The Toronto Trucking Association (TTA) is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Founded by a small group of company owners in 1963, the Industrial Cartage Association changed its name in 1975 as it grew, uniting industry suppliers and trucking companies along the way.
There are now 125 TTA members, and the organization keeps expanding, says Sheila Stevenson, executive director.
“The plans are to continue to grow our membership [and] grow what we offer. We’re trying new things right now,” says Stevenson, referring to the association’s commitment to provide members with industry-related information, education, and networking events.
For example, three new summer networking events were introduced along with a goal to hold one or two monthly events. Such efforts pay dividends, Stevenson says. In the past year, attendance has increased roughly 20% to 30%.
“There’s definitely a lot more interest,” she says.
A member-friendly focus will also help protect activities if the economy slips into a recession, she adds.
“We’re trying to keep our costs to our members as low as possible. And, you know, throughout Covid, a lot of companies did close… I don’t know if we’re out of that stretch yet or not.”
The pandemic itself challenged the association, says Derm Holwell, president and owner of C.W. Henderson Distribution, who has been TTA’s treasurer for 25 years. When networking events had to be put on hold and educational seminars were held online, it did cost the association some money, he says.
“But it did turn out OK.”
Helping the industry
Despite any challenges, helping the industry always remained TTA’s goal, and the organization keeps looking for new members, Holwell adds.
For some of members, whose fleets include as few as 10 trucks, the association’s educational and networking events serve as a resource to secure new customers.
While some smaller companies might hesitate to join TTA, thinking they are not big enough to be part of an organization, Holwell encourages them to take the opportunity to expand their resources.
He remembers finding a supplier for his own company during one of the February meetings.
“Before we left, we had an agreement on what we’re going to pay for, tracking 180 trailers… Connections like that help your business grow.”
Upcoming TTA events
Some upcoming TTA events include the anniversary celebration on Sept. 14 at Woodbine Racetrack and a planning session in October. Members will also attend an economic overview seminar, where a TD Bank expert will offer an outlook on the 2024 economic climate.
Organizing such events and the multitasking that comes with them are the favorite parts of Stevenson’s job. She has been with TTA for a year and loves the industry and people within it.
She says it is a very friendly and tight community, which made her feel welcome when she first joined the association.
Holwell adds, “I think I’ve been through eight presidents since I started [at TTA]. And, you know, it’s always been a really fantastic group to be part of, [to] network and socialize with.”
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