TORONTO, Ont. - The creme de la creme of the Canadian trucking industry walked away winners from the Ontario Trucking Association's (OTA) 79th Annual Convention at the Toronto Congress Centre Nov. 17-...
CONGRATS: Wayne Dixon (left) is presented with the CTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year Award. Volvo's Brent Weary presented the award while Dixon's wife Joan looks on.Photo by the OTA
TORONTO, Ont. – The creme de la creme of the Canadian trucking industry walked away winners from the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) 79th Annual Convention at the Toronto Congress Centre Nov. 17-18, with awards including the Service to the Industry Award, the national and provincial Driver of the Year awards, the OTA’s Dispatcher of the Year award and the first-ever National Dispatcher of the Year award.
Service to the Industry
John Cyopeck, CEO of Canpar Transport L.P., was presented with the 2005 Trailmobile Service to the Industry Award, the highest honour bestowed on an executive in the Ontario trucking industry.
The award honours an individual who, by their commitment, vision, leadership and unstinting service, has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of the truck transportation industry.
Cyopeck, 61, who also serves as vice-chair of the OTA and chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), has spent almost 50 years in the industry and is a well-respected member of the carrier community.
He has been the recipient of other awards including the Award of Lifetime Achievement (1999) and the Courier Executive of the Year Award (2000).
Cyopeck is also one of the Canadian trucking industry’s foremost philanthropists, having supported dozens of charities and road safety initiatives, and recently raising $1.3 million for the Trillium Health Centre’s new MRI clinic, after having been diagnosed with a brain tumour and undergoing surgery at the centre.
“Everyone in the industry has been inspired by John,” said David Bradley, president of the OTA and CEO of the CTA. “Not just because his fundraising campaign was so successful but because it is so typical of him. He is emblematic of the generosity of spirit of the trucking industry.”
As the audience gave a standing ovation, an emotional Cyopeck said “You people delivered my dream. They say you’re enriched by the circle of friends who surround you and I’m probably one of the richest guys in the world.”
He then urged the young people in the industry to get involved because “This is a great industry.”
Cyopeck concluded by saying “Every day I count my blessings. Thank you for the honour, it’s beyond my belief that this could happen to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Drivers of the Year
Taking home top honours for the CTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year was Wayne Dixon, a veteran driver who has amassed an amazing 5.6 million collision-free kilometres during his 40-year professional career.
Each year the award goes to a professional transport driver with a collision-free driving record who is an exemplary truck driver both on and off the road.
Dixon delivers general freight for Muskoka Transport in Bracebridge, Ont.
“His professional approach to his job, his positive attitude and easy-going personality make him a ‘cut above the rest,'” said Paul Hammond, president, Muskoka Transport.
“Customers, dispatchers and fellow drivers all hold the highest respect for Wayne in an industry that can be a daily challenge for any driver,” said Jacky Finlayson, director of business development for Muskoka Transport.
Dixon, 61, was named the 2004 OTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year, and has won awards at three truck driving championships.
Mervin “Merv” Connolly, an O/O with L. E. Walker Transport Ltd., succeeded Dixon this year as the OTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year.
During his 38-year career with more than five million collision-free kilometres, Connolly has lent a hand at roadside accident scenes.
In March, Connolly was awarded an Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner’s Citation for Lifesaving, for helping lift a vehicle off a trapped man and assisting a passenger who had been ejected from the vehicle following an accident in early January.
“We at L. E. Walker Transport are honoured to have Merv within our driver ranks,” said Julie Tanguay, president. “We are proud of all our drivers and extremely proud of Merv’s accomplishments. We thank him for his dedication to this industry and the public while on the road.”
“His performance on the highway has been outstanding,” said Bill Arthur, fleet manager for L.E. Walker. “His everyday performance while out on the highway sharing the road with the motoring public speaks for itself. Merv is the type of driver that all other drivers should be modeled after, and we at L.E. Walker Transport are very privileged and proud to be associated with Merv Connolly.”
Dispatcher of the Year
Other honours at the convention included the Cancom Tracking-sponsored Dispatcher of the Year awards.
Tyrone Downs, a dispatcher with Trenton, Ont.-based Erb Transport, was named Ontario’s Dispatcher of the Year and Darryl Samay, a dispatcher with Provider Transportation & Logistics Inc., was named Canada’s first National Dispatcher of the Year.
Both awards go to a dispatcher who has demonstrated a commitment to customer service, safety, driver well being, courtesy, teamwork, problem solving and community service/volunteer work.
“Dispatchers play an instrumental role in the overall process of transporting highway freight,” Bradley said. “This award program is an excellent vehicle for spotlighting outstanding dispatchers.”
Downs, 28, has been employed by Erb Transport for nine years.
“Tyrone does an outstanding job for the Erb Group, and more specifically, for his fellow employees every day,” says John Verkuyl, Erb’s Trenton terminal manager. “The drivers who he dispatches greatly appreciate the fact that he goes the extra mile to be aware of every load so that he can plan ahead for them.”
Winning the first-ever Dispatcher of the Year at the national level was Samay, 25, who has been employed by Provider Transportation for six years.
“Cancom is extremely pleased with the expansion of this prestigious award. The National Dispatcher of the Year is taking this recognition to another level,” said Mike Ham, vice president, Cancom Tracking.
“Darryl’s superior work ethic shows in the respect he is given by his customers, drivers and all other office staff,” said Norm Casarin, president of Provider Transportation Inc. “Darryl continues to work long hours and can be called upon at any time night or day to help anyone solve the proverbial problems that are all part and parcel of a career in the trucking industry.”
Both Samay and Downs were presented with a plaque and cash award at the ceremony.