A banner for the rafters
Without a doubt, the most pivotal event during my 35 year stint in the trucking industry was a hockey game I attended in 1994 at Maple Leaf Gardens between the Buds and the hated Canadiens, their arch rivals.
My guests that night were Hahs super-nut David Bradley, then president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), and his charming wife, Heather.
I wasn’t a member of the association at the time but that night I learned why it had become one of the country’s most effective lobby groups. During our steak dinner David not only persuaded me to join the association (despite the fact that we had only three trucks) but also invited me to participate on the convention committee, a job I readily accepted after the third bottle of merlot.
As they say, the rest is history.
It’s no secret that I believe in the value of belonging to a provincial trucking association. The generous return on my measly annual dues makes it arguably the best investment I ever made.
The lobbying prowess is just a start. I never would have been able to build, grow, and eventually sell MSM Transportation without my involvement in the Ontario Trucking Association or Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA). Nor would I have had the lifelong friendships, truckloads of laughs, and countless stories that can’t be repeated in this column.
You may have heard that David is hanging up the blades (not retiring just ask him) at the end of the year. There’s no better time to reflect on the legacy my buddy leaves behind.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance was founded in 2000 solely on David’s vision and leadership. Back then our industry had no national voice. The provincial trucking associations were run like fiefdoms, constantly fighting battles on their own turf and amongst themselves.
Today, the alliance is a unified federation of these provincial associations representing some 4,500 carriers, owner operators, and industry suppliers. It’s the strong, singular presence we need to wage and win the large scale wars that impact our bottom line as an industry. David brought us together.
Not sure if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of Sir David’s “looks,” but I sure have.
So have politicians, regulators, and other lobbyists.
In the halls of Ottawa and Washington, David meant business. He knew more about any issue than the person whose ear he was trying to bend or arm he was trying to twist. He was trusted, respected, and well liked even by those who got the “look.”
More importantly, under David, our industry got its strut back.
Team OTA and CTA
Every trucker could learn from the way David built a team around him. Just look at the tenure of his staff a loyal, experienced group poised to lead the OTA and CTA without missing a beat.
David’s greatest legacy might be his successor and right hand man, Stephen Laskowski. Stephen doesn’t have to worry about filling David’s shoes. He’s already walked a mile in his own.
David has a way of bringing people together. That dinner at Maple Leaf Gardens was the first of many over our 23 year friendship. In all those years, I’m proud to say that we only forgot to return one rental car, and it happened to be in St.John’s, Newfoundland. Enough said on the night.
Thanks for everything, my friend.