Trucking Life: Awards
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Alberta’s Drivers Picked for Excellence

Harvey Wardill.

BANFF, AB — For professional truck driver Harvey Wardill, it was love at first honk.

“When I was about two or three, I got in a truck hired to haul cattle around our farm and honked the horn and it stuck,” Wardill says with a chuckle.

Wardill comes from a family of truckers – his father and uncle drove logging wood chip and gravel trucks and three of his four brothers and many cousins are professional drivers.

His older brother Harold taught him to drive truck and they had an agreement where Wardill would drive the empty truck back – an arrangement that tested their brotherly love.

Now, 32 incident-free years later, Wardill was recognized with the Volvo Trucks Canada Alberta Driver of the Year honors at the Alberta Motor Transport Association’s annual conference, held in Banff.

“I’m honoured to get this award,” Wardill, who attended the AMTA conference for the first time this year with his wife says. “But now I also feel pressure to not tarnish my record when I go into an inspection.”

He drives the oilfield for Northern Truck Services 1994 Ltd. and has been with the company for the past 11 years. He’s also been a driver trainer for the past 20 years and is a member of the Joint Workplace Safety Committee.

His advice for young drivers?

“When you are out of your comfort zone, slow down. If you’re not fit to drive because you are tired or ill, don’t drive. Don’t let dispatch or anyone else push you. You are the one out on the road; you are the one that knows all the variables. An accident is a huge expense involving the unit, the load, the driver and, of course, downtime – where nothing happens, nothing moves and nobody makes any money.”

Robert Wells and his wife.

National Driver of the Year

Robert Wells has been driving for 42 years, during which he got a reputation as an ultimate professional. For the past 15 years, he’s been a lease operator for Manitoba-based Bison Transport.

“This has been a great career and it’s satisfying to be recognized for doing something that I consider important,” Wells says. “Too many professional drivers focus too much on the ‘driving’ aspect of their job and not enough on the ‘professionalism.’ I’d like to see that change.”

Wells has a rich history behind the wheel that includes being a lease operator, trainer, a member of Bison’s Driver Advisory Board, a member of the AMTA Road Knight team representing the Alberta trucking industry. 

Wells has an 11-year-old grandson, Cole, whom he loves fiercely and speaks of passionately. During school breaks, Wells and Cole crisscross the continent and learn invaluable lessons on the road.

Wells explains that being a Road Knight was one of the most rewarding parts of his career. He liked going to schools and talking to young people and promoted all jobs in the trucking industry.

And his advice for young drivers? “The rules are there for a reason – follow them. Relax, enjoy the countryside, but be aware of your surroundings – and watch out for other drivers. You may have your wits about you, but that may not be true of the next driver you encounter.”

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