Sports can be a great place to learn about life. A good coach can teach you lessons on the playing field that will help you handle similar situations off the field. FM Delivery Service Driver Chuck Kraus Schlichtmann strives to be that kind of coach.
A youth soccer coach since he was a teenager, Kraus Schlichtmann learned many of life’s lessons from being a team member himself. Whether he was a member of family of ten growing up, a baseball team in grade school or a men’s soccer club as an adult, he learned that the golden rule was always the most important.
“If you play the game fair you’re going to learn a lot of life lessons,” said Kraus Schlichtmann. “The majority of the people you run into will treat you the same way you treat them.”
Kraus Schlichtmann has spent many hours over the years helping kids learn about life through sports. He coached all three of his children in soccer and other sports, resulting in two youth soccer state championships, two USA Cup gold medals and three college enrollments. Before his children were in the picture Chuck won two previous youth soccer championships, as well. Two of the girls he coached in soccer are now athletes at the U -- Alexandra Pafko (soccer) and Jessica Granquist (volleyball).
The lessons he learned through sports have helped Kraus Schlichtmann weather a couple of job losses in the past. A heavy equipment operator for Burlington Northern for 14 years, Chuck moved on to Consolidate Freightways in 1988 where he spent 13 years before the company closed its doors in 2002. He and Carol, his wife of 27 years, had just built a new home and faced some struggles if he couldn’t find a job quickly. But because of Kraus Schlichtmann’s reputation as a solid worker, he was hired the next day by USF Holland.
After seven years at USF Holland, Kraus Schlichtmann faced the first layoff in his 25-year career. It would last 14 months and challenge his patience. He even had to give-up coaching the Blaine soccer team due to uncertainty over his job situation.
In May of 2010, Kraus Schlichtmann was offered a job as an FM Delivery Service Driver at the same time he was called back to USF Holland. Faced with a tough choice, he chose the U because of the benefits offered employees and the team atmosphere he had been exposed to during the interview process.
“Being a coach for so many years, I really like the team I work with,” commented Kraus Schlichtmann. “It’s so much nicer to work for guys who know that you know what you’re doing.”
As a young boy, Kraus Schlichtmann would follow his dad around to job sites during his long hours working to provide for eight children. Something his father used to say has always stuck with him: “Leave things looking better than you found them.”
Chuck has applied this life lesson to his job, his family and his coaching, and all indications are that his father would be proud.