The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) has evolved and come along way since it was founded in 1993. I love the story, I loved being involved then and I love being involved now. In the beginning it started with a phone call between Gus Rahim, President of Ontario Truck Driving School (OTDS) and I about some of the issues we were having with government and industry that was affecting our sector of the industry. We agreed that there is strength in numbers and we should see if we could pull some other schools together for a meeting to discuss some of the issues we were all facing. Gus and I divided up the school calls by going through the “Yellow Pages” and one by one we made the calls.
We scheduled a face to face meeting for a Saturday morning at the Bristol Place Hotel out by the Toronto Airport for a couple of hours and invited all the school owners across the Province to attend. We were not sure who would show up but to our surprise we had a great turn out. Although we were all competitors we had similar issues we where all dealing with and there was comfort for many as we discussed how we could solve the problems.
From that meeting a committee was formed and we would meet monthly at Metro Truck Driving School in Mississauga owned by Chris Cierpich, who was always a good host where most meetings generally ended with a refreshment in his office. A small group worked diligently at forming the association, myself, Gus, Chris, Richard Wynia from Tri County, Wayne Campbell from Adananc, Ed Popkie from 5th Wheel, Colin Matthews from a school in St. Catherine’s – the name slips my mind now, were all instrumental and the key players of the forming of the TTSAO into an association. I was asked to Chair the committee when we started and then I was appointed as the first President. It is safe to say I had a very steep learning curve but was up for the challenge.
At the time I was actively involved with the OTA on numerous committees and attending meetings representing our sector from the invitations received from then President and industry king pin David Bradley. I learned so much from being around him and other industry leaders. Most importantly how to leverage relationships built through friendships both in industry and at a government level. My time spent over the years with the OTA on their board as Chair of the Allied Trade Division and now with the PMTC on their board have been excellent for me and my growth professionally and personally. I am forever thankful for the opportunities.
It is hard for me to understand how time moves so quickly, 28 years has passed since that first meeting. I am proud of what the TTSAO has accomplished specifically in the last few years.
I stepped away from the President of TTSAO to let others take on the challenge and leadership. I turned my focus to other projects and board appointments with the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) and the North American Training Management Institute (NATMI) and got heavily involved with the Truckload Carrier Association (TCA) on numerous committees. I am sharing this because the time involved with these other groups has been an important ingredient to my success. When I decided to get back involved as a Director of TTSAO in 2014 and subsequently being appointed to the board as their first paid President a number of years ago, it was suppose to be a part time gig for me but some weeks is anything but part time which is ok, I’m good with it. If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be doing it.
Most of the people involved at the board level are unreal when it comes to volunteering their expertise and time. With elections in the books I am very much looking forward to working on behalf the membership of the TTSAO and the Board of Directors that have been elected. The new board met recently and there are a couple of dates you should get saved in your calendar for some virtual industry education and information.
The TTSAO Carrier Group has decided to host a meeting for the carriers and anyone in the industry who wants to attend the virtual meeting on May 13th from 11am – 12 noon. The theme will be Team Building as it relates to recruiting and retention and why a carrier should join the TTSAO. It’s an impressive line up.
On June 2nd from 11am – 12 noon the TTSAO Conference Committee will host a call. Topics will include an Update on Mandatory Provincial Instructor Certification and How to use the TTSAO Brand as a school to increase enrolment. The goals is to hear from carriers and insurance members about the value of TTSAO.
Both of these virtual meetings are free and open to anyone involved in the industry. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I pen this blog we are in the middle of the third Provincial lock down. It’s been a tough road for everyone, some more difficult than others. Optimism is important. It’s tough at times but we need to try to look for the best in these trying times and situations we find ourselves in. The way we think is how we feel, the way we feel and respond to the situations is viewed by many and our influence of how we are projecting ourselves can be important.
Take care and be safe out there.