It was a long time coming, but for Bill Arthur, the coveted Volvo Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year award finally came.
“It was a surprise,” admits the 54-year-old grandfather of two, who’s been with L.E. Walker Transport in St. Thomas, Ont. for 37 years.
“I know I’ve been nominated before but nothing ever came of it. And I knew I was nominated this time, but I didn’t see anyone I knew at the banquet tables in front (of the banquet hall) so I assumed it wouldn’t be me.”
What Arthur didn’t know was that his family, including his wife and the son who nominated him for the award (and who has his own truck repair business, W.H. Arthur Entreprises), were hidden around the room, waiting to surprise him after the big announcement.
Arthur said he’s very pleased to have been nominated and plans to display his trophy in the large trophy cabinet at his company’s headquarters in St. Thomas.
The list of Arthur’s achievements during his career with L.E. Walker is lengthy: responsible for over 1,000 pieces of equipment, Arthur has managed to develop a current preventative maintenance program; lead the maintenance department into a new and more significantly regulated environment and; support the Thames Valley Co-op program, which exposes high school students to a possible career as truck technicians.
Arthur also spearheaded the London ATSSA Wheel-End Training Program in 1996.
He’s held an AZ licence since 1966, and earned the MVM Certificate of Qualification with Inter-Provincial Seal and Diesel Endorsement in 1977.
Arthur is also responsible for the work of 15 maintenance employees, seven of them licensed technicians, as well as six apprentice technicians.
Maintenance programs in place at L.E. Walker include annual suspension, landing gear, fifth wheel and brakes and wheel bearing adjustments and checks. Video training is ongoing for various pieces of equipment as required. Lift truck, WHMIS and first aid and CPR training are also conducted as required. And an emergency brigade has been formed and gets training as needed.
Arthur also specs and purchases power units and trailers for the company, as well as shop and yard equipment, parts and supplies etc.
But of all his professional accomplishments, Arthur is most proud of the test scores his company has earned from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
“The thing that’s made me the most proud over the years are the scores we got after MTO safety audits,” Arthur says.
“The last one we had was in 2000 and we got 97.3%.” (In 1995, the company scored 92.19%.)
Arthur started with L.E. Walker Transport in 1967 and has never looked back.
“I really enjoy what I’m doing and the people I work with — three generations of the Walker family — who’ve always made me feel like part of the business.”
Arthur was nominated for his extensive service, the excellence of his maintenance programs and management skills, but also for his extensive community involvement, inside the industry and in charity work as well as minor hockey and other sports.
Arthur is director of the Ontario Hockey Association, a coach in minor hockey and baseball, and a supporter and volunteer at the OTA Truck Driving Championship and MTO Challenge. He also supports and participates in the MTO’s “Courtesy is Contagious” and “Truck Safe” programs.
As for his charitable works, Arthur was a member of a mission trip to Inuvik, where he helped build a wheelchair ramp for an Anglican church there, and is part of the congregation at Aylmer Baptists Church.
“I only knew it was going to be me (who won the award) when the presenter (Volvo National Service Manager John Montgomery) mentioned the winner participated in the wheelchair ramp building project in Inuvik,” Arthur said.
But the announcement came as no surprise to 2002 Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year Bill Dinino, of OK Transport, a member of the committee that decided to award Arthur the trophy.
“His nomination form just stood out,” said Dinino. “There were other worthy nominees, even someone I worked hard to nominate, but once we saw Bill Arthur’s nomination form there was no way we could pick anyone else.”
The judging panel for the Volvo Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year Award consists of past award winners and media of the trucking media press, including editorial director Lou Smyrlis.
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