Charles “Charlie” Fetz, formerly Great Dane’s vice president of design and development, recently passed away, the trailer manufacturer said Friday.
Fetz retired in 2016 after a “celebrated” engineering career with Great Dane that spanned four decades.
The University of South Carolina graduate was 60 years old when he died at his home Thursday, Oct. 25, according to an obituary posted by Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors.
“Charlie was a stalwart champion of structural integrity, and is largely responsible for Great Dane’s reputation for strong and durable products,” said Rick Mullininx, Great Dane’s executive vice president of engineering.
“Yet, he was also forward-thinking. During his years with Great Dane, he was the inventor or co-inventor on 16 US and foreign patents, including Great Dane’s exclusive ThermoGuard liner and RIG30 rear impact guard.”
In the transportation industry, Fetz contributed to numerous recommended practices and educational sessions. He served many years on the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association’s (TTMA) Engineering Committee, including a term as chairman. Many of TTMA’s Recommended Practices were subject to Fetz’s edits.
Fetz also was active on the American Trucking Association Technology and Maintenance Council’s Future Truck Committee and S.7 Trailer, Bodies and Material Handling Study Group, serving as chairman for several task forces, including the Future Trailer Productivity Task Force. While chairman of the task force, he authored a whitepaper titled “Increasing the Efficiency of Pre and Post Trip Inspections,” which led to the development of FleetPulse, Great Dane’s telematics solution.
Fetz is survived by Courtney, his wife of 37 years, his two sons, Jonathan and Christopher, his brother Richard, and his mother Janet.
“We lost a gentle giant in our industry whose impact will be felt for years to come,” Mullininx said.