Truck News


Going to the head of the class

It definitely takes an effort, particularly during a recessionary time, to keep yourself well informed about changes and innovations in the line of business in which you are engaged.

It definitely takes an effort, particularly during a recessionary time, to keep yourself well informed about changes and innovations in the line of business in which you are engaged.

But lots of progressive managers in the private fleet community do invest the time and effort because they recognize the value of participating in educational forums where they can meet other industry executives and exchange views.

Those who choose to stay cocooned in their home environment risk falling out of touch with initiatives that move the industry forward and they miss the opportunity to mix with and share ideas with industry leaders.

Fortunately for the private trucking community, there are lots of participants eager to take up those opportunities and engage in learning opportunities, as was demonstrated at the recent annual conference of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC).

The event took place in late June in King City, Ont., a location that was new to the PMTC, and proved to be everything we could want in a conference venue.

The annual PMTC conference has set a standard for learning and this year that standard was maintained, and perhaps even surpassed, according to many of the delegates. The seminar topics were timely and interesting and each of the expert speakers delivered their message with a professional flair. The number of questions directed to the speakers by the audience was yet another indicator of the importance of the topics.

The fact that so many from the private fleet community participated is a tribute to their collective desire to stay abreast of changes and innovative ideas, even during a period of downturn and the resulting stress on the work environment.

And we also acknowledge the active participation of our industry partners who stepped forward to support the conference, keeping their products and services in front of this progressive group.

Beyond its educational component, the PMTC annual conference is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and companies that contribute to the betterment of the trucking community. We take the time to recognize safe fleets, outstanding drivers, and of course, the best in fleet graphics.

In its own way each of these awards programs highlights the important role played by the recipients in making the industry a safer and better place to work. Perhaps the most important contribution comes from the driving corps.

Outside of our own industry few in the travelling public are aware of the professional drivers who make the roads safer for everyone. It is a particular pleasure to be able to honour some of these individuals with induction into the PMTC/Huron Services Hall of Fame, and there were three this year. Their safe driving records have been accumulated over many years, and are truly astonishing.

The first 2010 inductee was Vince Russo of Summit Food Service Distributors. Vince is a tractor-trailer driver who began working with Summit in 1967 and as of Dec. 31, 2009 had accumulated an incredible 40 years of safe driving with no preventable accidents.

What makes his record even more impressive is the industry in which Vince works. During a typical day, Vince needs to maneuver in and around some very narrow back alleys, narrow streets, parked cars and laneways in order to make his deliveries to restaurants, high schools, universities, nursing homes and day care centres -very few of which are designed for deliveries by tractor-trailer.

Our second inductee was Jim Hagen of Maple Leaf Consumer Foods. Jim is yet another example of the professional driver that every fleet would like to have. He owns a record of 35 years of collision-free driving, including over two million accident-free miles.

Jim has driven for Maple Leaf for the past four years, continuing his excellent safety record accumulated with his previous employers. His reputation is that of a professional with a top-notch work ethic.

Our third inductee was Bill Youden of the TDL Group, a company known to many as Tim Horton’s.

During his career, Bill has accumulated 27 years of safe driving. He is a valuable resource for the TDL Group. His supervisors describe him as a team-oriented individual who will share his thoughts in driver meetings, offer new ideas for the business, and is more than willing to try new ideas for improvement.

Bill considers TDL’s customers to be his own, and delivers quality service no matter what the weather, road closures, or holiday traffic have to say in the matter. He also offers guidance to newer team members at TDL, and participates as a coach within the driving team.

The awards program also included the Private Fleet Safety awards hosted by Zurich that went to Pro Distribution and Home Hardware Stores -two well-managed fleets with exemplary safety records (see pg. 42), and of course the Vehicle Graphic Design Awards sponsored by 3M Canada, a colourful display of design creativity (see pg. 57).

We have a lot to be proud of in this industry, and these award winners head up that class. -The Private Motor Truck Council is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Direct comments and questions to

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