise while taking less time.
“Clearly, we’ve modernized our procedures. As a result, we’ve become tremendously more efficient over the years.”
Despite supply-chain issues having somewhat slowed down Warrington, that company remains a beehive of activity. Its production of tow dollies, RV trailers, U-Box containers and the trucks Warrington tests – they come through the facility.
Another significant part of Washington’s job satisfaction is his crew.
“It’s the people I work with who really make my day,” Washington emphasized. “I’m on a fantastic team.”
Formula for success
“Nathaniel has been here for so long, and he cares so much about what he does,” stated Nick Diniglio, president of Warrington Manufacturing. “It shows every day when he’s working. Nathaniel takes pride in everything he does because he really cares about this Company.
“He realized early on that U-Haul was, and still is, a place where he could make a future and grow with it. He saw a future at U-Haul. In fact, Nathaniel saw the same thing L.S. and Anna Mary Shoen saw when they co-founded U-Haul. Nathaniel understands that we make our U-Haul customers’ and their families’ lives better. That understanding speaks a lot about what we do as a Company for the communities we serve.”
Washington’s formula for success is the same today as it was when he started in 1967, and exactly what he told U-Haul News at his 50-year anniversary in 2017.
“Always be on time,” he said. “Go to work every day with a positive attitude. Never be satisfied with things as they are, or with just coasting through until your shift is over. When it comes to job performance, always strive to raise your personal bar.”