The beginning of Truck News as told by the founder, Brian Light
December 1, 2006
When Rob Wilkins asked me to write something about the early days of Truck News it began to bring back many memories of my first job and my first career. I began working in publishing for the truck in...
Brian Light at Winnipeg Trade Show with salesman Doug Copeland 1985
Gilles Dussault, General Director Rodeo du Camion with Ted Light.
When Rob Wilkins asked me to write something about the early days of Truck News it began to bring back many memories of my first job and my first career. I began working in publishing for the truck industry in 1975 at the age of 22 right after I graduated from university.
Some of the old timers may remember Heavy Truck Equipment News which began publishing in the early 70s before Truck News. That magazine is gone now but I remember it fondly as the magazine I first worked on. Within a few weeks of arriving I was put in a van full of magazines and told to cross Canada to set up truck stops for the free delivery which Truck News still offers today.
I did two back-to-back trips stopping at every truck stop and truck dealer from Toronto to Edmonton and back. My first taste of the industry was on the road, dealing with truck stops, truck dealers and truckers all across Canada.
Talk about an initiation. I had nothing else to do so, I put in 12-hour days staying at cheap motels and once sleeping in the van in Winnipeg when the temperature fell well below zero. This is not recommended, although I guess now I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything. I stayed working for that magazine for over five years.
The idea of launching Truck News occurred to me when the then owner of Heavy Truck Equipment News decided to radically change that publication. I was not for those changes, and itching to be in charge of the kind of publication I believed could be published, I struck out on my own in 1981 (with my wife Pam as the first editor).
This new launch involved more road trips across Canada, but by then, I kinda had that kind of work in my blood.
It was very hard work, but we had great times in a great industry full of super people.
There is no way I can thank everyone who made my time so enjoyable but I’ll thank just a few people there at the start and groups who were there all the way through, many still with Truck News today.
Ian Micklethwaite, even though we had our beefs with each other, he gave me my start, and is owed a debt of gratitude.
David Bradley who probably does not remember, but as a young executive at the OTA was greatly encouraging about my new project just when I needed it most.
Mike Barton who ran Action Trailers in 1981 and bought the first Truck News ad. I needed that too. For that matter, I would like to thank every advertiser who bought ads then and continues to buy ads in Truck News today.
I can promise you that you got value then, and are still getting it today.
Your business was, and still is greatly appreciated by an ex publisher, who has no financial stake whatsoever in Truck News and has long since changed careers. Many of the advertisers from 1981 still advertise today.
My best to the guys on the board of the OTA allied trade division where I spent three years, I know many remain from my time.
I would specially like to thank and congratulate the staff of Truck News past and present. I left Truck News in 1990 and it is worth noting all of today’s staff who are still my friends and were also working for the company during my time. Rob Wilkins, Kathy Penner (I’ll be killed if I don’t emphasize that Kathy is still a young lady. I hired her as a teenager) Don Besler, Doug Copeland, Bill Galagher, Brenda Grant Lou Smyrlis, Carol Wilson, Carolyn Brimer and Beverly Richards. That group is over 70% of the Truck News staff. Talented all, they are testimony to the staying power and dedication of this a magazine which serves every trucker in the country.
No mention of past staff would be complete with out expressing how great it was to work with my brother Ted Light. We were co-publishers for a few years and after I left, he did a better job than I. He ran Truck News during a tough depression and then some of its best years. Although Ted began to work at Truck News a few years after it began, he was there at the beginning, helping me on one of my early cross Canada trips. Truck News has only had three publishers, and we all remain friends today.
My final memories are of the hundreds of truck drivers, truck owners and fleet executives I met and interacted with during my years. We worked on shows together, we listened to you, we reported on you and we sure knew when you had a problem.
Reflecting back, I have found that the truck industry is still in my blood.
I have moved out of the industry, but there is no way the industry has moved out of me.
When I left Truck News, I was looking for a new experience and some would say I went to the opposite end of the spectrum. I now run a small group of beauty magazines.
Okay…maybe the view at a beauty show is a little better than the view at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar?
Beauty aside, my total career experience has shown me that Canadians, regardless of where they choose to work, are the finest of people. Thank you fine people, for making my time in the truck industry, such a good one.
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