Pete’s Blog&Grille: Meet Trimac’s 23-Year-Old Ops Guy.
Besnik Gasi, 23 year old operations manager at Trimac Transportation.
First, my boss Rolf Lockwood received this innocent-enough-sounding email:
In an effort to try and recruit the newer generations into trucking, I would like to be featured in one of your magazines. I am hard working and dedicated to the trucking industry. I want to share my story with as many as possible. Initially starting as part time, and now at 23 years old I am an Operations Manager for Trimac Transportation. Let me know your thoughts, or if you’d like me to provide a more detailed story.
Thanks for your time.
Rolf forwarded it to me, I read it and thought, “Yesssss! This man’s story should be told with one exclamation mark after another!”
He’s only 23! He’s climbing the ladder at Trimac, one of this country’s most respected fleets!
He loves his work!
I emailed him. I wanted to hear more. Told him that I bet a guy like him—a self-starter with confidence and class—could probably give a pretty good account of himself.
I asked and received.
Mr. Gasi sent me the following story as well as this great photo. And no offence Besnik, but I bet you’ve been carded a time or two, no?
Do me a favor, okay? Tell your trucker dad that: a) We’re happy he made it to Canada and b) Glad he got that nickel delivered. Not only that, Besnik, but add that we older Canadians are thrilled knowing there are people like you out there itching to take over.
WITH THAT—and in his own words—I present the one, but I hope not the only, Besnik Gasi:
“If you were to ask me six years ago what my future plans were, I would have told you it would have not been in the transportation industry. This is not because I didn’t want to, or like it, but because at 17 years old I had no idea how big the industry really is and what it could offer me.
My father has been a truck driver ever since I can remember. In fact, when I was born in Kosovo (located in Eastern Europe) the story goes that my dad was in the middle of going to unload a load of nickel during my birth. I would always have conversations with my father about trucking, and what I was most intrigued about was the sleeper berth and how much fun it would be to travel in.
When I turned 17 and finishing my last year of high school, I was interested in going to university and eventually pursuing a career in Foreign Relations. My brother suggested I get a job as a part-time loader in a cement plant in West Edmonton. I applied, and got accepted. After all, this would give me some extra money for university so I thought, ‘why not?’
When I started, I truly enjoyed the work I was doing – imagine loading 44 metric tonnes of cement powder in a matter of minutes! Having conversations with drivers and listening to their stories really intrigued me to discover the transportation industry even further. I recall speaking to people who dealt with Trimac about potentially transitioning into dispatch. Sure enough, two months later I was in the “hot seat,” and dispatching cement under the leadership of people I consider mentors even to this day.
In my eyes dispatching is much like a puzzle; you are focused on getting loads dispatched on time, utilizing your assets to the fullest extent, while really focusing on customer satisfaction and working with the drivers closely on their hours of service. I would eventually transition into working the night shift. I believe that was a major milestone for me. I would have many discussions with drivers about the industry, efficiencies, trucks, trailers and this is where I believe most of my knowledge from the trucking industry came from. Fast forward five years later, and having worked in different cities and in different roles within the trucking industry, I am now an Operations Manager for branches in Calgary, AB, and Golden, BC.
At the age of 23, it is challenging to manage employees that are much older than I am, and much more experienced than I am. It is an immensely rewarding job though, as I am receptive and eager to learn new things every day. I believe that more people need to join this industry, especially in light of the baby boomer generation nearing retirement. The industry needs fresh ideas to make trucking that much more rewarding. With their experience and knowledge, senior drivers have certainly worked to improve efficiencies and methods to operate in a safe manner. This includes safe driving techniques and habits, equipment maintenance, and much more.
I think one thing that a member of the public may not immediately be aware of is that many products we use today have at one point or another been transported by a truck. For example, their vehicles, the fuel in their cars, everyday supplies purchased in grocery stores, and so on.
There are many opportunities in the transportation industry aside from driving. Some of these include driver schedulers, mechanics, washbay technicians, warehouse operators, safety teams, and engineers who design new trucks and trailers to drive up efficiencies and reduce green house gases. Speaking of technology, the majority of trucks are now equipped with GPS satellite systems where one can view the location of trucks at any time and send valuable information that may be required for the driver.
There is definitely a lot of room for growth in this segment as well. Personally, I have always enjoyed operations. Communication between drivers on a daily basis is crucial to a successful trip. Many times, to keep up in this demanding industry, you must always be alert to new and effective methods of communication. Social media has had a huge impact on trucking since it went viral and from what I can see this has had a positive effect on our long term communication strategy.
I strongly urge you to consider the fun and exciting challenges offered by the transportation industry. There is a lot of potential for growth in any career path you desire. Eagerness to learn and ambition are always welcomed. I jokingly tell my drivers they have another 44 years to deal with me. The steering wheel is in your hands.
For more information on Trimac, please visit Trimac.com.