“Just remember. Everybody you see on the road is trying to accomplish the same thing. Everyone just wants to keep moving forward.”
“In any road-rage situation, don’t forget that in 10 seconds, that person is going to be out of your life forever and you’ll never have to think about them again.”
Those are just two of Rob Marshall’s rules to drive by. Marshall, 45, and a driver for St. Jacob’s-ON-based Home Hardware Stores, says much of his ability he can attribute to attitude.
Well, attitude and skill, more like.
All the patience in the world wouldn’t help a person navigate the tricky competitions that make up the Professional Truck Driving Championships.
The competition consists of a written test, a pre-trip (the judges build in defects to trick the drivers) and driving, which involves everyday maneuvering, cornering and backing. Plus you have to do it all in somebody else’s truck.
And recently, the congenial Marshall was named Grand Champion and Rookie of the Year at this year’s national competition, held in Abbotsford, B.C. He was the first driver to ever claim Rookie of the Year and Grand Champion at the same time.
5 Reasons To Support
5. Bragging Rights: After Marshall won, the president and CEO of Home Hardware Paul Straus used the victory as a podium: “Home Hardware takes its commitment to safety seriously. It was one of the first fleets to adopt a Carrier Safety Management System where on-board recorders monitor each driver’s safety and efficiency performance. All of our drivers receive defensive driver training and dangerous-goods training every three years. The company also offers a safe driving awards program as well as a bonus program to reward good driving.”
4. Breed Improving: Marshall says when he started competing in 2007, few drivers scored over 400; now high scores are more common. “Drivers are getting better,” he says. Adds Home Hardware’s PR Coordinator Lindsay Dietrich, “we know that competitions lead to safety on the roads.”
3. Driver Scouting: While Marshall’s supervisor at Home Hardware Dennis Shantz didn’t exactly swipe Marshall from Maple Leaf Foods, where Marshall worked until earlier this year, Shantz had a pretty good make on the guy. Marshall had competed under the Maple Leaf Banner in several competitions. Shantz, as one of the perennial organizers, spotted the talent. Then early this year after Maple Leaf Food unleashed staff, Shantz scooped Marshall, a month before the championships. “Because of the Rodeo we had a relationship already,” Shantz says.
2. Staff Morale: Fortigo’s Manager of Independent Contractor and Driver Relations Michele Joslin, who is also a director of the Toronto Regional Driving championships put it this way: “I can’t think of any better team-building exercise. Admin staff can see first-hand what drivers are capable of and are required to do on a daily basis. This also allows your entire team to cheer each other on, even if they work at opposite ends of the country. It’s not uncommon to find people working for the same large fleet that have never met until they come together at the rodeo.”
1. Awesomeness: Sometimes winning is just part of the victory. Even though Marshall won in several provincial championships, the only other year he qualified for the nationals, the event was cancelled. Hence he retained his rookie status at the most recent competition and then, when he was named Grand Champion, “I felt vindicated,” he says.
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