November driver of the month – Lawrence Reichert, Bushell Transport
I was born in Fairview, a small town in northern Alberta. Being raised on a farm, I was always exposed to large machinery and equipment. At the age of 10 I was constantly imitating truck noises and by Grade 7 my year book read “was last seen driving his desk in social class”.
I had family friends and an uncle that drove truck, so anytime day or night I had a chance to go on a run I went, in hopes that they would get tired and let me drive. It happened often and I was hooked. Until I was of age to get my Class 1 license I drove part time for local companies with a winch tractor hauling equipment and camp shacks, when they were busy.
Farming in the ’80’s was not a real strong future at the time so I decided to make a career driving and I wanted to get out on the highway doing it. I moved to Calgary in 1982, rented a truck and trailer and got my Class 1. Three days later I was working for Byers Transport. I started out making local deliveries then worked my way up to hauling turnpikes and triples about four years later making switches in Edmonton.
I then graduated to making switches in the mountain passes. I worked there for 15 years. The last two years I was there, I was the yard guy, dealing with 35 schedules a night. It was a choice I made because it was nights and I could look after my daughters during the day while my wife went to work. One night “the strong like bull, smart like tractor” attitude got me and I hurt my back. I was off work for five years. Got a chance to go back to school and received a diploma in computer engineering. However with Y2K myth I could not get a job doing that, so in 2002 I decided to go back driving to put food on the table. I started working for a local construction company hauling aggregates with super B’s, and moving around equipment. When construction was slow I would run oversized loads for another company across the border this went on for five or so years then I got an opportunity to get into hauling oversized full time pulling 10 and 13 axle, the largest combinations to date 240,000lbs., 142’ long , 20’wide and 24’ tall.
The bigger the loads or more trailers I can hook on behind, the more I enjoy it.
I get to travel all over North America to places that aren’t considered holiday destinations which is exciting because you generally don’t hear about them. I love driving truck. I can go to work each and every day and it is always something different. There is never a dull moment and it does not feel like a job! There is something to be said about -40c late at night, tires singing out a tune on the frozen asphalt, exhaust coming out of the stacks so thick you could cut with a knife, northern lights out, good tunes on the radio. Freedom!!
October driver of the month – Adrian Popovici, Tri-Line Carriers
Adrian Popovici started his professional driving career in 1997 in Romania, driving long-haul van freight across Europe up to Scotland. Adrian moved to Canada in December 2010, securing employment driving long-haul van and reefer loads out of New Brunswick. Adrian’s family joined him in Canada in August 2011. Adrian’s cross-border travels down to Texas led him to consider other opportunities that would allow him to spend more time with his family.
Adrian had heard great things about Alberta and decided to move west, together with his family, in 2015 in search of a better quality of life. We were fortunate to have him join Tri-Line Carriers LP as a driver in the Calgary Waste division in June 2015. Adrian quickly proved himself to be one of the division’s best drivers and has been a permanent fixture within the top 5 per cent in Weekly Fuel Economy (Moving MPG) in the Calgary Waste Fleet (45 drivers) and is best in class for his utilization of our PeopleNet satellite communications system.
Adrian is the first to offer help to anyone who needs it and, as one of Tri-Line’s two in-cab driver trainers, helps to instill proper operating and safety procedures with new drivers. Adrian personifies Tri-Line’s corporate values and way of doing things-with courage, integrity, reliability and customer-focused practices. He consistently demonstrates a positive attitude in all of his interactions with internal and external customers and is always willing to go the extra mile and help out when required. He truly is a team member and when told of this award his first words were, “Thank you for this honour, this is a great award for Tri-Line and for myself”.
Adrian is the consummate professional driver. Thank you Adrian for all that you do!
September driver of the month – Tanya McNeill, Fenton Bus Lines
Tanya started her professional driving career with Cardinal Coach Lines (soon to become First Student Canada) in November, 2004. As a driver for Cardinal Coach Lines and later First Student Canada, Tanya ran a school run in Calgary. As the mom of a preschooler, the job was a perfect fit.
A few years after becoming a school bus driver, Tanya started working at a horse summer camp located west of Cochrane known as Horses R Cool in the months of July and August. She worked as a leader teaching children how to ride a horse. Fenton Bus Lines was contracted for the transportation of the clients to and from the camp on a daily basis. This is where Kathy Fenton and Tanya met. In July of 2011, Kathy was relaying to Tanya in conversation how busy she was with a packed summer of charters, struggling to keep up to all the requests and Tanya mentioned her full-time job during the school year as a bus driver.
Kathy started Tanya’s refresher training, which also included getting her Q endorsement, first aid and charter experience, and immediately and put her to work for the summer months. Tanya then started driving the summers to and from the camps and for the next three years continued working for First Student Canada during the school year.
In January 2015, Tanya moved from southeast Calgary to Water Valley, Alberta and became a full-time driver with Fenton Bus Lines (their yard was only 15 minutes from her new place). Tanya started as a floater for the three Westbrook School routes before moving onto a route as a full-time driver. As well as doing a school run, Tanya began doing a few charters in between her school run and soon moved to full time charters and still is a floater on school runs. In July of 2015 she had her second daughter, Shyla.
Tanya has driven 1000s of kilometers in Alberta transporting people from Lethbridge to Edmonton and many places in between. She is the first to offer help to anyone who needs it and never complains about any bus she is given to drive. She is truly a team member and when told of this award her first words wer, “We all won this, our team won this”, giving credit to the company structure and the seven other women that make up Team Fenton’s line-up of top professional drivers. Her attention to customers and willingness to please makes her an often requested driver among clients.
June driver of the month – Brian Barnett, Westcan Bulk Transport
Brian has had a long and safe career in the trucking industry. He began driving with Cooney’s Farm Services out of High River hauling a variety of bulk chemicals across Canada and the US. He moved to RBS, hauling to the mines in southern BC.
In 2005 with an opportunity to join ECL Transportation hauling fuel, he continued to service the BC mines. In 2010 with the acquisition of ECL by Westcan Bulk Transport he continued fuel hauling to the mines and to other customers in Alberta and BC.
Brian lives in High River AB with his wife Judy.
May driver of the month – Mike Lefaivre, Bison Transport Inc.
Mike has been a company driver with Bison Transport for 10.5 years and has accumulated over 1.3 million consecutive safe driving miles. The most impressive part of his consecutive safe miles is 95 per cent of them are operating two trailers in a turnpike configuration.
The best way to sum up Mike’s tenure at Bison is one of teamwork and modesty. His approach is that the job needs to be completed safely but he also understand the uniqueness of our business, that cooperation needs to occur between operations and him, to deliver the customer freight safely. In a review of his file, Mike has received three Charging Ahead Awards in the past few years. This recognition is an internal Bison program which all starts from a coworker nomination for exceptional efforts that promote or reinforce Bison’s Core Values and go above and beyond what is expected from an employee or contractor. Every one of the nominations had the same theme, which highlights Mike assisting his fellow coworkers in difficult and challenging circumstance. Mike has the ability to connect and relate to his peers which gives him the ability to effectively handle all types of situation to a positive conclusion.
Mike has over 25 years of driving experience and believes that he should give back to both our company and the industry he is involved in. He is not looking for the recognition or the limelight, he is truly involved to make both our company and industry better by just simply going about help and assisting others. Safety is always a priority for Mike. He is not just concerned about himself; he is truly concerned about his coworkers, our industry, and those we share the roads with.
April driver of the month – Norm Hogge, Westcan Bulk Transport
Norm started with Westcan Bulk Transport as an ECL Transportation employee in November 1996. He was discovered to be very capable right away and worked on various products. Although most comfortable hauling fuel, he would take any challenge that was presented to him. Safety and equipment care are two things that Norm takes great pride in. In April 2010, Norm moved over to the Westcan fleet. With an actively caring attitude he is always watching out for others, as well as himself, to make sure tasks are completed correctly and safely. Supported by his wife Leah, he has become a great help to us supporting our other western branches. He travels to them, staying there to do whatever the customer needs until the job is done. We wish Norm well in the next 20 years as well.
March driver of the month – Johan Peters, Willy’s Trucking Service
Johan started his career hauling wood chip. He fell in love with driving and bought a truck within a year. When the opportunity to haul containers presented itself, he welcomed it with open arms for the next two years. In 2012, he signed on with Willy’s Tucking Service and hasn’t looked back since. His first run with Willy’s was hauling a 53-foot van from Peace River to Edmonton, and return, with stops in Slave Lake, High Prairie and eventually Grand Prairie. Three years ago Johan started pulling rockies on a round trip from Peace River to Edmonton and still does this nightly.
John loves to be on the road, he enjoys meeting people and says it’s fun to give a wave or hello to the other drivers he shares the road with. Every day there is something new to be learned and Johan has certainly learned a lot in the years he’s been driving and is always willing to pass on that knowledge to others. If there was one piece of advice Johan could pass on to everyone it would be “Don’t rush, don’t speed, it’s not a race”.
Driving is not Johans only love, he has a wonderful wife and three beautiful children; two daughters’ ages 13 and six and a son, age one.
February driver of the month – Ron Swartz, Westcan Bulk Transport
Ron Swartz has been employed by Westcan for 12 Years. In that time Ron has become a valued and trusted fuel driver. As a senior trainer, Ron has built a reputation for a comprehensive and detailed approach to training. This ensures the drivers he has trained leave him with the best start possible in there new careers with Westcan.
Ron’s Million Mile Award and a dedication to safety are testament to an incident free career. Based in Lethbridge and supported by his wife and family, we look forward to many more years working with Ron and his safe, actively caring attitude!
January driver of the month – Ralph Sirois, Bushell Transport
Ralph was born in Northern Quebec, his dad was a driver for 50 years. Ralph bets a lot of people back in that small town would say that he was raised in a truck.
Although, he always thought he would, and wanted to drive a truck, his first adult job was in the Canadian Armed Forces. As there was no opening for drivers, he joined as a supply technician until he could change trade and five years later became an MSR Op (Mobile Support Equipment Operator), a military driver.
After getting through driving school, which included BC’s extensive air brake requirements, he was qualified on straight trucks up to 10 tons. He was then sent to CFB Edmonton where he learned driving a tractor trailer combination would be five to 10 years ahead of him. A bit disappointed about that, he asked to be released from service after the end of his second -three-year contract and moved back to Quebec.
In May 1997, Ralph received a diploma from the heavy truck driving training center of Charlesbourg, a government directed driving school. The program was 615 hours, 120 hours of which were spent in trucks of all kinds of configurations and with really good in-class lectures on driving, mechanicals and air brake systems.
Ralph’s first driving job was on super B’s, hauling steel and aluminum in Canada and the US. For a couple years he was dispatched on uncommon loads more and more (oversize, weird destinations and everything that was out of the ordinary).
After seven years of Canada/US driving, Ralph took up off-road logging in northern QC, a home-every-night job, fun and challenging, hauling up to 380,000 lbs on seven axles.
A year and a half later, Ralph moved to Alberta, where he drove south of the border again, from five-axle combinations to self-steering 13 axles and basic training on winch and 48-64 wheelers. The largest load Ralph has been down the road with was 165-feet long, 21-feet wide and 18-feet high weighing 252,000 pounds.
Those who know Ralph best would probably say he is somewhat reserved, humble and loyal. He’s glad to answer any questions about work and his experiences, but is able to admit what he doesn’t know or that he is wrong. As if it wasn’t enough to spend his time working on the road, when Ralph takes time off, he goes on motorcycle trips, to destinations he might never see in a truck such Prudhoe Bay, AK or Cartwright, Labrador to St-John, NL.
December driver of the month – Curtis Mann, Bison Transport
Curtis Mann is a professional Driver with Bison Transport, based out of their Calgary terminal. He joined Bison in 2009 shortly after switching to our Long Combination Vehicle Division.
Over the past eight years, Curtis has accumulated over 800,000 consecutive safe driving miles with Bison – that’s more than 100,000 safe consecutive miles each year!
Curtis is an Alberta Motor Transport Association Road Knight (since 2015), travelling to communities throughout Alberta to speak about how to safely share the roadway with trucks and to speak about all the transportation industry has to offer.
In addition to his dedication to speaking about safe driving practices, Curtis finds time to immerse himself in a number of other industry events. He has participated in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics since Bison has been entering trucks. He has also participated in the Alberta Professional Truck Driving Championships, where he won third place in the “B” Train Category.
Curtis is always willing to help out fellow drivers, Bison Transport staff, and those in his community, no matter what the cause.
The folks at Bison Transport say they’re proud to have Curtis on their team, and even prouder of all of his achievements. Keep up the hard work and dedication, Curtis, and congratulations on another achievement in being name Driver of the Month for AMTA.
November driver of the month – Paul Conway, ATS Healthcare
Paul Conway started his career in New Brunswick, driving heavy equipment on a farm in 1965. After moving on to drive logging trucks he spent three years in the army and airforce.
After leaving the military, Paul drove state-side for five years before returning to Canada in 1978, hauling building materials north.
Paul continued his transportation career hauling LCV from Edmonton to Calgary for 28 years, where he currently runs LCV for ATS Healthcare.
October driver of the month – Nigel Dillon, Bison
Nigel started in the Transportation industry over 20 years ago.
Nigel received his Class 1 in 1996 and first started with Bison Transport as a company driver in December 2003 driving team CA/US with his father. Nigel then moved into various roles within Bison and in April 2010 Nigel purchased his first truck becoming an Owner Operator working with the Edmonton City fleet.
Currently Nigel is operating within Western Canada as a highway driver and has earned over 1.2 million safe driving miles with Bison.
Nigel feels safety is the most important factor when operating so he can get home safe to his family. Nigel is married to Karen and has two lovely children Kate-Lynn and Carter who are twins aged two and a half years old. These two keep the family busy and on their toes.
September driver of the month – Carla Fenske, Duckering’s
Carla joined us at Duckering’s Transport five years ago, at which time she was hired for Class 1 city pick-up and delivery. Since then, she’s proven herself to be a true professional and an amazing addition to our team.
Carla’s great outlook, her conscientious attitude, her incident free driving record, and her attention to detail has made her a first class role model, and a valuable mentor. Consequently, she’s frequently involved in the training of new hires at Duckering’s Transport. No new driver is ready to solo until they have Carla’s stamp of approval.
Always looking for ways to keep growing and improving, Carla participated in the 2015 and 2016 Provincial Professional Truck Driving Championships . Looking for new challenges, just this year she obtained her LCV certification, and now mixes city pick-up and delivery with the occasional highway line haul.
Carla has somehow found a way to maintain a balance between her professional and her home life, and is a fantastic mother to her 8 year old son, Morley. We’re all very proud of Carla at Duckering’s, and we can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.
June driver of the month – Don Devine, Precision Trucklines
Mr. Don Devine has been a driving force in Alberta for 40 years and continues to do us proud. Don started out driving on and off road hauling oilfield equipment.
Don says driving off road is what taught him how important a good pre-trip is. He says that not knowing your equipment and how it works; could cost you your life when you are off road and in the bush. Of course there were no cell phones back then, and even when they became available, service would have been intermittent.
Following his career off road, he spent the next 18 years moving Heavy haul and over dimensional loads throughout Canada and the USA, always leading by example. He has spent the last 8 years and continues to be employed by Precision Truckline. Don’s truck driving experience now has him moving general freight and groceries throughout Alberta, inclusive of Long Combination Vehicles.
If Don were to give out any advice to a new driver it would be the following:
“Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Always drive to road conditions. Know your equipment. Always, always, always conduct thorough pre and post trip inspections.
When we informed Don of the Driver of the Month award he stated;
“ Well, I was honored when I was nominated, and I am really honoured to receive the award, but really I am just out here doing my job…Thank You.
May driver of the month – Derek Seath, Canadian Freightways
Derek commenced employment with Canadian Freightways in Calgary, Alberta in 1977. He excels at his duties as a Calgary Service Centre P&D Driver. He steps above and beyond than any other driver with his positive attitude and his interactions with his customers in a professional and courteous manner. Derek is a friendly and safety minded person. He is the definition of a prudent professional driver.
While working for the company in 1991-1995, he was a strong asset in the development of the Excel Program through the AMTA. This program involved development of orientation videos and policies and procedures. In this time Derek spent hours working on this project – he knew what was in it for him, the privilege to provide his knowledge and experience as a professional driver with everyone. These videos continue to be used in todays training.
Derek has received number of awards throughout his career with Canadian Freightways including the Employee of the Month Award in 1990, Recognition for Excellence in Customer Service Award in 1995, the One Million-Mile Award in 1994, the Two Million-Mile Award in 2011, and 32 years of Safe Driver and Safe Worker Awards.
In 1996, Derek was nominated to receive the Raymond F Obrien Award of Excellence, through Consolidated Freightways. The event was being held in the head office district of Consolidated Freightways in California. Derek arrived to the event where he won one of the five awards. He was the only Teamster to be nominated – the other four candidates were managers.
In any company big or small, employees are the biggest asset. Canadian Freightways feel Derek is one of the company’s biggest assets. It is people like Derek, with his cheerfulness and pleasant manner, that are a shining example of what it means to be a professional driver.
April driver of the month – Robert Brown, Westcan Bulk Transport
Bob started with ECL Transportation in December of 1994. With the acquisition of ECL by Westcan in 2010, Bob remained on with us. Very experienced in the handling of petroleum products and propane makes him a great asset to our company.
It was learned very early in Bob’s career with us that he was extremely clean and policy focused. He was certified as a driver trainer and works teaching and mentoring new employees with the company on both products that he hauls.
We look forward to Bob spending many more years making sure everyone does everything the right way, all the time. A true example of Actively Caring for all others around him.
March driver of the month – John Robinson, Westcan Bulk Transport
John Robinson known to us as “JR” started with us in April of 1982. In the 34 years working with us he has hauled all of our product lines, Until 2010 he mainly hauled to the US working with Oil, Propane and Fuel. He presently hauls Alberta and British Columbia with Fuel products.
JR takes great pride in his appearance and represents Westcan well. Always making sure everything is clean and serviced. He is very quick to lend a hand to anyone requiring assistance. Working well with dispatch he is always ready to assist.
We as a company are very fortunate to have an employee like JR as he is a model of what the whole industry should be.
February driver of the month – Richard Woodman, Manitoulin
Rick started at Medalta Transport in 1986 at the age of 23, where he started as a P&D driver. During that time achieved in getting his class 1 operator license as well acquired the experience in tractor trailer work and building of LCV’s. Besides P&D duties Rick also completed trips to Fort MacLeod and returned every night before Turn Pikes were permitted between Lethbridge and Fort MacLeod.
In 1991, Medalta Transport was acquired by John Finn and eventually changed the name to Exalta Transport. At Exalta Transport, Rick continued to do P&D duties with a tractor and trailer as well was a am dock supervisor. The duties consisted in ensuring that local runs were set up and the freight was staged.
In 2011, Exalta Transport was acquired by Manitoulin Transport. Rick continues to take pride in his work at Manitoulin Transport. Over the years, Rick has received pins and gift for safe driving and years of service. Rick takes his job very seriously and as a professional. To this day, he has never had a sick day or received WCB. Rick still enjoys the fast-paced atmosphere and continual learning that comes from his job at Manitoulin Transport.
Throughout Rick’s 30 years in the transportation industry, he has had continual support from his family. Rick married his wife Donna in 1982, and they just celebrated their 33rd anniversary in December. They have two daughters, Brooke, 21, and Aspen, 17. Brooke is in her fourth year of University, and Aspen is in Grade 11 with plans of attending college after graduation.
On Rick’s days off and holidays he enjoys boating, camping and fishing with his family and friends. He has also enjoyed running for the last three years, his favourite spot being Henderson Lake.
January driver of the month – Lorenzo Russo, Westcan Bulk Transport
Lorenzo started delivering propane for Premier propane in 1986. Although the names have changed over the years he still delivers the same product to the same customers, now Superior Propane, and has been with Westcan since 1995. His largest strength is customer service and has gone out of his way to make sure his customer has been serviced without service failure for 30 years.
On his usual run he loads north or west of the city daily and delivers back into city locations. He also delivers all locations his customer has west to the BC border. This has been done for 30 years incident free and with no traffic infractions. He has accomplished 2 million miles doing this and received the 2 Million Mile Award from the AMTA.
He takes great pride in the equipment he operates which is always clean inside and out. Never leaving a terminal without a proper pre trip and insuring all services are up to date has been the reason for never receiving a CVSA violation. A true example of taking pride in his ride.
December 2015 driver of the month – Ken Josok, Bushell Transport
Ken has received 12 commendations in the last two and half years just for ensuring the safety of others and himself while traveling the roadways of Canada and the U.S. by properly inspecting his equipment and securing his freight.