Truck News


It has been a great six years

Spring has always been a benchmark for new things - a time to take stock in what you have done and what you have to do. It was in the spring of 1995 that I accepted this job.So it's fitting, perhaps, ...

Spring has always been a benchmark for new things – a time to take stock in what you have done and what you have to do. It was in the spring of 1995 that I accepted this job.

So it’s fitting, perhaps, that I take on a new role in the world of publishing as we head into spring, and pen my last column for Truck News.

The trucking industry can be fascinating to cover, I’ve developed some great friendships within it, and I can no longer travel next to a truck without staring at the details or designs that sets it apart.

But sometimes it’s simply important to move on.

Publications need new ideas to keep them fresh. In addition to that, a man I respect once noted that a change of scenery is often as good as a rest, and the role of editorial director can be a demanding one.

But it has certainly been a great six years.

Every little boy dreams about driving full-sized versions of the Tonka trucks of their childhood. It’s due to this job that I first had the chance to grind real gears in a Western Star and a General.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to drive brand new versions of every major truck brand (and I don’t grind the gears nearly as often). The job has allowed me to travel extensively around North America, and I’ve had the pleasure of watching this publication grow, expanding into new areas such as the daily news offered at

What hasn’t changed is the foundation on which this magazine is built. I once noted to our executive-publisher, Ted Light, that I saw Truck News as a family business, even in its role within a huge media chain.

I hope to bring that same atmosphere to my new magazine, dot commerce, a publication devoted to e-commerce. And in publishing, there’s nothing more exciting than the opportunity to launch a magazine that you championed.

Few workplaces ever enjoy the dedication offered by a team such as the one that works at Truck News, from the creative crew to the sales force. You just have to look at the long-standing tenures of the people in these jobs to know that this is a special place.

Even those who have moved on have remained close. Although Pat Cancilla now works at the National Post, just upstairs at the Don Mills office, I remember the days when she and I toiled away at the publication as its two-person editorial team.

Julia Kuzeljevich, too, has moved down the hall, to our sister publications Motortruck and Canadian Transportation Logistics, and I’m proud to have had the foresight to hire her in her first full-time job at the Southam Magazine Group.

So, too, am I proud to have hired Matthew Sylvain, who has quickly proven himself through his actions at Truck News.

There are also the columnists, contributors and cartoonists that are too many to mention within this allotted space; they are the many sources who helped provide the information that became our stories.

There are my fellow truck writers throughout North America that,I’m glad to say, became my friends (although I’m sure that I’m the most competitive bugger in the lot). And there is Brenda Grant, who I followed into the editor’s job, came to respect and admire, and who has come back to the fold in a national sales role.

Our publisher, Rob Wilkins, has always been a member of our inner circle, even when he was working at an automotive magazine within our publishing group. It seems only natural that he would make the transition to trucking.

Under the category of “it’s a small world” is Lou Smyrlis, the editor of Motortruck. We both worked the same newspaper beat at the Niagara Falls Review, albeit a few years apart, but we didn’t get to know each other until I joined Truck News. I’ll still get to work with Lou through his role at the Southam Magazine Group, but I’ll miss the opportunity to travel with him. He is – and will continue to be – a wonderful friend.

Ted, for his part, has been a mentor like no other. It’s because of his teachings that I’m able to plunge into the world of a publisher in the first place, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

Last but not least, I look to John Curran, who I first hired as a junior editor, and who has earned the editor’s mantle on his return to our publication. Since my new office is just down the hall, I can’t help but stick my nose into the business as an “editorial advisor,” to offer myself as a sounding board for his thoughts, and to share in the latest railway jokes. More than anything else, it gives me a chance to keep in touch with the trucking industry.

Many of you may not know this, but John and I are even graduates of the same journalism program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont. Perhaps that’s why we share a similar vision of what this publication is, and how it should grow. I have every confidence that he will offer all of you the magazine that you want, deserve and have come to expect in Truck News.

So many people to thank. So little space.

But let me offer a final thought: To all of you – our readers – may your rides always be smooth and your directions always clear.

I’ll see you on the highway. n

– John G. Smith can be contacted at

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