Council Member Soaring High On Industry, TMC

Purkeys very own Larry Rambeaux was recently featured in the Winter 2023 Fleet Maintenance & Technology magazine for TMC. We are excited to share his Member Spotlight with you, as written by Curry Blanton, Membership Manager, TMC:

 Times might be unpredictable in trucking these days, but long-time Council member Larry Rambeaux is soaring high when it comes to the industry and ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC). Rambeaux, who first joined TMC in 1996, has been a very active participant in Council life, in addition to his own personal and professional pursuits. Presently, he serves on TMC’s board of directors as a director-at-large and has been very active in the Council’s S.1 Electrical and S.7 Trailers, Bodies & Material Handling Study Groups, as well as TMC’s Technician & Educator Committee and its National Technician Skills Competitions (TMCSuperTech). He is a TMC Silver Spark Plug and a Recognized Associate.

Rambeaux currently serves as sales application engineer for Purkeys. “I cover all 50 states with dedicated customers and I also support all of our newer account managers. April will mark my 31st year at Purkeys. Obviously, my main job focus is sales, but since I have so much time with the company I have the years of experience for helping fleets select the right electrical solutions for their application and also showing them new products that they may not be familiar with that can help.”

Rambeaux says he finds trucking and TMC itself to be a close-knit community of people wanting to deliver goods and serve neighbors. “It has been said by many people over the years and I do truly think it is an honest and accurate description that TMC is a family. We are all friends and colleagues we love and respect the industry and each other, and all are trying to make the industry better and safer from the equipment to the technicians working on the equipment.”

When it comes to TMC, Rambeaux says his first great interest was helping with the technician competition. “TMCSuperTech was my first real committee assignment at TMC. I had been involved in many state and private fleet tech events and I was excited when TMC started its TMCSuperTech event. Bruce Purkey brought me to my first TMC to help with the electrical station he was chairing. I enjoy all the committees I have been able to support, but TMCSuperTech will always be special as the first national competition I was involved in and also I love that we get to celebrate the technicians that keep the equipment moving and safe.”

Many TMC members may be acquainted with Rambeaux after his more than 20 years in the Council, but not many may know he likes to take to the skies in a rather unconventional way. In fact, Rambeaux is an avid hot air balloonist—a sport that dates back to 1783.

“Hot air ballooning is full of ‘a-ha’ moments. Number one, you can’t steer a balloon, you are totally at the mercy of wind speed and direction. However, the wind can blow in many directions at the same time at different altitudes, so to some degree you can make it go where you want by ascending or descending to find the wind direction you want,” he said.

Rambeaux says he thanks his wife, Trina, for spurring his interest in ballooning. “My wife had met a balloon pilot at a restaurant before we started dating and she helped crew for them. Once we started dating, she invited me to come with her to a festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma and I immediately fell in love with it,” said Rambeaux. “Ballooning is a lot like TMC—there is a ballooning “family” of friends we have met over the last four years and we look forward to seeing them at different events.”

Ballooning is more than just a good time for Rambeaux. He combines his interest in basket-based aviation with charitable causes. “Our local event is named SOAR NWA which is held in Fayetteville Ark., and it benefits Open Avenues a non-profit that provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities,” he said. “We attend many others in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. They range from just small town events, to larger corporate events. The part that makes it all rewarding is our pilot friend has a balloon basket custom made in Spain that is set up for taking those with disabilities in the basket and able to fly. We have been honored to be able to take many people up that would never be able to climb into a traditional basket. Small children, veterans, and hospice patients have all been riders at events we have crewed at. The basket holds a racing seat, with a five-point safety harness mounted on a pneumatic base so they can be securely seated and raised up high enough to see over the edge and enjoy either a tethered or full flight.”

Rambeaux says it is hard to pick a favorite ballooning experience as each has its own merits. From taking off from the top of Petit Jean mountain in Arkansas, flying over Lyndon B. Johnson Lake in Horseshoe Bay, Texas—it’s all been great. However, Rambeaux says he and his wife agree that for sheer number of balloons and atmosphere it’s hard to top the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M. “This year we were there for nine days; 2022 was the 50th anniversary, and they hosted 650 balloons from all over the world. Everyone should attend at least one day of Fiesta as no camera can capture the moment like being there with hundreds of balloons in flight, he said.”

Must be quite a scene. Keep flying high, Larry!