BOUCHERVILLE, Que. - The voice of trucking in Quebec just became a lot clearer, thanks to eight truckers who have been selected to spread the gospel of the industry.Chosen on Jan. 25, the company driv...
ROAD WORTHY: A good record, passion for his job, and support from his fleet got Pierre Brousseau a spot on the team. (Photo by Carroll McCormick)
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. – The voice of trucking in Quebec just became a lot clearer, thanks to eight truckers who have been selected to spread the gospel of the industry.
Chosen on Jan. 25, the company drivers will serve the first two-year term in the Quebec Trucking Association’s (QTA) new Highway Ambassadors program. Through public engagements, such as lectures at driving academies and talks with children, (to name only two of many possibilities), the QTA hopes these drivers will be able to improve the industry’s image.
“We will go into driving schools,” says the QTA. The group plans to highlight the many jobs available in the industry, including dispatchers and mechanics – not just those for truckers specifically.
“Via the ambassadors, children will be made aware of how to act safely around trucks,” the association adds. “If we start young, as adults they will be less wary of trucks.”
The ambassadors will also be able to remind people that the trucking industry is critical to the supply of goods to the province.
One member of the team is Pierre Brousseau, a 16-year veteran of the road, who has been driving for Groupe Robert in Boucherville since 1992. Like the others, he has a flawless driving record, a passion for his job, and lots of support from his fleet.
“They asked me in December if they could nominate me as an over-the-road driver,” explains Brousseau, who lives in St-Basile le Grand, Que., just east of Montreal. He was a bit nervous during his interview but, it turned out, he already had some media experience under his belt.
Appearing last year on a YTV television show, Brousseau amazed kids with his elaborate pre-trip inspection.
As a company instructor, he is used to showing greenhorns the ropes, however he confesses that lecturing in front of crowds, “will be a challenge.”
The QTA has intensive communications training scheduled for the ambassadors in mid-March, and will also give them periodic up-date courses on issues impacting the industry.
The QTA would like to schedule one speaking engagement a month per driver, for a total of 192 over the next two years.
Brousseau has some favorite topics he would like to discuss, among them, the way motorists drive around rigs.
“It’s not dangerous for me, it’s dangerous for them,” says Brousseau. “There are not enough commercials showing drivers how to behave around trucks. I don’t think people are well-informed.”
In his day-to-day experience, he doesn’t really feel like a bad guy. The main-stream media, he insists, presents a distorted view of truckers.
“They doesn’t look at the good driving record of truckers, they just look at the accidents. We drive 200,000 kilometres a year, but one incident and this guy is tagged a murderer,” complains Brousseau.
Brousseau says he clearly likes his work.
“It is a job that has to be done for the love of it. I’d like to talk to students about the love of adventure and being your own boss. It’s like running a little office,” he explains.
“Ten years ago, most guys were related to other truckers. Now they are coming in from all sorts of careers … (saying) that it was a long-time dream they are realizing by driving big rigs.”
With this kind of straight talk, the QTA’s goal, of putting a human face on the industry, stands a healthy chance of being reached. “They are very proud,” says the QTA. “They are very passionate about what they do and are excited that they will have a microphone, to talk about their image.” n
THE 2001/02 AMBASSADORS
Pierre Martel, Camionnage GHL
Francois Blouin, Transport Forestville
Rock Gauvin, Transport S.A.S.
Sylvain Belisle, Transport Papineau Intl
Patrick Gervais, Transport Henri Dion
Pierre Brousseau, Groupe Robert
Jean Beaulac, Transport Jacques Auger I Saint-Laurent Jean-Yves Gingras, Transport Cabano-Kingsway