You can gauge the impact a former Giant had on the company by people’s reactions when their name comes up on the trucks or in the office. When the name “Jake Zoller” is mentioned around Gentle Giant Moving Company, everyone’s face lights up as they get ready to share their favorite Jake story. Even those that only worked with Jake once will most certainly have an experience to share. That was the wonderful thing about having Jake as your Crew Chief. Even though his amazing talent as a mover landed him in charge of all the toughest jobs, the Giants on the crew never minded because Jake had a way of making the challenge fun. Oddly enough, Giants would jump at the chance to carry with Jake a 300 pound armoire up four flights of stairs so you could listen to one of his epic anecdotes that blended reality, MAD Magazine, and his wild imagination into one beautifully hilarious yarn.
Like many other Gentle Giant legends, Jake initially found out about the job opportunity at GG through his connections in the rowing community. Additionally, Jake had a friend already working at Gentle Giant that highly recommended the company for several reasons. What attracted Jake the most was the flexible schedule, good pay, and good, hard work.
Jake’s previous experience working on a farm and other manual labor jobs helped prepare him for his initial role as a mover at Gentle Giant, specifically the long hours and heavily physical tasks. His first year at Gentle Giant was spent learning the fundamentals of moving, working with new and experienced people as a cohesive team, and watching experienced Crew Chiefs run the job, manage the crew, and make the customer feel at ease. Jake explains how impressed he was with “these Master Crew Chiefs, like Tom Travers, who were able to seamlessly work hard, keep the mood light, and get the job done.” Jake was a quick learner and was soon among the ranks of these Master Crew Chiefs, running multiple day/truck jobs filled with priceless art, delicate furniture, and whatever else came his way.
Jake’s unparalleled rapport with his customers garnered him one of the best “scores” in Gentle Giant Moving Company history. One multi-repeat VIP customer was so blown away by Jake’s moving talents and positive attitude that when she needed to move from the USA to Israel, she wouldn’t trust anyone else to handle her belongings. This customer paid to fly Jake and his crew from Boston to Israel so that her move. After they executed the move flawlessly, the crew was rewarded by the customer with a 10+ day trip around Israel and Jordan!
After Jake moved on his career at Gentle Giant, a lot of the skills he learned here helped him find success in other fields. Specifically, “the ability to see the bigger picture and follow through while keeping the mood light” helped Jake in his recent stint as a troubleshooter/mechanic/ice road driver in Alaska. These same virtues will also help him as he embarks on his new venture as an apprentice to a ship’s captain on the Arctic Ocean.
Clearly, Jake has an affinity for challenging work that most people wouldn’t dare get involved in, but that is just the type of guy he is. He faces every challenge with an infectious optimism and positivity, and never quits until the job is done. He undoubtedly left an impression on all the people who worked for him at Gentle Giant, as many of Gentle Giant’s current Crew Chief’s exhibit the charisma and hustle that Jake demonstrated every day on the trucks and in the office.
Outside of his adventurous careers, Jake enjoys travelling, running, hiking, exploring, and writing. Always the nomad, Jake currently does not live anywhere specifically. “For the last couple of years I’ve worked a 3 week on/3 week off schedule in Northern Alaska. During my 3 weeks off, I travel to different countries. Right now I have a year off, so I plan to travel.”
This recent excursion brought Jake back to Gentle Giant Headquarters in Somerville, MA, and it was awesome to see him. He is still as hilarious and intense as he was while on the trucks!