Nice Guys Finish First: New Brunswick Native Named Driver of the Year
ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – After 32 years of driving and 3.5 million accident-free miles, Georges Leblanc can now add the coveted 2003 Driver of the Year Award to his list of accomplishments.
Nearly 400 people gathered at the Fairmont Newfoundland Oct. 25 to see who would be honoured at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association’s 53rd Annual Convention awards ceremony.
Leblanc, a Memramcook, N.B. native, has been driving for Armour Transportation Systems his entire driving career and began working for them part-time on the docks while in high school.
“It is so great to see him win this award. He has worked hard for it and he is definitely deserving of this honour,” said Larry Tower, vice-president operations for Armour Transportation Systems.
Leblanc only learned that he would be this year’s recipient of the prestigious award two weeks prior to the presentation at the APTA convention in St. John’s.
“It was quite a surprise to us but I am so proud of Georges, he works hard and this award definitely belongs to him,” said his wife, Jocelyne.
As for Georges, he was just pleased his company took the time to nominate him.
“I’m very proud of my company, I know there are other deserving drivers out there too, but one of the key things is the support system I have with the people in my company,” Leblanc said humbly.
Tower has known Leblanc for over 30 years and said it is great to not only have him as a co-worker, but as a friend as well.
“He is absolutely everything that a professional driver should be. He certainly raises the bar and is a great leader in that regard,” Tower said.
Jocelyne and Georges have been married for 22-and-a-half years (one said 22 years and the other said 23 years – so they agreed to split the difference).
Jocelyne used to occasionally accompany her husband on his trips around the Atlantic region. But she hasn’t been on a run with him for a while.
“I would just worry about him too much on the trips that I didn’t go on. I have been out there enough to know what a tough job it is and to know what he is up against sometimes in terms of weather conditions or sharing the road with other drivers,” said Jocelyne.
However, they spend as much time as possible together when he arrives home, and within a couple of years, Georges said, he plans on going into semi-retirement, which will allow them more time for their hobbies.
“We usually go away for a vacation in the summer, but we’d like to go on even more trips when we get some time,” Georges said.
The two like to bike, golf and even tend to the flowerbeds together.
“I like to garden and tend to my flowers, and Georges likes it too because he gets his lawn tractor out for that. So, it’s nice to be able to do that together,” said Jocelyne.
Georges has always loved heavy equipment and machinery, which not only lends itself to his hobby of lawn and flowerbed care with his wife, but also to his career.
“I love tractors and any heavy equipment really, they are my toys and I love the power, which is probably what got me interested in this career,” Georges said.
In the meantime, Georges plans to continue exploring Canada’s East Coast in his 2002 Volvo.
“I love driving, my health is good and I’m still learning everyday, so I’m just going to keep going,” Georges said.
The Driver of the Year award is sponsored by Volvo Trucks of Canada and was presented at this year’s APTA convention by Ted Booth.
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