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AMTA awards its finest

BANFF, Alta. - A half-dozen longtime industry veterans were honoured for their body of work at the Alberta Motor Transport Association's annual Management Conference in Banff over the May 1 weekend.Safety Person of the YearThe first award - the...

BANFF, Alta. – A half-dozen longtime industry veterans were honoured for their body of work at the Alberta Motor Transport Association’s annual Management Conference in Banff over the May 1 weekend.

Safety Person of the Year
The first award – the 2011 Safety Person Award, sponsored by Milestone Insurance Services – was given to Trimac’s Ken Arthur, who said “You can’t conduct yourself like an idiot when you are driving your private vehicle, then come into work, flick a switch and adhere to all the rules of the road. It doesn’t work like that. Professionalism is a lifestyle.”

Arthur should know. He started as a driver in 1973, later becoming an owner/operator, flatdecking throughout Western Canada for Tri-Line. He sold his truck in 1978 and went with Consolidated Concrete but by 1986, frustrated with working long hours that kept him away from his young family, he signed on with Trimac and the rest, you might say, is history.

In 1988, Arthur found himself training a friend who was looking for a new career as a driver. It was the beginning of a process that took him from operations to bulk systems safety, and eventually taking up residence as central training instructor, Canada at the new, Calgary-based Trimac Learning Centre (TLC).  Upon hearing he was to receive the Safety Person of the Year Award, he said “Winning the same award that (the late Alberta truck safety legend) John Tessier has won takes my breath away.”

Driver of the Year
Orlick Transport’s Allen Doell drove away with the 2011 Driver of the Year award, sponsored by Volvo Trucks Canada. Doell’s professional odometer has tallied some three million kilometres during a 37-year career, with nary a collision.
Doell had always wanted to be a professional truck driver, and he came by the dream honestly, thanks to a father who was also in the profession. In fact, as soon as he turned 18, Doell got his professional driver’s licence and went to work with Alberta Steel, one of only three companies for whom he’s driven long-term in his career.

Now, Doell is happy to do P&D in and around Edmonton, relishing the contact he gets to have with his customers, which is one of the things he likes best about driving. He also helps train new drivers, through test drives and by sharing his years of experience – and he claims to learn as much from those he is teaching.

“From these new drivers I learn about new cultures, the different histories and even driving tips,” he said. “I’m proof that old dogs can still learn new tricks.”

Doell credits his clean driving record as the result of three things: caution (as in always being aware of his surroundings), his experience (by now, he knows what he is doing) and good luck.

Associate Trades Award
Meanwhile, the 2011 Associate Trades Award went to Darrel Shire, of Kal Tire in Edmonton. Shire started with Crown Tire (which was purchased by Kal Tire in 1993) in 1973. His interest in the industry goes beyond his gig as outside sales rep for the West Edmonton Region, including involvement in the AMTA’s Associate Trades division, Truxpo, the Edmonton Draw Down Dinner and the Edmonton Golf Tournament.

Historical awards

Historical awards are also given to a trio of longtime movers and shakers. The American Truck Historical Society gave two standalone Golden Achievement Awards, one to Standen’s Limited and one to Al Kits of Porter Trucking, while a third Golden Achievement Award and AMTA Historical Award went to Darshan Kailly. The Golden Achievement awards recognize people or companies – and those associated with the industry – who have been in the business for at least 50 years.

Mel Svendson, president and CEO of Standen’s, accepted the award for the Calgary-based business whose founders – Cyril Standen and his father, William – began the venture in 1924 with a $600 investment in a blacksmith shop they housed in a barn on the family farm. Standen’s now employs more than 500 people.

Porter Trucking’s Kits immigrated to Red Deer in 1952 from his native Holland, where he had spent two years learning to be a machinist and welder. He found work at Stewart Brothers machine shop in Red Deer then, after two years, an opportunity came along to get involved in trucking. Kits became a mover and shaker, owning many fleets throughout his career.

Kailly, recipient of the ATHS Golden Achievement and AMTA Historical Awards, needs little introduction. His career began as a part-time billing clerk for Canadian and Consolidated Freightways in Vancouver, where he put his formidable typing skills (learned, attendees were told, in high school because the class was nearly all girls) to good use.

Kailly’s rise through the corporate ranks included being chief rate clerk at the Vancouver terminal. His goal, as he apparently told a visiting terminal operations manager who asked him what his aspirations were at the time, was to be president of the company.

It took a while, but he did it. Upon the retirement in 1981 of company president Len Huyser, Kailly finally achieved his dream of becoming president. In 2002, Consolidated Freightways went broke and was picked up by TransForce. Kailly stayed on as CEO but in 2010 he decided to retire.

Service to the Industry
The final honour bestowed at the AMTA’s conference was the 2011 Service to the Industry award, given to outgoing AMTA president Dean Paisley, owner of Lethbridge Truck Terminals.

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