CHATHAM, Ont. - Rocketing across Lake St. Clair in three-foot waves at about 70mph in Kevin Broadwood's high-performance bass boat, it's not hard to understand what a difference the 'home-lake' advant...
CHATHAM, Ont. – Rocketing across Lake St. Clair in three-foot waves at about 70mph in Kevin Broadwood’s high-performance bass boat, it’s not hard to understand what a difference the ‘home-lake’ advantage meant to him in winning the Canadian Bass Masters Classic fishing tournament.
He calmly winds his way through a narrow channel and out to the main lake.
“There are a couple of old telephone poles down on the bottom up here, they’ll usually hold fish,” he assures.
How he found the spot under about 15 feet of murky water on a lake very reminiscent of Nebraska – in that it’s completely flat, yet incredibly huge – may be a mystery, but one thing is for sure. His attention to detail has made him a winner – not only on the tournament trail – but also in business as well as life.
Together with, ‘life-long friend’ and fishing partner Curtis McFadden; Broadwood captured the prestigious event late last summer after organizers used part of the festivities to honor his late father.
“It meant a lot to me,” says an emotional Broadwood. “Sometimes when I’m heading over to my mom’s place, I’m certain he’s still there, fishing down by the dock at the front of the house waiting for me to get there.”
It was his father who led him to his involvement with warehouse distributors and the trucking industry more specifically.
“Dad was part owner of Fredrick Transport,” he says. “Watching him for years, I knew I didn’t want to move too far from that.”
While he decided to stay close to trucking and to his hometown of Chatham, Ont., he did shift his attention to supplying fleets – rather than running them.
Now in its 15th year, Broadwood’s business was built on a solid partnership with co-founder Norm Pinard.
“We launched Pinwood Truck Parts when Dana was forced to sell all of its retail locations,” says Broadwood. “They offered the store, then it was known as Byer’s Truck and Trailer, to the existing manager, Norm. I had worked with him for some time and knew I liked the business.”
The two became partners and Broadwood took on the role of sales representative. One year later things were going so well, the Chatham parts kings took their show on the road and opened a second location in Sarnia.
“When we first started, our meat and potatoes was clutches,” he says. Since then the operation has expanded to offer everything from custom u-bolt bending and chrome accessories to CBs and highly stylized marker lights.
Currently, Pinwood carries the products of countless manufacturers, including Dana, Euclid, Midland, Goodyear, Stemco, Chicago Rawhide, Gunite, Firestone, Neway, Holland, Grote, WIX Filters and Truck-Lite.
As part of its comprehensive service efforts, Pinwood often takes over full responsibility for its clients’ parts rooms, ensuring all inventory levels are properly maintained. And then by doing the little things, Broadwood says expectations are always exceeded.
“Whatever someone wants, we’ve got it or we’ll get it,” Broadwood testifies. “If a guy came in today looking for maple syrup, we’ll go tap one of the trees in the back for him.”
But a wider range of products isn’t the only way the business has evolved over the years.
The growing season
The majority of Pinwood’s customers are small to medium operators with 10 trucks or fewer in service at any given time. Many of these are private fleets run by farmers who don’t always get the same attention from the manufacturers as larger, more traditional, trucking companies. In the past, this situation wasn’t really a problem since the farmers didn’t see themselves as truckers – meaning very little support was needed after the sale.
“All of the changes brought in over the last three years regarding safety regulations for trucking have forced them to bring their operations up to par,” Broadwood explains. He stresses; ‘forced’ is likely too strong a word.
“They are coming to us and they want to learn all they can about trucking and truck maintenance,” he says. “We arrange information nights where a supplier will come in and talk to a number of these guys all at the same time.”
There was a time in his life when Broadwood experienced a similar thirst to learn more about the heavy-duty parts business and its relationship to trucking.
Then his relationship with Doug Angus, who he’d known since back in the Byer’s days, lead him to the Heavy-Duty Distributors Council (HDDC).
“Running for the board was great,” he says. “It gave me a chance to network from coast-to-coast.”
The entire experience is something you have to tailor to suit your own needs and learning objectives, he insists.
“For me, I’ve learned a great deal, built some great relationships and met many great people through HDDC,” he says. “Because of the huge web of warehouse distributors that take part, you can draw on a lot of field data, when it comes to dealing with things like new lines you’re considering, that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
That being said there are still a few parts of the program, which don’t hold his interest.
“We had our annual conference on Lake Okanagan last year and everyone was so excited about the golf,” he says shaking his head. “So I went out and caught about six nice rainbow trout first thing each morning. As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve seen one golf course, you’ve seen ’em all.”
The giving season
For Broadwood, however, his true passion will forever be his involvement in Loads of Love.
So far, the Chatham-based charitable group has sent about 13 containers, each packed with 40 feet of supplies and donations to less fortunate countries around the world.
“We’ve sent containers to many places including Bosnia, the Ukraine, Cuba, Indonesia, and Bolivia,” says Broadwood, who serves as chairman of the 16-member network of volunteers who generally do some of their best work in basements and warehouses. “Almost right after Sept. 11, we were able to send blankets and medical equipment to New York City.”
As rich as his life is, Broadwood says he’d give it all up in an instant if he had to choose between his other interests and Loads of Love.
“There’s my success,” he states boldly. “It’s not in winning fishing tournaments, not in running a multi-million-dollar business and not in being the president of an organization like the HDDC.”
Loads of Love members generally tag along with each shipment heading abroad to witness first hand the reaction of the people the group is helping.
“People report back at the regular meetings and talk about the difference love makes,” concludes Broadwood. “When you hear stuff like that, if it doesn’t do something for you, you don’t have a heart pounding.”