Bob Smith of Mackie Moving Systems presented with safety award

by Harry Rudolfs

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Bob Smith, safety and compliance manager for Mackie Moving Systems of Oshawa, Ont., was awarded this year’s Motor Transportation Safety Award at the Motor Vehicle Safety Association banquet held in Mississauga, Ont. on May 9.

Smith has had a long association with the Oshawa family trucking company going back more than 20 years.

He used to park his trailer in the Mackie yard when he was pulling liquor loads for the LCBO, first for Cathcart Transport and later for Manitoulin.

He started working for Ross Mackie 19 years ago, and took on the role of safety and compliance manager in 1998.

Smith was nominated by last year’s winner, Shawn Jamieson, safety manager for SGT Transportation in Mississauga, Ont.

The award is based on a points system where nominees are assessed according certain categories including community service, achievements, recommendations and previous awards. Smith served as an OTA Road Knight in 1997-98 and has logged 1.7 million miles accident-free.

He’s also a member of the OTA’s Pioneer Club.

Smith thinks the key to having a successful safety team is having an open door policy.

“I like to think that the drivers can feel free to come and ask about things they’re not sure of. I’ve been on both sides of the road, both as a driver and a manager, so I think I understand what they’re going through,” he says.

“It’s important to establish trust with your drivers, whether they’re owner/operators, broker drivers or company employees,” adds Smith. “I also enjoy working with fleet management. They get the equipment they need to get the job done, and I try to get them the people to do the job.”

The 57-year-old safety manager looks after more than 200 drivers located in six terminals.

“Things have changed so much,” he reminisces.

“When I started there were a lot fewer regulations, no logbooks, no transportation of dangerous goods regs, all you needed to drive a tractor-trailer was a chauffeur’s licence. Today’s trucks are much safer: anti-rollover, collision-warning, satellite-tracking, and everything is Bluetooth-enabled for hands-free driving. All the new tucks have this.”

Smith was presented with a plaque, a $2,500 diamond ring and a $500 cheque.

His family, including his octogenarian mother was on-hand to watch him receive the award. Harvin Kaura and Rubinder Sran of Cheyne Middle School of Brampton, Ont., were awarded the MVSA  Peel Regional Science Fair Award for their project, dubbed: Is there any available material safer than an airbag?

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