MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- It was party time in Mississauga today, as Kriska Group of Companies celebrated a double anniversary.
The over-the-road for-hire carrier celebrated both its 35th year in business and its 25th year operating out of the City of Mississauga. To mark the occasion, the Prescott, ON-based company invited another anniversary celebrant to its party: Mississauga, ON mayor Hazel McCallion. In December, 92-year-old McCallion marked her 35th anniversary as mayor of the city.
Canadian Trucking Alliance president and CEO David Bradley also took part in the ceremony.
Kriska was founded by Ken Seymour, father of current company president Mark Seymour. Today, it employs approximately 450 people, with approximately 200 working out of the 20,000 sq.-ft. Mississauga office. The company operates 350 trucks and 1,100 trailers with the fleet being mainly split between Prescott and Mississauga, in addition to a small presence in London, Ontario.
While the company is still headquartered in Eastern Ontario, Seymour says the province’s economy has dictated where Kriska operates.
“[The Mississauga office] was started 25 years ago as a way to support our activity in and out of the greater Toronto area, which is the industrial hotbed of Canada. We just needed a presence here. It has really grown,” he said.
“Eastern Ontario has suffered a lot of hardship in recent years with plants closing, and we had to move much of our operation to Toronto. Our head office continues to be in Prescott, but we have a lot of our activity in and out of Toronto because of the industrial importance of Toronto.”
Kriska’s current Mississauga facility sits on 10 acres, situated north of highway 401. It is the company’s second location in the city. Originally, Kriska started with a much smaller location and three employees. According to Seymour, the city makes trucking companies feel welcomed.
“We are very proud to be here,” he said.
“It’s an industry where we’re very appreciative of the support of the mayor. Mississauga would be considered the trucking capital of Canada. It’s the mayor’s efforts to make it welcoming and to make the opportunity for us to be here. Many other cities are not as welcoming to truckers and we thank you for that a great deal.”
McCallion said she actively courts trucking companies to relocate to Mississauga.
“We have to recognize the contributions the trucking industry makes to the economy of Canada, and not just the province of Ontario or the City of Mississauga. The movement of goods is so important,” she said.
“Many politicians only deal with the citizens’ concerns and one thing I’ve tried to do as mayor of Mississauga is to make sure the business world is dealt with adequately. Their concerns are just as important as the citizens'.”
McCallion noted that sometimes the trucking industry faces challenges being part of a community. For example, she said it’s common to hear cries to ban trucks from the roads — requests that she fights.
“When it comes to banning trucks on roads, I’m right in there to say, ‘hold it. Hold it.’ It’s nice to ban trucks but the people who want trucks banned are the very people that benefit from the products delivered from them.”
She also said she believes in promoting the role skilled workers play in building and supporting the Canadian economy.
“Today we have to upgrade the opinion in the public perception of skilled workers—which you folks are in the transportation industry. Skilled workers who build our office buildings, skilled workers who are plumbers, carpenters and other workers are so essential to the success of our communities. Professional people are needed, but skilled workers are the basis of our economy. I’m just delighted to be with you today, and say congratulations on 35 years.”
Bradley also offered his congratulations to Seymour, while also singing McCallion’s praises.
“There are a lot of similarities between trucking and your job, mayor. Politics and trucking are both very tough businesses. And you’re often in the public eye, particularly when things go wrong. But both of you do a great job and both of you are leaders in your own right,” he said.
“You both started out in your younger days as hockey players. And you’ve both been extremely successful in your chosen careers. You both tell it like it is, therefore you are both leaders. I don’t think there is a more popular or respected politician than yourself. And Mark, your precedent in moving the industry in the right direction in terms of safety, environment and ways of dealing with people is really something I value. Congratulations.”
To watch a video taken at the event—including interviews with McCallion and Seymour, see http://tinyurl.com/Kriska35