FERGUS, Ont. — Marty Gardner of Belle River, Ont. was named the 15th annual Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year at the Fergus Truck Show Friday.
Gardner was honoured on the main stage by Truck News, FedEx Ground (the carrier he’s contracted to) and sponsors Freightliner, Markel Insurance and Goodyear. Supporting sponsors Natural Resources Canada and the Owner/Operators’ Business Association of Canada also presented Gardner with awards.
Gardner received $3,000 cash, a trip for two valued at $2,500 and a diamond ring for his accomplishment, as well as several other gifts from sponsors.
Truck News editor James Menzies outlined Gardner’s achievements during the presentation:
“There are a number of things we look for in choosing a winner for this award. First, we look for a stellar safety record. This year’s winner has never been in an accident in his 22-year driving career. He was part of a 10-member linehaul team at FedEx Ground, that set a new safety record, accumulating more than 20 million miles without an at-fault accident. He has a clean driver’s abstract, has racked up millions of miles without an accident, and his safety record really speaks for itself.
“Then we look at any examples of heroism. While you don’t have to be a hero to win this award, this year’s winner did demonstrate heroism when he was one of the first people to come across a bad car accident several years ago. He helped rescue the driver from his upside down vehicle, and stayed with him until help arrived, possibly saving the man’s life.
“We also look for examples of community and industry involvement. This year’s winner fits the bill there as well, having spent much of his time speaking to youngsters and other motorists about how to safely drive around big trucks. He educates the motoring public about the No Zone, where it’s unsafe to drive a passenger vehicle and he also has been an active participant in the National Truck Driving championships. In fact, he was named National Truck Driving Champion in 1996, and went on to represent Canada in the finals in the US that year. He also takes a great deal of pride in his trucks and has taken part in the Show’n’Shine here at Fergus in the past.
“New this year, we looked for environmental awareness. This year’s winner knows that saving fuel is good for business as well as being good for the environment. He uses fuel-efficient tires, which alone has reduced his fuel bills by 4%. He also strictly limits his idle time and keeps his equipment meticulously well-maintained. He’s also a member of Natural Resources Canada’s Fleetsmart program.
“Lastly, we look for business acumen. We know how tough it is to be an owner/operator these days. It takes a real understanding of the business to remain successful as an owner/operator in today’s economic environment. Not only has this year’s winner continued to be successful, he recently expanded his small fleet of trucks from three to five, all of which are contracted to FedEx Ground.”
Gardner credited his wife Lisa for much of his success. She works for Detroit Diesel and also helps run the trucking business while Marty is on the road.
For a complete report on this year’s winner, be sure to read the September issues of Truck News and Truck West.
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