Let’s keep the OTDC growing

by Lou Smyrlis

Last year at this time I first shared with you the story of the Ontario Truck Driving Championships (OTDC). It’s a story that does our industry proud and so warrants retelling as we gear up for this year’s competition. I’m also retelling the story because this year I want you to play your part in writing the next chapter.

Last year I shared with you that OTDC president Ewen Steele had approached me about his plans to breathe new life into the OTDC. Like many organizations that had been around a long time, the OTDC was looking to revitalize itself; to ensure it remained meaningful to the new generation of drivers and fleet executives.

Ewen asked for my help in doing so and I agreed I would look into it.

I had heard of the OTDC and some of my staff had attended its competitions on occasion but I didn’t know much more about it beyond that. The more I looked, the more I found that I liked.

Our industry is too often the victim of negative media coverage yet here was a group full of the professional image we so want our industry to convey – and the OTDC had been doing so since 1947!

For almost seven decades the OTDC has been providing a forum for professional drivers to display their driving skill and encourage drivers and their employers to take an active interest in the safety, skill and courtesy needed in sharing the roads with the motoring public.

I told Ewen I wanted Truck News to be an integral part of the OTDC and we signed on as official media sponsor. We attended the regional events, wrote about the outcomes, profiled some of the best driver participants, and shot a great deal of video for our Web TV show, TMTV.

I think it’s fair to say the OTDC had never received such exposure in recent history, if ever.

As a result a large portion of our industry was exposed to the OTDC and what it has to offer.

Driver registrations and new registrants were both up, both very positive developments. Now we need to continue to grow the momentum started last year. And that part depends on you.

Regional events are scheduled for May 30 in Brampton and June 13 in Cambridge with the Ontario final in London on July 11. If you’re a professional driver and take pride in your driving skills I encourage you to put those skills to the test in an atmosphere of camaraderie.

If you are a fleet manager or executive I want to tell you this event is worth your support. It promotes exactly the kind of driver you want behind the wheel of your trucks.

Just as importantly, if you work in the transportation industry I encourage you to attend the regional events and/or the provincial final.

Your support would be much appreciated and you won’t be disappointed – these events do our industry proud.

We are committed to helping the OTDC continue to grow. It needs to grow with you.

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