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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingFebruary 20 - February 26, 2019
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Towing with the 'Aloha Spirit'

0 85eb2By George L. Nitti

Between 2004 and 2008, Jan Qualkenbush, owner of Jan's Towing in Glendora and Azusa, California, spent four years with his family living in Hawaii on the island of Maui.

"We lived there for a period of time," said Qualkenbush. "My son was enrolled in Maui Prep while I was commuting back and forth every two weeks to the States. I wanted to semi-retire, after starting the business in 1979. I have a good staff. I was also scouting the island considering to expand our business."

After deciding not to go forward with his expansion plans, he and his family returned to California, bringing the Hawaiian "Aloha Spirit" with them, which means not only "hello" and "goodbye," but also peace, love, compassion and other deeper values.

"I wanted to bring that friendly Polynesian theme and culture back home," Qualkenbush said. "Here you have to fight people, but in Hawaii people are so kind."

The "Aloha Spirit" is now prevalent on the company tow trucks, including on their latest acquisition: a 2017 Peterbilt with a Century 1140 rotator.

"I love it," Qualkenbush said. "It has raptor controls and is wireless, which is a really nice option. It lets you know your load ranges and if you are maxing the truck out so that you don't have to guess. It tells you each stage of the boom. I think that is where the industry is eventually going."

Several decals with colorful birds-of-paradise flowers and hibiscus stand out, encased in a red garland of flowers, known as a Hawaiian lei. The large company name along with the word "aloha" largely written in black is designed to bring warm vibrations to oncoming traffic along the busy corridors of California's freeways.

"For many stranded drivers," Qualkenbush said, "it can be a traumatic experience. When they see our trucks, I want them to be soothed, to feel welcome and to know that they will be taken care of."

Their flower-power tow trucks also serve the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, as they tow floats that break down during the Rose Parade.

Over time, Qualkenbush has been adding even more flowers to his trucks.

"We started out with a few flowers," he said. "Now we are putting more and more on them a little at a time. We are getting great feedback. We are getting appreciative hand gestures [to] 'hang loose and be cool.' "

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at HYPERLINK "mailto:bdooley@towman.com" bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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