CALGARY — After many years of hoping, waiting and planning, the Alberta Motor Transport Association got the home they dreamed of and are open for business.
The AMTA first moved into the newly constructed Centre of Excellence on Oct. 20, and with the boxes unpacked and offices set up, the association hosted an open house on Nov. 20 to show off the new digs.
Building the new 17,000 sq ft office in Calgary’s burgeoning southeast transportation hub put the AMTA in close proximity to a number of carriers, and provided the space to build a facility that could serve as a state-of-the-art training centre for the transportation industry, now and in the future.
“A lot of people for a lot of years have dreamt of the AMTA having a building as nice as this. The industry deserves this,” says Richard Warnock, president of the AMTA. “Training for years to come will be beneficial.”
In actuality, plans for a new building have been mulled about for more than a decade, but for one reason or another, an official plan always got pushed to the backburner. Finally, in October 2008, the AMTA started the process of getting the new Centre of Excellence built.
Ground was broken on April 14, 2009 and just six months later the Calgary staff moved into the new AMTA building, ready to provide a one-stop shop for industry safety and training.
“This means we have the ability to provide varied training programs and more training programs,” says Mayne Root, executive director of the AMTA. “None of our courses were stuffed, but we couldn’t always get them in when we wanted to.”
Previously, the AMTA hosted a variety of safety and training courses, but in the old office there was only one classroom where space was limited to 20 people per session, and only one course could be taught at a time. As well, after classroom training, the participants would have to take a field trip to a truck yard somewhere else in the city to get hands-on training.
Now, with the Centre of Excellence, the AMTA has a large classroom (dedicated to the late John Tessier, who was a strong safety advocate and dreamed of a facility like this for many years) that seats more than 30 people, a smaller classroom, a computer lab for online courses and testing, and a truck bay large enough for a tractor-trailer and pup, for hands-on training.
The facility was also built with the ability to provide courses through webcast, so the AMTA can host seminars for industry personnel in both Calgary and Edmonton at the same time.
“Or, if they have the Adobe program on their computer, they can be part of it right from their office,” adds Root.
The ability to participate from remote locations is something the AMTA hopes will bring better connectivity to the trucking industry in Alberta. As well as training, the AMTA hopes to be able to use the web conferencing for future board meetings, allowing representatives from the farther out regions – like Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray – to participate without travelling great distances.
“We’re very proud to be able to offer this kind of facility to the industry,” says Root.
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