TORONTO — Jeff Bryan, President and CEO of Jeff Bryan Transport Ltd., of Burford, ON, has become the 34th chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).
After his step-father leased him his first truck in 1989 at the age of 19, Bryan (now 43) began hauling top soil and pallets, knocking on doors and trying to get the business going.
And in the long run, it was worth it.
Today, Jeff Bryan Transport provides dry van and temperature-controlled trucking service across North America (in addition to its main terminal in Burford, the company also has a terminal in South Carolina) as well as international freight forwarding.
“We’re still a small company in rural Ontario,” Bryan said, noting his company currently runs about 50 trucks in total. “And, we like it that way; it allows us to adhere to our values, to maintain a personal touch with our customers and manage our business.”
But his company’s size has little to do with its innovation. His company’s vehicles are equipped with stability-control systems, collision-warning systems, anti-idling technology, and other leading-edge technologies.
“Speed-limiter activation, EOBRs and ESC; they’re all the way of the future and they are all good for business,” he said. “I’m a small carrier and I don’t buy the argument that small carriers can’t afford this technology. You’ve got to be receptive to it.”
The OTA said it’s this very openness to new ideas, to a new way of doing business that Bryan will bring to his chairmanship.
“I have learned so much in the time I have been involved in OTA – it has really opened my eyes to a lot of things,” he says. “It is such an honor as a small carrier from rural Ontario to be asked to take on the job.”
Bryan said he feels he can really make an impact through leading by example, by encouraging small carriers and the next generation of trucking company leaders to get involved with the OTA.
“I was a little intimidated at first as this young guy from rural Ontario. I recall going to my first meeting and there were all these people who were legendary in the industry there, but they welcomed me, provided me with advice when I asked, and they listened to my opinions too,” he said. “It’s a great association. I could not have found a better training ground.”
“It’s also fun,” Bryan said.
The value of his membership came into view late in 2011, when a fire destroyed his company’s Burford terminal.
“The support I got from the members, many of whom are competitors, was fantastic,” he said.
Over the years, Bryan has served on the association’s board, executive committee and convention advisory committee (as vice chair). He currently serves on the OTA Group Benefits Committee and is an OTA delegate to the CTA Board of Directors.
His wife, Rose, is in charge of the company’s finances and they reside in Burford. Bryan’s hobbies include travel and golf.