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Fortune cookie foreshadows winning of prestigious award

FERGUS, Ont. -- Just days before being notified he was the winner of the 2010 Truck News Owner/Operator of the...

FERGUS, Ont. — Just days before being notified he was the winner of the 2010 Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year award, Howard Brouwer was dining at a Chinese restaurant when he cracked open his fortune cookie to find the following message: ‘You will soon be awarded in public.’

While the fortune cookie turned out to be an accurate preview of what was to come, it was seven years of being a cost-conscious, safety-minded, business-savvy owner/operator with a big heart that won Brouwer the prestigious distinction.

Brouwer has been contracted to Schneider National for his entire seven-year career as an owner/operator and for 10 years as a company driver before that. He accumulated a million safe miles as a company driver and is nearing the same mark as an O/O.

Brouwer’s company is called H&G Enterprises, the ‘G’ representing his supportive wife Ginette who helps manage the books while Brouwer’s on the road.

Brouwer drives a 2001 Western Star with a Cat C15 engine he has meticulously maintained  to keep his costs in check and to weather the recession. He drives at 58 mph and has an APU to limit idling and likes to say “I drive by the foot, not by the mile” when describing his driving style.

Brouwer has been an active supporter of the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics and even vowed to donate a portion of his winnings to this year’s event. It will be his sixth time taking part in the Convoy. He also shaved Ginette’s head in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and has walked in the relay for three straight years.

Brouwer lives with his wife Ginette in Welland, Ont. He wins $3,000 cash, a $2,500 vacation for two, a diamond ring fit for a champion and a variety of prizes from the award’s sponsors.

Founding sponsors of the Owner/Operator of the Year award are Mack Trucks, Castrol Heavy-Duty Lubricants and Goodyear Canada. The award is also supported by Natural Resources Canada and OBAC.

Brouwer received the award July 23 at the Fergus Truck Show. Watch for a complete profile in the September issues of Truck News and Truck West.




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