PENTICTON, B.C. — Thunderstorms and power outages failed to dampen spirits at the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA)’s annual conference, held at the Penticton Lakeside Resort from June 7 to 9.
There was a slight decrease in attendance, which BCTA director of policy and communications, Louise Yako, attributes to the industry-wide slowdown. But the guest speakers were hits among those in attendance and the weekend was considered a success.
“The attendance was down about 10 per cent and we were disappointed by that but given the state of the industry, we were pleased that we were able to maintain 90 per cent of our usual registration,” says Yako.
The guest speakers all had a future-oriented theme, which examined how technology is changing the face of the industry.
“All of them were technology related … it was all about how you could expect your business to change as a result of technology,” says Yako. “We haven’t sent out our annual survey yet to find out from the registrars how they felt but from the applause and from the comments after it appears that most of them were pleased.”
The speakers included Globe and Mail columnist Jim Carroll; chief executive officer of Transportation.com, Jim Ritchie; Frank Ogden, a renowned futurist known as Dr. Tomorrow; and Canadian Trucking Alliance president and chief executive officer David Bradley.
There were a number of presentations throughout the weekend, most notably the driver of the year award, which was awarded to Dale Simmons of Kamloops, B.C. Volvo Trucks’ western regional manager, Robin Ross, was on-hand to make the presentation to the J. Munden Transport driver.
“In his time behind the wheel, he has amassed 1.6 million accident-free, injury-free miles,” says Ross. “His employer describes his professional conduct in breath-taking and glowing terms, and rates him as the most outstanding driver of his acquaintance.”
BCTA president, Paul Landry, addressed the audience, outlining the organization’s major achievements over the course of the year.
“BCTA worked, either directly or indirectly…on no fewer than 60 federal and provincial issues over the last year,” says Landry. Those included rising fuel prices, taxes, Hours-of-Service regulations and Workers’ Compensation Board reforms.
One of the proudest moments for Landry was the organization’s ability to help defeat the proposed TransLink vehicle levy. Chairman Jim White also addressed the audience, stressing the recent changes that have been made to improve the BCTA’s efficiency.
“Based on feedback from members, the conference was shortened, the quality of speakers was improved and the price was decreased,” notes White.
He called on members to spread the word in hopes of building on the membership which has reached nearly 800 B.C. fleets, making the BCTA the second largest provincial trucking association.
“This is the first time we were in Penticton and people seemed to really like it,” says Yako. She adds there’s a good chance the conference could return to Penticton in the future.