TORONTO, Ont. - His 25-year career in the trucking industry has led him to one of the highest honors granted to a member of the trucking community.Paul Hammond, president of Muskoka Transport, was thi...
25 YEARS: Paul Hammond (right) and his wife Shirley, were presented with the Trailmobile Service to Industry award at the OTA convention. Photo by Katy de Vries
TORONTO, Ont. – His 25-year career in the trucking industry has led him to one of the highest honors granted to a member of the trucking community.
Paul Hammond, president of Muskoka Transport, was this year’s recipient of the Service to Industry award, which was presented by Trailmobile at the Ontario Trucking Association convention in November.
His wife says he is successful because he works hard, loves his job and shows a great deal of care and concern for those around him.
Shirley, Hammond’s bride of almost 40 years, says since her husband became a Rotarian, he seems to apply the age-old, 4-Way Test to his every day living – Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all?
A pretty high standard for some, but for Hammond, it’s just business as usual.
“We can’t stand still, it’s like running ahead of a snowball, the minute you stop you’re in trouble. My son is coming along very well to take over the company, but I can’t see myself really retiring, I like to stay involved. They will likely have to carry me out with my boots on,” he laughs.
His wife agrees, she says Hammond is not inclined to retire, but she does hope they will at least semi-retire.
“I don’t think he will ever retire,” says Mrs. Hammond, “but for me, I hope to someday, I do enjoy what I’m doing, but just not as much as Paul does.”
It is a real family affair at Muskoka Transport. Not only does his son work with him, but his daughter and his daughter-in-law and of course his wife, Shirley.
“My family started Hammond Transportation in 1944 which grew into quite a large school bus and motor coach carrier and in 1970, I broke away and my wife and we started our company,” says Hammond.
Hammond’s family is important to him and says his upbringing has had a lot to do with his success.
“Service was instilled in me at a very young age, and I came from a very hard-working family,” says Hammond, “and this has carried over and is now what I instill in my two grandchildren.”
While he’s often referred to as a mover and a shaker, Hammond’s business tactics are sincere and personal.
He says there are lots of ups and downs in the trucking industry but he doesn’t let that get him down.
“I like to think of myself as one of the people left in this country who still make deals on a handshake – and honor those deals,” he says. “I’m also a firm believer that if we are going to do something, let’s do it right away and get it done right.”
During his tenure as the OTA chairman in 1997/1998, he adopted the way of thinking where the industry is one big happy family.
“I was dubbed the carrier’s chairman during this time,” he mentions, “because I put 60,000 km on my car the first year just visiting the smaller carriers across the province. I would take my wife or one of my retired drivers, and I not only wanted to deliver the OTA message but I wanted to chat. I really believe we’ve got to stick together in this industry if we are going to be successful.”
Hammond says it is nice to look back and see where he’s come from, and is proud that they have put all of this together in 32 years.
“It is bigger than I thought it would ever be, but it isn’t Paul Hammond that did it, it is the people that work with us, it is the people of the Muskoka area, and the province of Ontario,” he says. “This is a great land we live in, and I can’t say enough good things about our province and our country.”
Muskoka Transport is a big supporter of the region no matter where they go. The trailers are traveling billboards promoting the Muskoka area and have been recognized all over the province and into the U.S.
In fact, together, Paul and Shirley recently published a book called Muskoka and Beyond which details the Hammond family with their transportation businesses and particulars of the Muskoka region.
This is not the first time Hammond has been honored for the work and dedication he puts forth.
In addition to his newest accolade, Hammond received a National Transportation Week Award of Lifetime Achievement in 2000.
A combination of community service, charity work and a successful business, has been the basis for a Lifetime Business Achievement Award and a Community Service Award by the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce.
Town Council also selected him as a nominee for the Province of Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.
“It’s quite an honor. I believe in giving back,” says Hammond. “The community has been good to me and if you can’t give back, it’s a pretty small world.”