Saying Congratulations to Allen Lane!

Posted - November 28, 2022

At CSTK, our people are our difference. No one has contributed more to our company, or made more of a difference in our people’s lives than retiring CSTK C.O.O. Allen Lane. There isn’t any part of the company that Allen hasn’t positively influenced, and there’s no employee who doesn’t appreciate all he’s done. As CSTK gets ready for our next chapter, and as Allen gets ready to enjoy his retirement, we want to take a moment to appreciate and congratulate Allen on a career that no one can duplicate. A career fulfilled with enjoyment, lifetime friendships and success.

“Looking back, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most are the people,” Allen says. “You bring someone new on the team, watch them learn new skills, and then just blossom as a key part of the organization. That’s very enjoyable as a leader. Not easy, but enjoyable. I’ve certainly had to learn new things too, patience and understanding being two of the biggest. Everyone has a reason for doing something the way they do. And maybe it’s a better way than how we were doing it before. Sure, there’s disappointments, but I always love it when someone takes hold of the reigns and just surprises you.”

This is the attitude that has made Allen such a great leader. It’s the attitude that was imparted to him when he started in this business, driving around on his moped delivering parts at the early age of 15 working in a local Grand Rapids, Michigan dealership, where his dad was the sales manager. From his later days in high school working in the Thermo King Des Moines parts department, doing installations while making the Dean’s List, to spending a month in the spring of his senior year in Minneapolis for Thermo King Technician training, Allen has been working in the transport refrigeration industry for quite some time. The business was engrained in Allen and he never left.  

“It was a lot different in those days,” he says. “It was all fax machines, and Polaroids. You had to handwrite all your quotes and orders and personally deliver them. I’ve seen a lot of technology changes. I think the changes have made us into a more ‘instant’ society. You can do a lot of things faster, but we’ve lost some of the time to be polite. People have a harder time sitting down and talking these days, it seems. I think that’s going to be a challenge for supervisors and managers going forward.”

For Allen, treating people with respect, and delivering quality and value to your customers was something that his mentors taught him from the beginning; people like his first boss Roger Hart, who taught him how to treat people and how to do business. It continued with people like Bill Snyder, VP at Thermo King, Walt Thomas and Ronnie Kahn, who gave him opportunities and taught him along the way. These are the lessons that Allen has passed along to those who look up to him.

“I would like to congratulate Allen on his retirement and his extinguished 50-year career with Thermo King and CSTK,” says Brian Weise Shop Supervisor of CSTK St. Louis. “This company would not be where it is today without his dedication and support. I would personally like to thank him for seeking me out 19 years ago to come join the CSTK team. He laid a path for me to take that I did not know where it would lead and it turned into a career I was looking for and needed. Again, thank you for your faith in this company and myself. Now go enjoy the rewards of all your hard work and dedication. Congratulations and thank you.”

Justin Moon, Service Manager for CSTK St. Louis adds, “Congratulations, Allen. No one deserves a full, happy retirement more than you. We’re all grateful for the leadership you have provided us over the years and wish you well as you try and figure out how to pass the time without the phone constantly ringing! No CSTK employee knows what it’s going to be like to work here without you, but we will surely work in a better place because of the unrelenting effort you have put in to grow our company. Thank you for all the memories and we wish many years of happiness and health to you and your family.”

There are many who feel the same.

Allen’s legacy to CSTK will live on not only in the people that he has mentored, but in the locations CSTK have opened during his reign, starting with Kansas City and including Wichita, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, and the expansion to the East with Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Jessup, Vineland and Scranton. Also, with the Thermo King corporate initiatives he helped develop as a member of the Dealer Advisory Council multiple times during his career.

“We’ve come a long way from the 2 locations and 25 employees when I started,” Allen says. “And we couldn’t have done it without our fantastic customers. I have a lot of gratitude to them for the years of trust they placed in me and CSTK. We wouldn’t exist without them. And of course, none of this would’ve been possible without the great group of people I’ve been fortunate enough to lead and work with throughout the years. I have so much respect for all of you. Thank you for making me and us look good.”

Congratulations, Allen. Stay safe on your travels, continue to bring joy to others with the stories of your Transport Refrigeration expeditions and enjoy your new mellow career. Try to keep the other golfers on course and the local wildlife safe while getting the kinks in your game ironed out. Enjoy retirement, enjoy the success you’ve earned, we thank you for all you have done.  

Thank you, and we will miss you.