AMTA crowns industry’s best

by James Menzies

BANFF, Alta. – The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) recently took some time to recognize some of the industry’s finest members at its recent annual management conference:

Driver of the Year

Jim Bond of Rainbow Transport was recognized as the Driver of the Year, sponsored by Volvo Trucks Canada. The Edmonton, Alta.-based driver admitted he wasn’t even aware the award existed until notified he’d been selected.

Bond obtained his Class 1 licence 35 years ago and since then he said he’s hauled “a little bit of everything.” He’s done it all without being involved in a single accident.

Bond purchased his first truck in 1976 and today he hauls LTL into the north for Rainbow. His philosophy regarding safety is “Better a late load than a load that arrives banged up or not at all.”

Rainbow president, Wayne Schneider, said, “Jim is an excellent driver who performs his driving and related tasks diligently and consistently. He operated his tractor with great care – operating safely in all types of weather and road conditions. He is well experienced in both on- and off-highway applications and we use him for both. Jim keeps his tractor in near-new condition and always looking good. Only regular maintenance is required on his unit. He has operated with us in Alberta, BC, the Yukon and Alaska. We know the responsibilities we have placed with him are in good hands.”

Safety Person of the Year

John Sengl of Canadian Freightways was presented with the Safety Person of the Year award, sponsored by Bow Valley Insurance Services.

The company said Sengl has always been committed to safety and enrolled in courses ranging from safety auditing to DOT Hazmat training in the U.S.

“We must do everything possible to reduce workplace injuries,” Sengl insisted. “As managers, we must understand that those that will be injured will be our employees, who are real people – people that we know.

“And these real people have real feelings. We can’t put a cost on human pain and suffering.”

Sengl is adamant that all carriers have a full-time safety person on staff to oversee a company-wide safety department. He said it’s also crucial fleets develop a safety culture that’s promoted through the entire company.

“Our employees deserve more than minimum standards,” Sengl insisted.

Service to the Industry Award

Westcan Transportation ‘s Tom Kenny was presented with the Service to the Industry Award sponsored by Trailmobile Canada.

When informed of this, he said he was “shocked and humbled…There are others in the industry who are much more deserving of this award.”

Kenny has been involved in the industry since the age of 16 when he began driving a grain truck for a local farmer. He bought his first truck at the age of 18 and before long he had two trucks running for Matchett Trucking of Saskatoon, Sask.

By the age of 24, Kenny had purchased the 30-truck operation and was running it along with two partners. They grew the company to 140 trucks before the fleet was acquired by Westcan. Kenny recently served as president of the AMTA and still plays an active role with the association.

Associate Trades Award

The AMTA awarded Earl Mitty of Advance Engineered Products with this year’s Associate Trades Award.

Mitty has spent 36 years in the trucking industry and has been active on AMTA committees, organizing events such as association golf tournaments and conventions. Mitty credited Advance president Gerry Van Wachem for giving him the flexibility to volunteer his time with the AMTA.

General Motors Historical Award

Sara Ann McMillan was presented with the General Motors Historical Award in recognition of a half century in the trucking business.

Her husband founded McMillan Transport in Medicine Hat in 1950 and Sara Ann ran the company following his death in 1964. Although she was a woman in a male-dominated industry, Sara Ann said “The industry was very accepting, especially our customers and suppliers who were all local people who knew me inside and outside of the business world.”

The company is now run by her son, Rod.

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