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OTA presents annual awards

TORONTO, Ont. -- Five people from the trucking industry were honoured at the 2003 awards ceremony held during the 7...

TORONTO, Ont. — Five people from the trucking industry were honoured at the 2003 awards ceremony held during the 77th annual Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) convention Nov. 12 to Nov. 14.

The 2003 Dispatcher of the Year award was presented to Randy Humes, a dispatcher with Highland Transport for 8 and a half years now.

The Dispatcher of the Year award is sponsored by Cancom Tracking and was presented by Mike Ham, who says dispatchers have become the backbone of the company and now, more than ever, are the most versatile people within an organization.

Customers appreciate Humes’ quick response to delivery issues and seemingly flawless problem solving ability, which has resulted in countless successful rescues of JIT loads.

Humes, a night dispatcher for Highland, was selected to win this award because of his outstanding ability to look after the company’s customers and drivers.

Humes is a source of comfort to Highland’s drivers as they know he is always monitoring their progress, no matter where they are in North America. He never hesitates to dispatch a truck to go look for a specific unit just to make sure everything is ok, and he never leaves his post until all of his JIT drivers get to their destination, no matter what time they get there.

The 2003 Driver of the Year award was given to Gerald Billing, a driver with MacKinnon Transport, who has driven over 2.7 million accident free miles during his 15-year professional driving career.

Billing hauls general freight throughout all 48 states and all 10 provinces. He has earned the designation of being one of the first Road Master Drivers, a program operated by MacKinnon Transport, and is a senior in-cab driver training coach for MacKinnon as well.

Earlier this year, Billing was invited to serve on the prestigious OTA Road Knights Team for a two-year term. The Road Knights are a team of drivers who share their knowledge of how all road users can be partners in safety with transport trucks.

As part of this endeavor, Billing steps out of his truck several times a month to make presentations to service clubs, community groups, career fairs, business organizations and driving schools.

The Driver of the Year award is sponsored by Volvo Trucks of Canada and was presented by Brent Weary.

The 2003 Service to Industry award, presented to Cecil McKay, president of D&M Transport, is sponsored by Trailmobile and Bert Clay was on hand to make the presentation.

McKay began working in the trucking industry at age 12, helping his father load trucks during the summer for his company, Gordon McKay Transport. At age 19, McKay officially started his career as a driver, and today, he can still be found behind the wheel of a big rig from time to time.

McKay started D&M Transport with a partner in 1964 and he and his wife, Marjorie later opened Sunova Transportation Services which is Ontario’s largest propane hauling company.

He has been an active member of the OTA for quite some time. He has served on the Board of Directors and its executive committee. He is the past chair of the Dump Truck Division and currently sits on the Board of Directors for OTA Education Foundation.

This year is the first year in over a decade that there has been two recipients of the Canadian Truck Hero Award.

The Canadian Truck Hero Award is sponsored by Bridgestone/Firestone and David Scheklesky was there to make the presentation to the two heroes.

Clifford Ripley of Spruce Grove, Alta. and Paul Pelletier of Saskatoon, Sask. were this year’s winners of the heroism award, for the safe resucue of Anthony Ishmael on Nov. 14, 2002.

The two drivers rushed to help Ishmael, who was trapped in a burning vehicle on Hwy. 17 near Wawa, Ont. The drivers were unable to open the passenger door, so Ripley grabbed a chain and attached it from his truck to the van door, wrenching the door open. Both Ripley and Pelletier then cut Ishmael free from his seatbelt and pulled him to safety only seconds before the vehicle burst into flames.

The Canadian Truck Hero Award is presented to a professional truck driver (or drivers) who has shown incredible courage, integrity and quick thinking in an emergency situation.

Pelletier and Ripley were also recognized by the Ontario Provincial Police and were awareded the Commissioner’s Citation for Lifesaving.

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