Robert St. Vincent, 2011 Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year.
FERGUS, Ont. — Robert St. Vincent of St. Malo, Manitoba was named the 18th annual Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year at the Fergus Truck Show July 22.
St. Vincent, 49, has been an owner/operator for most of his adult life, purchasing his first truck, a 1978 Ford Louisville when he was just 19 years old. Since then, St. Vincent has racked up four million miles and today is leased to Bison Transport, making a regular run from Winnipeg to the Chicago area, then east to Ontario and back home to Manitoba.
St. Vincent’s reward included: $3,000 cash; a vacation for two valued at up to $2,500; a trip for him and his wife Lori to the Fergus Truck Show; a diamond ring and an assortment of other prizes from the award’s sponsors. The prestigious award is sponsored by Castrol, Goodyear and Mack Trucks.
St. Vincent got his start in trucking before he was even legal to drive on the highway by volunteering to maneuver trailers around the yard of a fledgling new trucking company known as TransX.
“I did it for free just to get experience handling the trucks,” St. Vincent recalled in a recent interview with Trucknews.com. “I would go with the guys who had short trips on the weekend to Brandon, I’d go along just to get the experience and get used to the highway.”
St. Vincent began his career as a local driver and then purchased his first truck from a grain hauler and began hauling loads over the road. When he was legally allowed to drive into the US, St. Vincent took his first long-haul job with TransX.
Today, he averages about 140,000 miles a year running for Bison Transport with his 2006 Pete 379 and 475-hp Cat engine. St. Vincent meticulously tracks his costs and said he averages over 8 mpg (Canadian) and has his tire costs down to less than a cent per mile.
“I turned over 800,000 kms on a set of drive tires,” he said. “I would have gotten more but I took them off so I could save the casings.”
The key? “It’s all in how you drive, slow down before you have to, read the traffic, take your time,” St. Vincent said. “I run under the speed limit. I run a maximum of 95 km/h and I’ll even run slower than that if I can make my schedule on time.”
For a complete profile on St. Vincent, check out the September issues of Truck News and Truck West. You can also hear from Robert in our video coverage of the Fergus Truck Show, found here.
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