WINNIPEG, Man. – Sometimes a simple thank you for a job well done is enough to stretch a smile across an employee’s face.
As National Trucking Week kicked off from Sept. 17 to 23, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an open letter to the trucking industry thanking all its employees for their skill, professionalism and personal sacrifice in getting the job done.
Many carriers across the country took those words a step further and thanked their employees by keeping them well fed. With nearly 265,000 truck drivers in Canada, that’s no small task.
“In our opinion, the best way to thank a hard working employee is to go straight for the stomach. Each year in celebration of National Trucking Week, our managers graciously put down the suit and tie, and don aprons,” said Krista Williamson, human resources coordinator with Gardewine North in Winnipeg.
For two consecutive days, the carrier served up barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and dinner with all the fixings included. For those coming in from the road and for the midnight staff who missed supper or lunch a generous spread of eggs, pancakes, sausage, toast and bacon was waiting.
A number of other Manitoba Trucking Association members got into the act serving up barbecued fare as part of the week’s activities.
Penner International of Steinbach, Man. hosted a barbecue lunch for its entire staff every day of the week, and set up an antique truck and mini semi-trailer display in the company’s front yard.
Reimer Express, another Winnipeg-based carrier, sponsored a barbecue in conjunction with the Manitoba Pork Producers at the company’s Inkster Park complex. The carrier also hosted a Saturday barbecue specifically for the linehaul drivers to catch them as they came in or were leaving. Additionally, Reimer held a number of draws throughout the week for its linehaul drivers.
The Kleysen Group hung banners at its Winnipeg and Calgary locations. The company held a coffee and snack day at all its locations and during the week presented all the company’s drivers with a gift and letter of appreciation.
Bison Transport extended an invitation to all professional drivers to attend a barbecue lunch at its Mississauga location and the event featured the Ontario Trucking Association Road Knights Team.
RamWinn Diesel, a fleet maintenance and service centre in Winnipeg, hosted a driver appreciation barbecue and also took out an advertisement in the Winnipeg Sun thanking all its customers.
The MTA itself also went the media route, with a 16-page insert in a province-wide newspaper about the trucking industry.
Out on the East Coast, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association also involved itself with the media and provided food for drivers. The APTA placed ads celebrating National Trucking Week in all four provincial newspapers and contributed articles for a special feature in New Brunswick’s provincial newspaper. The APTA safety council hosted driver appreciation days at the Big Stop in Salisbury, N.B. giving away prizes and healthy snacks to drivers.
For the first time the APTA enlisted the help of some elementary school children in celebrating National Trucking Week.
“We launched a colouring contest for elementary school children, one school (two grades) in each of the four Atlantic Provinces. Each school will be given prizes for two winners. The completed contests will be on display at our AGM in October,” noted Jenn Gillespie of the APTA. “We did this because so many kids are fascinated by the big trucks and we are starting our own awareness and communication campaign very soon.”
In Ontario, the OTA partnered with a group of newspapers to distribute a glossy magazine inserted into select community newspapers in Southern Ontario. The magazine is issued to help promote the economic and social importance of the trucking industry and features profiles on people who have chosen to make careers in the industry.
National Trucking Week is held annually with the dates being set by the Canadian Trucking Alliance in cooperation with the country’s provincial trucking associations. The main goal of the week is to showcase the importance of the 400,000 people who work in the industry and raise awareness of the importance of the trucking industry.
“Grocery store shelves are stocked and the supplies we need for daily living are available when we need them, thanks to the country’s safe and reliable trucking industry,” stated David Bradley, president of the OTA. “During National Trucking Week we salute the men and women who form the backbone of the trucking industry. Without you the country would literally stop!”
It may not be as sentimental as a week dedicated to the awareness of a terminal illness or be as playful as International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19), but National Trucking Week is an important time to recognize the contributions of the trucking industry and its employees.