SLH driver leads list of OTA honourees
Date: Saturday, November 17 @ 08:16:37 CET
Topic: Truckstop Canada News:

TORONTO -- Jeffrey MacLean, a professional driver with SLH Transport in Vaughan, Ont., has been named the 2007 OTA/Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year.

MacLean has driven two million collision-free kilometres during a career that has spanned 35 years on the road.

“Jeff is vigilant in protecting the well being of the motoring public through his defensive driving techniques,” noted Gord Gillespie, president of SLH Transport. “He has a strong, professional work ethic and is a great ambassador not only for SLH, but our entire industry. His knowledge, skills and experience are second to none and we are extremely proud of his accomplishments over his 35 year career on our team.”

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Each year the award goes to a professional transport driver who has a collision-free driving record and is an exemplary truck driver both on and off the road. MacLean was presented with his award at a luncheon on the opening day of the 81st annual convention of the Ontario Trucking Association.

MacLean is an active participant in truck driving championships – he has earned ten first place finishes at provincial competitions – and at the 2006 National Truck Driving Championships he was presented with the Grand Champion trophy. He also served as media spokesperson at both national and provincial level competitions.

MacLean has also been recognized for safe driving with awards from the Transportation Health and Safety Association of Ontario (THSAO). He is committed to the Fuel Economy Challenge, a program designed to promote excellence in saving fuel through the use of good driving habits. The program rewards fuel savings earned as a result of skilled use of progressive shifting, proper speed management and gentle acceleration and stops.

“Mr. MacLean exemplifies the qualities of a professional truck driver both on and off the road,” said OTA president David Bradley. “It is a great honour to present him with this prestigious award in recognition of his achievement.”

Shaw Tracking in partnership with the OTA named Tandet Dedicated dispatcher Dan Risebrough as Ontario’s 2007 OTA/Shaw Tracking Dispatcher of the Year.

The award is presented to a dispatcher who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to customer service, safety, driver well being, courtesy, team work, problem solving and community service/volunteer work.

Risebrough has been with Tandet for 18 years – 11 of them spent working as a dispatcher – and he honed his exceptional driver relation skills during the time he spent behind the wheel of a truck. This experience contributed to his outstanding ability to understand the challenges on the road and balance those with the customers’ need for on-time delivery of freight.

“Dan was selected for this award not by the management team, but by his peers,” said Scott Tilley, president of Tandet. “It was Dan’s peers that solicited management’s approval for the nomination. It was this group that requested letters from customers, drivers and associates. Upon reading the letters of support for Dan’s nomination that came in, they did not surprise me as to the nature and respect for the individual. Dan is one of a kind.”

Dan and his wife Joan reside in Little Britain, Ont. The couple is a member of the Camara Club of Ontario and participates in rallies and competitions which direct proceeds to the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus organizations.

Doug Smith, founder and chairman of the Manitoulin Group of Companies in Gore Bay, Ont. was presented the 2007 OTA-Trailmobile Service to Industry Award during a ceremony held at the convention.

The award is the highest honour bestowed on an executive in the Ontario trucking industry and honours an individual who, by their commitment, vision, leadership and unstinting service, has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of the truck transportation industry in Ontario.

The selection was made by a panel of Smith's peers, most of who are previous winners themselves, and recognizes Smith’s role as one of the industry’s major innovators, particularly in developing special truck configurations, which maximized the productivity of shipments of various products to and from Northern Ontario.

The Manitoulin Group of Companies is a single source transportation provider with services ranging from LTL and truckload to customs brokerages, warehousing, air and ocean freight forwarding, a truck driving school, fuel distribution and logistics services.

For over 50 years, Smith grew the business through strategic acquisitions and the company now has a terminal network of more than 60 terminals throughout Canada.

Since the beginning, the head office has always been and continues to be located in the small town of Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island. Smith began his career in trucking in 1957 when the family business, Smith's Wholesale purchased its first truck and trailer to service produce moving from the Ontario Food Terminal to Manitoulin Island for distribution. By 1960, with the sale of Smith's Wholesale to National Grocers, Doug acquired Hill's Transport and renamed the company Manitoulin Transport.

In the early days, Smith loaded furniture, drove, and worked on the trucks. He was determined to make the business work and he did. That strong work ethic and in-depth knowledge of all facets of the business has carried the company forward.

Smith’s quiet and unassuming demeanour belies a creativity and inventiveness that is at the root of his success. Nowhere is this more evident in the “Supertrucks” for which Smith has become famous.

In 1980, the first eight Supertrucks were put into service and consisted of a cabover tractor with a 13-foot dromedary box. This box allowed temperature controlled freight to be moved to Northern Ontario while pulling a stake and rack trailer, and heavier product such as lumber or steel to be pulled south while putting general freight into the Supertruck box. This combination was a perfect fit for Northern Ontario's customers.

Smith lives and works in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island with his wife, Phyllis. Their two sons, Gordon and Jeffrey, have both been working at Manitoulin Transport for more than 20 years.

In conjunction with OTA’s 81st annual convention, long-time trucking industry participants were inducted into the OTA Pioneer and Half Century clubs. The Pioneer Club honours individuals who have 25 or more years of service in the industry, and the Half-Century Club honours members with 50 or more years involvement in the industry.

“When people think about our industry the first thing that comes to mind is equipment, trucks and trailers. But what makes this industry special is not its equipment but its people,” said Bradley. “This is an industry that offers opportunity from the ground up and this year’s inductees to the Pioneer and Half-Century clubs exemplify how a new entrant to our industry can start at an entry level position and work his or her way to the top.”

Pioneer Club: Dave MacDonald, regional manager signature service with Markel Insurance, started in the industry in 1980 with Canada Transport as a claims manager. Rick Morgan, operations and safety manager with Steed Standard Transport, started in the industry in 1982 with Student Movers as a driver. Kim Richardson, president of KRTS Transportation Specialists, started in the industry with Richardson Commercial Driver Training Services in the administration department. Bob Smith, manager of safety with Mackie Moving Systems, started in the industry in 1980 with Ault Dairies as a driver. Donald Tait, fleet manager of Natrel, started in the industry in 1965 with Toronto Peterborugh Transport as a mechanic.

Half Century Club: George Ledson, president of Cavalier Transportation Services, started in the industry in 1957 with Inter-City Truck Lines in the Credit Department. Kenneth Nixon, manager of national accounts with the Rosedale Group, started in the industry in 1948 with Kingsway Transport as a dockhand.

Courtesy of Today's Trucking

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