Saying Goodbye and Congratulations to Steve Musko

Posted - December 17, 2020

There are certain people in this world that just can’t help but make a difference to those around them. Whether it was giving words of encouragement to a younger teammate, or taking on a challenging service order that no one else wanted to touch, Steve Musko has made an impression on everyone who ever worked with him. So, it is with gratitude and pride (and more than a little sadness) that we wish Steve a great big congratulations as he gets set to enjoy his well-deserved retirement at the end of the year.

Steve has been with CSTK even before there was a CSTK. Starting with National Auto Supply (the precursor to CSTK) when he was 20 years old, Steve has seen the industry change and grow with the times.

“I had been working at a neighbor’s trailer repair shop since I was 14 years old,” Steve remembers. “I wanted to learn more about refrigeration, so I paid my own way up to Minnesota for their two-week Thermo King refrigeration school. I looked at it like being cheap college. Learned a lot. And when I got back, I started at National for $6.25 an hour. It was actually a pay cut from the trailer repair shop I had been at. My boss couldn’t believe I was taking a pay cut to leave. But I looked at it like a big opportunity. I was joining the apprentice program on my way to becoming a member of the union.”

They certainly threw Steve into the deep end. By his second week, he had 9 truck units to install. They showed him how to do the first one, and the next 8 he did by himself. Of course, Steve still believes that the best on-the-job training comes from going on-call.

“I’ve always said, that’s when you start learning. You learn way more at 2:00 in the morning all by yourself on the side of the road than you do at 2:00 in the afternoon in the shop.”

Steve is still grateful for all the help the older guys gave him. “I looked up to them. Listened to every word they said and just followed what they told me. As time went on, they started looking to me for answers because the technology was changing. We helped each other. It was a team, and that’s something that stuck with me and something that I’ve tried to bring to work with me every day. I tell the young guys now all the time, be grateful because if you work hard enough and learn these units, you will have a good life.”

Steve plans to stay busy in retirement. He and his wife shelter foster dogs from the Humane Society for a few weeks at a time before they move along to their permanent homes. He’s also got 6 children, 11 grandchildren, and 6 (he thinks) great-grandchildren to keep him young at heart. Steve is fully confident that he’ll find something to “tinker” with to keep him happy.

Sometimes, discovering how much you have meant to people throughout the years comes as a complete surprise. Steve recently got a phone call out of the blue. It was from a mechanic that had worked with Steve over 25 years ago. The gentleman had heard Steve was retiring and wanted to call and thank him personally. When they had worked together, Steve had taken him under his wing and helped him through some tough times. Eventually, this man got himself into some trouble and was given a choice of either jail or the Army. He called Steve to let him know that he had gotten his life turned around and wanted Steve to know how thankful he was for steering him straight all those years ago.

“You don’t get a phone call like that very often,” Steve says with emotion in his voice.

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of stories like that about Steve. He’s going to be missed. So, from everyone at CSTK, have a fantastic retirement, Steve. You’ve earned it.