Today, Trimac was honored by being named a top company for women to work for in transportation by Women in Trucking (WIT). This is the third consecutive year that Trimac has received this recognition, and it is especially poignant with Trimac celebrating its 75th year of operation. This also comes on the heels of winning the NTTC Harvison Safety Award as well as being named a Top Fleet by Trucking HR Canada.
“It’s turning out to be a very special anniversary year,” said Kara Gillespie, VP People and Culture. “We are extremely proud to once again be recognized by Women in Trucking Magazine, who have become the voice for women in our industry.”
“The fact that this recognition comes from a grass-roots nomination and voting process means a lot to us at Trimac. We appreciate being acknowledged for providing an inclusive environment and the flexibility for women to build long and rewarding careers with us. We know there is an untapped pool of future employees that we are eager to welcome into our Trimac Family.”
“Women in Trucking created the award in 2018 to promote the accomplishments of companies that are focused on the employment of women in the trucking industry,” said Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT. “We would like to congratulate all recipients for this well-deserved recognition.”
The list of recipients is comprised of a diverse range of business sectors in the commercial freight transportation marketplace, including motor carriers, third-party logistics companies, and original equipment manufacturers. Companies are normally recognized in person at the WIT Accelerate Conference & Expo, but due to COVID-19 this year’s event will be virtual.
“There are several key features that distinguish companies recognized on this list,” said Brian Everett, Publisher of Redefining the Road- WIT’s quarterly magazine. “This includes corporate cultures that foster gender diversity; competitive compensation and benefits; flexible hours and work requirements; professional development opportunities; and career advancement opportunities.”
“In its third year of existence, this award has been driven by the marketplace,” continued Everett. “The sheer number of individuals in the industry who participated in the process is incredible. Nearly 13,000 votes were cast to identify the companies named to the list!”
Congratulations to all the other companies that received this recognition, and to the women of Trimac that make us so proud each day!
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!”
Trimac Transportation is getting a much-needed dose of employee wellness in the form of mental health and resilience training offered through headversity.
Kara Gillespie, VP of People and Culture at Trimac Transportation has been impressed with headversity and the partnership they have developed, she says, “headversity’s app empowers people to take control of their own mental health and helps educate people that what they are experiencing is normal in today’s fast-paced society. It’s a matter of getting the right tools in people’s hands to build the resiliency we all need these days to keep up with life’s challenges.”
The US and Canadian governments recently deemed truck driving an essential service during the COVID-19 crisis. While many now understand the great importance of maintaining a supply chain, most do not know about the increased stress and stigma that drivers are facing during this time.
“COVID-19 has impacted everybody. People are worried about their family, friends, community, and how it will impact the economy and their jobs. We are all experiencing stress and anxiety levels higher than ever before.”
Gillespie notes, “The transportation industry has been recognized as an essential service required to keep going and deliver much-needed goods and supplies. Without drivers, mechanics, washrack technicians, and dispatchers continuing to do what they do each day, grocery store shelves would be empty, gas stations would run out of fuel, and medical supplies will not get to hospitals.”
“This is a heavy, but honorable burden our industry carries. However, we are hearing how difficult it is for our drivers to find food on the road with restaurants closing, or access to bathrooms or hotels to sleep for the night. This is adding to the stress of what they are already feeling during these unprecedented times.”
All of Trimac’s employees have access to the full suite of mental health support offered by headversity, including self-assessments, tracking tools, and curated content based on personal needs. During this heightened time of stress, these types of tools are valued by organizations as they support the mental health of employees while they are remote.
Gillespie recognizes this platform as a leader.
“There has never been a more important time to take care of the mental health for all of our team members. The headversity app is the perfect tool for us to reach all of our people who are spread out geographically across North America. They can use it anytime, anywhere, in private, in small or large doses, and with full access to vital information and support to help them face each day feeling more empowered over their own mental health and take things one day at a time.”
Dr. Ryan Todd, headversity CEO and also a psychiatrist, said it was important for his company to provide extra support for Trimac staff because they’re braving the front lines of this fight.
“We have so much gratitude for all the heroic employees who continue to work and provide much needed services across Canada. It starts with our mental health, as we all cope with this new reality. For Trimac truck drivers who are out there on the road on their own, we are pleased to offer them complimentary access to our app when resilience is needed most. It’s the least we can do to offer support.”
During these unprecedented and uncertain times, our drivers are relying on others to assist them in providing an essential service. Even a formerly simple task to find hot food has become difficult, and grocery stores are now mostly picked over. This especially hits home with out-of-area drivers who can no longer find a place to rest due to many motels shutting down due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I realized our drivers were struggling to find a space that would take them,” said Jeff Stevens, Operations Manager in Sundre. “I reached out to a local hotel to provide Trimac drivers with a shower, towels, soap, and the ability to rent rooms if needed. The motel was understandably concerned about exposing their business to visitors who might be infected with COVID-19. Once I explained how they could help our drivers provide an essential service, they were happy to allow our drivers to shower and sleep there.”
Trimac has recently started the #ESSENTIAL campaign, not only to highlight that transportation is an essential service, but that we rely upon motels, restaurants, and truck stops to keep our drivers providing an essential service, and keep the supply chain intact.
“Jeff has always been there for his team,” said Besnik Gasi, Area Manager in the North West. “He often gets them soup and coffee on colder days to show his appreciation for their hard work. He’s truly a team player, and exemplary of how an individual can make a difference.”
“We also can’t thank the motel owner enough for allowing our drivers to stay there. We will be sure to use their services for years to come.”
Trimac would like to thank all of the businesses who continue to provide their services so our drivers can continue to work. We are also proud of each and every one of our employees who show the Trimac spirit during these challenging times!
If you monitor the news, you’ve probably noticed something: Truckers are suddenly heroes once again. As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the country and more and more business and social activities shut down, everyday people are waking up to the fact that it is truckers who are literally carrying the supplies that they need.
Thank you to McDonald’s and other restaurants, who have ensured our drivers can get hot meals to perform their duties.
You are #essential to our drivers during this crisis!
ATTN DRIVERS: Some McDonald’s locations are offering a designated trucker curbside pick-up area. When you arrive, use the “My McD’s” mobile app to order and choose “curbside service.” Then proceed to wait at the designated trucker pick-up area.
Matt Faure, Trimac’s President and CEO sits down with a Trimac employee each month to discuss topics that are top of mind. It’s a great opportunity to connect and communicate across Trimac’s North American operations. To learn more about Trimac and job opportunities in the Trucking and Transportation Industry, please visit: