Truck News


It’s an honour to honour the best

The trucking community is, to some degree, a little bit insular, maybe even a little bit shy when it comes to talking about the things that we do well and that make it a terrific industry in which to ...

The trucking community is, to some degree, a little bit insular, maybe even a little bit shy when it comes to talking about the things that we do well and that make it a terrific industry in which to work.

A few weeks ago, Toronto’s largest circulation daily newspaper ran a half-page piece on the recent truck driving championships. The writer lauded the skills that the drivers had demonstrated during the competition. That article was almost a first for me, since I couldn’t recall having seen a positive article on trucking in the popular press in many years.

But those engaged with the industry know that it has a lot to be proud of in its people and its companies, and we at the PMTC are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize some of those that stand out from the crowd. We do it during our annual conference, and this past June we were proud to induct three individuals in to the Hall of Fame for Professional Drivers sponsored by Huron Service Group and present two fleets with the Zurich Private Fleet Safety Awards.

Entry in to the Hall of Fame is an honour reserved for the very best in class, and although there are many worthy nominations each year, those admitted to the Hall of Fame are indeed a cut above.

Collectively this year’s inductees, Vince Russo of Summit Food Distributors, Jim Hagen of Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, and Bill Youden of the TDL Group, have accumulated an astounding 102 years of safe driving!

Given that the nature of their work involves maneuvering tractor- trailers into and out of very tight spots that were not built with big rigs in mind, the safety records of these three professionals are beyond admirable, and we at the PMTC are pleased to acknowledge that through their induction into the Hall of Fame.

In conversation with each of these inductees it was immediately apparent that they take what they do seriously, and that the manner in which they do their jobs and teach others is important. Each is well-spoken and proud of their profession and the companies that they work for.

And yet despite their obvious superior abilities and their admirable safety records, they were still humbled by the attention they received during the induction ceremonies. There was no sense from any of Bill, Vince, or Jim that they were in any way special. And yet they certainly are. You can visit the Hall of Fame at and see all of the worthy inductees since its inception.

The Zurich Private Fleet Safety awards were given out in two categories this year, with Pro Distribution winning in the small fleet category, and Home Hardware Stores in the large fleet category. Neither fleet is a stranger to these awards, as Pro Distribution is six-time winner and Home Hardware have now won three times in their category.

And when the judges consider the behind-the-scenes efforts that allow these fleets to consistently maintain superb safety and compliance records over many years, there is no doubt that the honours are well earned.

All of the fleets that entered this competition exhibit a similar trait: that being a single-minded focus on doing it right. This is demonstrated in the time and, yes money, that they put in to developing and monitoring fleet safety policies.

Those policies usually begin with strict hiring practices and mentoring for new drivers, and include such things as training programs for everyone involved with the fleet, incentive programs where the goal is to pay out 100%, and significant recognition programs for doing the job well. Of course they also include discipline and re-training as required.

If there is a common theme running through these safety management practices it is the initial effort put in to develop fair policies, and the ongoing effort to monitor everyone’s results.

Anyone who thinks it sounds like too much work should speak with these fleet managers and they will quickly discover that the returns make it all worthwhile.

While not strictly safety related, another feature of our conference is the distribution of awards for originality in fleet graphics. We have partnered with 3M Canada for 25 years to present these Vehicle Graphics Design awards, which make their own statement for the value of visually promoting companies and products in a safe manner. The number of entries for this competition grows every year, and every year there are some that give the judges fits trying to decide a winner. You can view a video of all entries at, and winners are featured in industry magazines every year.

So, as I indicated earlier, the private trucking sector has a lot to be proud and we are pleased to be part of the celebrations.

-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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Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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