John Mandercheid

John Manderscheid has driven for 35 years without an accident.

Maquoketa native John Manderscheid has driven for UPS for 35 years without a single accident, logging enough miles to circle the earth at least 160 times. 

His daily route takes him from his home in Davenport to Hammond, Indiana.

“You can count on John,” said Manderscheid’s boss, Greg Pavlicek. “He sort of sets the bar.”

Manderscheid was recently chosen as UPS’s poster driver for safety, allowing ridealongs for the first time in the company’s history.

Pavlicek said Manderscheid has an impressive work ethic. 

“Every day he’s on time,” he said. “He doesn’t call in pretty much for anything. … We say the most important stop of the day is getting home safely with family, and John’s been lived that since 1979.”

Manderscheid lives with his wife Angie Manderscheid in Davenport. Maquoketa-area family include his sister Mary Clark, brother Jim Manderscheid, and sister-in-law Dena Manderscheid.

Manderscheid was born in Andrew and grew up in Maquoketa, graduating from Maquoketa High School and starting with UPS in 1978, after a few years of factory work. He was a few months away from his five-year anniversary when he put in a 6-inch dent in a trailer, his only accident in his time at UPS and an experience that he said taught him to be more careful.

In the 35 years since, he’s never gotten in an accident and rarely called in sick. He’s never had an injury on the job.

UPS honors any driver with a 25-year accident-free record in its “Circle of Honor.” About 10,500 UPS drivers have earned this honor worldwide, but less than 750 have reached 35 or more years, as Manderscheid did. 

“I credit some of my success to management, to the safety committee and mechanics,” he said. Safety courses remind drivers to aim high in steering, keep the big picture, keep your eyes moving and other hallmarks of safe driving.

“It’s never the same,” Manderscheid said of his daily haul. “You’re pretty alert. You’re active, checking mirrors every five to eight seconds, always getting used to the unexpected.

“Weather changes the whole situation,” he continued, adding that one of the greatest dangers is texting drivers. 

Manderscheid thinks he’ll work about a year more, than retire to his hobby business. He sells model trains and makes and sells wooden train whistles, which go around the world through sales in the largest model train cataloge in the world.