PARADISE ISLAND, The Bahamas — Both Canadian carriers and drivers have been awarded with top industry honours and a little slice of paradise at Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) annual convention. The convention was held at The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
Doug Ladds, a company driver with Guelph, Ont.-based MacKinnon Transport, has been named the grand prize winner in the 2007 Company Equipment Driver of the Year Contest sponsored by TCA, Detroit Diesel and Truckers News.
The contest honours the top company drivers based on their excellent safety records, unblemished work histories, and community and industry involvement.
Ladds has been a truck driver for 24 years, working for MacKinnon Transport since 1994. During his career, he has logged more than 3.6 million accident-free truckload kilometres. A member of his company’s driver-trainer team for 14 years, Ladds is now the head driver trainer. He has attained certification as a Certified Professional Driver and is a member of the executive board for the MacKinnon Transport Drivers Association. Ladds is also the first driver to attain the President level of MacKinnon’s Road Masters Program, an initiative designed to recognize both a driver’s safety-first attitude and his general knowledge of the trucking industry.
Ladds is currently serving a two-year term on the Ontario Trucking Association’s Road Knight Team, a select group of ten truck drivers who speak to the media, students, civic groups, driving schools and other interested parties about the trucking industry, safety and sharing the road with trucks.
In 2001, Ladds received TCA’s Highway Angel Award for assisting three young motorists in a burning vehicle.
As the Grand Prize winner, Ladds will receive the following prizes: a Cummins engine-powered Dodge Ram pick-up truck; an all-expense paid trip for two to the Grand Ole Opry; roundtrip airfare for two to anywhere in the continental US; a GPS navigation system; $10,000 in cash; $5,750 in truckstop gift cards; and a $500 truck parts gift certificate
Well-decorated Canadian carrier, Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Man., also came away a winner at the TCA event. Bison was named the grand prize winner of the highly coveted 33rd Annual National Fleet Safety Award in the category of truckload companies with a total annual mileage of more than 25 million miles.
TCA presented the award to Rob Penner, vice-president, operations, at the Annual Banquet March 3.
Bison Transport was selected from among nine division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards announced in January. The company strives to meet stringent standards in its overall safety programs, on and off the highway, and was judged to be the best in its commitment to improving safety on the highways.
2007 marks the third consecutive year that Bison Transport has won TCA’s Grand Prize National Safety Award for its mileage category.
“Our philosophy is simple and unwavering. We do what is right,” said Bison officials in the company’s grand prize application. “We are vigilant in the protection of our people, our assets, the cargo our customers entrust us with, our environment and those we share the roads with. We encourage and reward safe driving practices and we remind our people daily of their responsibility, as professionals, to uphold safety.”
Though Bison was crowned the grand prize winner in the fleet safety competition, three other Canadian carriers placed in either first or second place in their division. MacKinnon Transport topped the 25 to 49.99 million miles, with Erb International of New Hamburg, Ont. placing a close second. In the 50 to 99.99 million miles category Groupe Robert of Rougemont, Que. bested Carter Express of Anderson, Ind. and Koch Companies of Minneapolis, Minn. to claim top spot.
The judging process began with the determination of the top companies in each of six mileage divisions. The division winners were selected based on accident frequency only. The top three winners in each division were then able to compete for the two grand prizes. The grand prize-winning companies were judged on their excellent overall safety programs, both on- and off-highway. During the judging, some of the factors considered included safety program organization, employee driver/independent contractor selection procedures, training, supervision, accident investigation, inspection and maintenance of equipment, and outside activities including general highway safety.
During the TCA event, yet another Canadian received top honours, as MacKinnon Transport’s executive director Ray Haight was presented with the tenth annual Lee J. Crittenden Memorial Award.
The award, presented annually by Professional Truck Driver Institute, is given to the person who has done the most to advance the ideals and goals of the PTDI, of which Lee Crittenden was a staunch supporter until his death in April 1998.
Haight, who is the outgoing chairman of PTDI, was elected in December 2002. Shortly after, he became the organization’s full-time chairman and leader. He was instrumental in changing PTDI’s board of directors to a fully functioning group that took an active role in moving PTDI forward.
With a strong belief in PTDI’s voluntary standards in the US and Canada, Haight has given countless presentations demonstrating the importance of training standards and the certification of courses that meet those standards. He has spoken to industry leaders and the press about the need for standards and quality, not just in training, but also in professionalism within the transportation industry.
Haight has also been tremendously active in promoting the image of the driver and in the retention of drivers, having established an envious retention rate with MacKinnon in the process. Another of his high profile achievements was the establishment of the Apprenticeship program in Canada that could potentially turn into a pilot program for the entire trucking industry.
Although his responsibilities with PTDI will be winding down, Haight is now embarking on a new endeavour, having just been elected for a one-year term as chairman of TCA.
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