Date Posted

December 22, 2023

Josh Hannaberry, Sr. Advisor, Member Solutions
Alberta Motor Transport Association

Friends in the Industry –
First, I hope you are having an amazing week as we approach the holiday season. I know first hand the challenges and chaos that can come as we navigate through this season, especially in the transportation industry.

Years ago, while listening to one of my virtual mentors, Ed Mylett, speak on the power of consistently pushing forward when times get tough, he made a statement that I will never forget. In all honesty, I repeat this statement frequently, especially when I’m navigating through a challenging season. Ed said “allow your test to be part of your testimony”.

I want to encourage you to finish strong and know that your hard work is appreciated by many.

Over the last couple of days, I have spent some time reflecting on the last year – the goals we set out for our Member Services team here at AMTA, the impact we desired to make, the impact we made, the successes we celebrated, but also areas that we can continue to work on to become better.

One of our goals for 2023 was to build strong, trusted relationships with our members – Carriers and Suppliers, the incredible people working diligently in our industry, making amazing things happen every day. Going into 2023, we knew that by achieving this goal, we would ultimately help our friends in industry succeed – with their businesses, with their teams, and ultimately help their businesses operate safer on our roadways. I’m extremely proud of our team, for the incredible relationships we have built, or enhanced this year, and for the positive impact we have made.

A key component to building trusted relationships can be summed up in four words – Small Act, Big Impact.

A small act can most definitely create a big impact, let me provide a couple of examples as to how.

For starters, do what you say you’ll do. Follow-through is one of the most important actions we can take when building trust. When someone asks something of us, we take it seriously, and we do our best to follow through. This could be a trucking company hiring their first safety personnel and looking for guidance on Occupational Health and Safety requirements, as well as National Safety Code requirements.

Secondly, show up. When we show up where our industry is at, it provides an opportunity to learn about the challenges they’re navigating. Instead of assuming we understand a pain point, we can join people in their specific environment which provides clarity to help solve such pain point.

Finally, create an environment for others to network. For quite some time, we have said “there are so many good people in our industry, and when good people connect with other good people, good things happen”. I truly believe by creating environments for industry professionals to connect, and build their own industry friendships, amazing things can happen.

While there are many more examples of how a small act can create a big impact that I can write about, I’m going to change gears a little bit (yes, I wrote that). I would like to show you some of the success stories we had with our friends in industry throughout 2023.

Years ago, I was listening to a thought leader’s content on a podcast, and I noticed every time he started speaking, he would acknowledge the audience as friends. He would intentionally speak about the fact that he identifies as your friend, because a friend genuinely wants what is best for you, they care about your well-being, and your success.

One of the best parts of working at AMTA on the Member Services team is the opportunity to engage with incredible people that operate in the transportation industry. These engagements have built some incredible friendships. I mean, when you connect with like-minded professionals, that are focused on making their environment a better place, and ultimately our industry a better industry, it becomes natural to connect as industry friends. A highlight for 2023 is the amount of genuine industry friendships that have been built and are thriving.

Throughout 2023, we were extremely fortunate to engage with our industry, where they’re at. In the field, at their office, or at a Tim Hortons for coffee (yes, some of us love our coffee). I have to state, connecting with friends in their places of work is one of the best experiences, especially when they can brag about the incredible things their organization is up to.

This year, we were able to tour carrier’s operations that recently expanded into large warehouse spaces because their businesses were booming, to visiting a bus terminal that is utilizing alternative fuels, to attending the grand opening of a major highway, and more.

I believe it was six years ago now, when I first attended a regional meeting in Calgary. A former team member of AMTA and I met during a trucking expo, and he invited me to one of the regional meetings. Some of my closest mentors and industry friends have since been established from consistently attending these meetings.

“What is a Regional Meeting” you might be asking?

Well, it’s an incredible environment where industry professionals get together for a delicious lunch, and then receive updates from WCB, law enforcement, the Alberta Government, and a specific industry speaker presenting on a variety of safety topics. The meetings rotate one month in-person, and the next virtual, which helps AMTA engage across Alberta and beyond.

Throughout the course of 2023, our Regional Meeting attendance has grown, and the rooms are packed with incredible industry professionals. I highly recommend you join us in 2024. If you’re interested in receiving communications for upcoming Regional Meetings, please email Cliff Litke at cliff.litke@amta.ca

AMTA’s Driver of the Month program is absolutely phenomenal as it provides carriers in Alberta the opportunity to recognize their professional drivers that go above and beyond as professionals, dedicated to operating safely. Throughout 2023, we had some incredible professional drivers recognized for winning the Driver of the Month award.

