Driver of the year an ambassador on and off the road
January 1, 2003
TORONTO, Ont. - It takes two computers and a day planner for Ed Connors to keep on top of everything he's involved in these days - and sometimes even that isn't enough."When I'm with people they say, ...
TOP HONORS: Driver of the year adds to a long list of company and industry safety awards.Photo by Dean Askin
TORONTO, Ont. – It takes two computers and a day planner for Ed Connors to keep on top of everything he’s involved in these days – and sometimes even that isn’t enough.
“When I’m with people they say, ‘How do you keep track of it all?’ Even I don’t know how I keep track of it,” laughs Connors. “Man, I’m not kidding. I’ve got four things going on at one time.”
Over the past couple of years, the 49-year-old trucker with Molson Canada has been nothing less than an ambassador for truck driving as a profession and with a career spanning nearly 30 years with 1.6 million collision-free kilometres, his peers took notice.
In November, Connors was named the 2002 OTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year by the Ontario Trucking Association not only for his exceptional driving record, but also for his contributions to the trucking industry and the community as well.
“I didn’t know they (Molson) put me in for it,” Connors says.
“There are a lot of very, very good drivers in Ontario and all of Canada. You might say that I’m accepting the award not just for myself but for all the good drivers. It’d be nice if everybody got the award, but I just got lucky and they picked me.”
But it’s hard work that has earned Connors the award and continues to fill his schedule.
Aside from driving a truck and providing training and orientation for new drivers at Molson, he has been a member of the OTA Road Knights Team for the last two years. Although his term is up, he says, that doesn’t mean he’ll stop. He’ll keep helping out if he’s needed.
Connors also serves as a member of the Ontario Truck Driving Championships Committee and plans to contribute by designing tracks and raising funds.
“I decided to give back to the trucking industry. It’s nice to show that I enjoyed it so I want more people to be there,” Connors says of the championships.
“I want more drivers to be out there because it shows people all over Ontario and Canada how good their drivers are. I’m always pushing that part of it so that’s why the committee part of it fit for me.”
The fact that Connors is so active within the trucking industry prompted Molson to nominate him for the award.
“We think he does an excellent job not only at work, but after hours he’s out doing things on behalf of the trucking community that promotes all the good things about trucking such as safety and drivers’ involvement,” says Gord Dennis, director of distribution at Molson Canada.
“Molson is extremely proud of Ed.”
Connors’s efforts extend beyond just trucking. He was recently re-elected to serve a third term as president of the Molson Carlingview Social Club and through the Road Knights, he became involved in his community.
With the Dufferin Safe Community Roads Committee, including members from the Orangeville Police, the OPP and the Ministry of Transportation, Connors helps to address issues of road safety and to put on courses on safe driving.
“Ed Connors’s outstanding driving record and his dedication to safety exemplify the commitment to road safety made by Ontario’s professional truck drivers,” says David Bradley, president of the OTA.
“But it is in the way he goes about his day-to-day work – both on and off the road – that makes him stand out.”
A machinist by trade, Connors’s first experience as a driver was back in 1972 when he delivered furniture for a cabinet-maker after finishing school.
He soon realized that trucking was the profession for him and he got a job delivering lumber throughout Ontario for Oliver Lumber.
Since then, he has worked for several companies and his work has taken him to numerous states in the U.S. and all across Ontario and Quebec. He has been with Molson for over 10 years.
Connors adds the Ontario Driver of the Year to a list of awards that includes many company and industry awards for safe driving, the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada Driver of the Year in 1994 as well as several awards at the Ontario Truck Driving Championships, including first place in 1993, 1994 and 1999 – the same year he reached Grand Champion at the nationals.
He sums it up best.
“I’m a driver. That’s what I do. I enjoy driving and it’s always been a good career for me.”