LAFAYETTE - A co-founder of Lafayette-based Wabash National Corp. (NYSE: WNC) has died. Rod Ehrlich, who served as chief technology officer, helped launch the manufacturer with his brother Jerry in 1985. Ehrlich was 72.

Wabash National says he helped author over 60 patents, including:

  • the industry's first thin-wall, sheet-and-post trailer
  • an aluminum plate trailer model that replaced fiberglass-reinforced-plastic technology
  • DuraPlate composite plate trailers for the dry freight van industry

Chief Executive Officer Brent Yeagy says "to know Rod was to love him. Wabash National's legacy is his legacy, and we are grateful for his friendship, mentorship and leadership. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ehrlich family as they mourn the loss of a beloved husband, father and grandparent. We ask his colleagues in the industry to join us in respecting their family time to grieve and remember his legacy."

In 2012, the company opened the Ehrlich Innovation Center, named in his honor. The Purdue University graduate received the Purdue School of Engineering Alumnus of the Year award in 1997. You can connect to more about Ehrlich and his innovations by clicking here.