After 17 Years, Chauffeur Ralph Zobel
is Still Smiling
When the NFL's Carolina Panthers play at home, there’s one thing the game-day referees are always consistent with, in making the
right call—they want Ralph Zobel
to drive them from their hotel to
In fact, many area VIPs specifically request his services whenever they need a professional chauffeur. For the past 17 years, Zobel has cultivated a following for his attentive personal service that ensures he is always a staple request with customers of Charlotte-based Rose Chauffeured Transportation.
In 1995, the company’s founder, H.A. Thompson, and his two sons, Andy and Jeff, were still driving limos for the company, then known as Rose Limousine. Zobel became friendly with the Thompson family through a shared love of cars.
“We were racing Legends cars out at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Ralph was a handy engine mechanic,” recalled Andy Thompson, now vice president. “My brother Jeff was moving on to other things, and we needed someone to take his place at Rose.”
Zobel had recently retired from Emily’s Card Shop, the company he had named for his wife. He liked the idea of working with Rose.
“Ralph was just a really loyal employee, happy to do whatever we asked of him,” said Thompson about those early days. “He still is.”
Zobel’s career started in 1975, when he drove tour buses in Pennsylvania. As a high school history teacher, he had summers off and loved the work, and also loved to keep busy. After he left teaching, he continued to drive tour buses and big rigs. When he and his wife relocated to Charlotte, they started a business, but after a few years, Zobel decided to get back into the driving profession.
Over his tenure at Rose, Zobel has cheerfully worked nights and weekends whenever duty called. He became CDL certified when Rose bought its first minibus in 1998. Then he helped build Rose’s industry-leading CDL training program. He has filled in for dispatch, worked on engines, managed the office, and washed cars. He’s made friends with Bank of America directors, top Carolina executives, and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
“It’s been a good, fun ride,” said Zobel. “Working with people is my job. I love that. Just love it.”
“The fact that he has been on our staff for 17 years is no accident,” added Thompson “Ralph’s loyal service and ready smile are the embodiment of everything we try to give our passengers every day. We’re very lucky to have had him along all this time.”
Zobel said he thinks the luck goes the other way. “I’ve worked with other transportation companies, and listened to other drivers, and looked around town. The only place I want to be is with Rose,” he said.
For more information about Rose Chauffeured
Transportation, visit www.riderose.com. LD02/13