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MTA honours its finest

WINNIPEG, Man. - After 6.6 million collision-free kilometres over a 40-year period as a commercial truck driver, Burton "Bud" Rush, was named the 2008 CTA/Volvo Trucks Canada National Driver of the Ye...

WINNIPEG, Man. – After 6.6 million collision-free kilometres over a 40-year period as a commercial truck driver, Burton “Bud” Rush, was named the 2008 CTA/Volvo Trucks Canada National Driver of the Year at a recent Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) awards dinner.

The Oakbank, Man. resident, who drives for Armstrong Moving and Storage (a division of United Van Lines Canada), was introduced to trucking as a young man – during a period when he also anticipated a hockey career.

He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1969, but was sidelined by a heart condition. That caused him to return to Winnipeg, and trucking, after buying a tractor-trailer and contracting out to United Van Lines.

During his 40 years on the road, Rush has not only earned an outstanding safety record, he has also shared his knowledge of first aid with the travelling public.

The truck driver has been the first to arrive at many accident scenes, and more than once saved a life or provided comfort to an accident victim. Rush’s road stories include a time he saved the life of a man thrown from a vehicle, and another incident when he provided comfort to a trapped accident victim, who ultimately did not survive the wreck.

Rush credits his training as a volunteer firefighter with knowing how to be effective in roadside emergencies. The generous driver has also provided assistance both to the motoring public and to fellow transport drivers, when mechanical problems have stranded them on the roadside.

“Bud Rush exemplifies the outstanding truck drivers with whom Canadians share the road,” said David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. “It is a great honour to recognize him with this highly-coveted award.”

National Dispatcher of the Year

A Manitoba dispatcher was also recognized with a national award at the same ceremony. Janet Murray of Warren, Man., an employee with Payne Transportation, was selected as the CTA/Shaw Tracking National Dispatcher of the Year.

Murray got her start in the road transportation industry 13 years ago when she obtained her truck driving licence so she could join her husband, a long-distance truck driver, on the road as a team driver. After a period of time as a truck driver, the one-time nurses’ aide and administrative assistant, moved into the operations side of the trucking industry, where she earned the respect as a dispatcher.

“Janet has successfully grown revenue-per-mile (for) five consecutive years in her division, yielding higher margins each of those years,” said Tom Payne Jr., president of Payne Transportation. “Janet has a complete understanding of what it takes to survive in our industry especially in the dry van market, where typically margins are very low and considerably tougher in our current economy.”

Murray credits her professional satisfaction to the people she works with and to the time she spent on the road as a truck driver. “I’m glad I drove for a while, because I know what the drivers are going through,” she said. “I understand where they are coming from. I like the challenge in making things work, (and) making the drivers and customers happy.”

Service to the Industry

Three other MTA members were also recognized for professional excellence at a provincial level.

The MTA’s 2008 Trailmobile Service to Industry award was presented to Don Streuber, president and CEO of Bison Transport. Streuber was described as the epitome of a “true Manitoban” by MTA general manager, Bob Dolyniuk. He was born and raised in Manitoba; he attended and completed elementary, secondary and post secondary education within the province; and he spent his entire working career in the same province.

Streuber’s arrival into the trucking industry was timely. He came in “at a time of challenges and a never ending litany of changes” said Dolyniuk, who indicated that under Streuber’s direction, the company became a leader in the industry not only at the provincial, but also at the national and international levels. His firm has embraced innovative technologies that “have contributed to improving our environment and providing a safer environment for their driver force, and the general travelling public,” added Dolyniuk.

Environmental issues have challenged the trucking industry, and in response Streuber has led by example, stated the MTA. Through various commitments to automated transmissions, auxiliary power units, and aerodynamic aftermarket products, to name a few, he has led his company to become environmentally-friendly. These efforts have contributed to over 15.6 million kg of greenhouse gas emission reductions annually.

Streuber and his firm have supported the MTA for many years, and have been committed to other industry associations in Canada as well, including the Canadian Trucking Alliance, where Streuber represents Manitoba on the board of directors and executive committee.

Associate of the Year

The Payne Transportation LP’s Associate of the Year award went to Wayne Hartle, manager of Reimer Express Driver Training Institute, who is considered to be well-known and respected in the Manitoba trucking industry. Having held many positions in the industry throughout his career, he is described as a “hard worker,” “dedicated,” “entrepreneurial,” and an “industry jewel.”

“Our recipient has spent most of his career in our industry and during that time, he has demonstrated a strong desire to participate and contribute to our industry,” said Dolyniuk. “He has, in a quiet and unassuming manner, consistently provided support to our association and industry, year after year.”

Hartle started his career in the trucking industry over three decades ago as a dock worker and city driver.

He has since remained in the industry as a line-haul driver, owner/operator, driver supervisor, which led him to become a driver trainer and eventually manager of a driver training institute – a position he held for over 12 years.

For the past 13 years, Hartle has been strongly committed and extremely involved with the MTA’s Professional Driver Championships.

He has held the position of chairperson, where he has represented the association at both the provincial, and at the national level. He has also been the manager for the Manitoba team.

“He has been a dedicated and hard worker for not only his employer, but also for the MTA, its membership, and our industry. Both he and his employer can only be described as staunch and loyal supporters of our industry and association,” stated Dolyniuk.

Provincial Dispatcher of the Year

Local dispatcher Robert Ellison, who is employed by Con-Way Freight, received the 2008 Shaw Tracking Manitoba Dispatcher of the Year award. Ellison received four nominations from management at Con-Way Freight, which indicated that some of the traits Ellison possesses are his strong reliability and commitment to all staff and drivers, and his exceptional customer service skills.

Brian Hrabarchuk, a driver sales representative with the company, described Ellison as “a steady rock which anchors the driver staff in Winnipeg.” The coworker also said: “Because of Rob’s reliability and commitment to us, this reassurance extends to our families as well, as they have seen how he always does his best for us. Every driver in Winnipeg knows that we can reach him at any time – and have plenty of times – whether it is due to a breakdown, an accident, or an out of hours issue.”

Debbie Coverdale, a senior account executive with the company, admired the dispatcher’s commitment to his profession. “Rob has exceeded all demands placed on him. Many times Rob has had to hop in a truck and make that pick-up or delivery to meet these expectations.”

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