John Kaburick took Henderson Trucking from a small fleet of 30 trucks and grew that business into over 400 power units. That’s no easy feat, John had a great business sense, and his opinion was sought after and valued by his peers. Having participated in many industry associations, divisions, and task forces within the trucking industry his leadership as TCA’s Chairman 2010/11 was one of his proudest.
I have in the past written about the loss of industry members and what the impact on their loss might mean to the industry. This time though the loss is much more personal, I have lost a close friend a confidant and a person I could always count on for the truth, no matter how much it might hurt or be contrary to my know opinion. The plain hard truth, as John saw it. That’s not so easy to come by these days. My buddy Johnny Kaburick knew no other way to communicate but by being dogged and determined in all his beliefs.
Trying to move this man off a conviction he owned was impossible, believe me I tried. We went toe to toe on a couple occasions and it couldn’t be done. What he also did, to go with this though, was to be able to appreciate that although we might not agree, he could live with someone else’s opposing opinion if it came from a place of integrity and conviction. He could separate that difference in opinion and that let our friendship flourish and grow in spite of where we differed, that made him great in my eyes.
Seeing his son Josh lined up to eventually play the role of future TCA Chairman was a source of great pride for John. During my last few conversations with John I detected a different tone to his voice. It was a tone of optimism and relief. Having lived through the threat to Caroline and her challenges and seeing that she was taking on her challenges so vibrantly and in such a determined fashion, I think he felt great relief and new appreciation for those around him. Those were sobering times and although the aftermath of surviving such serious surgery is just the beginning of the next challenge John felt some relief and success at having Caroline pass the first hurdle. He still had his Caroline and they still had a future.
Those around TCA know that Kevin Burch, Johnny, and I called ourselves the three amigos as we made our way through the officers’ ranks and eventually into the Chairman’s role one after another. We formed deep bonds of friendship sharing the trials and tribulations of leadership in the association and in our own companies and personal lives. I will miss our talks, I suspect many of you along with Kevin, and I have lost a great confidante and a great resource of opinion and candor.
My last conversation with John was a couple weeks ago. I told him of the outstanding job Josh had done hosting the Scholarship gala event at TCA annual convention that he could not attend. His voice cracked when we talked about the bursary Josh started in his name, he was truly touched.
Kevin and I have lost a close friend, the industry has lost a staunch supporter, Henderson Trucking and its people have lost their stately leader, and more importantly the Kaburick family has lost their beloved patriarch. Deepest sympathy to Caroline, John’s boy’s, the many grandchildren, and to the entire family as you try and rationalize this devastating loss.
About the Author
Ray Haight is an industry leader in transportation. He was an accident free owner operator, President of Southwestern Express and McKinnon Transport. Ray has chaired many boards in the industry including the TCA-Truckload Carriers Association, PTDI- Professional Truck Drivers Institute and NATMI- North American Training and Management Institute. He is currently a partner of Transrep Inc. helping transportation companies market their products and services to the industry. For more information on Ray Haight visit his website at www.transrep.ca