MARKHAM, Ont. — More than 35 years of meticulous maintenance has earned Les Wakeling of Canadian Building Materials the prestigious Canadian Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year award.
Wakeling was honoured during a special luncheon at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar here Tuesday. The award, sponsored by Volvo Trucks Canada, goes to a Canadian fleet maintenance manager who stands out based on their scheduled maintenance program, quality and frequency of training programs, major accomplishment or innovations and contributions to their industry or community.
Wakeling oversees 20 maintenance facilities in southern Ontario and Quebec, maintaining 416 pieces of equipment consisting of Class 8 trucks, straight trucks and trailers. He lives in Brampton with his wife Robyn and three daughters and has spent much of his free time over the years coaching amateur and professional lacrosse. This year’s winner has been in the industry for more than 35 years, 31 of them with his current employer.
Wakeling was genuinely touched and surprised when named this year’s recipient of the prestigious award.
“Those of you who know me know I’m not at a loss for words very often, but I am now,” he said upon receiving the trophy. “This is a surprise. It’s not an individual award, it’s definitely a team award. You can’t do it without a good supporting team behind you.”
Wakeling thanked his family for putting up with his devotion to his career.
“I’m pretty dedicated to my job and I enjoy what I do, so I tend to probably spend more time on it than I should,” he said. “But I like the results and I like the challenge.”
He also credited the executive team at Canadian Building Materials for supporting him and “allowing me to do what we need to do to get the job done.” Wakeling recalled attending his first CFMS in the early 80s as a neophyte and now that he has decades of experience under his belt, he looks forward to sharing his knowledge with newcomers to the industry. He also emphasized the importance of supporting events such as CFMS and maintaining personal contact with others in the industry.
“I think even though the Internet has brought a lot of good tools, we’ve lost the ability to network with people,” Wakeling lamented. “This is a tremendous place to come. Even though technology is good, I hope we don’t forget to come to functions like this and meet face to face.”
With over 30 years maintenance experience, Wakeling said he and his team are continuously learning. The company recently invited a team of consultants to come in to identify ways to further improve processes in the shop.
“They showed us some areas we could improve on,” Wakeling said. “We track more now than we would ever have dreamt of tracking. There are no surprises anymore, we know on a daily basis how we’re functioning as a unit in the garage.”
We’ll have a full profile of this year’s winner in the June issues of Truck News and Truck West.
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