Eric Schultheis, 55, has been a member of the Shields Asphalt Paving team for nearly three decades.

“It’s like one of my (paving) partners always said, ‘Long hard days is what built the company,” said Schultheis, who takes pride in putting in what he calls “a good, honest day.”

Having started with Shields in 1988, when the company had little more than a dozen employees, three tri-axles and one paving crew, Schultheis said there was a camaraderie in knowing everyone.

Numerous barbeques and festivities together bonded coworkers as a team through the years. And certainly there was a lot of paving, as the company grew to multiple crews and more than 120 employees.

“I recall driving different places and telling my family, “Hey, I did that,’” he said.

Schultheis, over the years, has been partnered with four different machine operators on the prep crews and describes his role as the “second man.”

“I like that my job is different every day,” he said. “Sometimes we are running storm lines or man holes or handicapped accessible ramps.” “It’s not the same thing all the time.”

He said he owes part of his employment longevity to the ethics of the company leaders at Shields.

“They make you feel appreciated,” he said.

When he’s not working the “dirt” crew, Schultheis still enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and gardening.

“I put in a pretty big garden every year,” he said. “You know, tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans. Then I give most of it away.”

If you’re going to ask him for something from his garden, try the onions. Schultheis has taken first place at the Butler Farm Show with the sweet onions he’s grown.

Schultheis, who lives in Connoquenessing, is married to Tammy and they have two grown children: Shane and Erica.