People (August 01, 2009)

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National Truck League has opened a new Toronto location, which will be spearheaded by fleet specialist Stephen Thomas.

The company said the expansion is in response to continued growth in the Greater Toronto Area. The Toronto office will be located at 6205 Airport Rd. Thomas brings 32 years of insurance experience to the position, National Truck League said.

Thomas spent 18 years as an underwriter and managed the marine department of the Hartford Insurance Company, specializing in transportation coverage, the company announced. He has also spent 14 years on the brokerage side of the insurance business, working with trucking-focused firms.

The last four years of Thomas’s career have been spent with National Truck League. The new location is set up to offer a “full compliment of personal and commercial insurance products and services to companies, company drivers and owner/operators Canada-wide,” the company said in a release.

For more info, contact Thomas at 647-297-3868 or call National Truck League’s head office at 519-434- 4944 or toll-free at 800-265-6509.

Jost International has named Grant Easton the company’s Canadian sales manager.

Easton has 17 years experience in the heavy truck market, according to the company, which manufactures fifth wheels, king pins, bearing turntables and landing gear assemblies.

“Grant brings a solid working knowledge of our core product lines and a reputation of hard work and dedication that has convinced us that he will have a successful career with Jost as we continue to grow our business within Canada,” announced Rich Carroll, vice-president of sales and marketing with Jost International.

With his eyes set on expanding ATBS Canada, CEO Ray Haight has tapped Kim Richardson as president and Rick Scrimgeour as chief financial officer.

ATBS Canada is billed as a company aimed at advancing the competency and profitability of independent trucking professionals and is geared at improving success for owner/operators and the fleets that partner with them.

For more info on ATBS Canada, visit

Dennis Barkman, a 27-year truck driving veteran with a diverse background, was named the 2009 Manitoba Driver of the Year.

Barkman has driven long-haul for Penner International for much of his career. However, he started out as a farmer in rural Manitoba, then drove a cement mixer, then a feed truck, then a local delivery truck and then a lumber truck during his lengthy career. He settled on long-haul nearly 20 years ago and has spent the majority of his trucking career running highway.

Barkman has a clean abstract and safety record and has received many “compliments of driving skill and courtesy” via the DriverCheck monitoring system.

Jac Doerksen, driver relations and O/O business development manager with Penner International, said Barkman “continues to strive for excellence with safe and on-time delivery” and “consistently maintains a great attitude.”

The Manitoba Driver of the Year award is sponsored by Volvo Trucks Canada and awarded by the Manitoba Trucking Association.

The heroic actions of two more N. Yanke Transfer drivers have caught the attention of the US-based Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), earning them recognition as Highway Angels.

Team drivers Jason Siddons and Paul Farrell were recognized for assisting two brothers who were injured when their pick-up truck swerved off the road in November, 2008. The accident happened in northern Ontario while Siddons was behind the wheel and Farrell slept in the bunk. Siddons noticed the truck, which had rolled over and come to rest on its wheels. Its occupants appeared to be trying to escape the wreckage.

Siddons woke Farrell up and they ran to the pick-up truck to find one of its occupants was badly bleeding. Farrell helped stop the bleeding while Siddons called for help. The professional drivers then remained at the scene until help arrived.

It was later revealed the two men were taking turns driving on their way home from a funeral when the one driver fell asleep at the wheel. They said if it wasn’t for the actions of the N. Yanke Transfer drivers, the driver who was most severely injured may not have survived.

When told of the Highway Angels recognition, Siddons said “We didn’t do it for any special recognition. It’s just second nature for us to stop and help. When you see someone in trouble, you help them.”

They’ll both receive a Highway Angels lapel pin, certificate and patch for their efforts.

Another N. Yanke Transfer driver, Richard Rossnagel was recognized as a TCA Highway Angel recently for his heroic actions last December.

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