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AMTA doles out annual awards

BANFF, Alta. - The Alberta Motor Transport Association recently recognized a handful of its members for significant contributions made to the industry.

BANFF, Alta. – The Alberta Motor Transport Association recently recognized a handful of its members for significant contributions made to the industry.

The association doled out a number of awards during the annual AMTA Management Conference in Banff, Alta. on April 27 and 28, recognizing industry veterans and elite individuals for their dedication to the industry.

Driver of the Year Award

With a driving career spanning 35 years, Perley MacDonald has spent the past 32 years with McMillan Transport.

The last 29 years of MacDonald’s career has been spent accident- and violation-free; and MacDonald credits the McMillan operation for always ensuring drivers are operating good equipment, which is properly maintained allowing drivers to concentrate on their driving.

Throughout the years MacDonald has witnessed technology usher in a number of changes to the industry, but he feels the biggest improvement since his early years is the industry’s emphasis on safety, rather than delivery times.

“I’m surprised and grateful,” MacDonald added. “I’m proud to be a professional truck driver and this is humbling because there are so many good drivers out there.”

Safety Person of the Year Award

Prior to entering the trucking industry, Frank Garret of Mullen Trucking spent 25 years in autobody work and witnessed first-hand the horror of traffic accidents; because of this the core of Garret’s work now focuses around safety.

Garret has spent the past 13 years at Mullen Trucking and is the current director of safety and loss prevention with the Calgary-based outfit.

The former driver is determined to seek out safety initiatives before a problem arises and sits on a number of safety committees related to trucking and upstream gas operations.

Garret noted his six-year-old triplets are his inspiration in dedicating himself to safety day-in and day-out.

“It’s an honour to be recognized by my peers in the industry,” Garret said upon accepting his award. “The biggest thing that rings true is prevention.”

At the podium, Garret initiated a moment of silence in the crowd as a tribute to all the people who have lost their lives while at work.

National Dispatcher of the Year Award

Last year’s Dispatcher of the Year Award winner, Doug McDowell, was honoured for the second year in a row; and this time around it was a national recognition.

The National Dispatcher of the Year Award was drawn from a pool of last year’s Dispatcher of the Year Award winners; and with an estimated 225,000 loads dispatched during a career spanning more than 45 years, McDowell rose to the top.

The now retired McDowell joined McMillan Transport of Medicine Hat, Alta. in 1960 as a company driver and was promoted to dispatch in 1964.

“Doug was absolutely outstanding as a dispatcher,” said his former boss, Rod McMillan, president of McMillan Transport “Many of the company’s drivers say they were raised by Doug.”

“I am continually impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the members of the transportation industry,” added Mayne Root, executive director of the AMTA. “When you consider the 45-plus year career of Doug McDowell and the impact he has had on shippers, suppliers, sales representatives, clients and customers as well as all of the drivers and other members of our industry he has helped to train, you can’t help but be amazed and recognize the immeasurable contribution Doug has made to our industry and society.”

McDowell likes to deflect credit of his work to the peers around him, but a slew of testimonials from fellow coworkers is proof he is very deserving of the award.

“It’s quite humbling to receive an award like this,” McDowell said from the podium. “None of it could have been possible without drivers who could always be counted on, good equipment and a good safety program.”

Service to the Industry Award

Since entering the trucking industry in 1998, Jim Davis of ECL Transportation has taken an active role in association matters.

The chartered accountant moved into the transportation industry in 1992 by taking a job in the finance department of Greyhound. In 1998, Davis joined the team of ECL Transportation as CFO.

By 2003, he took over the presidency of the company and shortly after also became the CEO of the trucking operation, roles he currently fills today.

Once involved with the AMTA, Davis jumped in with both feet and served on numerous committees before serving as the association’s president in 2005.

The outgoing past-president initiated a number of important changes in the AMTA during his time including the hiring of current executive director Mayne Root, revising the strategic planning process, introducing the Regulatory Affairs Partnership and helping rejuvenate the Partners in Compliance program.

Davis viewed all of his time spent volunteering as a privilege and is extremely grateful to his family for all of their understanding and support.

“I’m really humbled by the recognition because the contributions we make are part of our abilities, but can’t be done without the support of family and business partners,” explained Davis. “It’s a great industry and the members of the AMTA staff have been great all the way along.”

Associate Trades Award

For 11 years Joe Lomnicki has immersed himself in the trucking industry, all while working for Diamond International Trucks. His wide array of volunteer work with the AMTA earned the 37-year-old with the Associate Trades Award and Lomnicki gives full credit to the truck dealership for supporting his efforts.

“I’m very honoured to be recognized for this,” Lomnicki said during the evening ceremony. “I wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for a great man here tonight, Don Macadam (owner of Diamond International Trucks).”

ATHS Company Historical Award

Three Alberta-based pioneer trucking companies were honoured by the Alberta Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society for their continued industry dedication that spans a number of decades.

Big Horn Transport, Canadian Freightways and ECL Transportation have a combined history of approximately 192 years and are all still going strong today.

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