It’s a hard to believe but after 43 years in the industry, 17 of them as head of the Manitoba Trucking Association, Bob Dolyniuk has retired. Publisher and editorial director Lou Smyrlis travelled to Winnipeg to spend some time with the industry icon a few days before his final day on the job. This is the first installment of their conversation.
Q: After 43 years in the industry, 17 of them with the MTA, can you believe the moment to leave it is actually here? Does it feel real?
Dolyniuk: It’s hard to imagine that it’s here but it is. No, it doesn’t feel real. You keep thinking I have to remember to do this and I have to remember to do that and then you realize, no I don’t have to. We’ve been in a transition period here with Terry (Shaw) for a couple of years now and as we get closer and closer to the final hour there are all the little things you try to remember to pass on. That’s what I’m focused on frankly, to make sure the transition is smooth.
Q: Forty three years is an incredibly long career. After so many years, how does one actually decide it is time to retire? Is there a defining moment? How did you come to that decision?
Dolyniuk: The 17 years I’ve spent with the MTA is the first position I’ve had in my life that I’ve had for such an extended period of time. It has been a good experience, which has allowed me to help the MTA grow and become more recognized. But you reach a point where you say to yourself you’ve done as much as you’re going to do and perhaps it’s time to turn the reins over to someone younger to carry forward.
Q: There are a lot of leaders in the industry right now who are contemplating exactly what you’ve been contemplating because they are getting close to retirement. Any advice for them in terms of what to think about in deciding when it’s time to move on to the next chapter in their lives?
Dolyniuk: Prepare yourself psychologically that the time is going to come, because it is a major change in your life. You have to think what you are going to do after it. You have to have a plan beyond the day that you retire. The one thing I’m learning is that if you are busy before “retirement”, you are going to be busy post retirement, that’s a given. I sit on a number of voluntary boards and as soon as people hear you are retiring, everybody assumes you are going to have a whole bunch more time to dedicate to them.
Q: On the very first day of your retirement, what will you be doing?
Dolyniuk: Not getting up early. I’ve already told my wife that for the first week don’t expect too much from me. I’m basically going to do what I want, if I want, when I want. At least for the first few days and then I have some things to do around the house and the cabin. That’s what’s going to occupy my time initially and then I want to plan a trip with my wife when it’s appropriate. But eventually I will be involved with local boards and committees. I couldn’t see myself not doing that.
Q. You are one of the most recognized and respected leaders in our industry. When you look back, what will you miss most?
Dolyniuk: The people. Without question. I was talking with someone just yesterday about that. Not just people from the MTA but people from all over our industry. I sat on the board of the Canadian Trucking Alliance for a period of time and I have gotten to know people from Newfoundland to Vancouver from industry and government and they are such great people. That will be the hard part, disengaging from that community.