AYR, Ont. – Mill Creek celebrated its 35th birthday in style today.
The weather held up for the event which was held outside Mill Creek’s facility located past Cambridge, Ontario, where the company treated its employees, the media and dignitaries to a BBQ lunch and cake.
Mark Seymour, CEO of the Kriska Transportation Group, which acquired Mill Creek last September, said a few words at the event.
“Some of you have been here a short time and some of you have been here a long time,” he said of the Mill Creek employees. “And really this is all about people. This is a people business. I mean we have trucks, and trailers and loads…but it’s about people and celebrating the fact that this is a good place to work, and a safe place to work. So that’s what we’re really celebrating here today.”
He added that Mill Creek was a great addition to the Kriska family and that Mill Creek’s ongoing success is the reason that Kriska invested when they did.
The MPP for Cambridge and North Dumfries, Kathryn McGarry, spoke at the event as well.
“I wanted to say as your MPP…that I’ve been in North Dumfries for a number of years…and its been interesting for me as a resident here over the past 26 years to see Mill Creek go from a few trucks to an incredible organization that you see here today after 35 years,” she said.
“When I’m out travelling the province…and when I see a Mill Creek truck out on the road, I kind of celebrate because it’s not just a truck that’s from my hometown, it’s a business that has really grown and thrived really under the special skills you brought here.”
She presented Renate Hargreaves, general manager of Mill Creek, with a letter of congratulations from Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne.
Also in attendance was Susan Foxton, mayor of North Dumfries.
“What a brilliant campaign – ‘In It For The Long Haul,’” she said referencing the banner Mill Creek put up on its building for the celebration. “Because that’s the truth, that’s what we want, and that’s what grounds our communities – the businesses that bring the people in to work and make it a successful township. Your success is the township’s success. Mill Creek is a recognized and honourable name. You are a vanguard of the township.”
Jonathan Wahba, chief operating officer at Kriska Transportation Group, said that milestones like anniversaries are important to celebrate because of the little attention and appreciation front-line staff get on a day-to-day basis.
“Culturally, we have tried at KTG to celebrate everything we can,” he said. “The business for front-line associates in day-to-day dispatching of trucks and trailers is difficult. It’s a grind. And often the front-line people are overlooked. And so we feel hopefully events like this instill a sense of pride in our associates.”
He added that the integration of Mill Creek into the Kriska Group has been successful so far in wake of its one year anniversary. He said that everything has been going smoothly, as far as business processes go.
“The integration has really been around IT systems, insurance and safety policies, so far,” he said. “And by last month, IT was the largest hurdle in terms of getting off the old system and on to our system. That’s completed, so, really, so far, from a day-to-day perspective, things have gone well.
“Since we’ve bought Mill Creek, there have two rounds of driver pay raises and one round of non-driver pay raises. We’ve also brought new trucks into the fleet – 2016 International ProStars – which are being delivered now and we’ve also started to place new trailers (Great Dane’s) into the business.”
Wahba said that Kriska has certainly learned from the deal and he added that another Kriska acquisition was in the works.
“We are working diligently towards our fourth deal, and if things go according to plan, hopefully we can announce it publicly before the end of this year,” he said.
I asked if there were any hints he could drop in reference to which business Kriska might be buying.
“None,” he said with a chuckle.
Guess we’ll all have to stay tuned.
L-R: Mark Seymour, Kathryn McCarry, Renate Hargreaves, Susan Foxton.
Mill Creek employees
BBQ lunch at Mill Creek
Sonia Straface is the assistant editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface