Great Dane
Regina Zahm

Overachiever Awards: 'The Caretaker' Regina Zahm

Dec. 13, 2023
After many years caring for cancer-ridden children, Regina Zahm left nursing to join Great Dane Trailers in Indianapolis, where her patience and grace under fire help her deal with any problems that come her way.

Overachievers drive everyone else to try a little harder and pay a little bit more attention to detail. In an industry where mistakes can cost lives, they are nothing short of indispensable. That’s why we created the Fleet Maintenance Overachiever Awards as a recognition program to remind everyone of that fact and to honor everyone in the industry who does their job the right way because it’s the right thing to do.

After putting out a call for nominations, we received dozens of submissions, which were reviewed by our judging panel. Though relatively to the industry, Regina Zahm impressed the judges with her organizational and customer service skills. Here's her story: 

Regina Zahm | “The Caretaker”
Service coordinator | Great Dane Indianapolis
How can a burly trucker whining about an air hose get to you after decades of witnessing kids stoically go through chemotherapy and stare down death with a smile? They simply can’t, and that is Regina Zahm’s superpower.

Though now the calming presence sitting behind the service counter at Great Dane Indianapolis, Zahm previously spent 25 years as a triage nurse for the pediatric cancer center at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

In 2018, a Facebook post by the hospital noted that Zahm “always mak[es] her patients and their families feel at ease and cared for. Even as they battle cancer, Zahm helps bring them a feeling of comfort.” A litany of comments on the post concurred.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she left that role because one of her parents also had cancer and she worried about bringing the disease home. The hours also weren’t great for the single mother of four, and she called the job “very mentally challenging,” a true understatement if ever there was one.

On the prowl for a new job, Zahm saw a Great Dane parts driver in the Wal-Mart checkout line and asked if the company was hiring. He connected her with their service manager, Mark Chris, who immediately saw her unflappable nature and was impressed with her computer skills. Now two years later, Zahm is an integral cog in ensuring trailer uptime in Indiana.

Chris said she’s a calming presence at the front desk, and one of her best attributes is that she “stays calm and positive, no matter the situation.”

The situation might be billing customers, finding parts, ordering tools for technicians, making bank runs, and a host of other daily tasks. 
In managing it all, Zahm’s advice was simple: “You can’t take everything to heart; you just roll with it.”

After the trailer shop began offering mobile service in the Hoosier State, Zahm also sends out those invoices and outfits the mobile trucks with equipment and parts. In October, after their regular dealer could not fulfill an order for new Transit-350 vans for parts delivery, she called around until she found a dealer who could provide the vehicles. Then she handled all the registration paperwork, too, Chris noted.

“When I come to work and see her, I know things are gonna get done,” Chris said. And Zahm is equally appreciative of the role. “I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said.