Hall of Fame Member

Rolfe W. Johnson

Rolfe W. Johnson was born 65 years ago at Seattle, Washington.  A product of Seattle Public Schools, continuing on to the University of Washington where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Marketing.

Rolfe’s first employment was with The Boeing Company, working in manufacturing and development.  From there it was off to become a restaurant manager for the northwest chain “Pizza Haven” learning the details of customer service and home delivery.  It was here that Rolfe was acquainted with the industry and Jim’s Northgate Towing from the need for fuel and towing for the pizza delivery vehicles. Jim Lindsey offered an assistant manager position with the company, assisting with inventory management, scheduling and damage complaint mediation and into the towing business Rolfe went! Two years later came the chance to purchase Road Runner Towing a competitor of Jim’s Northgate and Rolfe rolled the dice. While at Jim’s, Rolfe had observed a need for personalized service to car dealerships, small repair shops, and back then, service stations. Before long, Road Runner Towing grew from one employee and two tow trucks to sixteen trucks and twenty-five employees. Speed’s Towing of Portland, Oregon came to Seattle purchasing Road Runner Towing from Rolfe in 1995.  This created a time of semi-retirement but definitely not from the industry! Rolfe was clearly committed to continue to volunteer and serve…

His dedication to better the industry in Washington and nationally had already begun several years back. In 1979 Rolfe was appointed to the nominating committee of the Washington Tow Truck Association.  Elected Treasurer of WTTA in 1980, he then served the WTTA in several Chairman and officer positions including Secretary, Vice President, and becoming President of WTTA in January 1986 through 1989. The local community saw a good thing and elected Rolfe as the Chamber of Commerce President twice in 1990 and 1991. With the reorganization of the Washington association, Rolfe was elected as the new associations (The TRAW) first President in 2006 and 2007. In Rolfe’s period of dedication to the WTTA he was instrumental in negotiating with the Washington State Patrol to set rates for towing and storage preventing the WSP from issuing a low bid contract for service. It was here he became known as “The voice of reason”…

The year 2000 saw Rolfe being elected to the ITRHFM board where he would serve several positions over the next 10 years including Treasurer during the period of funding and moving the museum from its home downtown to its current home on Broad Street, 2nd Vice President during the Wall of the Fallen and Survivor Fund implementation, 1st Vice President and in 2007 he was elected President of the ITRHFM serving until 2010. In his community Rolfe currently serves on two student scholarship committees and the advisory board of the University of Washington Naval ROTC unit.

In December of 1999, with the sudden death of Bob Newcom, 20 year owner of Jim’s Northgate Towing, Rolfe was approached by the Newcom family to assist with running the business.  Rolfe was made a partner in the business in 2002 and took full ownership in 2004. He was back in the grind!

Rolfe has received numerous awards over the years including the 1988 Washington Tow Truck Assoc Operator of the Year, 2006 Lake City Elks Auto Industry Award, Several AAA Outstanding Service Awards, and the 2008 TRAA Presidents Award.

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