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October 11, 2018 3:15 PM, EDT

Wabash National Co-Founder Rodney Ehrlich Dies at 72

Rodney Ehrlich, Wabash National Corp. co-founder and chief technology officer, died Oct. 9. He was 72.

Rodney Ehrlich

Ehrlich

Ehrlich spent more than 30 years advancing the company’s technology and accumulated more than 60 patents. The advancements in technology due to Ehrlich have significantly impacted trucking. He engineered the first thin-wall, sheet and post trailer and the DuraPlate line of composite plate trailers, the Trust-Lock door lock system that improves freight security and reduces door damage, among his other innovations.

“To know Rod was to love him,” CEO Brent Yeagy said in a company statement. “Wabash National’s legacy is his legacy, and we are grateful for his friendship, mentorship and leadership.”

As one of six children, Ehrlich grew up in Francesville, Ind. Ehrlich graduated from Purdue University in 1973 with a degree in mechanical engineering. After working more than 12 years at Monon Trailer Corp., Ehrlich started with Wabash in April 1985 as head of engineering, following his brother and co-founder, Jerry Ehrlich, to the newly minted company.

Ehrlich received awards outside of Wabash as well. In 1997, he was honored as alumnus of the year at the Purdue University School of Engineering for his numerous contributions.

In 2012, Wabash opened the Ehrlich Innovation Center in honor of the co-founder and his contributions to the company and industry.

Ehrlich is survived by his wife of 43 years, Cindy, their daughter Carrie, son, Mark (wife, Liz), and a grandson.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Connection Court of the Monticello United Methodist Church in Monticello, Ind. The funeral will take place Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary.