In Trimac’s 75-year history, we’ve had many amazing and long-time team members, but none that have reached 50 years of dedicated service – until today.
Robin Felker, a Company Driver based out of our Nanaimo Branch in the Northwest started his career in 1970, when a gallon of gas cost 36 cents, the Boeing 747 made its debut, and the Rolling Stones were topping the music charts.
During his 50-year career, Robin has seen many changes in the transportation world and his own life. Starting his career in Kamloops at the age of 21, Robin eventually made the shift to owning his own truck as an Independent Contractor and moving his family to Nanaimo in 1986.
“There are always ups and downs in trucking, with either changes to equipment or economics,” said Robin. “It’s just the nature of the business, and you have to remain calm and positive to get through it.”
“One thing that never changed was the support from my family. In particular, my wife Jody has been the bedrock throughout my entire 50-year career. Whether it was making sure I had a healthy lunch or picking up tires or other equipment for my truck, I could not have asked for more. Any success I’ve had is in no small part due to her support.”
Robin also couldn’t be more proud of his two children Jason (49) and April (46), who have gone on to have their own lives and careers. Jason at one point even had followed in his father’s footsteps by getting his Class 1 license.
Robin has hauled many products over his career, starting with asphalt in Kamloops, and now chemicals for pulp mills. “My favorite product to haul is gasoline,” continued Robin. “But I certainly don’t mind my current routes on Vancouver Island, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.”
To celebrate his milestone with Trimac there was a plan to recognize Robin at the 75th Anniversary Kick-off event in April. However, as COVID-19 has forced the postponement of the event, the full celebration will have to wait until we can all be together safely.
In the meantime, Paul England, Terminal Manager made a special trip to surprise Robin and recognize this amazing achievement. Robin was presented with a certificate for a free set of tires courtesy of Continental, and even more impressive – a scale model of a 2001 Western Star truck in Trimac Colors, which was the last truck that Robin had prior to eventually switching to a company truck.
The model was a labor of love by Glynn Johnson, Loader out of Langley BPL, who worked diligently for several months to create it. A scale model of the 2001 Western Star was not readily available, requiring Glynn to get creative and customize many of the pieces.
“The attention to detail and skill that Glynn put into the model is on par with Robin’s worthiness in receiving it,” said Paul. It is clearly a passion of Glynn’s, and a very impressive result!”
Joining Paul to celebrate Robin in Nanaimo was Andrew Pickell, Planner out of Richmond, and Derek Fyke, Driver Trainer out of Langley.
“Both Andrew and Derek have developed strong relationships with Robin,” continued England.
“Andrew treats Robin with the respect he deserves, and he exemplifies best practices in dispatching. Derek worked very closely with Robin on adapting to the ISAAC system and other technology enhancements over the years. With support like this from his teammates, Robin has adapted to everything that has come his way over his 50-year career.”
Robin also lends his own kind of support to his fellow Trimac teammates, and one memory in particular stood out to his former Manager in Langley, Rob Atkinson.
“I was sent to Nanaimo to work on a new process, and I off-handedly mentioned that I was tired of being on the road, and feeling a bit homesick,” said Atkinson. “And wouldn’t you know it – the next day, Robin brought me in some home-made peanut butter cookies that Jody had made. It meant a lot to me that he made note of this and shared a little bit of his family with me.”
And family is something that Robin has felt since starting at Trimac, now 50 years ago.
“When Gordon Heslop hired me, he told me I had better stay on for a while if he was willing to train me,” continued Robin.
“At the time, I never dreamed that I would still be working at Trimac 50 years later. But after 2 or 3 years here, I knew I would always stay because Trimac had become a family for me. I appreciate all the support and friendships I have made over the years, making the thought of staying until 50 years a pretty easy decision!”
“We want to celebrate Robin, and all those who have contributed to his success at Trimac over the last 50 years,” said Matt Faure, President & CEO of Trimac.
“He has been a model of consistency and professionalism, and he has made those he works with feel part of the Trimac family. I am proud that he has chosen Trimac to be his home, and we are grateful for his 50-years of dedicated service with safety. Congratulations to Robin, his wife Jody and his family on this amazing milestone!”