The process to nominate your professional driver is quite simple – first, you recognize a professional driver on your team who is going above and beyond for safety and who operates in a professional manner (you can nominate as many professional drivers in your fleet that meet the requirements as you would like). Then, you complete the application and provide the required supporting documentation. The application can be found here.

Once the application is submitted, it goes to AMTA’s Industry Recognition Program committee to review all applications and they complete a vote for that monthly winner.

Now, the exciting part – celebrating the winner!

This is my favourite part of the program. Celebrating with the victorious professional driver who won that given months award. We will either schedule a visit at the carrier’s location, and bring with us a plaque & certificate, a super nice bag, customized jacket, and a letter from our president to provide to the winner as we celebrate them in front of their peers. OR we will invite the winner, and a representative from the Carrier they work for, to an in-person regional meeting, and celebrate them in front of a room of industry professionals.

I highly recommend considering nominating your professional drivers today!

I would also like to acknowledge our 2023 Driver of the Month sponsors, BFL Risk and Insurance. We are extremely grateful for their ongoing support!

 

Our 2023 Annual Conference was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who joined, participated, and sponsored. This was the first AMTA annual conference I attended, and the experience was incredible. From the high-quality venue to the knowledgeable speakers, and opportunity to engage with some incredible industry professionals.

One of the highlights for me was watching two close industry friends get hypnotized on stage. While I will stay true to “what happens at conference, stays at conference”, I laugh anytime my good friend Jake House and I get together as he was politely encouraged to dance on stage.

With all jokes aside, there was so much value provided during the conference and some incredible relationships established. It was AMTA’s 85-year anniversary, which is an amazing milestone. Being present, as we celebrated the history of the association, and recognizing those that have helped lead us to where we are today, was incredible.

Furthermore, it was our first annual conference in-person post pandemic, and we were able to celebrate the last couple of years award winners at our evening gala.

Our 2023 event takes place at the Grey Eagle Event Centre April 16-18, 2024, and we’ve put together a really great program focusing on safety, diversity in industry, industry advancement, and more. If you are interested in learning about our upcoming Annual Conference, our annual AMTA Awards, or sponsorship opportunities, I recommend visiting here.  If you have any questions, please email Kelsey Hipkin at kelsey.hipkin@amta.ca

AMTA’s Industry Advancement team is heavily involved in a number of incredible initiatives, including testing alternative fuels, fully electric Class 8 semis, hydrogen infrastructure, data, and much more.

The response from the transportation industry in Alberta, interested in testing or being involved with these initiatives has been remarkable. Terri Johnson, Manager of Industry Advancement with AMTA and her team have hosted and spoken at a number of conferences, and we are extremely excited to see where these initiatives go in 2024.

The Driver Appreciation events AMTA hosts annually are by far one of the best events of the year. The purpose of Driver Appreciation is to celebrate professional drivers, for doing what they do, each and every day. Each year, there are a large group of volunteers that will meet at various commercial vehicle inspection stations across Alberta, to prepare thank you bags full of swag donated by various companies.

Then, as professional drivers cross through the inspection stations, we hand out the thank you bags, and celebrate them! It’s honestly one of the best experiences, seeing the faces of professional drivers, after you give them a thank you bag, and express our gratitude for the great work they do each day.

We often hear “I’ve never been thanked for doing my job before” – which is heartbreaking – or “I thought this was a full-on inspection blitz.”

These events, and all the effort put forth by the Sheriff Highway Patrol, AMTA, and the volunteers, is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend joining us next year!

Steering Change Podcast – Helping you navigate the commercial transportation industry in Alberta and beyond!

We are extremely excited for the official launch of our podcast. Our intentions with the podcast are to provide need-to-know information to our industry, where our industry is at. We understand industry is busy; in the field, in the office, or in the shop, and this podcast provides us the opportunity to be where you are.

I highly recommend checking it out, by visiting steeringchange.ca or subscribing to the podcast on your favourite podcast player.


2023 was an incredible year, and I know I’m speaking (technically, I’m writing) for our team at AMTA, that we are grateful for the opportunity to build incredible relationships, and to serve some amazing people in the transportation industry.

2024 is going to be a year that will provide incredible opportunities for us to pursue, and ultimately succeed. Some of the greatest views come from climbing the most challenging mountains. Yes, 2024 will provide challenges for our industry, but we are extremely confident that our industry will overcome such challenges and come out on top.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope you have a safe day.

Josh