Driving was at its best with Ozinga on the case

by Brandi Cramer

ETOBICOKE, Ont. – Peter Ozinga, once a 30-year veteran driver for the Beer Store distribution centre in Ottawa, is one of those people for whom patience is a true virtue.

Last month during the second annual Ontario Safety League (OSL) golf tournament at the Royal Woodbine Golf Club in Etobicoke, Ont., attendees witnessed Ozinga accept an award for quite the feat – remaining accident free during his entire trucking career.

Behind the wheel until his retirement in April, Ozinga has since moved to his dream home, neighboring a golf course, in Morrisburg.

“He wasn’t delivering to beer stores, he was delivering to bars and hotels and it’s very difficult to get in and out with a truck, it’s not easy work,” says OSL chairperson Bill Strong, also the director of logistics for The Beer Store’s corporate office in Mississauga. The bulk of Ozinga’s career was spent driving a 10-skid straight truck, but he contributed in many ways.

“We had a thing about 15 months ago for employees to suggest innovative ways to save money and increase beer sales,” says Strong. “Of course a guy like Peter is right at the forefront with four or five ideas.”

Strong compares the downtown Ottawa routes Ozinga used to drive to downtown Toronto, “a tremendous challenge,” he says.

So how did he do it for all those years, or better put, what magical spell did he conjure?

“Patience is number one,” explains Ozinga. “You can’t let anything get to you. You have to concentrate and anticipate.”

He explains that often he would see people in a hurry.

“You have to keep your wits about you at all times.”

The Beer Store has made it a habit to recognize its safest truckers.

“We report accident-free drivers on an annual basis and we recognize them with pins and safe driving awards,” says Strong.

This obviously made Ozinga quite the pin collector.

His most recent award is a first for The Beer Store and was created with Ozinga in mind.

“We really wanted to send him off with a nice recognition, so we (OSL) created this special accident free award to present to him,” says Strong.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.