WOODBRIDGE, Ont. – Consolidated Fastfrate on Wednesday kicked off a series of coast-to-coast celebrations of its 50-year history and recognized the contributions of its longest-serving employees.
All employees who have served for 20 years or longer will be recognized at the events, to be held at Consolidated Fastfrate facilities from Vancouver to Newfoundland. The first of those was hosted at the company’s Woodbridge headquarters, where eight of about 20 employees who’ve been with the company for 40 years or longer still work.
CEO Ron Tepper addresses employees at Fastfrate’s Woodbridge HQ.
“It’s really a celebration of all the employees here,” company CEO Ron Tepper told Trucknews.com at the event. “We have over 200 employees that are over 20 years and about 100 of those have been with us over 30 years. It’s an amazing story when you think of it. It has nothing to do with me. It’s about the culture of the company; the fact we maintain people and don’t lose a lot of people.”
Sept. 26 marked, to the day, the 50th anniversary of Consolidated Fastfrate, which was purchased by its current ownership from Federal Industries in 1994.
Asked how Consolidated Fastfrate has been able to maintain such a long-tenured workforce in an industry that struggles with constant turnover, Tepper cited good pay and safety as two key reasons.
“It’s culture for sure,” he said. “I think the fact we’re a safe organization to work for; there’s no real reason to go anywhere else. We’ve been unionized for so many years so they have all the protections that come from being in the union. We’ve never had a strike in our history. Our people are well paid, well taken care of, they have good benefits programs and we have a great health and safety track record here.”
The celebration comes at a time when the business is in transition.
“Our company is changing direction,” said Tepper. “We’re going from historically an LTL by rail, loaded by truck, carrier to a supply chain service where our business is stickier with our customers. To change direction for a company our size is not an easy thing to do. We need everybody to buy in. What we’re doing is a little bit different, it’s more technologically involved, being closer to our customers, understanding their requirements. We have engineers working for us now – something we’ve never had before. Everybody has to understand what we’re trying to do, so events like this are good to get everybody together.”
Fastfrate is also, for the first time, launching a cross-border service that will cover 48 states.
In a speech to employees, Tepper thanked them all for their contributions.
“Fifty years for a company in any industry – let alone our industry – is quite the feat,” he said.
He took a moment to single out Woodbridge receptionist Lillian Londry, who has been with the company for 31 years.
“Everybody when they walk into the building, the first person they see is Lil,” he said. “Everybody who walks out of our building, the last person they see is Lil.”
He also personally presented gifts to the eight Woodbridge employees who have been with the company for 40 years or longer.
Then, it was back to business.
“We’ve got a big job ahead of us,” Tepper said. “We are becoming a full supply chain service as opposed to an LTL pickup and delivery carrier. Business is moving, it’s moving in a direction that’s going to allow us to sustain our business over the next 50 years.”
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies