Truck News


Learning And Celebrating Go Hand-In-Hand

'Continuing education' is a catchphrase, but one with meaning for anyone in this industry that has a desire to keep pace. In many cases, becoming and staying informed takes a lot of effort and that ef...

‘Continuing education’ is a catchphrase, but one with meaning for anyone in this industry that has a desire to keep pace. In many cases, becoming and staying informed takes a lot of effort and that effort needs to be accommodated within the bounds of the daily work that pays the bills.

But of course, there is a price to pay for not investing the effort and that is simply falling out of step with the business world, and missing out on innovative ideas and the opportunity to share ideas with peers.

In June, as the youngsters were preparing to leave behind formal schooling at least for the summer months, PMTC gathered fleet operators and industry suppliers together for its annual conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a conference that is synonymous with learning and the sharing of ideas and information.

This year’s conference maintained the standard that has been set in previous years, thanks to all of the attendees, event partners, and of course the first-rate line-up of speakers that participated. Frankly, in a year of such severe economic difficulty we were very conservative in our expectations for the conference.

We were not concerned with the quality of our agenda because we knew we had important topics to discuss and informed speakers committed to the occasion, but we were unsure what we might expect in the way of attendance and sponsor support.

We’re grateful that the results in both cases far exceeded expectations. Both attendance and partner support were in line with previous years’ conferences when the industry was in relative good times, and I believe that speaks to the approach that private carriers take to continuing education.

Even in difficult times, our member companies recognize that in order to maximize the benefits of operating their fleets, it is imperative that their personnel stay informed about issues of the day, and have opportunities to learn from others in the trucking community.

There are, alas, too few opportunities for the trucking community to come together with these goals in mind, so industry leaders take full advantage of them when they do occur. The annual PMTC conference may be unique among those opportunities, in large part because of the willingness of our members to share information with one another.

Along with the learning opportunities it provides, the annual conference is a time for celebration. During the annual awards luncheon we recognize safe fleets, outstanding drivers, and of course, the best in fleet graphics (see story and pictures on pg. 38).

In their own individual ways, each of these awards programs highlight important aspects of the trucking community. They celebrate the best parts of an industry that seldom receives any recognition from the public for doing the job so well.

Some of those who go unrecognized outside of the industry are among the driving contingent, so it was very special this year to be able to induct four outstanding professional drivers into the PMTC/Huron Services Hall of Fame.

Outside of the industry not nearly enough is known about the quality of drivers we are blessed with and the skills they employ every day to help keep the roads safe and make their deliveries on time.

Let me introduce a few of them to you:

Daniel Pilon who drives for Huron Services in the Tona Transport fleet has accumulated 33 years and 5.1 million kilometres without a preventable accident. And, perhaps as remarkable, Daniel has only lost 10 days to illness over that period.

Robert Miller drives for the TDL Group (Tim Horton’s), and in 33 years of driving has not had a preventable accident. Robert has served the same group of customers in Sault Ste. Marie for over 20 years, working through bad weather, high volumes of holiday traffic, and road closures to get his deliveries made on time and safely.

John O’Connell drives for Global Driver Services in the John Deere fleet and has done so for almost 30 years. He has accumulated over five million kilometres of driving while maintaining a clean abstract and without an at-fault accident.

Bruce Hulley has driven for Sparling’s Propane for 27 years, during which he has transported bulk propane and other dangerous commodities in a variety of vehicle configurations without incident.

These four professionals have combined to accumulate 123 years and millions of kilometres of safe driving! And the best part is that they represent only a few of the many careful, responsible commercial drivers that safely deliver everything consumers want or need in their daily lives.

So, I am always pleased when we can combine opportunities for fleet operators to learn and exchange ideas, with taking the time to pay tribute to the drivers who make it all happen.

-The Private Motor Truck Council is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Your comments or questions can be addressed to

Truck News

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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